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banjofool469 - Posted - 12/10/2020:  08:11:17

I'm using Reaper DAW on a Dell laptop and would like to have a larger screen and keyboard hooked up to the laptop. What would be the simplest way to do that? Thanks, Jim

KCJones - Posted - 12/10/2020:  08:44:45

This really depends on your specific laptop. Assuming it has the outputs, the simplest thing to do would be a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and HDMI cable to either a large monitor or possibly an LED tv. If you use a TV, the resolution should be 1080p if under 30" and 4K if over 30". If you use a monitor, you can find nice ultrawide monitors that function like a dual-monitor but only take one HDMI input.

Alternatively, depending on your laptop, you could get a "dock" for your laptop. This will let you plug all peripherals into the dock, and then plug the laptop into the dock with a single cable. If you plan on moving the laptop at all and plugging/unplugging peripherals, I recommend this method if it's possible.

If you never plan on moving the computer, and this will be a dedicated recording device, I would use a desktop computer. You can get a desktop that is about 3x more powerful than a laptop, for the same price.

If I was doing it, and had the budget, I would use a dock and a 40" touchscreen with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I would angle the touchscreen down so it is more like a drafting table, like a digital mixing board. 

Edited by - KCJones on 12/10/2020 08:49:37

banjofool469 - Posted - 12/10/2020:  09:23:25

Hey Steven, Thanks for your advice. The laptop that I'm using is what Dell refers to as a portable work station model 7740. I do disconnect it and take it to other locations almost daily, so a dock seems like a good idea. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jim

GrahamHawker - Posted - 12/10/2020:  09:23:40

I use an HDMI cable and a 23 inch screen. The keyboard and mouse is plugged into a usb hub.

LukeL - Posted - 12/10/2020:  09:54:28

An HDMI monitor should work fine with that laptop. I have a 31.5” 4K LG display for mine. Yours might also output display over USB-C, but I’m not 100% sure.

KCJones - Posted - 12/10/2020:  13:58:14


Originally posted by banjofool469

Hey Steven, Thanks for your advice. The laptop that I'm using is what Dell refers to as a portable work station model 7740. I do disconnect it and take it to other locations almost daily, so a dock seems like a good idea. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jim

I have nearly the same model. You must use a Dell dock that matches your laptop. I believe the Dell WD19 dock is compatible with your laptop. I would buy this and plug all my peripherals into it.

The nice thing about the dock is that it let's you have a static workstation in the studio that doesn't need to be reconfigured every time you move the laptop. Everything plugs to the dock, the laptop plugs to the dock. When you leave, there's one cable to worry about and nothing else. It's really nice.

Note that you don't need a dock. You could just plug everything into your laptop. But it doesn't work as well and is a headache if you're disconnecting/reconnecting every day. 

Edited by - KCJones on 12/10/2020 13:59:07

J.Albert - Posted - 12/10/2020:  16:39:01

First off, I'm a Mac guy, but I'll try to help.

For editing audio, perhaps with multiple tracks and various dialogs open, you'll want a good amount of "screen real estate".

You need to know:

- what kind of video output capabilities the Dell has

- what size display you'd like

For size, I'd suggest 27" (for 1080p or 4k) or 32" (for 1440p).

IF you have HDMI out on the Dell, you could probably go with:

- 1080p (1920x1080)

- 1440p (2560x1440)

- 4k (would look best running in "HiDPI" mode, or "looks like 1080")

You'll want a good quality HDMI connecting cable, too.

Does your laptop also have a "displayport" output, by any chance? That's another way to connect (other than HDMI).

Ioilie - Posted - 02/19/2021:  04:17:19

Having a bigger monitor is a pleasure. Previously I had a small TV and I struggled to watch movies, plus its quality was not the best. After, it broke down and I understood that I had to get another better and more suitable device. I searched several sites and I stopped at .The prices was not exaggerated and the choice was higher. I came across a large monitor which stole my heart, and after several suspicions I decided to buy it. Now this monitor is in my living room and I'm using it every day.

mikehalloran - Posted - 02/22/2021:  23:08:00

Hmmm... lots of speculation. Let's look it up:

Ports & Slots

1. Headset jack | 2. USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with PowerShare | 3. Wedge Lock Slot | 4. HDMI 2.0 | 5. Mini Display Port 1.4 | 6. RJ-45 | 7. USB 3.1 Gen 1 port with PowerShare | 8. Power adapter port | 9. Thunderbolt™ 3 Type-C | 10. SD card reader | 11. Smart Card reader (optional)


Most monitors purchased new will come with an HDMI and a Display Port inputs plus a pair of cables. The Display Port cable will not work without a MDP to DP adapter so use the included HDMI cable.

You do not need to purchase a USB-C monitor unless you really feel like spending the extra money (generally $150–$200 more) nor do you need a Thundernbolt 3 monitor (+$1,000) but both will work with your Dell.

Neither do you need a dock—though it might be more convenient if you used one.


Here's how to save some money with the big East Coast electronics/camera dealers. Find what you want. Create an online account and put the item in your cart. Leave it there. Look for email reminding you that there's something in the cart. After a day or two, see if the price has gotten lower in those "reminder" emails. I've saved with both BHP and Adorama this way.


banjofool469 - Posted - 02/23/2021:  06:41:36

Thanks, everyone. I bought a 24" ViewSponic monitor and plugged it into the HDMI port. Couldn't be easier. Jim

banjoak - Posted - 02/24/2021:  01:03:59

For DAW, you also might consider using dual monitor mode. It allows for different windows open on each.

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