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#370805 - 09/04/2018 22:27 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: Roger]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Roger
I've got a few of these. They're grippy, they're surprisingly weighty, and they're pretty good at keeping your cables on your desk.

Those look pretty cool. I'll look into some of those for general usage.


Still doesn't solve what the heck to do with the Apple AV Multiport Adapter, whose dingledangle is so supidly short as to make any positioning other than "hang off the side" impossible. Not enough length on that cord to do the things I would need to make cord holders or velcro sticky work. I could really use some kind of extender for that thing which works.
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Tony Fabris

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#370806 - 09/04/2018 23:41 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 679
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: tfabris
... what the heck to do with the Apple AV Multiport Adapter, whose dingledangle is so supidly short as to make any positioning other than "hang off the side" impossible. ...

Originally Posted By: tfabris
...
The device I ordered is pretty specific about being a thunderbolt 3 device with two HDMI outputs. It's not the same brand as the CableMatters one that you recommended, but it looks like it's the same class of device. (I ordered a different brand because I could get it faster.)
...
Why not buy two of these devices?

One on each side of the MacBook Pro 15Ē

Is there something about the Apple adapter that makes it indispensable?

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#370807 - 10/04/2018 15:41 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: K447]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Power.
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Tony Fabris

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#370808 - 10/04/2018 17:12 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
More specifically, my goals are:
- Fewest possible number of cables to dock every time.
- Need to plug in charging power.
- Need to plug into a USB hub.
- Need to plug into at least two external HDMI displays.
- Hopefully also plug into a third external HDMI display.

The Apple AV Multiport adapter took care of all of the above with a single cable, until they broke DisplyayLink and the USB couldn't daisychain into a DisplayLink dock any more. I have had (and still have) the multiport adapter dangling off the side of the desk for a long time, but I never liked how it put stress on the port on the side of the computer, and I'm worried that if I keep doing that it'll eventually break.

My final solution will be a full docking station (I put in an order for the CalDigit TS3 with a 6-foot certifed cable, but the product doesn't actually exist for me yet), plus the dual-HDMI thingy plugged into the opposite side of the laptop.

I don't like the two-cable solution, and I particularly don't like the two-sides-of-the-laptop thing, but it appears that I don't have a choice at the moment.
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#371114 - 13/07/2018 23:23 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3501
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
I'll just leave this here: Blackmagic eGPU.
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#371115 - 13/07/2018 23:33 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3501
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
I'm assuming you could plug the dual-HDMI thingy into the second Thunderbolt port, use the built-in HDMI for the third port, and use the built-in USB hub, and thus have all of your gear on a single thunderbolt plug with even greater performance. Convenience certainly comes at a price though.
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#371120 - 14/07/2018 19:22 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: JBjorgen]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ah, thanks for reminding me that I needed to follow up on this thread with my solution.

The external GPU looks really nice. I find it interesting that it does not have dual monitor outputs. It's got a USB hub and some Thunderbolt pass throughs, though, so you could still daisy chain stuff downstream from it, but it's not a dock replacement. No ethernet or audio connectors, for example.

My final working solution is this:

I got a Caldigit TS3 Plus and I am very happy with it. They were sold out at first, so I got on the preorder list and it arrived a couple weeks later. The TS3 Plus is still not the perfect solution because I still have to deal with multiple peripheral dongle adapters to get all my stuff working. What this world really needs is a dock with dual monitor outputs along with all the other stuff that's in the TS3 Plus.

In the meantime, here is my current desk setup which is working well:

Windows laptop:
- Single-cable dock: USB 3 connection to my existing DisplayLink dock.
- DVI outputs from DisplayLink dock go into the DVI inputs on my existing dual monitors.

Mac laptop:
- Single-cable dock: Certified high speed thunderbolt cable to Caldigit TS3 Plus dock (you choose cable length when you order the dock).
- Video output port on the TS3+ is unused.
- Thunderbolt port on the TS3+ has a dual-HDMI thunderbolt adapter plugged into it.
- HDMI outputs from the dual-HDMI adapter go to the HDMI inputs on my existing dual monitors.
- As long as I don't try to use the video output on the TS3+, nor try to plug another video adapter into that same side of the Mac, then both monitors always work. I cannot drive a third monitor from that side of the Mac, regardless of docks or daisy chaining, due to the aforementioned "two monitors per thunderbolt chip max" limitation on macs.

Now I can switch displays between the Windows and Mac computers just by tapping the "input" button on the front of each monitor.

USB stuff:
- Peripherals which I only use with the Windows computer are plugged into the USB ports on the Displaylink dock.
- Peripherals which I only use with the Mac computer are plugged into the USB ports on the TS3+ dock.
- I have a USB3 hub which is the "common" hub for both systems, hosting the peripherals which are used by both computers.
- There are USB extension cables (with female "A" ends) coming from each dock, as well as the upstream cable from the USB3 hub. I have placed the ends of these three cables where I can reach them. When I switch between using the Mac and the Windows computers, I swap which of the docks gets connected to the USB3 hub, by swapping the extension cables.

