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Thread: Performance with a USB Laptop Docking Station?

  1. #1
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    Question Performance with a USB Laptop Docking Station?

    Hello,

    I've decided that I'd like to buy a docking station to manage all my cables and make it easy when i get home, to plug all my other hardware into my laptop.

    I have just about one question that hopefully one or some of you can answer for me;
    Does using a laptop docking station connected through the USB (USB2 or 3) hinder your performance when playing games? I've looked at a docking station that connects through USB3, and it says that it has it's own GPU for dual monitor purposes, so that makes me wonder whether or not that'll affect my gaming performance, when playing on my G75VW through my nVidia 670M gpu?

    If not game performance, what about overall performance, and would it be noticable?

  2. #2
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    I do not have anything concrete to offer, but I would say that if you're running the video signal over USB, that would have to include a performance hit. For non-gaming uses it may not really be that big a deal, but I just can't see how there wouldn't be a massive performance hit if you're trying to send that over USB. So if you want to go with a docking station, most of which are really little more than port replicators, I would make sure that you have a separate connection for the video output. Whether or not that ends up defeating the purpose in your opinion only you can answer.

    Laptops with dedicated ports for docking stations would probably be exempted, but that doesn't apply to the G75.

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    I would say definitely don't go with any USB 2.0 docking stations if you're looking for gaming performance. If you're using USB 3.0 then I'd imagine it would be fairly decent, though having absolutely no performance loss is impossible.

    On the other hand, Sony's Vaio Z series has shown that USB 3.0 is somewhat sufficient for the purposes of docking stations since the Z2 and Z3 have specially made dock accessories which contain a graphics card and optical drive. Not a particularly good graphics card, and it's not a standard USB 3.0 port, but I haven't seen any negative reviews about its performance relative to other systems where the graphics card is internal, so I'd imagine it would also work fine with the screen being external rather than the video card.

    On the other hand, I actually have one of those systems myself that I've never used, only it has an integrated screen rather than an integrated GPU. I'm no expert on judging performance, but I'll try it out and see if the loss is significant enough for me to notice. Can't guarantee a timely response though, the next few days will be very busy for me.

    EDIT: Well... I already tried it for a little while, and although I have had issues they seem more related to my specific setup rather than the hardware being insufficient. Initially everything was going fine, after installing the proper drivers I was prompted to restart my computer despite the monitor already working almost perfectly. At that time there did not seem to be any extra delay or framerate issues with the "docking port" serving as the hub for my monitor, mouse, and keyboard. I did notice some slight visual issues which looked like very minor compression artefacts, but very few. I used it like that for a while, then restarted as prompted and suddenly the monitor would have massive issues where the picture would freeze everything but the mouse. Dunno why that happened, but I doubt I'll be able to check the gaming experience of the dock with that happening all the time.

    Anyways, my very short time with it working normally didn't show any performance loss that would affect usage unless you are extremely determined to get the absolute best experience possible down to the last fraction of a percent.
    Last edited by Kamil; 08-11-2012 at 08:55 AM.

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    Thank you a lot for your replies!

    I'm certaintly planning to take advantage of the USB3 ports that are available on my G75VW, so i'll make sure if i buy a dockingstation that it's connected through the USB3. I've been looking around at reviews and so on, on the desired dockingstation that i'm looking at, and the reviews does seem to agree with your points, that performance loss is not major, and for most not very noticable in terms of monitor output. This pleases me a lot, and might actually make me buy one to ease up my mobility with my laptop.

    Thanks!

    Edit:
    After being a bit more thorough in my research on this issue, it appears that some of the reviews are not as promising as i thought.
    I shall remain vigilant for now! Thank you again for taking your time to reply to my request of information!
    Last edited by ripemango; 08-12-2012 at 01:55 PM.

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    USB 3.0 can get 3 GB/s regularly it looks like. PCI Express 4.0 gets 2 GB/s on a single lane.

    However, that shouldn't matter much seeing as how even the most high end systems don't take full advantage of PCI Express 4.0, which seems to be the last copper-based iteration. The PCI standard is going to move to optical technology (lasers) to transfer data on buses in 2015 or so.

    The thing that does matter though is that PCI Express is on important buses on the motherboard, having many direct connections with integral components such as the CPU and intermediary chips.

    It's really hard to say - the only way to get concrete proof if it is worth it is to look for benchmarks for tasks you would be using this setup for.
    G75VW-BBK5
    i7
    8 GB
    660m

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    Let me refresh a bit this thread.
    What USB3.0 docking station would be recommended for G75?
    Asus ROG G75VW-T1141V-8
    Intel Core-i7 3610QM, 8GB RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M, 128GB SSD + 750GB HDD
    BIOS v210

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