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#367302 - 02/08/2016 01:17 USB-C and two or three monitors
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
I'm missing something. From what I've read, it should be technically possible to run two or even three monitors off the USB-C port in my Dell XPS 13, but I can't figure out how. There are plenty of devices that will add an HDMI port, but I can't find any that will add two.

Is this not possible? The best I've come up with is an adapter that'll do HDMI and VGA, and that's not acceptable as a desktop setup.

It doesn't have to be HDMI either. I'll DP, mini-DP, whatever can drive a good quality display. I also don't need it to support 4K at all.

I've seen some USB3 adapters, but I've had bad experiences with those. I tried to get one to work for a client a little ways back, and the driver support was a nightmare and the thing never really worked all that well.

Any ideas? I thought I read at one point that there were even plans to make devices that could daisy chain through USB-C, so that a monitor would have in/out ports. Did I dream that?
_________________________
Matt

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#367303 - 02/08/2016 03:20 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
The USB3 monitor docking stations are a mixed bag, so I understand why you would have had trouble with one. Driver-wise, it's important to remember that they're all just DisplayLink adapters so I just go get whatever is the latest driver at the http://www.DisplayLink.com site. Anyay, I got this one a while back and was happy with it, though I'm sure there are even better ones now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZGWJU2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Note that it has an HDMI and a DVI plug, which you complained about specifically: I just had the necessary cables so that I could drive both my external monitors of of those two plugs directly (HDMI plug to DVI plug is just a cable with different endings, not a converter of any kind).

I don't know anything about USB-C monitor connections. I wonder if it's one of those things where, you just need a USB-C hub and some USB-C-capable monitors; i.e., direct-plug-USB monitors, as opposed to HDMI/DP/etc? Dunno.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#367304 - 02/08/2016 04:49 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Note that it has an HDMI and a DVI plug, which you complained about specifically: I just had the necessary cables so that I could drive both my external monitors of of those two plugs directly (HDMI plug to DVI plug is just a cable with different endings, not a converter of any kind).

DVI is fine for the reason you said. It was VGA that I was complaining about.

I'll think about it. I'm also interested in going through the USB-C port because of it's theoretical one-cable capability. Docking stations are a think of the past, it seems, and I have a lot of clients who would like to simply make one connection to their laptop and that's it. If I could make that one connection the USB-C port, which can already get power, then that would be a good replacement for those old bulky docks. So far, though, I'm at a loss for how to hook up more than one monitor using such a configuration...
_________________________
Matt

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#367305 - 02/08/2016 08:10 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4140
Loc: Cambridge, England
Is it "plain" USB-C, or is it Thunderbolt 3 on a USB-C connector? If the latter, there's stuff like this: https://eucomtech.eu/uk/thunderbolt-3-to...CFakW0wodl4gBDA

Peter

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#367306 - 02/08/2016 13:14 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: peter]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: peter
Is it "plain" USB-C, or is it Thunderbolt 3 on a USB-C connector? If the latter, there's stuff like this: https://eucomtech.eu/uk/thunderbolt-3-to...CFakW0wodl4gBDA

Hmm, I'm pretty sure it's Thunderbolt, but I'll have to look that up. If that's the case, I could use that along with two Displayport to HDMI cables... Thanks!

The only problem is that I would still not achieve that "one cable" ideal, since there's no power or even other USB connections on that adapter...
_________________________
Matt

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#367307 - 02/08/2016 13:27 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Argh, I thought I was on to something. I just remembered that displayport can support daisy chaining, so I figured I'd look for a USB-C hub that had displayport in it...no dice. There are plenty of hubs with HDMI and adapters with displayport (only), but nothing with both. Argh.

*edit*

Ok, now I'm really wondering what's up. This Verge article from May describes a USBC hub with minidisplayport in it, but for some reason it only had USB2 not 3. Now the links to that company's website for that device are dead, and their site only lists a USBC hub without any monitor connections at all.

This is strange...


Edited by Dignan (02/08/2016 13:33)
_________________________
Matt

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#367312 - 02/08/2016 20:00 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4140
Loc: Cambridge, England
If your PC has Thunderbolt, stop looking for USB-C hubs and start looking for Thunderbolt hubs e.g. this one.

Peter

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#367313 - 02/08/2016 20:39 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: peter]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: peter
If your PC has Thunderbolt, stop looking for USB-C hubs and start looking for Thunderbolt hubs e.g. this one.

Is it the exact same connector? I thought it was different.

Also, I looked at that exact model, but it gets absolutely horrendous reviews due to very bad driver support from Dell. I wasn't even able to bring it up on Dell's own website so I'm not sure they make it anymore. It's sold through a 3rd party on Amazon. That's one of the things that made me start wondering if there's some sort of unreported problem with USB-C, that the only two docks I've seen with multiple monitor support have been removed from the market...
_________________________
Matt

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#367314 - 02/08/2016 20:39 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: peter]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5284
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: peter
If your PC has Thunderbolt, stop looking for USB-C hubs and start looking for Thunderbolt hubs e.g. this one.

Surely you jest! This is the worst review percentage I have ever encountered on Amazon.com. Am I missing something here?

tanstaafl.


Gaahhh! You beat me by 10 measly seconds! smile


Attachments
Thunderbolt.png




Edited by tanstaafl. (02/08/2016 20:45)
Edit Reason: Gaahhh!
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#367315 - 02/08/2016 21:55 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I have a XPS 13. Yes it supports Thunderbolt 3 over the USB-C connection. You can get a number of double display adapters (4K @ 60Hz x 2) but that's all they support. No power, USB, Ethernet etc. There are a number of adapters that do USB-C only and thus only have HDMI or VGA outputs. The main issue for me is the lack of 60Hz output. I've lived with 30Hz though and for desktop/programming it's really not that bad.