The extra monitor for the recording booth:
- When I need to go into the booth, I have a thunderbolt single-HDMI adapter that I can plug into the other side of the Mac. As long as I don't plug it into the same side of the Mac as the TS3+ dock, then all monitors work.
- This is the one thing that breaks my "single-cable dock" goal, but since I don't need the booth monitor very often, I think that's OK.

In the end, I think this is a lot of trouble to go to for docking multiple computers. Everything will be USBC soon enough and I'll have to redo it all I suppose.

Long-term, I expect we'll get the ability to use any/all external displays wirelessly like they do in The Expanse. If you haven't seen the series, all handheld computers can cast to any nearby video or holographic display just by gesturing at the external display with the handheld device. It's quite elegant. The concept of "flinging" to an external display is something that predates the series, but I think they handle it well.

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#371121 - 14/07/2018 19:30 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: JBjorgen]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
I'm assuming you could plug the dual-HDMI thingy into the second Thunderbolt port, use the built-in HDMI for the third port, and use the built-in USB hub,


To clarify, that won't work because of the Mac's "Two monitors per thunderbolt chip" limit. I have the same limit on the TS3+ dock.
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Tony Fabris

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#371122 - 15/07/2018 01:09 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3501
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Originally Posted By: tfabris

To clarify, that won't work because of the Mac's "Two monitors per thunderbolt chip" limit. I have the same limit on the TS3+ dock.


Out of curiosity, is this a specific thunderbolt chip limit, a GPU limit, or a limitation of the thunderbolt 3 spec?
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#371123 - 15/07/2018 01:31 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13894
Loc: Canada
Thunderbolt is just a different PCIe interface (for purposes of this discussion), so I would guess that the limit must be either a software thing or a hardware limit of the specific GPU devices involved.


Other PCIe GPU devices can handle 3 monitors (a connector space limit).

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#371124 - 15/07/2018 02:00 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3501
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
That's why I was wondering. Since the Blackmagic eGPU is a separate GPU, perhaps 3 monitors concurrently will work. It's so new, I haven't actually been able to find anyone who has tried it yet.

Of course if it is a software limit, there's no sense in trying to wait for it to change. Apple will do what they please when they want to do it. It will be best for you and you WILL like it. smile
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#371171 - 01/08/2018 18:38 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: JBjorgen]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
CalDigit just announced this in their lineup:

http://www.caldigit.com/thunderbolt-3/mini-dock-HDMI-DisplayPort/

Looks pretty awesome actually. Not a full dock (it doesn't accept a power charging input), but it's a nice travel adapter thing that does dual displays, USB, and ethernet, in a single plugin dock.
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Tony Fabris

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#371172 - 01/08/2018 21:15 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1481
Loc: Arizona
Travel adapter for two displays?

You pack differently than I do, Tony...

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#371173 - 01/08/2018 21:49 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: Tim]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Heh. smile

In all fairness, though, I know plenty of people who could use a setup like that for traveling. For instance, I know a videographer who does multi-camera setups who could use something like that, either at the shoot or editing in a hotel room.

For a non-traveling setup, that's the sort of thing that I would have wanted, except for the lack of a power connection.
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Tony Fabris

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#371174 - 02/08/2018 13:31 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1481
Loc: Arizona
I entertained the idea of renting a monitor during my last trip. I had to take an exam while in DC and trying to do it all on the laptop monitor was a pain in the ass.

Renting the monitors would make something like that adapter make a lot of sense (somebody suggested 'buying' them from Best Buy then returning them - but I can't do that).

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#371176 - 08/08/2018 18:05 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31191
Loc: Seattle, WA
Looping back on the original reason for this thread, there's a note at the DisplayLink site that they are expecting full support to be returned soon. It's working again in developer preview releases of 10.14 Mojave with the DisplayLink 4.3 beta 5 drivers now. The note is up on their MacOs downloads page at the moment.
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Tony Fabris

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#371222 - 24/08/2018 22:18 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: JBjorgen]
Faolan
journeyman

Registered: 08/11/2017
Posts: 65
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
Out of curiosity, is this a specific thunderbolt chip limit, a GPU limit, or a limitation of the thunderbolt 3 spec?

Itís a part of the Thunderbolt spec per Intel. Thereís 8 lanes of DisplayPort 1.2 on the bus seperate from the PCIe lanes. (TB3 also tossed in a USB 3.1 Gen2 bus seperate from the PCIe/DP bits) DisplayPort commonly uses 4 lanes for a single display stream, though 5K and some 4K monitors need all 8 lanes. Hence the 2 display limit per Thunderbolt bus (or one 5K display).
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#371223 - 24/08/2018 22:21 Re: Laptop docks (again) - Mac broke them, now what? [Re: tfabris]
Faolan
journeyman

Registered: 08/11/2017
Posts: 65
Originally Posted By: tfabris
there's a note at the DisplayLink site that they are expecting full support to be returned soon. It's working again in developer preview releases of 10.14 Mojave with the DisplayLink 4.3 beta 5 drivers now.

Interestingly, this is the same developer preview that also allowed eGPUs to accelerate the built in display. While the first 10.13 release that broke the DisplayLink USB devices was the one that introduced eGPU support.

Iíve not kept up with the internals of macOS these days, though I am curious whatís going on at the graphics layer a bit more now.
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