Budget laptop plus ViDock4 equals gamers' delight

A new device adds support for regular PCIe-based video cards to budget laptop computers.

The new ViDock4 video card enclosure for laptops. Sewel

You got yourself a budget laptop but now feel left out of serious gaming? There's a quick cure for that.

It's a device called ViDock4 that adds support for high-end video cards to your laptop via the computer's ExpressCard slot.

In a nutshell, the ViDock4 is an enclosure for video cards, bridging the laptop's ExpressCard to a PCI-Express adapter chassis. The device connects to the existing ExpressCard slot in your laptop and provides a PCI-Express x16 slot, into which you can install any PCIe-based video card of your choosing. After that, you can hook an external monitor to the new video card housed inside the ViDock4, and the serious gaming can begin.

The ViDock4 is not perfect, though, as it works solely with ExpressCard slots, which are available only in newer laptops, and comes with one internal 6-pin power connector. Thus, some high-end cards that require two power connectors won't be supported.

The second big drawback of the device is its hefty price tag: $300. Note that you will still have to pay for the video card and another monitor and maybe a mouse and a keyboard to get a true gaming rig going.

On the bright side, this is still much cheaper than getting yourself another desktop gaming system. It also uses less energy than a full desktop computer, and, most important of all, you now can upgrade the video card once in a while just like you would want to do with a desktop.

Also note that this is not just for gamers. If you want to add more graphics-processing power to your laptop for applications, such as Photoshop or AutoCad, this offers a viable solution for that, too.

The new ViDock4 is available now and for a limited time, and includes free shipping.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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