Docking Station for Surface Pro 2 - why not external GPU option

nasellok

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So, im on the fence here - I love the device, but I really don't think that the Intel integrated graphics will run my software. Im an architect, and use graphics intense software such as AutoCAD, Revit, Rhinoceros, Sketchup, etc. Im wondering if there are any surface pro owners out there that use it to run that type of software - how does it work? Am I better off keeping my current configuration (desktop computer that I remote access with Surface RT).

That being said - it seems that Microsoft missed on this docking station - they should have an option that includes a external gpu for graphics intense software. Sony offers this........VAIO Z Series Laptop Power Media Dock with CD/DVD Burner | VGP-PRZ20C/B Review | Sony Store (although it seems that its not available anymore)..........either way, it would seem that if surface pro had this available, it would alleviate any concerns with the integrated graphics chipset. This would also allow gaming.....imagine hooking your TV up to the dock as external display, running PC games........who would need an xbox then. wishful thinking for maybe next year...............
 

hcrick

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IMHO that would be an example of the wrong tool for the job. No tablet and/or dock is going to have the proper GPU for CAD. The discontinued Sony dock's weak HD6650M GPU wouldn't cut it for CAD either. Also keep in mind the relatively small SSD size typically found in tablets isn't ideal for CAD and gaming since their program and data files take up a lot of space. I do think we will get there one day though, but for now I'd say keep going the remote route when using a tablet.
 

martinmc78

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I use my RT for flying round navis files of building models via remote desktop but I wouldn't ever think of doing any drawing work on a 10.6 inch screen its just too small to be productive. It may be ok for making minor alterations on the fly but in no way could I use it all day.

Looking at the system requirements for revit alone they don't actually support intel graphics so that would throw up issues straight away
 

Reflexx

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I think the problem with an external graphics card would be speed. Any port that plugs into the docking station won't be able to transfer data fast enough to make proper use of a graphics card.

HD4000 integrated graphics might be good enough for smaller models. I've heard of people using Zbrush with the Surface Pro, and it works decently well for general sculpting without high subdivisions.

Keep in mind that there are no hotkey buttons on the Surface. You'd need to use a keyboard or other special software for hotkeys.

Wagon makes a Cintiq that I'd a Windows 8 tablet with hot keys, but that also uses Integrated Graphics.
 

SwimSwim

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Sorry, but I think your current rig is the most ideal. As others have said, an external GPU likely wouldn't cut it, as external port data speeds just won't do it justice. We simply aren't at a point in time where such graphics power would be a viable option in a tablet. It'd be too expensive, and then bulky in order to accommodate the extra cooling required. Of course, with technology accelerating at such a fast pace, it won't be long now, perhaps just a few years, before we see such power inside a tablet, and at an affordable price point. Also, another thing:

"...who would need an xbox then."

Ha ha, do you honestly think Microsoft is going to do that? They obviously want you to buy every part of the ecosystem (a Windows Phone, Surface tablet, a Windows 8 machine, and an Xbox One) so that they may control the 4 primary screens in your life, and get you locked in their ecosystem. Sorry, but no passing up potential revenue 'round here. :p

Edit: Almost forgot, I'm fortunate enough to be getting to go to one of the Meet n' Greet sessions with Panos Panay in the coming weeks, at my local Microsoft Store. I'm making a list of questions to ask, and if you'd like, I could get his input on this, on your behalf. I'd obviously let you know what he says, later on, after I (hopefully) get the chance to speak with him. What do ya say?
 

nasellok

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whoa - should have tracked this better, didnt even see this reply - if you haven't met with him yet, it would be great to ask if external GPU is even being tested by MS, or even outside companies on devices such as the surface, and the benefits that would be possible. The potential benefits of such would be insane - take your surface pro with integrated graphics with you wherever you go, but when your home, have that sucker docked making it a full graphics powerhouse rig of epic proportions. I feel like this is a ways away, but, would be great to know if its even possible. thx.
 

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