Farewell to Village Instruments and my ViDock 4. Hello (tiny) desktop gaming!

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What is a ViDock? Who the heck are Village Instruments? They are good folks who tried really hard to bring desktop-class video cards to lowly laptops that have ExpressCard 34 slots.

ExpressCard slot for external graphics dockNow you may be asking… what the heck is an ExpressCard slot? Do I have one? Why should I care. All good questions. It looks like that image over to the left there, and for a while, lots of laptops had them, including MacBook Pros as you can tell. Nowadays they seem to be going the way of the dodo, what with laptops either getting too skinny for them or having somewhat decent onboard video. Now if you’re into gaming, you really need a decent video card, even if you just want to do casual gaming – everything is in 3D these days, heck even Minecraft.

The Pros of the ViDock + Laptop combination for gaming – the benefit of the video card

Which brings me to the ViDock. It is (they ain’t dead yet) a manufacturer of docks for a standard desktop video card that would then plug into your laptop, immediately blessing you with the ability to play decent games again. Goodbye, Minecraft! I’m using mine with a Radeon HD 6850 and can play most games with most details on at a res of 1360×768. Yeah, maybe not that impressive, but since I’m only running a 2.4ghz core2duo and an integrated Intel video card otherwise, I’m not complaining.

The great thing about them is that they really work as advertised and you really can play games as though you had a real video card. But two major things are an issue. If your hobby is gaming, you’re likely into upgrading your PC. Heck, you’ve got to, every couple of years at least. And since this is my hobby, I’m really just better off going with the full enchilada, as it were. I’ve liked gaming with the ViDock – a lot – and because of it, have a pretty decent video card to put into my new small form-factor PC.

Why I’m moving back to a desktop platform, or The Cons of the ViDock

The problem is, they are expensive. Like $250 expensive, for the dock alone. Then you have to buy a decent video card for it as well. So only really geeky and desperate people were likely to buy one… like me. But the time has come for me to move back into the desktop realm and pass on my ViDock to some other lucky soul. Probably on the cheap too! (hint, hint – contact me for a slightly used, perfect condition ViDock!)

If you want to read more about the awesomeness of ViDocks, check out their website here. Keep in mind that vidock4 dot com just went kablooie (don’t go to that URL), so they might not be around for too long, even though their Facebook page seems to be going great guns.

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