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4-7 High-Resolution Displays Capable Laptops
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4-7 High-Resolution Displays Capable Laptops

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4-7 High-Resolution Displays Capable Laptops

Considering their rarity and newness, I thought I would start a thread where we could mention the laptops we come across that are capable of 4-7 high resolution displays (including the internal display). I'd like us to leave out "low resolution" USB connected monitors and stick to greater than 1024x768 capable laptops and displays. This will mean the external displays will be connected via VGA, HDMI, and/or DisplayPort.

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Lenovo W540

The Lenovo ThinkPad W540. This will be Lenovos next flagship "mobile workstation" class high performance laptop.

Some high-lights of its capabilities:
  • Capable of 7 displays total (1 internal, 6 external) with BIOS enabled "Advanced" mode and new ThinkPad Ultra Dock.
  • 32GB RAM (Quad-Core CPUs), 16GB RAM (Dual-Core CPUs). (Its not clear if Dual-Core models can be end-user upgraded to 32GB.)
  • Built-in dual HDs RAID-0 (stripe) or RAID-1 (mirror) support.
  • New Precision Keyboard with Number Pad and 2x larger TrackPad.
  • 2GB discrete NVIDIA GPU.
  • 2880 x 1620 15.5" "3K" internal display.
  • Thunderbolt v2/DisplayPort port.
  • Fingerprint Reader features: Power-On, BIOS Pre-Boot Authentication, and Windows Login.
  • PCIe connected M.2 format SSD cache drive (1.5-2x faster than SATA3).
  • Always on USB 3.0 ports for laptop charging (up to 1.5A) and mobile device charging (up to 2.1A).

Links:

Lenovo ThinkPad W540 Product Page
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p and W540 Product Training Document


Last edited by MrYou; November 8th, 2013 at 04:35 AM.
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I'm interested in similar laptops, although not the W540. I have a W520 and it's a complete POS.

What are the options out there for reliable mobile workstations that can support 3-6 high res external monitors?

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best in the buisness...

EON17-SLX Pro Extreme Mobile Workstation | Details and Features | ORIGIN PC

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HI

HI, i'm not sure if too late for this.

you dont need a powerful laptop for the external monitor, you need the USB external connector you can buy few of them.

$59.99 each.

diamondmm.com/product/48-diamond-bvu195-usb-external-video-display-adapter?gclid=COK0oKqxgb0CFanjwgodHg8AHA



Fully integrated into Windows XPô, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and MAC OSX
1080p output picture resolution
Supported Windows Aero mode
Stand alone device
Fully USB 2.0 bus powered
Compatible with all flat panel monitors
Compatible with all CRT monitors, up to 2048x1152 resolution
Standard and wide-screen ratio aspects
High-definition displays
Easy plug and play installation
Mirror or extend in any direction
Supports up to six displays 1 display per device. Maximum 6 devices per system
80% less power than a dual-head video card

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Has anyone used the USB adapter setups, with say 3 displays? Does it work well, any issues?

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Has anyone used the USB adapter setups, with say 3 displays? Does it work well, any issues?

It might depend on your overall hardware/software environment, but the USB 2.0 display adapters can be quite hit-and-miss, including stability and reliability. Due to the much lower bandwidth of USB 2.0 screen redrawing can be noticeably slow even with something as relatively static as charts, and the more of these USB 2.0 adapters you try to add, the more possible it might be for Windows to sputter and die.

If you have at least 1 USB 3.0 port (or can install one some way), you can much more reliably get at least 5 external monitors running, with little to no performance hit, and with fairly solid reliability.

Check here for a start: Plugable USB3-HDMI-DVI USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI Adapter (Supports Monitors up to 2048◊1152) | Plugable

And this video demonstrates 6 such adapters/monitors running; I've talked to folks who are pushing 4 or more external monitors via USB 3.0 from a laptop, that were endlessly frustrated in a USB 2.0 environment.


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Do the USB adapters use the CPU for processing power to the external displays, instead of a graphics card? Would a discrete graphics card solution be more stable/reliable than using adapters? It would seem logical that adapters are inherently less stable. I am looking to buy or build a new system, and considering stability, and even the cost of multiple adapters likely not being cheaper than a graphics card, seems a dedicated card may be better.

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Do the USB adapters use the CPU for processing power to the external displays, instead of a graphics card? Would a discrete graphics card solution be more stable/reliable than using adapters? It would seem logical that adapters are inherently less stable. I am looking to buy or build a new system, and considering stability, and even the cost of multiple adapters likely not being cheaper than a graphics card, seems a dedicated card may be better.

I think it entirely depends on the particular device that is being used. If the device is only using USB as the OS/driver interface and physical connection then in theory it shouldn't be using the CPU to implement hardware functionality (which is what you're referring to).

In the video they show 3 cores being very active and I suspect that is a result of the 3 videos being played without a dedicated hardware decoder. My thinking is that majority of the hardwares rendering functionality is built into the device and a driver is being used to interact with that hardware.

Another interesting comment they made is that the driver is provided by Windows Update (which I'm in favor of: convenient, reliable, single source for updates). So either they are using their third-party vendors driver (which customers would rely on for bug fixes) or they are providing their proprietary driver to Microsoft for distribution (ideal). You might give that particular manufacturer a call. I would ask them about CPU overhead and whether the Windows Update driver is a driver provided by a third-party or their proprietary driver.

Either way, so far, these devices and the manufacturer look very promising and more appealing compared to a docking solution like those provided by Lenovo. Unfortunately the W540 mentioned above and other Lenovo laptops, compared to their previous versions, have not been getting very favorable reviews by IT professionals. Maybe I'll consider another vendor or I'll have to settle, not sure. At least these USB 3.0 devices give us many more options to choose from. My search continues.

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MrYou View Post
Either way, so far, these devices and the manufacturer look very promising and more appealing compared to a docking solution like those provided by Lenovo.

What is the benefit of such a solution using multiple additional adapters, ports, and drivers vs a simple docking station or discrete graphics card which seems more proven/stable/simple?

Also with the docking station/discrete graphics card options, how do they physically connect to multiple screens using a laptop?

Also, same question as above with multiple screens on the Thunderbolt solutions?

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