GREAT NEWS: Air Display’s Windows 8 support is no longer in beta.
As of version 1.8.7, the Air Display drivers for Windows includes our patent-pending accelerated video driver. This means Air Display now supports Aero and Direct X, and is GPU-accelerated for screaming performance and high-quality visual effects.
The new driver is active on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
OBTUSE TECHNICAL DETAILS
Let’s introduce some concepts here:
XPDM Mirror Drivers: This is the Windows XP Driver Model. The regular install of Air Display Connect for Windows implements a mirror driver. This is how most virtual-display products extend your desktop. One advantage of these is that they work on Windows XP, which still sports a large installed base in the Windows world.
WDDM Drivers: Modern Windows video drivers use the Windows Display Driver Model, which was introduced in Windows Vista. These drivers talk directly with the video hardware to use the GPU for special effects.
WDDM Filter Drivers: Some other products implement “WDDM filter drivers.” Filter drivers fools a real WDDM driver into thinking that a hardware video display is connected to a video card’s secondary video output, and then redirect the pixels to the virtual frame buffer. These drivers offer some of the benefits of real WDDM drivers—they do support Aero and Direct X—but they come with some serious limitations, which is why we didn’t go this route. For example:
- WDDM filter drivers are deprecated by Microsoft as unsafe
- They aren’t reliable on cards with only one output
- They can’t be used as a third or fourth display
- They don’t work on SLI configurations (multiple video cards on one machine)
- They don’t work in virtual environments like VMWare and Parallels
- They are not very resilient to changes in the physical video drivers, and often require emergency updates when those drivers are updated.
Virtual WDDM Drivers: The new beta Air Display Connect implements real WDDM Drivers, using patent-pending virtualization methods. None of those limitations of WDDM filter drivers apply to Air Display’s new accelerated drivers.