So, what's a port replicator, then?

I was fiddling around with my old laptop (Compaq Presario 1625). On the back is a plug, uh, thingie called a “port replicator”. The owner’s manual doesn’t say what its function is. Googling the phrase “port+replicator+compaq+presario+1625” only gives me a huge list of places willing to sell me a port replicator.

So, what the heck is this thing for?

It basically allows you to use the laptop as a desktop replacement. It attaches into that plug, and has PS/2, VGA, Parallel, and sometimes USB connections. These stay attached to the replicator, allowing you to remove just the laptop when needed, which you can then easily reconnect.

So, apparently, I would have to get a docking station of some sort. I’ll go Googling.

“Docking station” is basically the same thing as port replicator. The difference is that a port replicator just has ports (connectors) whereas docking stations contain more, such as drive bays and PC card slots.

By the way, if you get a port replicator, get an extra AC adapter as well. That way you can also leave the AC adapter at the office desk.

These days many computers come with port replicators because some ports are only on the replicator. This allows the laptop to be thinner and lighter. Some companies go too far with this and you end up having to carry the replicator with you, which sort of defeats the purpose. Most SONY owners around me carry the replicators with them because the external monitor port, necessary for presentations, is only on the replicator.

You may end up having a hard time even finding one for your system as most companies only maintain port replicators for the current line of systems, and after market companies such as Mobility have pretty much switched to all USB systems.

Your best bet is to look on E-Bay!.

Actually, I found a source online that sells Compaq parts and accessories. The port replicator runs about $125.

I was just curious why the owner’s manual didn’t go into further details.