View Full Version : How good (or bad) is the Toshiba dock?
08-14-2007, 03:24 PM
I am buying a high-quality 20.1" LCD (Viewsonic VP2030b) to do photo work in Photoshop on my M400 in my home office. I'd rather run that off a DVI connection to get all the value out of the good LCD technology in that monitor. In addition, it's annoying to pack and re-pack a power brick back and forth from my fifth grade classroom -- so, I am interested in Toshiba's laptop dock because I *think* it's the only way to get a DVI connection from the M400.
Anyone know of another way?
The dock has one VERY NEGATIVE review on the Toshiba site. See the dock and the annoyed user's review here:
Any other experience with this dock that someone can share?
08-15-2007, 03:53 PM
I use the M400 dock, and other than no audio in/out ports, I think it's great. I hang a 22" Viewsonic VX2235wm widescreen off the DVI port and it works fine. It doesn't slide around on my desk like the reviewer complained, it may be because he'd just tug the eject lever without bracing it first, or not using an external keyboard, that's all I can think.
I did prefer the M200 multidock paradigm, as it worked better as a dual monitor solution, but hey, what can you do?
08-16-2007, 05:44 AM
Thanks for describing your experience with the dock. I can live without fancier audio than the headphone jack... hey, wait, the dock doesn't block those front jacks, does it? That wouldn't make sense, but then again, lots doesn't, these days.
Which video driver are you using to raise the display res options? I haven't updated either the BIOS or other drivers since a reformat some months ago and it isn't very clear which BIOS/video driver (from the Toshiba site) is best for an M400 with XPPro TabletOS.
I think I will stick with my order of the 4:3 Viewsonic VP2030b, but I may change my mind later.
08-16-2007, 08:06 PM
The front ports are available, as are the two side USB ports. I use the latest display driver, and the 3.60 Vista BIOS. It's the BIOS version that's important. If you are still on XP use the 2.1N version, which gives you widescreen and the fan speed fix...
08-24-2007, 06:30 AM
The dock and the larger monitor arrived and I so far haven't found a way to show both LCDs with the Intel setup software. I will re-read the posts here about this. I seem to remember users saying you can't do that.
Have you ever encountered a problem placing the M400 into the dock while the computer is in hibernation or stand-by status? The instructions tell us to turn the machine completely OFF before going in or out of the dock. That raised my eyebrows... too time consuming for me, anyway. I have done this without apparent problem but the bluetooth didn't survive the transfer.
The DVI-driven image on the Viewsonic VP2030b is great! That's 90% of the reason for buying the M400 Port Replicator. Between the dock and the new monitor I have encountered a new cost: I need a bigger desk!
Thank you for the suggestion of BIOS version for my needs.
08-26-2007, 04:31 AM
I run both displays at once without any dramas. You should be able to Fn-F5 btween the different options.
I plug into the dock on standby (I don't hibernate) all the time, and works fine also. It also lets me hot-unplug as well: just hit the undock button.
08-26-2007, 05:31 PM
I also run the dock in conjunction with a 19" LCD monitor. But I do like having the M400 in tablet model so I can write on it when marking up documents etc. In order to make this work on the docking bay, the bay has to be upside down since when the tablet is position in the bay (with the bay right side up or the Toshiba name at the top) and the image on the tablet is right way up, the image on the monitor is upside down!
I ended putting the dock onto a easel with cutouts at the bottom to allow the various cables to pass through but the tablet to sit on the bottom of the easel.
My goal is to get a monitor though that supports 1400x1280(?) so I can run the tablet at full resolution on both monitors
08-28-2007, 10:27 PM
I found the same upside-down problem projecting images in my classroom, and the Toshiba tech support people have no solution that they have told me about... and I did ask. There seemed to be an embarrassed silence when the question was posed. You have to admit this is a stupid failing on Toshiba's part. I was calling them because the button that rotates the screen on demand no longer does that and they haven't been able to figure it out so far.
