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  1. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #1  
    I have never used a docking station before, so excuse my ignorance.

    The set up I was thinking about was getting a Surface Pro and a docking station so I can use it on a larger monitor and keyboard when at home. So my question is, has MS announced or has there been any hints of a docking station specifically for Surface devices? Something that looks cleaner and looks like it was made for the tablet where it would just snap in. If not, I'm probably going to have run wires from the Surface to the docking station to the monitor? Just trying to avoid clutter.
  2. bauerbach's Avatar
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    #2  
    no such announcement, doesn't exist for RT, wouldn't expect it from msft for the pro. maybe someone makes a dock with the appropriate cables properly spaced.

    the w700 has a dock I believe though...
  3. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #3  
    It's not happening. The keyboard connects through an I2C serial connection. It's not fast enough for anything more than what it's already used for.
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  4. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    It's not happening. The keyboard connects through an I2C serial connection. It's not fast enough for anything more than what it's already used for.
    Darn. Oh well. Thanks for that info.
  5. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaap View Post
    Darn. Oh well. Thanks for that info.
    They do make USB 3.0 docks, but those do compress the video because they don't have enough bandwidth for it.
  6. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    They do make USB 3.0 docks, but those do compress the video because they don't have enough bandwidth for it.
    Doesn't the Surface have a serial port video out? I've seen docks with serial ports. I think those might work better, yes?
  7. bauerbach's Avatar
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    #7  
    serial port? not sure theres a device with a serial port for a few years :p it does have an HDMI (mini?).

    the "dock" would literally need to be a slot with a properly oriented HDMI/USB/power plug that would match the surface. (all the ports are on the same side of the surface)

    Not exactly what we understand as a dock, but serves the same general purpose.
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  8. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by bauerbach View Post
    it does have an HDMI (mini?).

    the "dock" would literally need to be a slot with a properly oriented HDMI/USB/power plug that would match the surface. (all the ports are on the same side of the surface)
    No, it has a mini-DisplayPort. And no, the ports are not all on the same side of the Surface Pro. The USB 3.0 port and headphone jack are on the left, and the power and mini-DisplayPort are on the right.
  9. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaap View Post
    Doesn't the Surface have a serial port video out? I've seen docks with serial ports. I think those might work better, yes?
    Sure, there's a video out, but at some point you're plugging in enough cables that it's not even worth it to be a dock. My personal solution is going to be a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, a bluetooth A2DP connection to speakers, and then I'll only have to plug in video and power. It's not ideal, I'd much rather have something like my Dell laptop where I just drop the computer on the dock, or like the original Samsung Series 7, where you slide the tablet into a dock with a bunch of outputs. However, because of how Microsoft designed the Surface, two cables is the absolute minimum needed for my needs, no matter what configuration that's in (my Bluetooth solution, or a USB 3.0 docking station)
    Steve Ridges likes this.
  10. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    Sure, there's a video out, but at some point you're plugging in enough cables that it's not even worth it to be a dock. My personal solution is going to be a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, a bluetooth A2DP connection to speakers, and then I'll only have to plug in video and power. It's not ideal, I'd much rather have something like my Dell laptop where I just drop the computer on the dock, or like the original Samsung Series 7, where you slide the tablet into a dock with a bunch of outputs. However, because of how Microsoft designed the Surface, two cables is the absolute minimum needed for my needs, no matter what configuration that's in (my Bluetooth solution, or a USB 3.0 docking station)
    Hmmmmm... in that case, I'm probably going to just skip the dock and just use the video out cable (HDMI) and add that money towards a better, bigger, touchscreen monitor. The external touchscreen monitor will register touches right? Probably not even going to get a keyboard and mouse and just use the type cover.
  11. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaap View Post
    Hmmmmm... in that case, I'm probably going to just skip the dock and just use the video out cable (HDMI) and add that money towards a better, bigger, touchscreen monitor. The external touchscreen monitor will register touches right? Probably not even going to get a keyboard and mouse and just use the type cover.
    Well, keep in mind that if you get an external touchscreen monitor, then you're also going to need to connect not only the video out, but also the USB port to that monitor.
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  12. joeactuary's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    They do make USB 3.0 docks, but those do compress the video because they don't have enough bandwidth for it.
    Can someone expand on above because I'm confused about this. i currently connect my Asus UX31A to a targus docking station through USB 3.0. The video looks superb and I believe the output resolution is 2048x1150. I don't think the video is being compressed through the USB3 port.
  13. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by joeactuary View Post
    Can someone expand on above because I'm confused about this. i currently connect my Asus UX31A to a targus docking station through USB 3.0. The video looks superb and I believe the output resolution is 2048x1150. I don't think the video is being compressed through the USB3 port.
    USB 3.0 has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 5Gbps. 1080p video alone is about 4Gbps of bandwidth. All of these USB docking stations use DisplayLink technology for video out:

