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Portable Desktop

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July 14, 2012 8:26:05 PM

I'd like to buy or build a portable desktop! But I'm not sure if it's even possible or the right choice.

The Problem:
I'm a web developer. I'm working on a home built desktop (server specs) running Windows 2008 R2, solid state, 12GB RAM, a few TB of drive space, 23" screen. I have 12 apps running at the same time and running multiple Virtual Machines in the background. Performance is important and it's reasonable on this setup -- probably time to upgrade everything.

Currently I'm chained to the desk. And since it's the 21st century I'd like to be able to travel and have the same experience and performance at my destination.

I've never had a latop that I've liked working on. I think it's because I'm so used to the desktop. My desktop requirements are pretty simple: decent screen, keyboard, mouse. Put me in front of a laptop keyboard, touch pad, little screen and you may as well ask me to strap one hand behind my back. Performance always seems to lag the desktop too and at a premium.

I did a search on Tom's Hardware for portable desktop and nothing came up. I searched Google and there are some interesting links but nothing that just seems to work.

Actually, if I could just stick my desktop in a carry case and walk out the door I think I'd be happy. Except that I'd need a tow truck for this current system.

Solutions and Current Thinking:

(a) Build (or buy) a desktop in the smallest case possible. Find a carry bag that fits the case, monitor (fold out stand), keyboard, mouse. Cons: probably very heavy, probably not really small enough, carry bag will probably need to be custom, padded, etc. and still not as robust as a laptop, or small enough to take on a plane. I can't wait to open it all up at in front of the airport Gestapo. Did somebody say check-it?

(b) Find a laptop that's just brains, screen, and brawn. No keyboard, no touch pad. A big screen. Use an external keyboard/mouse.

(c) Use a traditional laptop and keep it closed. Use external monitor too.

Also needed: get all data on the network/cloud and require minimal hard drive requirements. Major performance hit and would probably need to be copied locally on demand.

No limit on price except what's reasonable. No point spending $10k to make a $2k desktop portable. Maybe as well buy 5x systems and a storage unit at each destination ;-)

Questions:

Has anybody done (or seen) anything like this? Is it possible to buy or could this be custom built? Is this really the 21st century or am I asking for to much?

Thanks!

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August 22, 2013 4:48:07 AM

You are EXACTLY like me (i.e web developer, like working on a desktop, want to make a desktop portable, I too have thought of similar solutions).

How about the latest portable android devices like Dell XPS 18 or Sony Vaio Tap 20?

You will compromise a bit on graphics card & size of screen, but it will be the best alternative. I personally like the Tap 20 better (as it is bigger and looks more like a desktop). But XPS18 is way more portable & practical. Although XPS has very little space (120GB) which is also a sorta deal-breaker for me.

I had also thought of another solution: build a mini-portable-CPU, use one of those wearable TV's as monitor and separate wireless keyboard mouse combo. Could even carry this on a backpack.

Can you share with us the other 'interesting' links you found?
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August 22, 2013 8:04:27 AM

Good ideas here and the Sony Vaio Tap 20 looks really good. Maybe technology is finally catching up with us ; -) Specs are still low for my requirements. I guess portables will always lag.

I ended up getting an ultrabook but putting ALL development files on an external USB3 drive. That way when I hit the road I simply unplug the drive and plug it into the laptop. Keeping development software consistent is painful though.
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