The Dell TB15 dock linked on Amazon was released early this year but had massive driver, stability etc problems. Even with driver, BIOS etc updates it was still dodgy. That's where all those bad Amazon reviews came from.

I noticed I got a Thunderbolt firmware update just recently for my XPS 13 so maybe that's fixed it finally? They had stopped selling the TB15 completely for a while. Perhaps it's "fixed" and back on the market? On paper it will do what Matt is looking for (and me too).

I was looking for a single plug in solution. Ethernet, 4k@60Hz DisplayPort output, some USB ports and USB-C power pass through. That way I could dock my laptop with one cable.

It has one really dumb design feature. The cable comes out on the left but the XPS 13 also has the USB-C port on the left. The cable is short too so it's quite awkward to place on the desk.

_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#367316 - 02/08/2016 22:26 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Looks like the TB15 is still not officially for sale from Dell. Their recall/stop ship is still in place.

Unfortunate as it seems to be the only device capable of what I want.
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#367317 - 03/08/2016 13:32 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
The only thing I can think of is to use one of the USB-C hubs with HDMI and USB, then for the second (and third, etc) monitor try using a USB to HDMI adapter. I have the sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't work very well, but it would be interesting to try.
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Matt

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#367318 - 03/08/2016 14:56 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
The hub with built-in HDMI is simply a USB hub, plus a USB-to-HDMI adapter, plugged into said hub, all inside a uniform enclosure.

So if the "built-in" one works, then so should the external USB-to-HDMI adapter.

It's all DisplayLink stuff.

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#367319 - 03/08/2016 17:40 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: mlord
It's all DisplayLink stuff.


Is DisplayLink any different or improved for USB-C over and above USB-3?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#367320 - 03/08/2016 23:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
DisplayLink is still DisplayLink running what is an basically external graphics card over USB (vs an internal one on PCIe).

However DisplayPort over USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 can use the internal graphics device and therefore isn't subject to bandwidth limitations of USB-C/Thunderbolt. That said 5/10/20 (USB-C) or 40 (Thunderbolt 3) Gbps should be plenty to run half decent graphics. Even USB 2.0 did a reasonable job for general coding/office type duties.

The bit I'm confused over is whether the USB-C/TB3 to DisplayPort adapter I have actually runs USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. I think it's only USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 allows 2 x 4k@60Hz displays.
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#367321 - 04/08/2016 00:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Under Linux, "lsusb" should show all of the USB devices. If your display (adapter) is listed there, it's using USB protocols.

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#367323 - 04/08/2016 05:05 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: mlord
The hub with built-in HDMI is simply a USB hub, plus a USB-to-HDMI adapter, plugged into said hub, all inside a uniform enclosure.

Ahhhh. Interesting. That kind of bites. It's not at all what I thought was happening. So basically I'm better off just buying a USB3 hub and plugging however many HDMI adapters I want into that? Along the lines of Tony's question, would there be a bigger performance hit if I did it that way versus that USB-C hub? I suppose the main advantage of the hub is that I get that "one cable" arrangement, and it's sounding more and more like USB adapters would be the way to go in that situation.

This is mostly a thought experiment for suggesting setups like these to my customers. For my own purposes, I'd probably get one of the monitors out there that use USB-C with power delivery. This LG, for example. This Acer seems like a more affordable option, if I can stand the gold color.


Edited by Dignan (04/08/2016 05:05)
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Matt

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#367324 - 04/08/2016 12:43 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
My understanding, possibly incorrect, is that "USB-C" is merely a connector type for USB2/USB3/USB3.1. The other end of the cable can also have a USB-C connector, or a USB-A connector, with no difference in electrical functionality.

So a "USB-C" hub, is merely a USB3 (or USB3.1) hub, that happens to have USB-C connectors rather than USB-A connectors. Nothing magic about it.

As discussed above, some USB-C host connector implementations also support an "alternate mode" electrical interface, eg. "Thunderbolt" which seems to be a type of PCI Express interface merged with a DisplayPort interface.


Edited by mlord (04/08/2016 14:13)

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#367325 - 04/08/2016 13:50 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
But doesn't USB-C have more throughput? Isn't there something different about it? Is it going over that same bus as the other USB ports?
_________________________
Matt

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#367326 - 04/08/2016 14:11 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Nothing magical. Just a connector. My Nexus 5X has a USB-C connector on its USB 2.0 port.. 480mb/sec max, same speeds as one would expect from any other type of USB 2.0 port.

Ditto when a USB 3.0 system has a USB-C connector: still "only" 5gb/sec max.

Now.. the new notebooks that sport USB-C ports, generally implement USB 3.1, which is faster: 10gb/sec. But they could do that with a USB Type-A port just as well, though clunkier.

Cheers

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#367327 - 04/08/2016 14:20 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
USB-C ports/cables have a few advantages I can see:

1) Reversible non-polarized mechanical plug. Easier to use.
2) Smaller size.
3) Spec'd for carrying higher electrical currents.
4) Type-C ports can implement optional higher-current features, for faster charging, and for powering peripherals.
5) "Alternate mode" electrical interfaces using the same host port.
6) Bi-directional current transfer capability: can be used to charge the laptop, and then later for the laptop to power/charge peripherals and smartphones.

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#367328 - 04/08/2016 14:50 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7853
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: mlord
As discussed above, some USB-C host connector implementations also support an "alternate mode" electrical interface, eg. "Thunderbolt" which seems to be a type of PCI Express interface merged with a DisplayPort interface.

The alternate modes is where USB-C and Mini DisplayPort connectors can get a bit tricky.

Thunderbolt 1 and 2 use the Mini-DisplayPort connector in an alternate mode, with DisplayPort running over the wire for monitors. Thunderbolt busses typically let you attach a non Thunderbolt DisplayPort monitor at the end of the device chain. TB1/2 only really saw adoption on Macs, only a handful of PCs supported it.

