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Notebooks Gaming laptop with docking station?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by David, 18 May 2018.

  1. David

    David RIP Tel

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    I'm seriously considering ditching my rig and dropping a couple of grand on a gaming laptop. One of the reasons for this is space - we're moving to a bigger house but I'm losing my man cave.

    At best , I'll have room for a small(ish) desk in the bedroom but I'll need the option to take my PC out of there if the missus is having an early night.

    So, a laptop makes some sense, but I want the comfort of using a standard monitor keyboard and mouse at the desk, and I'd rather do without the bother of unplugging the various cables everytime I'm banished to the lounge.

    A laptop docking station would be ideal, but it seems fewer and fewer companies bother to produce them for their laptops nowadays.

    Is there such a thing as a gaming laptop with the option for a physical dock any more?

    I'm probably looking at budget of £2000, maybe a couple of hundred more.

    Any (helpful) thoughts, ideas or suggestions?

    Cheers :)
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2018
  2. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Lenovo do USB 3.0 docks (e.g. the Ultradock) that can drive multiple monitors, but they don't have power connections so you'll still have two cables to plug / unplug. That being the case you might as well not bother and just get a USB hub, then plug in power and monitor cables.

    I don't know of any gaming laptops with dedicated docking stations, sadly.
     
  3. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    Most 'Docking Stations' now are glorified USB hubs... and/or are thunderbolt based and aimed at '1 port is all you're getting because **** you' iStuff.

    ...or it's one of those thundrebolt external GPUs, monitor connects to the eGPU, and iirc most come with a few USBs and possibly ethernet for everything else...

    ...downsides is they a: aren't cheap and b: require a laptop that can make use of it [which invariably aren't cheap].

    EDIT: The only gaming laptop that comes to mind with a 'docking station' [as in something you clip you laptop onto/set it down on] is/was this bout of lunacy from ASUS, and even then it was just an external water cooler iirc.


    TL-DR: My recommendation would be - Gigabyte Aero 15x [or similar] and whichever usb/thunderbolt hub offends your eyes/wallet the least
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2018
  4. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    This is precisely what Thunderbolt is for - there are a few third party ones out there, or manufacturers will often make one for their own range. I have an XPS15 and TB16 dock and for instance switching from mobile to desked is seamless and with one cable.

    For gaming though, a slim and light laptop with an 8th gen quad core U series along with thunderbolt GPU enclosure might be an even better option, and should squeeze into the £2k budget, if only just. No gaming on the go clearly, but buckets more power at your desk, and something far more mobile than a "gaming" laptop.

    Note USB-C is not synonymous with Thunderbolt - make sure it's the latter. USB docks in my experience can be flaky (I have the aforementioned Lenovo USB-C dock as well)

    Proprietary docking stations are dead or dying, and rightly so - thunderbolt can do everything just as well and offer interoperability.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2018
  5. David

    David RIP Tel

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    Good shout on Thunderbolt - I have a bad habit of dismissing it as Apple nonsense and hadn't considered it as a one cable solution.

    I did look at the XPS 15 but I'd want to run a QHD monitor off my laptop and the GTX 1050 strikes me as a bit weak for gaming. The new XPS 15 2-in-1 looks very impressive too but the Vega GPU looks like it lands somewhere between the 1050 and the 1050Ti - freaking awesome for processor graphics, but still possibly a little light weight for my occasional gaming binges.

    I don't want to go down the GPU enclosure route, as gaming on the go needs to be a possibility, so a light laptop doesn't seem to be in the cards. I guess that means I'm looking at an i7 with 1070 to 1080 graphics with decent build quality (no Razer then) and good support (no Asus either). If I want Dell with a high end GPU I'm limited to Alienware, which always struck me as a bit tacky.

    MSI and Gigabyte never struck me as great choices for motherboards, so I'm not exactly jumping at the idea of throwing a couple of grand at either of them. Damn, I'm being picky - who does that leave?

    HP, Acer or some shop built efforts from the likes of Scan and Cyberpower?

    I'm probably being a bit harsh on MSI, because the new Stealth laptop looks bloody good. A Dell XPS 15 with a high end GPU would be a clear winner, because I like the build quality of the XPS range.

