Axonix LapStation IV. (expansion and docking station for laptop computers) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by David English
If you've ever priced expansion or docking stations for laptop computers, you know they're expensive and have limited capability. Most cost $700-$1,000 and only let you add two or three cards. Few let you add more than a single floppy or hard drive.
Axonix offers five expansion stations that range in price from $350-$700. The Viax is a single-slot bus adapter that weighs just two pounds and adds a 2/3-length 16-bit slot. The LapStation 1 has three full-length 16-bit expansion slots, one half-height bay, two third-height bays, and a 60-watt power supply. The LapStation II has four full-length 16-bit expansion slots, one half-height bay, and a 50-watt power supply. The LapStation III has three full-length 16-bit slots, one third-height bay, and a 40-watt power supply. And for the ultimate in laptop expansion, the LapStation IV offers five full-length 16-bit expansion slots, two half-height bays, three third-height bays, and a 150-watt power supply.
All five models can work with a variety of laptops from Toshiba (all models except the Satellite series), Texas Instruments, Compaq (all models except the Contura series), Tandy (486 series), Gateway, Sharp, PC Brand, Compudyne, Twinhead (Altima series), and many other companies. Each station is customized for your particular brand and model, so you'll need to contact Axonix for availability and price.
I tried a LapStation IV with a Toshiba T6400. It took everything I could throw at it, including a Quantum 240MB Hardcard, an 8-bit network card, a low-end MIDI card, and a VideoSpigot video capture board. The unit is quiet (much quieter thant he T6400), and its tower-like case allowed me to place it right beside the T6400. Inside the LapStation IV you'll find the power cables for its five bays and adequate room to install five expansion cards (a sixth slot holds the circuitry that communicates with the computer).
It's hard to find fault with the Axonix expansion stations. With five different models and support for nearly every portable computer with an expansion connector, you can choose just the amount of expansion you need and save a bundle over the manufacturer's own expansion or docking station.