Thunderbolt 3 swaps to using the USB-C connector. Both Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 cap out at the Displayport 1.2 spec. The DP version becomes important when talking about high resolution monitors. And at this point the only devices that support TB3 are a growing number of PCs. Macs will likely ship with it later this year.

Thunderbolt is what supports device chaining, where one connector on the computer can have up to 6 devices attached to it. Normal USB over USB-C connectors still uses a hub model and not chaining.

USB-C alternate mode also allows pure DisplayPort 1.3 with no Thunderbolt. DP 1.3 adds some 5k and 8k monitor support, along with higher refresh rates for 4k monitors. DisplayPort 1.2 (and above) offers both chaining and a hub model, independent of USB or Thunderbolt.

And then there's one more way to directly drive a display over USB-C, using the MHL alternate mode. This is likely to only show up in mobile phones/tablets as this is historically where MHL has been used before and tends to be adapted into HDMI.

For Thunderbolt or DisplayPort modes over Mini DisplayPort a USB-C connector, the GPU in the computer is what is ultimately driving the monitor. Monitor and resolution limits will be decided by the built in GPU. Or to throw more complexity in, possibly by an external GPU plugged into the Thunderbolt interface (like the Razer Core). Due to Thunderbolt carrying DisplayPort, the built in LCD of a laptop could be driven by an external GPU.


And as discussed elsewhere in the thread, you then have pure USB 2.0/3.0/3.1 over USB-C, and the ability to use DisplayLink GPUs as an external GPU. Monitors plugged into these are driven directly by the DisplayLink GPU and not the computer's GPU. It's a good way to get around the limits of a built in GPU. This can come at a cost of CPU time though. Also due to normal USB not carrying a video signal over it, DisplayLink devices cannot drive an internal LCD on a laptop, only monitors directly plugged into the DisplayLink device. Oh, and don't be surprised if you come across a monitor that has a DisplayLink chip directly inside it.


It's all clear as mud. Basically for your clients Matt, you will have to know exactly what type of protocols their USB-C ports support to be able to offer a good solution. Especially if you are factoring in possible 3d graphics/gaming desires on the display. It's pretty much a non starter if DisplayLink is involved.
_________________________
Tom

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#367334 - 04/08/2016 18:07 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Thanks for all of that, Tom. This is beginning to get a lot clearer while also more confusing, but you've been helpful laugh

The only device I'm really thinking of these days is the Dell XPS 13, which I think is the best all around Windows computer on the market. I have one and I love it. Since that will be the one I recommend, I'm going to do my best to figure out its capabilities. In general, that wouldn't include much high end 3D gaming, as much as I hear the Intel 520 is much better than previous generations.

According to Dell's product page, the port on the XPS 13 supports:

1 Thunderbolt™ 3 Supports:
Power In / Charging
PowerShare
Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps
Bi-Directional)
USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
Native DisplayPort 1.2 Video
Output
VGA, HDMI, Ethernet and USB-A
via Dell Adapter (Sold Separately)

So the way that's written makes me think that there's something inherent about USB-C that enables all those connections, so why don't I see boxes with USB-C inputs and an output for every single one of the mentioned ports? Dell clearly made one and sold it until they had disastrous results with it. Why? Something tells me that the answer is "because it's the early days of the standard and these people just haven't figured it out yet." Clearly I still don't understand this connector, but I'm trying to.

Originally Posted By: mlord
Nothing magical. Just a connector.
...
Ditto when a USB 3.0 system has a USB-C connector: still "only" 5gb/sec max.

But from what I understand, USB-C has a max of 40gb/s. So it's not "just a connector." I don't care if it's using USB 3 or not, I care about monitor outputs via an external breakout box in this situation. How that's done doesn't matter to me, I just want the configuration, and it seems to be something that manufacturers were also thinking about at first, but have had lots of trouble implementing.

The Dell device you mentioned seems unlikely to simply be a USB3 container. It makes me wonder what protocols it was using.


Edited by Dignan (04/08/2016 18:08)
_________________________
Matt

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#367335 - 04/08/2016 18:16 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
what I understand, USB-C has a max of 40gb/s.


Well, USB 3.1 has a max speed of 10gbit/sec.
Thunderbolt-3 has a max speed of 40gibt/sec.

If the Thunderbolt port is using a USB-C connector, then sure.
If USB 3.1 or USB 2.0 is using a USB-C connector, then no.

It is all about the electrical protocol being used, not the connector.

EDIT: So a more correct statement would be "Thunderbolt-3 has a max of 40gb/sec, using a connector that conforms to the USB-C connector standard."

When being used for Thunderbolt-3, that port on the XPS-13 is a Thunderbolt port, not a USB port, so referring to it as USB-C creates confusion.

When that port is instead being used with USB peripherals, it is a USB 3.1 port, with a USB-C host connector.

The notebook's chipset can electrically switch modes from USB to Thunderbolt or DisplayPort, depending upon what is plugged into it.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (04/08/2016 18:24)

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#367336 - 04/08/2016 18:30 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
The notebook's chipset can electrically switch modes from USB to Thunderbolt or DisplayPort, depending upon what is plugged into it.

It occurs to me that this concept is probably a new idea to most people -- in the past, such ports mostly had a fixed electrical protocol per connector type (with allowances for some differences in USB1/2/3, or Ethernet 10/100/1000).

Microcontroller chips have long had this kind of thing -- an "Arduino" chip (ATMEGA328p) has a relatively small number of pins for communicating with the world, and most of those pins can be programmed with any of a number of radically different electrical interfaces, be it digital-in, digital-out, Analog-in, PWM-out, I2C, SPI, etc.. all on one pin.

Same basic thing, but at much much higher clock speeds! smile

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#367337 - 04/08/2016 18:44 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
The hub with built-in HDMI is simply a USB hub, plus a USB-to-HDMI adapter, plugged into said hub, all inside a uniform enclosure.

