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Suggestions of a LAPTOP with multi-monitor support (desktop replacement)?


#1

Hi,

Looking for a new computer for someone here at work. I’m thinking she really needs a Laptop that is a desktop replacement.
So she’ll use an external keyboard, mouse, and 2 extra displays (and use the laptop display as the third)

Must support:

  • Two external monitors (along with it’s built in screen)
  • Fairly light weight (ultra portable would be nice). Light weight it more important than battery life.

USE CASES

  • Not very demanding Software (no video games, maybe some very light video editing: 3 to 5 minute videos)
  • Will be used as a desktop 80% of the time and would like a 2 hour battery life.

OPTIONS I’m considering:

  • Docking Station that just connects through a USB 3.0 connection (they claim you can then connect up to 3 monitors). Also cuts down on wear and tear on usb ports.
  • Laptop with a DisplayLink connection

#2

You didn’t specify what OS, but if you are entertaining a Mac, the Macbook Pro does all this. It supports up to 3 external monitors (2 MiniDP, 1 HDMI) and you could do an external keyboard and mouse via either USB or Bluetooth. There are some third-party docking stations, though I don’t really know how well they support the multi-monitor setup.


#3

If windows, look at a Dell XPS 15. This is also my current setup. I use a USB 3.0 docking station that two external monitors plug into and my mouse and keyboard. Works great.


#4

Macs do multiple monitors great…but you have to plug directly in. All the thunderbolt hubs I’ve used have been very unreliable on wake from sleep.


#5

This is absolutely true. I’ve never actually tried the 3-external-monitor setup, but have done 2 external Thunderbolt monitors. That was nice because the monitors are in a daisy chain, so there was just the one thing to jack in to the laptop video.


#6

If you’re looking for a PC, it’s worth looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad line and their docking stations. I’m using that setup at my day job and it’s a lot more convenient than plugging/unplugging power, usb, ethernet, etc. every time. Push the laptop down onto the docking connector to connect it, press a button on the docking station to release the laptop.


#7

Thanks everybody.

I decided to go with an Acer Aspire (we’re Windows based) and Universal Docking Station
(this person doesn’t do any heavy computing)


#8

Maybe not the Lenovo after all.


#9

Installing adware (presumably for some money to allow a lower price) on consumer models is questionable, but it does not seem to have been done on the ThinkPad line, just their consumer models.


#10

Lenovo: We’re no longer installing adware in reaction to complaints


#11

I suppose the line between adware and malware could be fuzzy, but this rubbish purportedly did MITM on all HTTP connections as well as HTTPS connections in IE and Chrome. (Firefox has its own cert tree.) Any party can now run a MITM attack now that the private key for the Superfish certificate has been extracted, not that even this much was necessary as that cert blindly accepts any other certificate, meaning Superfish actively facilitates this sort of attack.

Lenovo naturally claims to be shocked, SHOCKED that any MITM is going on here. If you have this flavor of machine, please follow the directions to remove the software and certificate. I wonder if Levono brass really understood what was going on when one of their partners, who was paying them, said they were going to seamless provide “visual discovery”. Sounds downright cuddly.


#12

A solid standard practice on any PC is to reformat the drive after purchase and perform a scratch install of the operating system and drivers. After that, you at least know what’s on there (and in the case of the Dells I used to own, increase my performance by quite a bit).


#14

For those who are still looking for this, I also searched for a laptop with multi-monitor support and RAID support one year ago and finally went for this one: Clevo P170SM-A

I can’t post a link as I am a new user but you can find reviews if you do a Google search. Basically, I use it as a desktop replacement, with separate USB keyboard and mouse. The touchpad isn’t that great but the performance is.

It has 1 x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort and 1x mini-DisplayPort so there is no need for a separate docking station. I use it with 2 monitors.


#15

BTW, this Universal Docking station works great. My wife even watchs Netflix on one of the 2 shared monitors. (It supports 2 external and the existing laptop screen for 3 monitors).

GREAT solution for $100 or so.


#16

old thread, I know but for passers-by… I’ve been using a HP8560w for a few years now with DisplayPort + 2x DisplayLink USB-DVI adapters so it has 3 external monitors. It has been stable and works just fine. Windows updates the drivers natively, the ones from the vendor site have been a little fragile for me in the past.

CPU usage on an i7 Quad has been negligible, it spikes at about 5% when you scroll furiously. You wouldn’t play an RPG on it but I rarely see any artefacts on them.

There are different DisplayLink chipsets so look for the features / resolution you want. I got mine from eBay.


#17

Hi Scojo,

Thanks for sharing. I’m considering to buy a new Dell XPS. The model I’m looking for is XPS 15 (9550) which is the latest in this line. It has i7-6700HQ Quad Core, Win 10, 16GB RAM DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Pretty powerful one. And among the ports there are also HDMI and USB Type-C (with Thuderbolt-3). Currently I have 3 Dell U2515H displays that are connected to the desktop computer from the DP-1.2 port in daisy chain. The new XPS 15 laptop does not have DP port. I wonder if the USB Type-C (with Thuderbolt-3) can do the same work as the DP. does According to the specs - yes, it should support DP-1.2 signal. So theoretically should be able to handle 3 external DP displays. Different people in Dell say different things. Some say yes, it will support for sure, some say it should support, but they did not test this, some say no. I think the best way is to find someone who has 2 or more monitors and can actually check this. Is that possible that you can check this with your XPS and 2 monitors?

Thanks in advance.