    DisplayLink's real-time adaptive compression technology automatically balances the compression methods in use from moment to moment, based on the content, available CPU power, and USB bandwidth, to provide the best possible USB graphics experience at any given moment. With DisplayLink virtual graphics, video processing and compression software is installed on the PC, and decompression happens at the chip, which can be embedded in a docking station or in a monitor using an adapter.

    The third and newest generation of DisplayLink adaptive compression takes advantage of bi-direction throughput of SuperSpeed USB with USB 3.0. SuperSpeed USB is capable of running up to 10 times faster than the previous USB generation, transferring data at speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second. With DisplayLink adaptive compression, peripherals based on its DL-3000 chip platform can process multiple high-definition video signals to run two HD displays, networked data, high-resolution graphics, and audio channels simultaneously.


    Newer chip platforms from DisplayLink, like the DL-3000 family, are backwards-compatible and use adaptive compression to bring enhanced video to USB 2.0 monitors.
    DisplayLink: DL-3000 Compression
  14. joeactuary's Avatar
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    #14  
    Thanks JHoff80 - Not trying to be argumentive, but i can attest that the Targus USB 3.0 docking station works great with my UX31A and I'm getting HD resolution. The only thing connecting the docking station with my computer is the USB 3.0 cord. So I guess who cares if the signal is compressed if I'm still getting the resolution I want? The answer to the original question if you'll be able to use the Surface Pro with a USB 3.0 docking station, I believe is "Yes"

    EDIT: The only thing i have hooked up to my docking station is a USB keyboard, mouse, monitor and a DVD drive. Now that I think about it, the couple of times I used the DVD (to load software), it did seem very slow. After reading your post, perhaps the USB 3.0 port, (about 5MBS) is able to handle the 4MBS for the monitor, and the 1MBS left over is enough to handle the mouse and keyboard with ease. Would it be fair to say that a USB 3.0 docking station will be ok to use with a surface pro as long as you don't add too much else to it besides the monitor, keyboard, and mouse?

    EDIT2: Since I'm planning on using a bluetooth mouse and keyboard with my surface pro anyway, perhaps I'll have even more mbps to connect something else besides just a monitor.
    Last edited by joeactuary; 01-21-2013 at 07:31 PM.
  15. astondg's Avatar
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    #15  
    Some good points here and to add another perspective I'd still really like some form of 'dock' even if it results in many cables (video, USB 3.0, audio, power). The cables could all be routed and wrapped up inside the dock and then exit in one of those single cable management 'tubes' or something. The benefits being that it would tidy, the dock could provide an adjustable stand of some sort for the Surface and with some mechanics all the ports could possibly be locked in with one movement. I'm keen to have the all the cables rather than bluetooth because I'd like to run it all through a KVM.
  16. Justin Morgan's Avatar
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    #16  
    I've installed quite a few of USB 2.0 video displays and never had any issues with quality. Usually we setup wireless USB 2.0 to projectors and large flat panel TV's in conference rooms.

