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I want to buy Dell E6320 which comes with Intel Core I7-2620M (2.70GHz, 4MB cache, Dual Core) with Intel HD Graphics 3000. Laptop will come with docking station. I want to connect 3 monitors to that docking station so that working at home would give me some additional boost. Docking station will allow me to connect only 2 monitors so I'm looking at following other options:

  1. Matrox TRIPLEHEAD2GO DIGITAL Edition or TRIPLEHEAD2GO DP Edition. But reading Matrox Support Page intel GPU can't run the highest resolution with 3 monitors connected, it even gets worse since it seems monitors would have to be able to work at 50hz. Also I'm not sure but it seems that Matrox doesn't split the monitors as 3 separate monitors but simply as one big space (which is a bit opposite to what I need)
  2. Buy 2 or maybe just 1 USB based monitor but it would also mean having 1 or 2 different monitors then the main one, unless I buy 3 USB based monitors which would mean more money to spend. Also I found only couple of models and most of them require USB 3.0 and no other cables to plug in (nice but costly - couldn't find decent monitor with only USB for sending signal and having power connected normally) . But docking station has only one USB 3.0 port. Can I use hub and still get it to work?
  3. Find some converters from Digital to USB (I think DisplayLink does some?)
  4. Buy different laptop but what kind? I need it to be I7, small (13"), fast and lightweight. At same time it requires docking station that I can use at home to connect 3 external monitors.
  5. Some other suggested solution...

Edit:

I need 3 monitors for work in terms of coding in Visual Studio or having word/excel/outlook open. Nothing fancy. Maybe some movie once in a while.

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I'm not entirely convinced that the Intel 3000 HD graphics adapter can run 3 1920x1080 displays and the laptop display at the same time. Do you really need 3? What's wrong with 2 plus the laptop display? Or even one plus the laptop display? –  Lukasa Jun 18 '11 at 22:35
    
There's nothing wrong with 1 + laptop display as I have this current situation now. But it's not optimal. I currently have laptop display at 1920x1080 and my monitor with 1650x.... this isn't optimal for me. New laptop won't be able to display 1920x1080p and it will be small screen no match for 24". So minimal solution would be 2 x 1920x1080p but I really sometimes miss one additional screen to put some non crucial stuff on it. That's why I want 3. and Intel 3000 HD doesnt' seem to be able to deliver.. –  MadBoy Jun 19 '11 at 8:25
    
Also I don't want laptop to display anything. Having 3 external monitors to display everything is enough. I would close the lid when attaching monitor to it. –  MadBoy Jun 19 '11 at 8:31
    
You are correct - the TRIPLEHEAD2GO DP Edition does spread the space across all the monitors connected to it rather than give you separate monitors than you can reposition, etc. –  Mike W Mar 28 '12 at 18:51
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You did mention the possibility of an alternate notebook - with the docking station, this configuration will support a triple monitor environment:

Toshiba Tecra R840-S8440: http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/pdet.to?poid=514041

Toshiba Hi-Speed Port Replicator II: http://us.toshiba.com/accessory/PA3916U-1PRP

Guide to Triple / Quad monitor configuration for this notebook: http://support.toshiba.ca/support/TechSupport/TSBs/ALL/-TSB001574.htm

One caveat, you would have to connect one of your 3 monitors to the DisplayPort or HDMI port on your notebook, there is not enough bandwidth going through the dock connector to do all three - this is part of your Dell port replicator only supporting 2 monitors - the notebook shuts off it's on board outputs unlike the Toshiba which has enough oomph to power 3.

Lenovo also has a solution, if you get the T420s with Nvidia graphics and the i7 processor - you can have 3 monitors attached to their docking station:

Lenovo T420s: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/builder.workflow:Enter?sb=%3A00000025%3A00002DC0%3A&smid=AA35DF77B594680023A04BD6BB1B6878

ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/builder.workflow:ItemDetails?fCode=/catalog/product_detail.jsp&GroupID=38&Code=433830U&Name=false&from=builder&hide_menu_area=true&hide_ad_area=true

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I decided to buy E6420 with Quad i7 and Nvidia card inside. On begining i will have 2 monitors but later on if i will need 3rd i can buy matrox triple head which seems to work fine for Nvidia. –  MadBoy Jun 22 '11 at 14:16
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I am using the same computer as you, and do actually have the wanted setup.

I connect 2 monitors to the Dell advanced docking, and monitor number 3 on a Targus USB 3.0 docking.

I have expanded the desktop over all 3 and work flawlessly on 1920X1080 on all screens! Probably not good enough for gaming, but not tested. I have this setup for work!

You can actually add another HDMI so you can have 4 monitors, but this is not tested yet.

Here is the Targus I connect to my USB 3 port: Targus USB 3.0 SuperSpeed™ Dual Video Docking Station, article ACP70USZ

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Do you have wireless mouse and experience problems with it? I have wireless mouse Logitech <something> and as soon as I connect 2 monitors my mouse behaves very weird, like slowdown from time to time.. it's killing my performance. CPU, etc is at 5%. It only happens when multiple monitors are connected. –  MadBoy Nov 22 '12 at 15:20
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The notebook your looking at has 34mm ExpressCard expansion slot. I'm not sure how much you're willing to spend, but there is a product called ViDock that has an external enclosure for a desktop-size graphics card and it connects via the ExpressCard slot. The enclosure ranges from $200 to the $300 neighborhood (depending on the power requirements for the graphics card you choose). You could then get an ATI or Nvidia graphics card that supports 3 monitors and you would be good to go.

ViDock FAQ: http://support.villagetronic.com//faq.php?pg=1&cid=14&answer=73#f73

A ViDock reseller: http://sewelldirect.com/ViDock-4.asp

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I would prefer solution for docking station rather then laptop itself. Laptop is supposed to be very mobile in terms I don't want to connect disconnect any cables from it other then attaching and detaching it from docking station. It's a good shot thou, worth to look at. –  MadBoy Jun 18 '11 at 21:13
    
I don't think i need big gpu power. I need to play movie once in a while and have the laptop for coding in Visual Studio and working... that's it. –  MadBoy Jun 18 '11 at 21:15
    
You need more than decent GPU power, otherwise the Intel Graphics on your i7 would fit the bill... but you want 3 displays at 1920x1080... you will need a little horsepower... –  Dustin G. Jun 19 '11 at 5:22
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