So if the "built-in" one works, then so should the external USB-to-HDMI adapter.

It's all DisplayLink stuff.


Or maybe not. Those hubs are so cheap, I'm wondering if perhaps they actually use the "DisplayPort" signalling rather than licensing a DisplayLink chip. If they really do use DisplayPort, that would explain the low prices, and the performance should be excellent as it would be using the notebook's GPU.

http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/usb-type-c-faq

The part I am still not clear on, is whether DisplayPort can run simultaneously with USB on a single port.

EDIT: Ah, yes.. dedicated pins (kind of): http://www.vesa.org/news/vesa-brings-displayport-to-new-usb-type-c-connector/

So, yeah, that hub is probably using DisplayPort to export the native notebook GPU's output to its HDMI connector.


Edited by mlord (04/08/2016 18:54)

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#367338 - 04/08/2016 19:07 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Having now read a lot more on these topics, I like the idea of the ThunderBolt-3 ports which use a USB-C type connector.

A "docking hub" using that connector could work in one of at least two fundamentally different ways:

(1) The hub could use USB3 protocols, with or without a DisplayPort overlay. This limits total cable bandwidth of all attached devices to the USB3.1 10gb/sec maximum throughput. Multiple USB ports require a built-in USB hub chip. Most/all stuff out there today probably works this way. If the DisplayPort feature is used simultaneously, it could occupy as much as 5.6gbit/sec of the original 10gbit/sec cable bandwidth, slowing down transfers to/from any USB3 devices on the same cable.

(2) The hub could instead use PCIe protocols, again with or without a DisplayPort overlay. This increases total cable bandwidth up to 40gb/sec for all attached devices. In order to provide one or more USB ports, a PCIe USB host adapter chip (XHCI for USB3) would be needed inside the "hub". Other PCIe host adapters could also be incorporated, giving additional "native" SATA/eSATA for example using an AHCI chip. And/or even some physical desktop machine style PCIe or PCI slots.



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#367339 - 04/08/2016 23:43 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: mlord
If the Thunderbolt port is using a USB-C connector, then sure.
If USB 3.1 or USB 2.0 is using a USB-C connector, then no.

It is all about the electrical protocol being used, not the connector.

EDIT: So a more correct statement would be "Thunderbolt-3 has a max of 40gb/sec, using a connector that conforms to the USB-C connector standard."

I get what you're saying, and I appreciate all the additional info. I guess it goes back to what I said in my last post, I don't much care how it's done, I just want what I was describing laugh And it would be nice if it were done in the best possible way to utilize the resources of the computer. It sounds like Thunderbolt would be needed in order to create the kind of dock/hub I was talking about.

Laptops have had docking stations for ages. How have they usually done it? I assumed it wasn't on the USB bus, and was probably some sort of PCI thing. Am I wrong?

Originally Posted By: mlord
(2) The hub could instead use PCIe protocols, again with or without a DisplayPort overlay. This increases total cable bandwidth up to 40gb/sec for all attached devices. In order to provide one or more USB ports, a PCIe USB host adapter chip (XHCI for USB3) would be needed inside the "hub". Other PCIe host adapters could also be incorporated, giving additional "native" SATA/eSATA for example using an AHCI chip. And/or even some physical desktop machine style PCIe or PCI slots.

I assume that this is what I'd want. I also assume that this hub would also be much pricier than the $30-60 ones on Amazon right now.
_________________________
Matt

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#367340 - 04/08/2016 23:48 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Looks like I was right about the price. I finally stumbled across this device. It's not even slated for release until the end of next month, but it does most of what I was looking for. It's a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

The only thing that I don't like is that it says it only does a "trickle charge" for the connected laptop instead of a real charging solution. Sounds more like it maintains battery levels instead of trying to top them off.

*edit*

That Dell dock you initially linked to is also a Thunderbolt dock, but I don't know which if the scenarios you laid out either of these docks are using. But it sounds like driver support might sink these kinds of things.


Edited by Dignan (04/08/2016 23:49)
_________________________
Matt

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#367342 - 05/08/2016 01:29 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Only 15W. XPS 13 has a 45W adapter so if the laptop is off it will take triple the time to charge roughly and if on will hardly charge it at all. If you were fully loading it up, it might not even be able to sustain it. Should be pretty easy to get an idea with a Kill-A-Watt type meter on the input side to the existing supply.

The Dell TB15 has a much higher power output and is a full replacement for a power supply. Unfortunately the rest of it seems badly supported by drivers/firmware/buggy hardware.

Lots of good stuff from Mark but yeah it's pretty confusing for technical people. How is it not going to be confusing for those that aren't so technical.
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#367346 - 05/08/2016 03:33 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: Shonky
Lots of good stuff from Mark but yeah it's pretty confusing for technical people. How is it not going to be confusing for those that aren't so technical.

Indeed! I had thought about sending my clients a newsletter about USB-C, but I definitely don't understand it well enough to explain the concept to myself yet! smile

As for my quest, I guess things get easier if you don't mind plugging in two or three cables, but that's not what I'm looking for. USB3 to HDMI adapters help a little too, but none of it is ideal. That TB15 would be perfect if they could just get it to work! Argh.
_________________________
Matt

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#367348 - 05/08/2016 15:55 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7853
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Having now read a lot more on these topics, I like the idea of the ThunderBolt-3 ports which use a USB-C type connector.

Agreed. It's nice to see it include the power capacity to charge laptops. Thunderbolt 1-2 had a 10W limit, and was meant to power devices downstream. The jump to TB3 over USB-C makes it possible for one cable docking solutions.

Originally Posted By: mlord
(2) The hub could instead use PCIe protocols, again with or without a DisplayPort overlay. This increases total cable bandwidth up to 40gb/sec for all attached devices. In order to provide one or more USB ports, a PCIe USB host adapter chip (XHCI for USB3) would be needed inside the "hub". Other PCIe host adapters could also be incorporated, giving additional "native" SATA/eSATA for example using an AHCI chip. And/or even some physical desktop machine style PCIe or PCI slots.

