Wanted: Best Laptop and Dock Setup

After reading dozens of manuals, talking to vendors and suppliers, I am still uncertain if it even exists: the perfect home office configuration consisting of a laptop and a docking station

The trend to working from home has led to the need for a better office PC configuration. Since the occasional business travels and a hybrid working model (partially in a home office, partially in the company office) are likely here to stay, an appropriate laptop is needed instead of a stationary PC. Two external displays have become the de-facto norm, and even three displays are becoming increasingly common. The only way to connect a laptop to three external displays is a capable dockings station.

I currently own a Dell D6000 USB-C docking station, an ASUS laptop, and three HP displays. This setup works well enough for essential office work, but it falls short when it comes to more demanding applications, such as video editing or occasional PC games.

I have been looking for months for a better laptop/dock combination, but it has surprisingly become a challenge.

Here is the setup I am looking for:

Laptop

  • Device size: 14” – 15.5”, including:
    • a sturdy keyboard (keyboard number block is not a priority)
    • a good touchpad
  • OS: Windows Windows 11
  • Internal video display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels
  • CPU: Intel or AMD
  • RAM: At least 16 GB RAM
  • HD: 1 TB SDD
  • GPU: NVIDIA Video display, preferably GTX-class
  • A Thunderbolt output with USB-C compliant output with power delivery
  • At least 3 USB-C connectors
  • Displayport/HDMI
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: at least 8 hours (regular office work, no high-performance activities)
  • All other aspects (e.g., fingerprint, optical drive, card readers, LAN, etc.) are of secondary importance
  • Price range: less than 1500 EUR/US$ 1750

Docking Station

  • Connected to the laptop via Thunderbolt
  • Connected to three external displays HDMI/Displayport
  • Power delivery to the laptop
  • Important: In the case of the dual GPUs (typically NVIDIA and INTEL GPU combo), the NVIDIA GPU must be utilized with all three external displays
  • Price range: less than 300 EUR/US$ 350

External displays:

  • 3x 1920×1200 (important: not 1920×1080) displays, connected to the docking station
  • Connected via Displayport or HDMI
  • Note: I already own the displays (approximately 250 EUR/each). This is merely to list a complete set.

I have been searching high and low, contacting various vendors and PC suppliers, asking in multiple forums. Still, I was unable to obtain a guarantee that any docking station would work with all of the above laptop options. Especially the triple display resolution (1920×1200) in combination with the NVIDIA GPU utilization seems to be a big question mark.

Am I asking too much? I have assumed that, in anno domini 2021, it wouldn’t be a problem. I was successful in the previous quest of that kind (see here), and I hope that answer to the current challenge is silently waiting for me somewhere in the shoals of the internet. I would buy that setup immediately!

Roman Mildner
About Roman Mildner 57 Articles
I am a project manager (Project Manager Professional, PMP), a Project Coach, a management consultant, and a book author. I have worked in the IT industry since 1992 and as a manager consultant since 1998. I focus on process improvement services with an emphasis on Automotive SPICE and strategy consulting. For more details, please visit my United Mentors home page.

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