DELL D/DOCK, P/N PD01X
(added 2 Mar 2007):
This is the older docking station for the D400/410/500/510/600/610/800/810/M90 (and more) series of Dell laptops. It works fine for the M1710. There are a LOT of them for sale on eBay. I paid $32.99 + $15 shipping. You can Google specs and pix all over the place. Following is a ports list that looks accurate:
Port(s) Total ( Free ) / Connector Type: 1 x Serial, 1 x Parallel, 4 x USB, 2 x PS/2, 1 x PCI, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI, 1 x S-Video, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100/1000 Ethernet), 1 x RJ-11, 1 x Audio Line-out, 1 x Digital Audio (S/PDIF), 1 x D/Bay Connector, 1 x Internal Media Bay.
What is useful to me are the 4 USB ports and the DVI monitor connector. Note there is NO Firewire port. However the sides of the laptop are still usable so I have Firewire on the right and 2 more USBs on the left. The back of the laptop is unusable while it is docked.
Of interest to many will be the ability to add an additional HDD or optical drive in the left side of the Dock.
I haven't worked with the media bay yet, but you're supposed to be able to use the removable bays from the supported laptops and put them in the slot. There are a lot of bays available on the Internet. The ones with drives can be expensive, those without not but may require additional screws. HERE
is a web site that explains how to install an HDD in a media bay carrier.
Also of interest to many is the half-height PCI slot accessible from the rear. I've read of several people easily putting in a X-Fi sound card. The slot is too small for a graphics card, which is too bad because the BIOS has an option for accessing an external graphics card.
I mainly wanted easy dock and undock in "desktop, dual monitor" mode without having to plug in a lot of wires everytime. Hidin' the wires is everything. See what I mean:
L to R we have the power cord (integrated power, no "brick"), ethernet, DVI, Parallel port for my still chugging BJC-240 printer (we have an HP all-in-1 on the LAN for good color), USB (3 on right rear), and 1 USB on the side (below the proprietary D/Bay connector). It's nice to have a parallel and serial port, since there are none on the M1710.
As most of you know, the M1710 has a compatible docking slot on the bottom and it snaps into place in the D/Dock:
The lid raises for viewing, of course, and you can power on from either the Dock or the laptop. I've found the laptop "tends" to remember its' docked profile better if I power on from the laptop, but I think it's an nVidia software quirk. You can hot-undock from your Start Menu and press the disconnect release on the top lower right of the dock.
Here's another shot with my Personalization Shield on the lid ...
... which leads us to:DELL PERSONALIZATION SHIELD
and Lid Scratches (added 2 Mar 2007):
As many M1710 owners have discovered, the stock black or red lids look great but are easily marred or scratched. Mine has remained pretty clean during the first 10 months of ownership, except for this small scratch in one corner:
I used Blue Magic Plastic & Plexiglass Cleaner & Light Scratch Remover on it but it didn't help. It did leave a brightly buffed black area around the scratch so I had to do the whole lid. I used Microfiber cloth for applicator and buffer. The scratch remover dried a bit hazy so persistent buffing was required, but it really cleaned up the the superficial marks on the rest of the lid. I followed up with Blue Magic Liquid Metal Polish (yes, METAL) which does NOT scratch plastic. It really cleaned it up.
I decided then to get the Dell Personalization Shield (p/n 311-4994) to protect the lid from further damage. HERE
is where to order it from Dell. It cost me $45.78 including shipping and tax(?). Yes, it says XPS Gen 2 or M170, and it fits perfectly. It also says usually ships in 3-5 weeks, but I figured a long wait was better than no shield at all. It arrived at my house in 72 HOURS!
It comes in a pizza-sized box (medium, no anchovies?).
The shield slides into rear slots between the hinges and lid:
... and securely snaps over thin grooves at the front of the lid:
The nice thing about this clear lid protector is that it has thin guides on the inside which will take 8.5x11 photos or paper. The shield was supposed to include sample inserts but it did not. I'm not requesting them as I intend to make my own.
I found some awesome and FREE hi-res PC wallpaper HERE
. (This link will give you an error until you click to Terms of Service and get a free ID and PWD.) Here is an example I'm currently using:
... and here is another "cool" one:
FYI and caveats on printing photos. The viewing area on the shield is about 7.25" x 10.50". No problem, you say, paper is 8.5 x 11. EXCEPT that many\most printers will not print to the edge of the paper. Thus you may have to trim and still have a tiny bit of white showing. (If that was my only problem in the world, sigh.) All in all I'm tickled to death with the pizzazz it adds along with protection.