May 20, 2024

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The USB 4 docks deliver enough bandwidth for two 4K 120Hz displays

The USB 4 docks deliver enough bandwidth for two 4K 120Hz displays

The latest Plugable USB 4 dock requires no compromises when using external displays with your laptop. the USB4 dual screen docking station (model number UD-4VPD) has not one but two HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing compatible laptops to connect to dual 4K displays running at a refresh rate of 120Hz. Plugable’s press release indicates that the UD-4VPD will be available starting today from Amazon for $199.95.

I say “compatible laptops” because in order to get the most out of the UD-4VPD, you’ll need a USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4 port that provides the 40Gbps worth of bandwidth the dock needs. (Thunderbolt 3 is supported, but Plugable’s press notes indicate that, in some cases, it will offer “reduced display mode options.”) The dock is also designed for Windows 10 and later.

While you can connect a MacBook, macOS doesn’t support the Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology that the dock uses, so it will only offer one additional display “up to 4K 60Hz, or 8K 60Hz,” Belgabel website. Connecting two monitors to your MacBook via this dock will cause one of them to clone your laptop’s display, giving two monitors in total.

Plugable is among the first companies to offer a dock with support for dual 4K/120Hz displays, but others are on the way. last month, for example, Kensington announced the Portable docking station MD125U4 USB4, which also provides support for up to two 4K/120Hz displays via a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports. Interestingly, Kensington’s press release says its dock can support a single 8K display at up to 30Hz, while Plugable claims its dock supports a single 8K display at 60Hz.

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Besides the two HDMI 2.1 ports, the Plugable dock has nine more ports. There are two USB-A 10Gbps ports, one USB-A 5Gbps port, one USB-C 10Gbps port with up to 20W power, and a USB-C port for connecting to a laptop that provides up to 100W power. There are a pair of SD card slots (including one microSD card) and a 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack. Finally, you get a 3.5mm audio jack for good measure, and a 1m long USB 4 40Gbps cable comes in the box.