This is the option I like the most even with the additional cost. The Razer core linked earlier has my interest as a way to drive a VR headset from a notebook due to the PCIe slot. And the prior TB1 monitor from Apple worked in this way. The display has it's own USB 2 root hub and controller, along with a firewire controller, and a gigabit NIC. Off the monitor USB bus is a sound device for the built in mic and speakers, along with a webcam. It's been a nice solution for my laptops since 2011 and I'm glad to see it hitting more widespread adoption with TB3. (Was hit with a bit of nostalgia seeing the old LightPeak thread back then.)


Originally Posted By: Dignan
That TB15 would be perfect if they could just get it to work!

Back when TB1 was rolling out on the Apple side and a few PCs, there was a few months of various firmware and driver updates to stabilize the new tech. TB3 is likely going through similar as more vendors come online and also sorting out the details of running over a new connector. Out of the box, an early adopter friend of mine had to get through a number of updates for the Razer Core before it worked. Things will likely stabilize for most vendors and devices by the end of the year or sooner.
_________________________
Tom

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#367349 - 05/08/2016 21:26 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: drakino]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: drakino
Things will likely stabilize for most vendors and devices by the end of the year or sooner.

That's clearly the ultimate answer to my initial post. It's frustrating, but I'll try to be patient smile
_________________________
Matt

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#367350 - 05/08/2016 22:45 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
it sounds like driver support might sink these kinds of things.

Ahh.. but Thunderbolt is just a fancy name for "PCIe expansion bus" (plus a few things). So driver support is actually simpler than it might be for USB connected devices. PCI(e) stuff is generally very well supported "out of the box" for most OSs that I know of, so Thunderbolt should "just work".

Meanwhile though, in case you missed it, that USB hub thingie you linked to earlier on, which I originally dismissed as probably doing video-over-USB (aka. "DisplayLink"), appears instead to be using "DisplayPort". Which means it gives you "native GPU" output for one extra monitor.

Cheers

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#367351 - 05/08/2016 23:05 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Laptops have had docking stations for ages. How have they usually done it?


They did it by providing a huge docking connector which exports the entire internal peripheral bus (PCI or PCIe) to the docking station, plus additional connections for power-input, ethernet, and external monitors from the internal GPU. The docking station can then add additional PCI/PCIe chips onto the bus to support extra ports (eg. serial/parallel, more USB root ports, whatever).

Thunderbolt does mostly the same thing using far fewer pins, and tries to standardize it.

EDIT: My main machine here is a Dell Precision M6300. It has an old school docking station (fantastic!), but also has an ExpressCard slot --> essentially a hot-plugable PCIe 1X expansion slot. I use that slot to add eSATA ports, USB-3.0 ports, a real bus Serial Port, and other nefarious add-ons as needed.

ThunderBolt is the new version of that slot, on steroids!

Cheers

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#367352 - 06/08/2016 03:41 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7853
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Ahh.. but Thunderbolt is just a fancy name for "PCIe expansion bus" (plus a few things). So driver support is actually simpler than it might be for USB connected devices. PCI(e) stuff is generally very well supported "out of the box" for most OSs that I know of, so Thunderbolt should "just work".

It was a bit surprising that Windows didn't support Thunderbolt all that well until Windows 10 and TB3. Windows has decent hot plug PCI support since 2000, but they didn't put the effort into moving that over to Thunderbolt until recently.

Macs that dual booted into Windows 7/8 had some limits including not being able to sleep among other issues. Microsoft's lack of support left it to Apple and Intel to try and handle at the driver level as best they could, and it's likely why so many early Lightpeak demos were all running on OS X or Linux.

Came across this detailing the Windows support being built into 10: http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/0...-in-windows-10/

That site ended up linking to some docs for Thunderbolt considerations with audio drivers on Win10.
_________________________
Tom

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#367857 - 15/11/2016 16:23 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Originally Posted By: drakino
Things will likely stabilize for most vendors and devices by the end of the year or sooner.

That's clearly the ultimate answer to my initial post. It's frustrating, but I'll try to be patient smile
I suspect the confusion has only just begun for regular people who just want things to work.

Even Benson Leung commented on the article.

My new 2016 MacBook Pro 15" is about to arrive and I am looking for the correct 'cables' to connect a pair of (well, three, actually) HDMI displays. Not so easy to work out which is the optimal selection. frown
In the meantime I have ordered three of these Aukey USB C to HDMI adapters

4K displays will be replacing the current HD+ HDMI monitors so looking for cables than can work at 4K.

Originally Posted By: Total Nightmare: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
8. Funny enough, USB-C Alternate Mode has different video compatibility than Thunderbolt 3:
While Thunderbolt 3 supports HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 can only do HDMI 1.4b.

But when it comes to DisplayPort, USB 3.1 has the upper hand, supporting version 1.3 vs. version 1.2 in Thunderbolt 3. Support for these protocol levels is entirely dependent on the implementation of the port in a given machine.


OWC's announced Thunderbolt 3 dock has been pre-ordered but shipping is forecast for next February.


Edited by K447 (15/11/2016 18:29)

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#367858 - 15/11/2016 16:32 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: K447]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5676
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Just when you think USB-C cables can't get more confusing...

The USB-C cable that comes with the new MacBook Pro, to connect it to its charger, doesn't not function as a USB-C - USB-C 3.x data cable. It does however function as a USB 2 data cable confused

It of course looks like every other USB-C to USB-C cable.
_________________________
Remind me to change my signature to something more interesting someday

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#367859 - 15/11/2016 16:34 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: andy]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: andy
Just when you think USB-C cables can't get more confusing...

