Question: Is there a general method, which would let me determine if a laptop can support 2x external monitors?

Context: I’m shopping for a laptop, which would support my 2 main modes of operation.

  1. In desk mode, I do many hours of design work with OrCAD, Altium, SolidWorks, Visio; also write code in Visual Studio and Eclipse. For that, I’d like to have 2x large external monitors. If needed, monitors can be connected through dock station. If it's possible to choose between portrait and landscape orientation of monitors, that would be a bonus.

  2. In field mode, I still need to run CAD packages, but only to look-up and tweak things occasionally. Field mode happens in vanilla indoor environments, so ruggedness and ingress protection are not needed. It would be nice if the laptop had a small footprint, like a 13” laptop perhaps. At the same time, weight and thickness of the laptop are not a problem for me.

Of course, I also wonder if this is realistic at all.
Update: I'm checking looking into Maxtor DualHead2Go, which was suggested in several other threads.

Update: Found something curious. The hp 120W Advanced Docking Station has 2x DisplayPorts (source).

enter image description here

Item 11 on the drawing. Sounds like there ought to be an hp laptop, which would do 2x external monies. Could these DisplayPorts be daisy chained inside docking station?

Update: Lenovo Mini Dock Plus also has 2x DisplayPort

enter image description here

Lenovo had also put together a brief on multiple monitor setups (PDF version).

Any suggestion, insight or reference is really appreciated!

  • 13"? I don't know if that's reasonable for a CAD machine that can calculate fast enough... Welp, I got a Alienware M11x which is an absolute beast in 3D graphics animation for it's size. AND it allows you to connect TWO external monitors. One through DisplayPort, one through HDMI. I made it shut down with an extremely demanding game though... So I don't know. You might need a little more... beef to it, the small 11-13 inch notebooks just aren't made to be used for 3D for 10 hours straight. – sinni800 Jun 1 '12 at 18:53
  • Though, actually, you might want to look into the Alienware M14X, dell.com/us/p/alienware-m14x-r2/pd.aspx . It has enough punch to it in the graphics card and you can attach THREE monitors INCLUDING the built in monitor to it. (STILL!) If you want to be really sure about what laptop you take, take a real workstation laptop like dell.com/us/dfb/p/precision-m6300/pd with an actuall NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FireGL. Those cards have the facilities for hardcore CAD-work. (The one I suggested isn't really the newest one, look for this kind though!) – sinni800 Jun 1 '12 at 19:02
  • @sinni800 I guess, you're right in that 13" and CAD-worthyness wouldn't come in one package. But it looks like there is a 14" mobile workstation with a descent discrete graphics card. A bit pricey, though. – Nick Alexeev Jun 23 '12 at 2:35

If your laptop has a thunderbolt port you can connect to an external PCIe Graphics card. Then you have reasonably fast performance when you are at your dock.

Alternatively see if your laptop supports a docking station with multiple monitors. Some do (e.g. Dell E docks with two display port and two DVI connectors). I am some other brands have similar products


Trying to see if the computer has a graphics card, and if so, how many monitors it supports? Then, after that, looking at the computer's I/O specs and seeing if there are enough ports for your usage?

  • googled 2 graphics cards. Intel HD Graphics 3000 - couldn't find the specs for the number of monitors. AMD Radeon HD 6470M - aparently, it has Eyefinity and can support 4x monies. I hope, 2x video ports are actually wired to the docking station connector. – Nick Alexeev Jun 20 '12 at 4:11
  • Perhaps you couldn't find the specs for Intel Graphics 3000 because it's integrated? – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 20:51
  • What's with the "?" at the end of every sentence. Only very good looking girls under 23 would talk like that. :) [Sorry, I couldn't resist.] – Nick Alexeev Jun 20 '12 at 23:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.