External Graphics Upgrade for Notebooks

Test System and Configuration


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Processor:AMD Athlon X2 TK-53, 1.7 GHz, 800 FSB, 512KB Cache
Motherboard:DELL 0WY383, BIOS: 2.5.2 (07/30/2006)
RAM:Hyundai PC2-5300 @ 266 MHz
Row 3 - Cell 0 2x512MB, Dual Channel, CAS 4-4-4-12
Hard Drive:Samsung HD160JJ - P80SD
Row 5 - Cell 0 160 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA 300
Networking:NVIDIA nForce onboard Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Cards:Integrated Radeon Xpress 1150, 256MB RAM (shared)
Row 8 - Cell 0 Sapphire Radeon 2600 XT, 256MB RAM
Row 9 - Cell 0 HIS Radeon 3870, 512MB RAM


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OS:Microsoft Windows Vista (6.0) Business Edition
DirectX Version:10
Graphics Driver:Catalyst 7.10

The Dell Laptop we tested the ViDock on has an Athlon X2 1.7 GHz processor. This isn’t the most powerful laptop processor by a long shot, so it will provide a decent representation of what the ViDock Pro can do for a typical machine.

It’s important to mention that the driver included in the ViDock installer was the older Catalyst 7.10 driver. Because of this, it’s the driver we used in all of our testing, including the video cards we jury-rigged to work with the ViDock.

First, let’s look at what the ViDock Pro accomplished compared to the integrated chipset in games and 3D production benchmarks.

  • a 6pack in
    thats a nice work around for 3d graphics on laptops. but at the 429 price tag plus the price of a 8600gt or a 3870.. thats getting pricy.

    its a valid option, but one that a normal user should think twice about.

    nice write up
  • crazyhandpuppet
    "If your integrated video chipset doesn’t support DHCP, or doesn’t accelerate decoding, it’s not going to play Blu-ray movies."

    Amazing how far DHCP has come over the last few years... Looks like it's already replacing HDCP :)
  • cleeve
    DHCP... ugh.

    Sorry, I'm Lisdexic!

    We'll have that fixed real soon. :)

  • cleeve
    At $429, it comes with an 8600 GT or 2600 PRO.
  • gwolfman
    Did they beat ASUS to the punch? When is this product available?
  • gwolfman
    No Call of Duty 4 benchmarks? :*(
  • cleeve
    Call of Duty 4 is so much easier on hardware, I prefer to concentrate on stuff that will really challenge it like Crysis and SupCom so we have a worst-case scenario.
  • piratepast40
    There are several interesting points here. The fact that card compatability is dependant on chipset type is interesting but not really shocking. It's (sort of) similar to the hybrid SLI and Crossfire capability of the 780 series chipsets and the way the chipsets support specific GPU series. It sounds as though another header or bus type is needed to fully support the concept. The expresscard/USB bus was the holdup a year ago and it appears to still be the main bottleneck. I'm curious to see if AMD's PUMA platform or Intel's version (forgot the name) will show us something in this area. Am also wondering if one of the laptop OEM's might offer the external card setup for specific models of their computers. Will be interesting to see what others are doing. Haven't heard anything at all from ASUS since early last year.
  • spuddyt
    would it be possible to run crossfire/sli with two of these things? (largely out of curiosity, twould be insane to actuall sensibly do it...) That way wouldn't you have 2 seperate pcie 1x bandwidths to play with/
  • anonymous x
    aww, i wish the express card slot had enough bandwidth to suport a geforce 9800 card