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New laptop with dual monitors setup

Aug 7, 2012 3:33 PM

Tags: #laptop #dual_monitor #docking_station

I'm looking to buy a new laptop and I need some advice about a certain feature. Apart from general up to date performance requirements, my two special requirements are

 

1. It needs to have 17"+ with 1920x1080 internal screen.

2. It can be connected to TWO external digital displays

(3. It must be a pc so mac with thunderbolt are out the window)

 

As far as I understand, this leaves me with the following options:

 

Option 1: Find a laptop with two hdmi/minidisplayports connections

 

Option 2: Find a laptop that has a docking station available, to which you can connect two displays

 

Option 3: I have seen these "signal split boxes" on sale at about $100 which supposedly turns one hdmi out into two. But I never seen/heard of anyone using these, is this option even a decent alternative?

 

The external displays are two 28" @ 1920x1200. Allthough I might upgrade to two 30" 2560x1440/1600 during the lifespan of the laptop, so it would be nice if the gfx card could handle that. Note that I don't need the internal display to work while connected to the two external monitors. Needless to say, for example 1 analogue VGA out and one HDMI wont do the trick, I need the displays to be identical - digital signals.

 

If anyone have up to date experience with a setup like this, or any advice regarding what specific system to go for (basic requirements are i7/ssd upgrade option/ram upgradable to at least 16gb) I would greatly appreciate it! I don't plan to completely break the bank with this, I obviously want to spend as little as possibe. I am hoping to stay under $2k (for just the laptop and optionally the docking station - excluding the external displays). I'm open to both PCs on sale right now and also just-out-of-production ebay-pcs as long as it does the job.

 

 

THANKS

 
Replies
  • Noel Carboni
    23,471 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 7, 2012 4:42 PM   in reply to dutotone

    People often look to laptops to be a good compromise, providing the ability to work on high-end graphics software AND be portable AND provide good battery life AND be reliable.  Often they're disappointed that a jack of all trades system is really the master of none.  That's the state of the art right now.

     

    I'm not sure any laptop is going to be able to drive two 30" monitors.  But I'm not all-knowing.

     

    I don't know your situation - perhaps it's essential you get a laptop - but if you do anticipate heavy Photoshop usage consider getting a good solid desktop system, and maybe a tablet or inexpensive laptop to travel with.

     

    I've been eyeing workstations on eBay, and given that the very newest brand new designs incorporating things like Sandy Bridge processors are *just* out, the off-cutting-edge workstations haven't really dropped in price yet.  I'm hoping they will soon.

     

    Things to consider for good Photoshop operation:

     

    • More RAM is better.  Lots more is lots better.
    • SSD has arrived as a mainstream storage medium, but they're still a bit on the expensive side.  Don't skimp on SSD size to save money - you'll waste a lot of time later struggling with disk full issues.
    • Get an ATI or nVidia graphics interface if at all possible - stay away from Intel.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,471 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 7, 2012 4:54 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel Carboni wrote:

     


    I've been eyeing workstations on eBay, and given that the very newest brand new designs incorporating things like Sandy Bridge processors are *just* out, the off-cutting-edge workstations haven't really dropped in price yet.  I'm hoping they will soon.

     

    That said, this is actually a very decent deal, and within your $2K budget.  You might want to add a bit more hardware (good ATI video card, possibly some additional disk space).

     

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precision-T5500-T5400-Six-Core-6C-Xeon-2- 66GHz-X5650-24GB-500G-4900-Retail-/251120814714?pt=Desktop_PCs&hash=it em3a77f78a7a

     

    A single 6 core X5650 Xeon is formidable, but you have the option of adding a second (identical) processor to it at some time in the future when X5650 processors come down in price.  Ultimately you'll end up with 12 cores, 24 execution threads (hyperthreading), and a system that rates 15,516 on a scale where the highest of high-end systems today rate 32,960 (source:  Passmark benchmark site).

     

    I know you asked about laptops.  Sorry to take the thread in a bit of a sideways direction.

     

    -Noel

     
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