Road Warrior Workstation
I’ve been using the combo of a robust multi-monitor fixed workstation and an ultra-portable notebook for several years. My current workstation is posted on Craigslist, but consists of the following:
The text from the Craigslist post includes the specs, which are:
I also have a Dell Latitude E7440 Business Ultrabook that I use when I need something portable. The main issues with this setup moving forward are that the desktop is impractical to carry in the RV unless we rip out the dinette and replace it with my desk, and that the E7440 is insufficient to be my full-time workstation. I’ve been using triple and quad 1080P monitor workstations for the last several years, and more recently a triple arrangement with a 4K in the middle. My workflows are designed around that and dropping to a single 1080P screen isn’t going to cut it. Also, the E7440 is beginning to show its age and isn’t capable of running the numerous virtual machines I use for local development and testing.
I ran across an article on the Lenovo P70 the other day, and realizing that you can buy a 17.3″ notebook with a 4K screen, decided to start shopping around for one. I can sell my workstation (hence why it is on Craigslist) and replace it with a portable workstation, and keep my E7440 around as a backup if I ever need it, or want something more portable. The three major contenders in the 17″ mobile workstation market now seem to be Lenovo P70, HP Zbook 17 G3, and the Dell Precision 7710. Each run either the 6 gen I7 processors or new Xeon mobile CPUs, have 4K options, and have plenty of storage bays. They’re very similar, so I went with the one that I could find the best deal on. In that case, I ended up with a Dell Precision 7710 unit from the Dell Outlet for $1955. A brand new one with the same specs runs over $3200, and this looks to be in perfect condition. Since these have only been on the market a couple months, it is most likely one that someone had custom built and then returned. It contains an I7-6920HQ, 32GB RAM, a 512GB MSATA SSD, a 1TB 7.2K storage disk, ATI FirePro W5170m 2G graphics, and a 4K panel. 4K on a 17.3″ screen is a bit small, but running at 150% scaling gives me the equivalent of a 2560×1440 screen in a laptop and looks wonderful. The specs of the laptop work well for the kind of work I do, so I think this will do well. The only downside is the size, but I knew what I was getting into. Here is a photo of it with my E7440 sitting on top, for scale: