Byte Me Article 392 – Docking Stations

With all the different computer devices that are available on the market lately, one of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked is still – “What device should I get”.  The main compromise is between portability, power and screen size with the caveat that normally as you go to a more portable device you lose both speed and capacity as well as a large screen.

So, can you have it all?  In some respects – yes. The secret lies in some of the latest developments in IT such as solid-state drives (SSD’s) and USB C docking stations!  Now what is Bruce on about? Well, previously purchasing a laptop pretty much guaranteed that you were getting a device that would always run slower than a desktop.  Now this doesn’t have to be the case.

If a modern laptop is teamed with a SSD then it can be just as quick as a similarly spec’d desktop.  The latest laptops with 8GB of ram and Intel 8th generation i5 or i7 processors are extremely powerful – however you need the above specs as well as a SSD.  The resulting laptop will run just as quick as a similar desktop. Next what you are looking for in the same laptop is a USB C port to hook to a docking station.

Modern laptops with USB C ports can (with just one cable) plug into a compatible docking station and power one or two external high res screens, plus a standard mouse and keyboard, plus a USB printer, plus talk to an Internet router – and all the while they are also powering the laptop through the same cable!

What this means is that finally you can keep the original charger that came with your laptop in the laptop bag for use during trips and simply plug the laptop into one cable at your preferred place of work.  With this arrangement you can have either one or two large computer screens and a proper keyboard and mouse for much of your work.

When we setup a laptop to be used as above we also configure the laptop power options so that it can sit plugged into this single cable from the docking station and operate even while the laptop lid is closed.  This further takes the laptop out of the way and out of harms reach. When you need to be mobile again – unplug one cable, throw the laptop into its carry bag and off you go.

The recent mass production of solid state drives (SSD’s) has seen their price decline to a point where lately, we rarely sell a mechanical hard drive in any style of computer and have SSD’s going out the door in sizes of 250GB, 500GB & 1TB in everything from $500 PC’s to $5000 PC’s.

Stay tuned for next weeks’ article where we will look at some worthwhile IT gifts for Christmas shoppers.  Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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