Software Trumps Hardware

- Posted in: Tech Talk
Software Trumps Hardware

Software is too often the one technology product that ships with known bugs. The DocKtor is at heart a hardware engineer, and as such is in group two as described at, "Why Buggy Software Gets Shipped" (Please feel free to post a reply with your vote.) Lately, I have come to appreciate, or rather start to appreciate my software brethren as their work applies to Targus Universal Docking Stations. When the DocKtor first started helping Targus he was introduced, in a trial by fire, to the challenges of utilizing a universal docking approach as opposed to a proprietary one. There were hardware complications including design issues, tolerances stack up hitches, and plain old manufacturing QC concerns (all since addressed). At the same time the USB3.0 ecosystem was maturing. The USB Host Controllers in many PC were not functioning well at USB 3.0 speeds, drivers were constantly being modified in attempts to fix incompatibilities, and to make matters worse, a spread spectrum clocking scheme that overlapped the 2.4GHz wireless device spectrum was implemented for USB3.0, "USB 3.0 Radio Frequency Interference Impact on 2.4GHz Wireless Devices". I am not saying that software came to the rescue in every instance, but most if not all of the above issues have been cleared up by the evolution of the USB3.0 industry, including better software, and software updates support the inevitable advances in hardware too. Because of technological developments, there are the inevitable hardware changes made that determine how well a USB device, including a Targus Universal Docking Station, perform. As the Targus Universal Docking Station is ultimately a USB device, the best functionality will come from updated USB3.0 and Display Adapter drivers. Most newer PC ship with compatible/functional albeit not always updated drivers. Older PC may suffer from being out of date due to updates to these same drivers for other hardware compatibility changes or as manufacturers modify current designs for newer display monitor (LCD) as an example. The PC OEM support sites contain validated updates (and sometimes Windows Update too). Since these updates are recommended from the PC manufacturers, they are also recommended by Targus for function if not only performance. This also holds true for using the Targus Universal Docking Stations with MacBooks, but of course, in this case, the updates come exclusively from Apple. The good news is that again, most PC with post-Intel "Sandy Bridge" architecture have good and stable hardware requiring fewer and fewer software driver updates if any. The DocKtor realizes that many enterprises disdain updating drivers to a mass varying user base, but part of the beauty of the Targus software is its adaptability for various platforms. It is one reason that the docking stations are universal. Also, many IT departments find that the benefits of having only one docking station to support for any PC user, over several refresh cycles and the foreseeable future, out ways any fussing over driver updates to remain relevant with newer technology. Right now is the perfect time to intersect the Universal Docking Station technology at a mature technology point, however, for older PC it may be necessary to update the USB and Display Adaptor drivers for proper function. Targus is ready to help.

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