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Old January 13, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Default Docking station, What is it?

I am looking into a laptop build (or upgrading a prebuilt system) for a friend of mine and don't know to much about docking stations. I understand the following
1. that they connect to the laptop via either a specialty connector or usb.
2. that they act as an I/O extension and allow more things to be connected to the laptop.
Including video.

My questions are:

1. Wouldn't you get mega lag if you were to connect you monitor to the replicator and not the computer?
2. The ones using the manufacturer specific connectors, do they charge the laptop?
3. If what I mentioned above is all true, why would anyone want to go this route?

To me, the only benefit i see is the "USB hub" you get from these things. What am I missing? I'm looking into one, but if the hub is the only thing, then why not just get a hub for a fraction of the cost?
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Old January 13, 2012, 10:21 AM
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one reason is you can keep all your peripherals and monitors plugged in all the time. all you have to do is dock your laptop and everything is connected. we used them at work, i don't think Id spring the money for them for personal use myself.
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Old January 13, 2012, 11:28 AM
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A lot of the time the dock will have more connection options than the laptop itself as well.
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Old January 13, 2012, 05:05 PM
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Yes, the ability to plug in all your stuff into one spot and only have one connection between the docking station and your machine is nice, but I'm trying to figure out some of the more technical side of things. It would seem that because the monitor, network, and audio connections are not directly connected to their proper source (video card, sound card, network card) that their would be mega lag. Besides like I said, a monitor is supposed to plug into your sound card not a usb hub. Get my drift? It sounds like the only thing I would really be using the docking station for would be maybe sound, possibly network, and usb connections. Though thats it, that's pretty much everything so I think I'll go with getting a docking station and just plug in the monitor, and power cables into the computer itself. Thank you all for your help. If anyone has anything to add please do.
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Old January 13, 2012, 05:22 PM
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I stand to be corrected, but it seems like you're only focussing on the usb "breakout" boxes rather than a true proprietary docking station.... A true docking station will have a laptop specific connector that (and this is were I stand to be corrected.... ;) ) I've always assumed was properly connected internally to the appropriate device..... as in video to a proper VGA connection internal to the laptop, same for ethernet, and usb (rather than a hub) and/or things like legacy keyboard / mouse connections.
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Old January 13, 2012, 10:30 PM
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If all the peripheral connections were being routed through one receiver which had to schedule each device's communication, then yes lag would be an issue. However, a proper docking station is more akin to bundling the various peripheral connections side-by-side. Think of it as akin to connecting a monitor with speakers to your computer. You could use a DVI cable for the video and a separate audio cable, or you could use an HDMI which combines video and audio into one connection.
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Old January 13, 2012, 11:49 PM
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more or less what has been said above. if you look at one of the docking connectors, you will notice there are a ton of connectors meaning it probably acts like a direct connector.
imgPlace.com - Image Hosting - Free Image Hosting - Free Image Uploading - image 39890 (Warning, huge picture) just to give you an idea of the size of that, the indented area around the connector is a tiny bit taller than a USB connector.
as to the power thing. it probably depends on the connector. looking at the connector on my old HP laptop, it probably can.
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Old January 14, 2012, 01:25 PM
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I like what sswilson said when you mentioned manufacturer specific connectors that they use to connect from the docking station and the laptop. Yes, many companies do this. And thank you bissa for the picture, as this does point out such a connector. It seems that this specific connection would allow a more direct communication to the proper hardware on the machine, just all done through one connector but not through the same bus. Kinda like Galcobar mentioned when he said its a all-in-one connector, but each pin or circuit of data doesn't pass through just one bus like usb does, instead it connects to the proper component. I am hoping that the manufacturer specific connectors do connect in this way. However, I found out that Sony Vaio uses a specific connector with some of their machines as you can see here

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langI d=-1&productId=8198552921666367153&tab=featuresTab

but the trick is after some research on google I found out their connector is just a beefed up usb connector with 5gbps bandwidth (usb 3 speed).

Another docking station by sony found here

SA SB SC Series Laptop Dock | VAIO® S Series Docking Station | VGP-PRS20 | Sony USA

uses a different connector, but after being redirected from department to department for an hour on the phone, speaking to someone who doesn't speak to much English, they were not able to tell me any specs about the connector other than that its their own, unique connector. it does allow video, usb, network, and sound to be transferred to the computer, but I don't know in what way. Meaning is it through another serial bus like usb, or is it parallel, or what. But all in all, even if I had to connect the power and video separately, I'm fine with that. I'll be using the wifi radio in the laptop for data and the bluetooth for mouse and keyboard. everything else is usb so as you can see the docking station is still quite effective, I was just expecting to be able to connect everything to the docking station and just "plug'n'play".

so in this case I found this docking station that I think will serve me the best

Toshiba dynadock® U3.0 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station from Toshiba

Thank you all for your help. If anyone know anything more about those Manufacturer specific connectors I would like to hear more.
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docking station , hub , laptop , notebook , port replicator

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