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Finally a laptop with desktop graphics

 
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AnalogRocks
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:07 pm    Post subject: Finally a laptop with desktop graphics Reply with quote


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I thought of this back in 1999 when I was gaming on my 300 Celeron notebook with ATi 8 meg graphics. Back then I wished I had a top of the line VooDoo3 card that I could dock to.

Well Alienware has done just that:

http://www.dell.com/ca/p/alienware-13/pd?c=ca&cs=cadhs1&l=en&s=dhs&dgc=BA&cid=283323&lid=5384108&acd=12308207292328284c42502897

A gaming laptop with a video card / USB3 hub dock that supports desktop graphics.

I still thought of it first Mr. Green

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ecrabb
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TV/Projector: JVC RS40, Epson 5010


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnalogRocks wrote:
I still thought of it first Mr. Green

I think some others may have thought of it before you. Wink Seriously, I think the idea has been around for a long time, but it just wasn't that viable of a product back in the day considering the cost delta between notebooks and desktops. Now that notebooks are actually more popular than desktops, and desktops are nearly going the way of the dodo, there's much more demand for a portable with desktop power.

Intel's Thunderbolt (originally Light Peak) was supposed to have solved this to give all computers - not just certain notebooks with a proprietary box and cable - a super-fast high-bandwidth non-proprietary way to add PCIe cards to a computer that either didn't have PCIe slots (notebook, SFF PC, etc.), or was already maxed out. Since pretty much all Macs ship with Thunderbolt, it's now pretty commonly used for people who want to do audio/video with notebook computers. Travel with your computer, then get back to your desk, plop your notebook on the desk, plug in the Thunderbolt cable, and now capture and edit uncompressed 4k video with a Blackmagic card and a disk array. On a notebook computer.

But, people bitched about the cost of the computers and cables, so Thunderbolt really hasn't caught on with PCs, unfortunately. I'm not aware of any Thunderbolt enclosures that support video cards; they're all oriented to networking, storage, and audio/video. It's a shame too because it's really amazing technology. You can daisy chain a 30-inch display, a RAID array, and a PCIe enclosure with audio and video cards in it. It's really cool.

SC
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AnalogRocks
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TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
AnalogRocks wrote:
I still thought of it first Mr. Green

I think some others may have thought of it before you. Wink Seriously, I think the idea has been around for a long time, but it just wasn't that viable of a product back in the day considering the cost delta between notebooks and desktops.

SC


In 1999 for my 300Mhz Celeron with 128Mb ram and no OS it cost me $4800
My gaming desktop with a Matrox G400 and 256Mb ram, 2- 800Mhz chips cost $6000; $1000 of that was the video card.
Not that big a cost delta back then.

A friend of mine got a ISA Ati tuner card and hacked it into its own case. Back then the cards used cables to the video cards to carry the signal. He had run out of slots. He thought of that 2 weeks AFTER I had the idea of the stand alone video card for lap top. SO I thougt of it first Mr. Green

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ecrabb
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PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$4800 for a notebook w/300Mhz Celeron w/128 meg of RAM??!?! Jesus, and people thought Macs were expensive!?!? Wait, that was probably CAD back when USD was about 2/3 of that, wasn't it? So, $4800 CAD vs. $3600 USD. That, I could see.

Anyway, I think you're comparing a very high-end desktop (for back then), to a laptop, which was much more limited in options, so yes - that caused a lot of the delta to disappear. It's like saying Cadillac isn't any more expensive than Chevrolet and using a decked out Suburban at $65,000 and comparing it to a $70,000 Cadillac model.

I think if you took fairly middle-of the road (i.e. what people commonly bought) for each back then, then you were talking about, say $3000 for a notebook computer vs. $2000 for a similar desktop (though the notebook was significantly lower-performance). So... The notebook computer was already significantly more expensive, and for less performance. Adding another $500+ for some kind of external PCI interface, plus another $500+ for a video card?

I just don't think there was viable market for it back then. The prevailing notion back then was if you wanted power you went desktop, and if you wanted portability you went notebook. If you needed portability and power, then you got one of each. I think I'm right about this, since I think other than a couple of products for commercial markets like CAD, I don't recall there ever being a portable product that was even remotely as powerful as a desktop. So, if there was barely a market for it for professionals, I don't think more than a handful of gamers would have bought it. I'm sure it could have been done technologically, but it just wasn't feasible from a cost/market standpoint.