As to running both monitors: the Fn+F5 only offers two options, M400 screen or Viewsonic with each choice showing NOTHING on the other screen. Viewsonic says that the drivers I received on the CD-ROM packed with the screen are not any different than what is on their web site.
My screen on the M400 is 1400x1050, but the 20-inch 203 is 1600x1200 I'd like to have them each work at native resolution and add working area. Glad to hear some of you do this, so I will experiment more. Thanks for the reply.
09-03-2007, 11:16 AM
Well, more drama when I tried to uninstall the 1.10 version of Viewsonic's Perfect Suite to go to the web site's 1.30.
1. Rotated the screen. No switch to portrait. OK, time to update the driver no matter what they say at Viewsonic. There seems to be no way to tell it to switch like my nVidia card on our desktop.
2. I download and run the 1.3 and it tells me that it cannot install over the 1.1, so I must first uninstall. OK. stop the install.
3. Fire up Add/Remove and hit "Remove" Uninstall hangs! #$^$@&*(()& I have to force the M400 to turn off in mid-process. Never a good thing to do.
4. Now the M400 won't reboot all the way through. Go to Safe Mode and it boots, but not as normal boot.
5. Use System Restore to go back a few days. In between: another annoying call to Toshiba support which is cut off in the middle by their phone system. Every one of these calls has had that happen in the past couple of months.
6. Toshiba tells me I have to go to BIOSv3.5. This is one of the Visat BIOS versions. Toshiba rep tells me that's what they are told to say. I demur (and will post separately about updating BIOS)
So I am back out of the dock for a while until I get this puppy stable again. I hunted around the support site and ran some updated drivers, so we'll see... I still have that problem that keeps a screen from waking up after a standby. I don't have time for this!!! I have a a couple of hundred papers to correct.
And I still can't get two screen to show with the M400 docked and the Viewsonic on. Hey that's the least of my worries.
Ain't computers grand?
09-03-2007, 02:35 PM
just a word of sympathy here. I also use my M400 heavily for classroom presentation. I was greatly surprised when I found that projecting rightside up in tablet mode required having the video cables coming out towards me. I guess this is a leftover from non-tablet configurations; if the M400 is in non-tablet mode, the orientation makes sense. You'd think that with everything else that automatically adjusts, they could do a 180 rotation in the correspondence between the external port and tablet display when the unit is shifted into tablet mode.
While annoyed by this, it didn't bother me enough to actually pursue a solution, especially during the semester (I simply cannot risk a major system crash mid-semester; you know what I mean).
Good luck with the video driver hassle; I hope it gets resolved soon.
09-03-2007, 07:05 PM
As for the upside-down image issues, the fault is with Windows XP itself, not the computer. XP doesn't allow 2 monitors in mirrored mode to be different orientations. It works fine in extended mode (different image on each screen, the way I work) and for presentations, you can set up Powerpoint to use the 2nd display for output in this mode.
If you want to overcome the orientation problems, you can use a utility like Ultramon (www.ultramon.com) or switch to Vista.
Jonathan, I don't understand why your unit won't let you display what are fairly standard settings for a laptop (mirrored, extended, external only configurations), but it is likely to be related to the aftermarkt Viewsonic software. I would see if the Intel driver will allow you to control rotation on the external monitor without having the Viewsonic software installed (well, once to get it back to normal anyway...).
09-04-2007, 01:41 PM
Wallen, thanks for the information. I can see how two different orientations aren't possible.
After a re-install of the v1.10 I DO have all three possibilities: Inboard LCD alone, both, and outboard LCD alone. I haven't really investigated all the details but the resolution switches down when I hit the "both" option. I will play around with the Intel settings. The Viewsonic pivots now, and I leave it in vertical mode. It's a beautiful LCD.
I will look into Ultramon, too.
09-05-2007, 08:04 PM
The internal panel will always try and match the external in "mirrored" mode. You are seeing the resolution switch because the Viewsonic has a different native res. That's why I prefer extended desktop: you get the native resolution on both displays.
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