    All this might yet be irrelevant in two weeks or so, when I can start moving in and figure out if there really is room for a desk in the corner of the dining room - on first impressions I seriously doubt it, but maybe I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2018
  6. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    If it was my money i'd be looking at something from the following list -

    Dellienware. [Dellienware tho...]
    Gigabyte Aero 15x [.if you can swallow your reservations re: gigglebyte]
    HP Omen [not exactly bleeding edge hardware on the cpu front... HP are hardly bastions of build quality in my experience, but they can be had pretty cheapish under the right circumstances]
    Dell Precision [the M1200/2200 Quadro or FirePro won't exatly rock your gaming world though]
    XPS 15 [see above re: gpu]
    Whatever Clevo are offering atm [Scan etc's own-brand offerings]
     
  7. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The XPS 15 9570 is hot off the press, with a 1050TI (and a 6-core H-series). Not really an earth shattering bump compared to the 1050, but definitely a notable improvement. The XPS was never really meant to be a gaming laptop, but should manage 1440p relatively well in a fair few titles with the 1050TI.

    Other than that, you're into something that's a bit of a brick for more grunt.

    If you don't get on, you can always dig a bit deeper and get a 9570 plus an eGPU enclosure - any GPU that takes your fancy when you're at your desk, and something relatively passable on the go (especially if you get the 1080p model)
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2018
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  8. David

    David RIP Tel

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    That's a thought - going for a 1080p model for gaming on the go and an eGPU to handle things at QHD on a bigger screen.
     
  9. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    For reasons known only to dell they don't seem to offer the 9570 in 16GB... your choices seem to be 8GB with the i7 or 32GB and i9...

    So if 16GB is a must and you can live with the older CPU/non-ti 1050...

    this, plus this [yeah i know... gigglebyte...] = your £2k budget more or less
     
  10. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried game streaming on a shitty laptop from your Desktop on the network serving the games, it is quite acceptable.
     
  11. nimbu

    nimbu Well-Known Member

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    I'm kind of in the same boat, getting the house refurbished and losing my man cave as it's going to become a laundry room.

    Personally been eyeing up the Dell outlet. There is a nice looking alienware 15 there with a 1070. Mem and hd options arnt good (8gb and 1tb rust spinner) but I have lots of **** around here to upgrade it myself.
     
  12. David

    David RIP Tel

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    I'm hoping to get the keys for an hour or two next week so I can measure up. I can't throw myself into this until I can completely rule out a desk in the corner of the dining area .
     
  13. Ljs

    Ljs Well-Known Member

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    It's a tough call and as others have said - finding laptops worthy of gaming with docking stations seems very difficult these days. I've not long purchased a laptop because I spend less time at home these days and more around my girlfriends, but I really haven't got used to using a laptop keyboard for gaming and seem to sausage finger everything.

    I too looked for one with a dock with the intention of getting rid of my PC and spending the extra on a better laptop I could use in both locations, but couldn't find anything that wasn't silly money. Your budget is over twice what mine was though!
     
  14. David

    David RIP Tel

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    I missed this post - sounds interesting - much depends on the level of control I'd have over the host PC. I'm assuming RDP or something?
     
  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    You'll get much better results with one of the dedicated game-focused streaming options, rather than RDP: Steam has Steam In-Home Streaming built-in and requires nothing extra, Nvidia has GameStream which is designed for use with the Shield family but can be convinced to work with anything using an add-on called Moonlight, and Windows 10 has its own game streaming thing too these days.
     
  16. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    Fairly sure that can only steam from an Xbox One, though i'll admit i've never given the feature much of a prod.
     
  17. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    You can use remote desktop if you need to use office apps etc on the remote machine but steam game streaming does it over h.264 (I think) and doesn't need much control you just run the steam client as you normally would but click stream rather than install once setup and away you go, use an Xbox pad or laptop KB/M etc.

    Is it perfect, no, but it is something you have right now and its free :) You can add non steam games to steam and some will stream.



    An alternative to the laptop, a small silent HTPC could be setup and hidden downstairs for half the laptop budget to be used on your TV when you are evicted from bedroom. I made one in an LC19 that I used for years, you wouldn't have known it wasn't a Bluray player. Loverly, setup it up to use an Shuttle remote, Xbox pad and BT KB/M.

    Most gaming laptops worth having would burn your balls off if used on your lap whilst cutting off circulation to your legs, so they are not really laptops at all :D The heat and noise can be an issue with them too even on the good ones.
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2018
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  18. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun.

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    Where are the stairs/what's the under stairs situation like? I've seen a few people rig up an office in the space under the stairs, either enclosed within or accessed from the side.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. David

    David RIP Tel

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    That's pretty much what I have at the moment, and what I'm about to lose. The new house is much more open plan and there may be room behind the stairwell - that's what I'm waiting to find out.
     
  20. lxrysprtmscl

    lxrysprtmscl Member

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