The USB-C cable that comes with the new MacBook Pro, to connect it to its charger, doesn't not function as a USB-C - USB-C 3.x data cable. It does however function as a USB 2 data cable confused

It of course looks like every other USB-C to USB-C cable.
I suggest working out a labelling scheme and attaching a very clear label to every single 'USB-C and Thunderbolt 3' cable right out of the package.

Label the ports on the laptop too wink
Decoding the tiny USB/DisplayPort/Thunderbolt/Power Delivery logos, if they are even present/correct, is error prone.

USB.org provides this helpful list of USB-C cables wink

I used Google Translate from the original German, this article describes how to tell the various USB-C ports apart.


From Intel.



Note the tiny 3 near the squiggly Thunderbolt marking.



Edited by K447 (15/11/2016 22:32)

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#368031 - 10/12/2016 04:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
I just bought the Dell WD15 dock for my XPS 13. It's pretty nice, but I'm having some trouble with the setup and I wondered if you folks might have some advice.

I've connected my Dell 3007WFP display via a mini displayport to DVI adapter (I can see why this might be the issue). It works, but I'm only getting a max of half the native resolution of the monitor. I'm stuck at 1280x800 instead of 2560x1600.

Does anyone know if it's the adapter or something else? From the specs of the dock it looks like this should be more than feasible using the mini display port, but I've probably missed something...
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Matt

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#368034 - 10/12/2016 04:26 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Ugh, nevermind, I figured out the problem I guess. I don't think I'll be able to do what I want. My adapter isn't dual link, so it can only go up to 1920x1200. There are active dual link adapters out there that appear to require power over a USB connection, but they all cost around $90-100, and I just shelled out $135 for the dock. At this point I'd rather sell my trusty old 30" fluorescent backlit monitor and get a newer LED model than waste a hundred bucks on an adapter.

If anyone has a suggestion I'd love to hear it. Feeling pretty disappointed right now...
_________________________
Matt

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#368037 - 12/12/2016 02:42 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
FWIW, I've ordered myself a 13" MacBook Pro and haunted the Amazon reviews for adapters that should work properly with it. This was more complicated than I thought it would be. I ended up with:

Assorted adapter dongles:
https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Adapter-Type-Ethernet-470-ABQN/dp/B012DT6KW2/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019R9KAUE/

(Nobody makes a single dongle that has everything, so I'm instead getting two different dongles that each seem to do useful things.)

Charging cables (2x):
https://www.amazon.com/Griffin-BreakSafe-Magnetic-Breakaway-Chromebook/dp/B01CQTK6GU/

Spare charger (half the cost of the same thing from Apple):
https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Delivery-Charger-PowerPort-MacBook/dp/B01M19TP4H/

And, of course, after I order that Anker thing, there's an Amazon review for it saying that it's not compliant with all the USB-C PD specs. Arrrggggh.


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#368038 - 12/12/2016 04:59 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: DWallach]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
FWIW, I've ordered myself a 13" MacBook Pro and haunted the Amazon reviews for adapters that should work properly with it. This was more complicated than I thought it would be. I ended up with:

Assorted adapter dongles:
https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Adapter-Type-Ethernet-470-ABQN/dp/B012DT6KW2/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019R9KAUE/
Heh, I've actually used both of those adapters on a few clients' XPS 13 laptops. They're pretty good. I'll be curious about the compatibility of the Dell adapter with the MacBook. Please report back on that.

Quote:
(Nobody makes a single dongle that has everything, so I'm instead getting two different dongles that each seem to do useful things.)

The Dell WD15 dock does have everything I wanted. The problem is my monitor. It only has two connections on it, dual-link DVI and VGA, and the DVI is the one that gets me the full resolution. But I guess there's no such thing as mini displayport to dual link DVI, unless I'm not thinking about this setup correctly, in which case someone please correct me. It's frustrating because I used to have this problem with lesser video cards on older computers, but now I supposedly have a connector capable of 4K resolutions, but it can't do this in between one.

Please, I'm hoping someone will say "no, dummy, this $10-30 cable/adapter will get you what you want!" So...there's your queue?
_________________________
Matt

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#368041 - 12/12/2016 14:17 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
Dual-link DVI was a very short-lived item, as was Apple's ADC (DVI + power on the same connector). Supporting those going forward? You're basically doomed.

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#368042 - 12/12/2016 14:42 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: Dignan
The problem is my monitor. It only has two connections on it, dual-link DVI and VGA, and the DVI is the one that gets me the full resolution.
I just upgraded my video card to one that only had one HDMI and then three DisplayPorts on it. Only problem was that my monitors were old enough to need HDMI (or DVI), so I ended up just upgrading them to something more modern.

It always seems like small, simple upgrades have unintended consequences for me.

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#368046 - 13/12/2016 03:45 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
... someone will say "no, dummy, this $10-30 cable/adapter will get you what you want!" ...
Does this help?

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#368054 - 14/12/2016 15:27 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: K447]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Dual-link DVI was a very short-lived item, as was Apple's ADC (DVI + power on the same connector). Supporting those going forward? You're basically doomed.

That's what I'm concluding. Looks like I got stuck in an in-between state. My monitor's 2560x1600 resolution is very uncommon these days.

Originally Posted By: Tim
It always seems like small, simple upgrades have unintended consequences for me.

Isn't that the truth! I had totally forgotten about the dual-link DVI issue. I now remember running into it the last time I upgraded my desktop. I ordered a lower-end graphics card because I don't game much, but it didn't support dual-link so I had to swap it for a better one. Annoying.

Originally Posted By: K447
Originally Posted By: Dignan
... someone will say "no, dummy, this $10-30 cable/adapter will get you what you want!" ...
Does this help?

Unfortunately, all that does is make me conclude that it isn't worth it. In fact, It tells me that I underestimated the equipment necessary for this. I'd have to do this in two steps instead of one, and it'll probably cost around $200 just for the adapters.