The Alienware box is an interesting idea, but even if I was a PC guy, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense. For the money, couldn't you almost buy a mid-range notebook plus a good desktop for gaming? I realize it's not the same because you have the problem of files, display, software installs, etc... Just... I don't know.

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AnalogRocks
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
$4800 for a notebook w/300Mhz Celeron w/128 meg of RAM??!?! Jesus, and people thought Macs were expensive!?!? Wait, that was probably CAD back when USD was about 2/3 of that, wasn't it? So, $4800 CAD vs. $3600 USD. That, I could see.

The dollar was at 55% back then. So $1 CDN = $0.55 cents USD
As for buying a Mac with similar performance? There wasn't one. You didn't game on a Mac, they were 1/3 slower and 25% more expensive. AND very few games were released.
When the Apple iLamp came out PC Gamer took the cost of that Mac with JUST the OS, (around $5000 US ) and built a PC WITH PhotoShop for the same money that was around a 3rd faster.

ecrabb wrote:

Anyway, I think you're comparing a very high-end desktop (for back then), to a laptop, which was much more limited in options, so yes - that caused a lot of the delta to disappear. It's like saying Cadillac isn't any more expensive than Chevrolet and using a decked out Suburban at $65,000 and comparing it to a $70,000 Cadillac model.

I think if you took fairly middle-of the road (i.e. what people commonly bought) for each back then, then you were talking about, say $3000 for a notebook computer vs. $2000 for a similar desktop


Nope cheapest laptop I could find was the one I bought due to the earthquake in Taiwan in 1999 causing memory prices to soar ( 256MB ECC for the desktop was $1200! ) and Y2K upgrades going on. Everything was crazy expensive. That's why I only had 128Mb RAM, I added another 256MB 2 years later for $180 bucks!

The average desktop back then with a 17" monitor was $3400-3600 with 64megs ram and Win98 on it.
ecrabb wrote:

(though the notebook was significantly lower-performance).
Yes it was lower performance but Quake 3 was still playable. Very Happy

ecrabb wrote:

So... The notebook computer was already significantly more expensive, and for less performance. Adding another $500+ for some kind of external PCI interface, plus another $500+ for a video card?

I just don't think there was viable market for it back then. The prevailing notion back then was if you wanted power you went desktop, and if you wanted portability you went notebook. If you needed portability and power, then you got one of each. I think I'm right about this, since I think other than a couple of products for commercial markets like CAD, I don't recall there ever being a portable product that was even remotely as powerful as a desktop. So, if there was barely a market for it for professionals, I don't think more than a handful of gamers would have bought it.


Yes that was the prevailing thought back then BUT I would have bought a laptop with a video upgrade path in a heartbeat. As would several of my gamer friends.

As I did with my desk top, I built it up over the next 3 years with upgrades when all tolled it was $21 000 bucks by April of 2003. If I could have used the trickle down as I do with all the desktops my laptop would have ended up with the Matrox G400 when I replaced it with the GeForce 4800 Golden Sample VIVO card ($850 CDN in 2003 ) I was running 3 desktops back then and the trickle down systems were lots of fun. Especially when overclocking.
Even adding a VooDoo3 to the laptop would have been good.

ecrabb wrote:

I'm sure it could have been done technologically, but it just wasn't feasible from a cost/market standpoint.


I disagree. Gamers spent wayyyy more money on PC's back then. Consoles were for kids generally speaking so to game the PC was the way to go. I wish I had a proper gaming laptop back then. Though at lower resolution(800x600) the ATi 8mb held it's own. It just sucked at a LAN party when it was the one bringing down the frame rate and lagging every one else there.
ecrabb wrote:

The Alienware box is an interesting idea, but even if I was a PC guy, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense. For the money, couldn't you almost buy a mid-range notebook plus a good desktop for gaming? I realize it's not the same because you have the problem of files, display, software installs, etc... Just... I don't know.

SC


If I were still an avid gamer with as much time on my hands as I use to have I would opt for this in a heart beat AND have several desktop PCs going. I love multiples. Part of the OCD and the reason I don't actually know ( without counting ) how many projectors I own. Wink

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