Friday, 9 December 2011

The New Toshiba Tecra R850–017 and Port Replicator II

The new Toshiba Tecra R850 –017 is quite the machine.

It’s killer features are:

  • 4GB of RAM out of the box.
  • True 1600x900 High Resolution Panel
  • Intel Core i7-2620M
  • SATA spindle replaced with 160GB Intel 320 Series SSD
    • This is our customization.
  • vPro enabled for remote out-of-band administration

These laptops are _quick_!

From OS load time to Line of Business application install and reboot times we have finished this batch of laptops in record time. In fact the machines were so quick we were having a hard time keeping up!

The Tecra R850 has a USB 3 port though it is using the same Renasys chipset as the Intel motherboards. So, we will be careful about which USB 3 devices we are having plugged into it since we have had some issues with NexStar USB 3 drive docks.

For our accounting firm clients the full size keyboard with integrated number pad may be a good thing. The one drawback to the keyboard is that the keys themselves are ultra glossy in their finish. The feel a bit slippery to work with. For some that prefer a matte finish to provide “finger holding power” these keys fall short.

The display panel is excellent. In this case we are rebuilding an Acer TravelMate TM6593G laptop beside the new Tecra R850s being deployed and there is a noticeable difference in the panel quality. The Tecra R850’s panel is far superior for its brightness and clarity.

Toshiba’s list of drivers for the laptop is straightforward. We were able to download all of the needed drivers and utilities to install after the laptops had Windows 7 Enterprise x64 installed.

Note that the custom button setup that the Tecra R850 has requires the Toshiba Value Added Package in order for them to function:


This package is _very_ important as the touchpad is very sensitive. Anyone that has a tendency to type with the palms fairly close to the laptop’s bezel will hit a frustration factor very quickly so the touchpad on/off button that sits just above it will get a lot of use.

Toshiba Hi-Speed Port Replicator II

It is important to note that the Toshiba Hi-Speed Port Replicator II that works with the Tecra R850 includes an HDMI to DVI-I adapter cable. But, the DVI-I is a male end. So, we needed to pick up some Display Port to DVI-I gender benders to plug into the Display Port instead.

The Tecra R850s were both being installed where the desks had a pair of monitors mounted on an Ergotron dual arm setup. The docks were a fair distance away so we had custom length DVI and VGA cables to accommodate these setups.

Any situation where the dock would sit behind, beside, or just below the monitors would be able to use the stock adapter cable.

In the end, the new Tecra R850 with its new port replicator are an awesome combination especially when boosted by an Intel 320 Series SSD! :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

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