Given that and the cost of the Dell dock, I'm starting to weigh all my options. USB C monitors are still really expensive. I'd love something like this LG model, but $700 is a lot.

The other options, though, aren't much cheaper. The least expensive decent 4K monitor I can see on Amazon is around $370. That and the Dell adapter cost about $510. At that point I'd honestly consider spending the extra $200 for the USB C monitor.

Or, I could go with a lower resolution but smaller monitor. The problem is that I've been spoiled. Going by PPI, my current 30" monitor is 100 ppi. My XPS 13 is 169ppi. A FHD 24" monitor is 91ppi, and it's noticeable to me. Maybe I sit too close, though smile

What monitors do you all use?
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Matt

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#368055 - 14/12/2016 16:01 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1437
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: Dignan
What monitors do you all use?
I went with a pair of ASUS MG28UQ which is the AMD FreeSync supported 28" 4k monitor. It was quite an upgrade from my old 24" 1920x1200 monitors.

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#368056 - 14/12/2016 21:32 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Tim]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: Tim
Originally Posted By: Dignan
What monitors do you all use?

I went with a pair of ASUS MG28UQ which is the AMD FreeSync supported 28" 4k monitor. It was quite an upgrade from my old 24" 1920x1200 monitors.

That one looks nice. I've been looking at this Samsung because it's a hundred dollars cheaper and I don't need the USB hub built into the monitor. I still don't know if it would be better to simply ditch everything I've gotten so far and bite the bullet on that LG I linked to earlier.
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Matt

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#368057 - 15/12/2016 01:43 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
USB-C to DisplayPort or HDMI adapters are fairly inexpensive. With my MacBook Pro 15" I am currently using two Aukey CB-C37 USB-C to HDMI adapters to drive a pair of Asus PA328Q 4K displays.



I intend to switch to the OWC Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort dock sometime in the next few months.



Edited by K447 (15/12/2016 01:57)

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#368058 - 15/12/2016 04:06 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Those USB-C adapters don't help me, though. They can't output to my dual-link DVI monitor. I would also lose the ability to have a single-cable solution, which is what I've been looking for since the start of this thread. It's frustrating that I keep giving up features and I still can't get things to work with this fancy new technology. Crazy.

The OWC dock looks great, but I'm starting to give up on the dock idea. The Dell dock is giving me some serious problems, and I'm not even doing anything crazy with it. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm having the most frustrating time getting my Logitech gear to play nicely with it. I can almost never get it to work right on the first try, and I'm without keyboard and mouse until I either restart or at least unplug and plug back in the USB C cable. And even then, for some reason Logitech's Setpoint software forgets all adjustments I make to the mouse buttons, which is a huge deal breaker for me.

I think I'm in one of those bad early adopter situations...
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Matt

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#368076 - 19/12/2016 23:15 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: K447]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Originally Posted By: K447
USB-C to DisplayPort or HDMI adapters are fairly inexpensive. With my MacBook Pro 15" I am currently using two Aukey CB-C37 USB-C to HDMI adapters to drive a pair of Asus PA328Q 4K displays.

Only 24 or 30Hz though. I use a DisplayPort 4k at 30Hz for office and even some CAD and it's OK though.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368480 - 20/03/2017 22:16 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
I'm now researching the same things as in this thread, and I'm coming away more confused than when I started.

Here's what I understand so far, someone correct me if I'm wrong:

- If you have a laptop with USB3, then your option for a docking station is one with DisplayLink drivers.

- If you have a laptop with Thunderbolt ports using a USBC cable, then you could use a DisplayLink docking station like above, or, to be even more fancy, you could get a Thunderbolt docking station and then the displays could go straight from the plug to the monitors, without having to go through the DisplayLink driver.

- Nobody makes docks with both. It's either one or the other.

Am I right about the above?

Here's what I have, and what I want to do...

- I've got two 1920x1080 HDMI/DVI monitors I'm using right now. I might upgrade them someday.

- I've got a USB3 Windows 8.1 laptop.

- I've got a USB3 DisplayLink dock, which drives two displays (albeit limited to 1920x1080 or very close to it, and I occasionally see mild data compression artifacts from DisplayLink on them).

- On its way to me via UPS is a new Macbook Pro, arriving in a few days (I finally pulled the trigger and I'm swiching to Mac for audio production while I'm between album projects).

- I want a dock that allows me to plug either the Macbook or the Windows 8.1 laptop into it (at different times, not at the same time) and will use both monitors, the existing mouse/keyboard, and whatever USB peripherals are plugged into the dock.


I have already verified that my existing setup (USB3 DisplayLink dock with two HDMI/DVI monitors) works fine in the way that I want. I have plugged friends' macs into it and, as long as we install the DisplayLink drivers onto the mac, it works. I can freely switch between the Windows box and the Mac box by merely unplugging one and plugging in the other. So I've got something that will work for now.

But if I ever want to upgrade my displays to something higher than 1920x1080, or if I ever want to take advantage of the Thunderbolt connection on the Mac to drive the displays directly, I'll need to upgrade the dock. The problem is that, I think, from my research so far, if I do that, then the Windows 8.1 laptop will no longer be able to use the displays on the new dock. Am I correct about that?

Is there any solution that will work with both kinds of devices?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368481 - 20/03/2017 22:41 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I haven't looked specifically for what you are after but my understanding is that you are right. There are no docks that switch between DisplayPort pass through over Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayLink over USB2/3/3.1/whatever.

I'm not sure a Thunderbolt 3 hub can plug into a conventional USB2/3.x port to start with and that's ignoring any of the video issues.

I reckon most people wouldn't want to pay for both solutions in one dock.

Note that DisplayLink can go higher than 1920x1080 (I think the old limit was 2048x1152 actually). I see there's even a 4k 60Hz capable one now:
http://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/525038-displaylink-display-resolution-support

So maybe just use USB 3.1 (hopefully 3.1 Gen 2 so you get 10 Gbps instead of 5) with a DisplayLink dock or a couple of DisplayLink adapters?