    I'm not saying that USB video is as good as display port or HDMI but it works fine. I even think "USB display port" supports CEC? VGA and DVI-I which is used on 95% of monitors doesn't even support CEC.

    CEC is encryption which is used for things like cablecards and bluray movies.

    Can't wait to be able to watch live tv on my surface pro using media center and cablecard. with instant access to my 700 bluray collection all on 1080P
  17. tonymcn's Avatar
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    #17  
    I am looking at he Dell s2340t touchscreen monitor which has usb 3.0 hub and Ethernet, looks a good combination for surface pro to use as a desktop replacement/tablet
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  18. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by tonymcn View Post
    I am looking at he Dell s2340t touchscreen monitor which has usb 3.0 hub and Ethernet, looks a good combination for surface pro to use as a desktop replacement/tablet
    That looks like a great monitor! How would you set up the surface to where you can actually use the touch screen on the dell? Do you have to use both USB and HDMI?
  19. tonymcn's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaap View Post
    That looks like a great monitor! How would you set up the surface to where you can actually use the touch screen on the dell? Do you have to use both USB and HDMI?
    I think all you would need to do is connect usb from surface pro to the monitor base hub and connect mini-displayport from surface pro to displayport on monitor. The Ethernet port is part of the usb hub so should give you a wired connection for the surface - this only works with usb 3.0

    Plenty of usb ports on the monitor base for proper keyboard, mouse etc.

    Have been looking at dell Latitude 10 tablets that have a dock as a tablet soln for my company, but I think the surface pro with this monitor & built in dock is looking better
  20. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #20  
    The problem here is not only that it's a USB video out in those sorts of docks, but that you're sharing that same bandwidth for a ton of other things. So if you're transferring a ton of files from a USB 3.0 hard drive, then that's going to be affected by the video, and even more so if you're using Ethernet at the same time, and so on and so forth. And the higher your resolution, the more this can get worse. And on top of that you're also using up some of your CPU, since the video gets transcoded/compressed on the fly using the PC hardware.

    Sure, it might work perfectly for you. But if there's another solution that you can use (such as Bluetooth for everything) you're better off doing so.
  21. astondg's Avatar
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    #21  
    That Dell s2340t monitor looks perfect for docking! Having audio, ethernet and peripherals run through USB 3.0 and video via DisplayPort would be awesome. I might nearly be able to ditch my KVM, or replace it with just a USB switch.

    I'd forego the touch screen for a cheaper price though, and it's a pity they don't do it in 16:10 with one of their UltraSharp panels.
  22. Dewg's Avatar
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    #22  
    Has anyone actually connected a Targus, Kensington, or other DisplayLink port replicator (docking station) to the Surface Pro yet? If so, what was your experience? Did it run video okay? Was Ethernet running at full speed?
  23. #23  
    The Surface Pro has additional connections on the bottom that currently aren't being used. Panos said they will be for additional accessories such as a battery add on. I see them making a more rigid keyboard/battery dock pretty quick. I picked up the touch cover and am hoping on getting a more rigid dock as well cause I don't like the feel of the type cover keys behind the device in tablet mode.
  24. ninjaap's Avatar
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       #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Lehtovaara View Post
    The Surface Pro has additional connections on the bottom that currently aren't being used. Panos said they will be for additional accessories such as a battery add on. I see them making a more rigid keyboard/battery dock pretty quick. I picked up the touch cover and am hoping on getting a more rigid dock as well cause I don't like the feel of the type cover keys behind the device in tablet mode.
    I wonder if it can support video output like the setup Ive been talking about in this thread?
  25. jhoff80's Avatar
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    #25  
    The Surface Pro has four extra pins. That's enough for USB 2.0, but not much more.

    From the Reddit AMA, those are instead almost definitely for a battery keyboard, but you're not going to see extra ports there. They also explicitly said they're not working on a desktop dock.
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