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High End Laptop (w/multi-monitor)

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  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    I need a high end laptop, by which I mean solid construction, good quality components, etc but with one special requirement - support for two monitors. That excludes the Macbooks. I love the Thinkpads (W, T) but they don't support a microphone in at all(!). 

    I don't mind needing a docking station for the multi-monitors. I'm thinking a "real" graphics card with 512+ of dedicated video memory. I don't mind if it is 14 inch or 18 inch frankly, but would prefer to save on the inch-ness so I can spend more on the configuration. 

    Any suggestions? 

     

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    I just got a Sony F-Series VPCF115FM. Really solid. Are you just looking for something that has a VGA out?

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    VGA is fine, but any video out ports are fine, as long as I can use both concurrently (i.e. two monitors, no laptop LCD, or two plus laptop LCD). 

  • User profile image
    Alex Keizer

    Huh? I have a W500, it does have a microphone in. It also has a integrated webcam. Very solid system overall.

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    The W520 doesn't. Only a headphone jack and built in microphone. 

    http://www.notebookreview.com/shared/picture.asp?f=58115

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    I currently have an EliteBook 8740w, and that's pretty good. Not exactly an ultraportable, though...

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    I'm using a T40 right now and it doesn't have it either. I don't know why..is it that much more complicated to place a mic jack next to the headphone jack?

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    ,MasterPie wrote

    I'm using a T40 right now and it doesn't have it either. I don't know why..is it that much more complicated to place a mic jack next to the headphone jack?

    Because there are USB microphones?

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Don't most 17" laptops have at least an HDMI out these days? I've got an HP Envy 15s which is a pretty good machine, but most of the larger laptops I've seen in recent years have some form of digital video out. It's usually only ultra portables (well and Macs) that tend to scrimp on features like that and often they lack grunt in the video crad department anyway.

  • User profile image
    Alex Keizer

    @MasterPie: It's even more complicated, one jack for both in and out. I guess everybody is supposed to have a headset w/ a microphone http://boardreader.com/thread/W520_No_microphone_jack_Lenovo_Community_24ffrX8t6x.html

  • User profile image
    MasterPi

    Ah, yes. I didn't notice that the icon was for a headset and not a headphone. I guess that's somewhat reasonable.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/dh2go/

    So long as the machine has the basic video capacity, this will provide multi-monitor.

    There are 3 versions available - VGA->2xVGA, VGA->2xDVI, DisplPort->2xDisplPort

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    Why not use a desktop and a lower-priced laptop and share files using Live Mesh?

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , spivonious wrote

    Why not use a desktop and a lower-priced laptop and share files using Live Mesh?

    [/quote]

    Because Live Mesh sucks now since it was merged with Live Stync. Smiley It's got a neat behavior on my work computer where the client just pops up out of no where or the tray apps's context menu suddenly appears while I'm typing. Also sync'ing files with other people is really straightforward -- not. It's a shame; Microsoft had a great piece of software with Live Mesh and then politics came into play and gave birth to meh.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    Why not use a desktop and a lower-priced laptop and share files using Live Mesh?


    Because it isn't cost effective to ship a tower internationally. I'm dumping both monitors within the next year, taking my laptop, and moving half way around the world. 

    Just seems easier to buy a really nice laptop and take it with me on the aircraft, than getting a tower and having to have it shipped from here to there, at the cost of several hundred pounds.  

    Plus a laptop will be nice and mobile. I will be in temp' accommodation when I arrive and then have to move a second time. So I'd have to sort out moving the PC or worse worrying that it will arrive after I have already moved. 

  • User profile image
    a235301

    Just some things to think about when looking at "desktop replacement" laptops:

    1)  High end GPU=More Heat.  The laptop mftr really has to do a good job of removing this extra heat otherwise it's likely to lead to a short lifetime for the laptop.  My last two Dells had high end GPUs in them.  The first died because the case cracked on the GPU.  The second one overheats regularly and has to be shutdown for awhile to cool back to a temp within spec.  Sure you can use a laptop cooler but that's not portable.

    2)  nVidia Optimus technology is problematic.  In theory it's nice to be able to say that for low end graphics requirements the laptop uses the onboard Intel GPU and then switches over to the nVidia GPU when it needs more graphics power.  Unfortunately it doesn't work seemlessly and you will get some applications that can force the switchover and others that simply use the Intel GPU no matter what.  Not ready for primetime.  Anything that runs in a browser that needs graphics HP will simply not force the switchover.

    My feeling is to look for something with just enough GPU power for what you need and don't go overboard.  The lower end the GPU the less heat.  Heat is the biggest enemy of laptops.

  • User profile image
    PeterF

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