I haven't seen any hubs with that latest 4k 60Hz chipset yet but haven't looked at them for a few months. Expect it to take a while to filter through based on previous experiences.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368482 - 20/03/2017 22:43 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368483 - 20/03/2017 23:10 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Thanks very much for that information, Shonky.

I had indeed seen that Targus unit at the DisplayLink web site (they link to it on this page), and I will probably upgrade to it, or something like it with the new 4k/60hz chipset at least, if I get new displays.

Do any of these USB3 docks support charging a Macbook plugged into it? Or am I destined for a second power cable as long as I'm tied down to DisplayLink?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368484 - 20/03/2017 23:18 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I don't see any mention of it, but you are looking for USB-C Power Delivery.

Quickly looking at the ones on that page only the older 4k 30Hz type devices seem to support PD.

Doesn't look to be an all in one solution unfortunately.

For now, I've somewhat given up looking for a Thunderbolt 3 dock with DP passthrough at 60Hz, power delivery and that's a subset of what you want.

Two cables isn't really that much of a problem is it?
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368485 - 20/03/2017 23:48 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30578
Loc: Seattle, WA
No, two cables is not that much of a problem. I'm already doing two cables for the Windows box. I was just thinking that, if a one-cable solution existed, it could be one of the data points in my search for a dock.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368486 - 21/03/2017 00:11 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I received this update on March 8 from OWC.
Quote:
Thank you again for your OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock pre-order. I appreciate your patience as we work towards shipping. After returning from Intel's latest Thunderbolt meeting in Taiwan, I can confirm we're now expecting mid-April delivery. Full disclosure, there is a slight possibility this date could slip into early May due to the ongoing certification process. I am personally engaged in this process and working hard towards April delivery.

No other Thunderbolt 3 Dock is going to come close in style, performance and flexibility. With a single 40Gb/s Type C cable it enables access to 13 high-performance ports in addition to power delivery to charge your laptop and connected devices. It's also the only Thunderbolt 3 Dock to support FireWire 800.

I must admit to not fully researching the chipset(s) being used for the various ThunderBolt 3 docks, but perhaps there is only a single chipset vendor, Intel. If so, it may still be early days regarding what will be docks will be available when and with which exact capabilities.

I don't think any of the Thunderbolt 3 docks with PD are shipping yet. Not sure about USB-C docks with PD.


Edited by K447 (21/03/2017 00:13)

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#368487 - 21/03/2017 01:28 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Dell WD15 is USB-C and does PD
Dell TB15 could do PD but was plagued with issues.
Dell TB16 (seems to be TB15 replacement) looks like it's available

So I think there's a few around, but only slowly coming through.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368488 - 21/03/2017 03:03 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
...
Dell TB16 ... looks like it's available

...
It has a VGA port confused
Dell TB16


Edited by K447 (21/03/2017 03:04)

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#368489 - 21/03/2017 03:07 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
..and HDMI, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort. And? You don't have to use all the ports. smile

But I agree in this age for this product, VGA can probably be forgotten. I do have a VGa/DVI Full HD monitor that I'd probably put to use but hopefully HDMI-DVI would cover that.

NB: I found a Youtube showing it still has problems....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE2n-nuxi0E
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368490 - 21/03/2017 03:23 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 584
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
...
NB: I found a Youtube showing it still has problems....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE2n-nuxi0E
New chipset(s) = new drivers?

Might take a while for the driver stability aspects to settle down. Mac and Windows both, quite possibly.

I do not know whether macOS might need additional non-Apple provided drivers to be installed for a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

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#368491 - 21/03/2017 03:27 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: K447]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
No doubt.

The TB15 had firmware (BIOS) AND driver updates on laptops (XPS13 / XPS15 in particular) as well as firmware and driver updates for the hub itself. They still couldn't get it right so must have been buggy hardware or chipset in the end.

I don't even have one but my XPS 13 occasionally pesters me about new firmware/drivers for the WD15 or TB15 (maybe both)....

I'd be very wary until it's been out for a while. USD300 ain't cheap either.
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368492 - 21/03/2017 03:55 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Apparently the WD15 works with the MacBook...but can't do multiple displays. It sounds like everything else - including charging and USB - works on the MacBook but the display will only clone to the second monitor and not extend the desktop.

I'm not sure if this would be helped by future firmware upgrades. The WD15 does get pretty frequent updates, and often has compatibility issues with newer XPS 13 models.

There's still so much to be sorted out with this stuff. I'm knocking on wood that Everything is working for me so far...
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Matt

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#368493 - 21/03/2017 10:20 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1350
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: Shonky
Dell WD15 is USB-C and does PD
Dell TB15 could do PD but was plagued with issues.
Dell TB16 (seems to be TB15 replacement) looks like it's available

So I think there's a few around, but only slowly coming through.


If any US based empeggers need a employee friends & family coupon, drop me a note.

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#368494 - 21/03/2017 11:46 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13498
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
VGA can probably be forgotten.


Not for another decade or so. All of those conference rooms with video projection capabilities.. VGA. But yeah, probably just need a separate dongle for those who care; no real need for it in a docking station.

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#368495 - 21/03/2017 12:01 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1914
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Yeah who carries their docking station into the conference room. I did think of that use case smile
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Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368500 - 21/03/2017 18:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11866
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Originally Posted By: Shonky
VGA can probably be forgotten.

Not for another decade or so. All of those conference rooms with video projection capabilities.. VGA. But yeah, probably just need a separate dongle for those who care; no real need for it in a docking station.

I have several clients who still need VGA for this reason. Fortunately it's very easy to get dongles to adapt to it. I've set up several XPS 13 users with one of these. VGA and HDMI gets them connectivity in most conference rooms, and they also get ethernet for hotel rooms.
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Matt

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