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by earl, 6922 days ago
gadget day!

while my thinkpad is happily clicking away and enjoys the strenuous (for me) multi-day setup procedure, a friend of mine came to visit and we discussed the old notebook issues once more: music output of evil quality (bad soundcards) and no chance to to dual-headed tft setups. time was ripe, so we got the googling started!

a disclaimer upfront: i have no experience with the quality of any of those thingies - the descriptions below are only given to sum up the results of pre-buy information gathering.

villagetronic vtbook

you might have encountered guys and gals using a dual-headed (or even multi-headed) tft setup at their workplace - of course most likely in combination with big, noisy, uncomfy desktop machines. now, if you, like me, got rid of those nasty machines long ago and use a notebook for all your stuff, you will certainly understand that i regularly grow pale in envy when i see dual-head users, 'cause i never encountered a notebook that provided a possibility to use 2 external displays.

a few friends of mine who have also switched over to entirely notebook-based work feel the same, so there is certainly a (niche) market. well, that could be similar to what the guys at villagetronic thought, as they have the solution: the vtbook - a cardbus graphics card! yeah, once more: a cardbus graphics card!. and even a 32mb gfx card. sounds like magic? it certainly is ;) but go and see yourself.


creative audigy2 zs notebook / m-audio firewire solo / terratec aureon 7.1 firewire

strangely the species of techno-nomads is somewhat intertwingled with the species of pseudo-audiophiles. audio quality is a continous concern of digital age zombies, or so it seems. you've carefully encoded your horrendously expensive music collection, using flac or another lossless codec as you despise the idea of losing any of those precious things your ear can't hear anyway but now the problem is: the multi-gigabyte digital music collection on your notebook is played through a horrendously inadequate audio card.

thank god, the market here is far from being a niche market, so you'll have to pin down your expectations. i want a high-quality stereo signal to be fed into a hi-fi audio system our high-quality multimedia loudspeakers. i am no music producer, nor do i have a need for all those 7.1 madness, just gimme a clean stereo signal with a high signal-to-noise ratio. and no USB solution please, i need my cpu.

the audigy2 zs notebook (creative claims 104dB SNR) is most likely a good choice if you prefer a cardbus card for any reason. but note, that in case you really use a vtbook card, you'll most likely have problems fitting both, the vtbook and the audigy card in typical notebook slots. good firewire alternatives would be the m-audio firewire solo (107dB SNR) or the terratec aureon 7.1 firewire. as i said, i don't care for the 7.1 stuff, but all three products are avail at reasonable prices.

-- creative audigy2 zs notebook
-- m-audio firewire solo
-- terratec aureon 7.1 firewire
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