USB type C connectors are becoming more and more common and beside transmitting data and power, some devices also support video over USB which requires a dock, and if you have some serious display requirements, Targus docking stations over USB-C or USB 3.0 might be what you are looking for, as they support two 4K monitors at the same time thanks to their multiple HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2a and DVI outputs, and you can even daisy-chain three docking stations over USB 3.0 type A cables in order to control six 4K monitors from one USB port.
Targus has several models, but let’s check out the specifications of their “USB 3.0 DV4K DOCK160USZ dock station” pictured above:
- Chipset – DisplayLink DL-6950
- Video Output Ports – 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 2x DisplayPort 1.2a ports supporting up to dual 4K Ultra HD video @ 4096×2160 60Hz 24 bpp
- Audio – 1x 3.5 mm audio in/out jack for microphone, headphone or speakers, 6-Channel (5.1) audio over HDMI/DisplayPort
- 1x USB-C port (USB 3.0 data only)
- 4x USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports (1x powered for fast device charging)
- Input from PC – USB 3.0 micro B port marked “UP”
- Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet port
- Misc – Integrated lock slot accommodates standard industry-security locks to safeguard equipment
- Power Supply – 19V (45Watt) power supply
The dock comes with a detachable one meter USB-µB/M to A/M cable, and a 45Watt AC power supply. It works with Windows 7/8/10, Chrome OS, Mac OS X 10.8 or later, Linux, and Android 5.0/5.1 or greater operating systems. Beside controlling two displays, you can also attach USB 3.0 devices, access the network through Ethernet, and charge the input device (computer/laptop/smartphone). The company also offers Dock 410 docking station using USB-C input instead, still supporting up to two 4K monitors, but with two DisplayPorts, one HDMI, and one DVI-D, and featuring a 65 Watts power supply. I found about their solution through Charbax video below at DisplayLink Booth at CES 2017. The video is 17 minutes long, and covers multiple DisplayLink solutions. The part related to the dock starts at 1:26.
It seems fairly complicated to find out whether a dock will work with your laptop, as some specific USB feature may be required, and you’d better ask the seller or to the company whether it will really be compatible with computer, laptop, or mobile device and which limitation you should expect. I’ve included some customers questions from Targus website to give an idea of what I mean:
Q: This has 2 DP1.2 ports, do these ports also support MST, such that I could split each port using a MST port splitter and drive 4 standard 1920×1200 displays?
A: Great question! Currently the DOCK160USZ does not support MST on either DP1.2 port. It is being considered by our product development team but to date we have yet to find any Intel based graphics that support more than three (two external and one local) monitor.
Q: With what type of Cable will connect to my laptop (my laptop has TB3); Will it charge my laptop thru the connection cable as well, Or I still have to charge laptop separately
A: To connect it your laptop via TB3, you may use a USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter such as the Targus ACC923USX adapter. The DOCK160USZ is not designed to charge the host PC via TB3. The Targus DOCK410USZ can power and charge up to 60W via the TB3 port and is recommended for most TB3 applications.
Q: Will DOCK130USZ comes with a USB-3.0 C cable to connect to a dell XPS 9365, and would it power the laptop?
A: The DOCK130USZ comes with a USB 3.0 Type Micro B to A cable. While USB 3.0 can often charge certain devices (i.e. a smartphone), it is not designed to charge the host PC. The Targus DOCK410USZ however, should power and charge the Dell XPS 9365 on the DisplayPort Alternate Mode port with power (right side) and may power and charge on the Thunderbolt 3 port (left side).
So you have to carefully think about your use case to find out if it can meet your needs.
Targus Dock 160 is sold on Amazon US for $249.99, and Dock 410 with USB-C input port for $188.91.If you only want to drive a single 4K display from a USB port, and don’t need any of the other features, there are much cheaper solutions.