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Laptop docking station with external graphics-exists?

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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December 13, 2011 6:05:05 AM

Hi all.

I'm looking for a notebook I can carry around for work and lightweight gaming, then take it home to a docking station.
The docking station will be connected to the monitor, mouse & keyboard, power supply, external printers, hard drives, etc.
Can just turn the thing on - off- sleep with a power & sleep button on the docking station. So I can keep the notebook lid closed.
Ok, I saw this done a few years ago except for the sleep button part.

Now for the hard part.
An external (desktop type) graphics card with it's own power supply. When I'm not playing some 3D game, the external graphics card will be in a power saving mode. So the notebook needs some kind of external PCIe port (can't imagine why this wasn't done years ago).

If I can do all this, I won't need a desktop !

Does/will this exist now or anytime soon? Or I'm living in the wrong decade?
I tried to search myself, but I'm missing some important keyword.

thanks!
a b D Laptop
December 13, 2011 7:02:47 AM

enewmen said:
If I can do all this, I won't need a desktop !

Does/will this exist now or anytime soon? Or I'm living in the wrong decade?


There are external expresscard based video dock, and if you don't mind opening you laptop, you can also run desktop video card by connecting it to the mini pcie in the laptop with an adapter. But the performance is not going to catch up with desktop any time soon due to bandwidth bottleneck so you still wants a desktop as main gaming machine. So I will say yes, you and everyone along with you, are living in the wrong decade.
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December 13, 2011 12:48:05 PM

Pyree said:
So I will say yes, you and everyone along with you, are living in the wrong decade.


Ouch! But yes, I agree.
I heard years ago about people planning to extend the bus to external devices, I guess that never happened. The PCIe 16x slot is not so wide (even on a desktop motherboard) , it can fit in the back of the notebook and get plugged in when docked. Simple enough.
I'm still surprised this wasn't done years ago already.

Any ideas why it's difficult or people refuse to do this?

Pryee talked about the external express card based video dock. Please give me some names so I can do my own searching.

thanks!
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December 13, 2011 1:26:17 PM

I think people don't do this due to reliability. There's a ton of pins, and if one becomes damaged the entire slot won't work.
Granted there have been a couple in recent years. It doesn't use an external PCI port, instead it uses a technology based off of Light Peak
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/sony-introduces-new...
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a b D Laptop
December 13, 2011 1:42:42 PM

Vidock is the expresscard base external GPU.

Yes, lightpeak looks promising for external GPU, but it wasn't the first attempt. There were other project before but they were abandon by the industry. Not sure why. May be because with the option of easy GPU upgrade, people will buy laptop less often.
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January 24, 2013 11:32:54 AM

Sony did it!

Sony Vaio Z Series are available with a dock station which includes an ATI graphic card (1 GB)
But the laptot cost 1500 €uros and the dock cost 500 €uros...
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March 3, 2013 10:25:12 PM

You can buy an adapter an adapter on eBay or amazon that connects and powers a desktop gpu on a laptop through the express slot. I believe there may also be a FireWire solution but I'm haven't seen the second one myself. the adapter costs around $100. You would also need a desktop psu.

They are really meant for testing and it doesn't work that well. If you have a desktop gpu and want to play games, spend the $100 on desktop motherboard and get something that works. Laptops suck for games. Even with the latest i7 CPU and top of the range mxm gpu, performance is not even close to a desktop at 25% of the cost. All you get are oversized heavy desktop replacements that will blow through a fully charged battery in 45 minutes due to the power needs of the gpu.

If you need to work on the move, keep your laptop portable and light. Then buy a psp and play for hours while saving your battery for that presentation you need to give when you arrive.

For professional gpus, there are a number of quadro docking station type solutions on the market. They house clusters of quadro cards and are designed to work for a number of computers (including laptops). For games this would be overkill and expensive.

You aren't the first one who bought a laptop and realized you can't buy the gpu you need. Join the club.
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