Author Topic: Laptop Docking Stations?  (Read 1139 times)

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Offline Arachoid

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Laptop Docking Stations?
« on: April 26, 2008, 12:51:52 am »
What are these mysterious things? I see them all the time, but never really understood them... Are they, like, separate modules containing, say, an improved video card for your laptop? If someone could help me out I would be most obliged.


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Offline Danzik

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Re: Laptop Docking Stations?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 01:18:52 am »
I believe they generally just add additional ports such as an extra VGA port and USB ports.  The purpose being that you could just leave a monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked up to your dock and simply put the laptop on it when you get home.

Offline Legodragonxp

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Re: Laptop Docking Stations?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2008, 06:41:58 am »
Short answer, they are basically a place to drop your laptop on to to get an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor to work so that you get your laptop to work like a desktop.

Shorter answer, they are rarely worth the trouble.

Headache answer, most work like I say above, other (USB based) are actually self-contatined video and audio cards that most likely will not function as well as your laptop, but get called docking stations anyways.

Longish answer: Normally a docking station will be model specific. An IBM (Lenovo) X41 tablet will not use the same docking station as a T41 Laptop. Basic docking stations are usually just additional USB ports, a VGA pass through, and PS2 ports that allow you to leave a keyboard, mouse, printer, and monitor hooked up. Some more advanced docking stations may have bays for DVD/CR drives.

Lenovo, and others, makes something called an 'ultrabay' for some of their laptops. These have the same footprint as the laptop device and can phyisically lock on to the botton of the laptop (they usually double the thickness of the laptop) and they can often add a second battery, extra drives (CD/DVD or Hard drives), etc. These are not 'docking stations' but they get lumped in to the fray. These are nice if you never undock as two batteries are great for watchig movies and such.

Some laptops will have the ability to run two monitors off of their video chipset and people will use a docking station to allow for a second monitor when working at a desk. They will also use them for a wired network connection, since technically they should be a lot easier to plug in a laptop rather than plug in all the extrnal wires.

Lego's opinion answer: Docking stations suck! If you want a desktop, buy a desktop. If you want a laptop buy a laptop. Docking stations are fickle to dock your laptop in to, tempermental with device detection, and if not docked properly may cause your laptop to blue screen, lock up, or corrupt data. I work for a company that has about 1000 laptops, with over 25% on docking stations on a regular basis and we are constantly getting calls on them. Lenovo tablet PCs has a unique 'feature' where if you power them up on in the docking station and then undock them and try to use the pen they will blue-screen. I've seen other docking stations work great when not fully aligned but they won't charge. Some models of docking stations will not work with extended batteries and you need to swap out the regular battery (which can be a challenge if you have it on... got a call on that one once "I took out the battery on my laptop and it turned off... I didn't save before I did it and I need my stuff back")

If you MUST get a docking station, RTFM (read the manual). Use the 'undock features' listed in both Windows and the device, save everything before docking/undocking. Check the charge light before working, wait at least 30 seconds before each docking or undocking attempt. Keep the docking station on a SOLID and FLAT surface. Live a good life, God punishes sinners early through docking stations. Offer void in Wisconsin, see dealer for details. Some assembly required. Count up the number of USB devices you're going to use and make sure you have enough ports, plan on buying a powered USB hub if the count is greater is four.

Hope this answers your question some.

-Lego