Run your 4K monitors alongside USB devices from a single USB-C laptop port

Introduction

Suppose you have a 4K monitor or two high refresh rate 1080p/1440p monitors and a laptop with a single USB-C port supporting video output. What is a straightforward and economical approach to get the full refresh rate capabilities of the monitors while also being able to use USB devices like a mouse and thumbdrive?

On many laptops, USB-C port bandwidth is limited such that you can only use 4K @ 60Hz OR USB 3.x @ 5Gb/s+ speeds, not both. For such laptops, USB devices must be limited to USB 2.0 speeds (480Mb/s) in order to achieve 4K @ 60Hz via DisplayPort 1.2 (DP 1.2) alternate mode. Most simple hubs on the market run USB devices at 5Gb/s which limits the monitor to 30Hz. For many users, this feels extremely slow/laggy even if they are not gamers. What’s worse is that marketing materials are rarely straightforward about monitor refresh rates. There are dozens of off-brand hubs on ebay, amazon, and aliexpress claiming 60Hz support (at least for 1080p) as well as 4K support. But what they don’t mention is that 4K always runs at 30Hz. Some of these devices have logic built in such that a monitor will run at 4K60 as long as no USB devices are plugged in. But as soon as a USB 3.x device is plugged in, the 4K monitor drops to 30Hz. Similarly, some will automatically limit USB speeds when a 4K60Hz capable monitor is detected, but this detection doesn’t always work properly.

More recent laptops implement DisplayPort 1.4 (DP 1.4) alternate mode with display stream compression (DSC) over USB-C which can run 1x or 2x 4K60 AND USB devices at 5Gb/s or faster simultaneously from the same USB-C port. Older hubs don’t take advantage of this capability and will still run monitors at 30Hz or limit USB speeds unnecessarily.

Below is a collection of economical USB-C hubs to extend your laptop to run 1x or 2x 4K monitors at 60Hz alongside USB devices. The minimum feature set to be considered for this list is:

  1. one or more HDMI or DisplayPort video ports supporting 4K60 via DP alt mode (not DisplayLink)
  2. one or more USB A-style ports
  3. 60W or more USB-C power delivery for laptop charging
  4. compact/portable
  5. $100 USD or less

4K60 USB-C hubs for laptops with DP 1.4

These hubs are well-suited for newer laptops which support DP1.4. Most of these hubs allow 1x 4K60 or 2x 4K30 monitors alongside 5Gb/s+ USB. Some laptops will also manage 2x 4K60 (see compatibility notes). Older laptops will work OK, but will run in DP1.2 alt mode which may limit monitor bandwidth to 1x 4K30 or 2x1080p. Users of older laptops should consider the DP1.2 hubs.

Compatibility notes:

Even though spec sheets of various laptops may indicate DP1.4 and/or DSC capabilities, this technology is new and we’ve had many user reports of compatibility issues between various hubs and laptop models when trying to get the highest monitor resolutions to work alongside USB 3.x devices. For example, setting up 2x 4K60 monitors via multi-stream transport (MST) is particularly challenging on many laptops from 2019-2020 and almost impossible on systems based on the Intel 9th/10th Gen Core processors. Intel 11th Gen Core processors fare much better. I don’t have the resources to test all the combinations, but this list includes what should work if your PC implements DP 1.4 with DSC and MST properly.

If you have problems getting 2x 4K60 working on hubs that also support USB 3.x devices, email the laptop vendor and dock vendor and see if firmware updates are available. Many vendors have revised their specifications since launch to indicate only 1x 4K60 is possible.

A hub that limits USB devices to 2.0 speeds instead such as Cable Matters 201046 or 201355 is a better bet on problematic laptops and often will enable 2x 4K60 to work at the expense of slower speeds for your USB devices.

Unless otherwise indicated, power supplies are NOT included

Device Brand
and Model
PhotoUSB-C PD passthrough powerMonitor portsOther Ports      Additional NotesCost
($USD)
Anker PowerExtreme A83800A1100W (~85W laptop charging)2x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60 or 2x 4K30)
– 2x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
~50
Anker PowerExtreme A83830A1100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– 1x USB-C 10Gb/s
– 2x USB 3.x 10Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
– has 10Gb/s USB~60
Cable Matters 201046-BLK60W1x DP 1.4
(1x 8K30 or 1x 4K120)
2x USB 2.0
– 100Mb/s Ethernet
– 4K60 OK on DP 1.2 laptops~40
Cable Matters 201355-BLK100W (~85W laptop charging)2x DP 1.4
(1x 8K30 or 2x 4K60)
2x USB 2.0
– 100Mb/s Ethernet
– 4K60 OK on DP 1.2 laptops
– 2x 4K60 OK on many DP 1.4 laptops without DSC
~60
Cable Matters 201331-BLK100W (~85W laptop charging)3x DP 1.4
(1x 8K30 or 2x4K60 or 3x4K30)
– USB-C 5Gb/s
– 2x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
-PC must support DP 1.4 with DSC over MST for 2x 4K60~80
CalDigit SOHO100W (~85W laptop charging)1x DP 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
(1x 4K60 HDR or 2x 4K30)
– USB-C 10Gb/s
– USB 3.x 10Gb/s
– UHS-II SDCard reader
– detachable 0.5m USB-C cable
– has 10Gb/s USB
– has UHS-II support
~80
Club3D CSV-1593/
CE-Link UTC-C2UE2UHMS01-DP1.4-AL
100W (~85W laptop charging)2x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60 or 2x 4K30)
– 2x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
– DSC not working only 1x 4K60~75
Dockteck DT0001100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– USB 3.x 5Gb/s– most barebones device on list
– Dockteck is an alternate brand name for CableCreation
~25
DockTeck DT0002100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
~30
DockTeck DT0008/
Techwolf hub
100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– 3x USB 3.x 5Gb/s– multiple re-brands available~30
Dockteck DT0007100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– 2x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
~30
Dockteck DT0009
100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– 3x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
~40
HyperDrive Gen2 6-port100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0
(1x 4K60)
– USB 3.x 10Gb/s
– UHS-II SDCard reader
– 3.5mm TRRS audio
– has 10Gb/s USB
– has audio
– has UHS-II support
~100
Rosewill RHUB-100W /
Juiced NovaHub/
UpTab UP-TCHUBG2

100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI 2.0b
(1x 4K60 HDR)
– USB-C 10Gb/s
– 2x USB 3.x 10Gb/s
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-I SDCard reader
– multiple re-brands available~40-75
Wavlink WL-UMD502100W (~60W laptop charging)1x DP
2x HDMI
(1x 4K60 or 2x 4K30 or 3x 1080p)
– 3x USB 3.x 5Gb/s
– 2x USB 2.0
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– UHS-1 SDCard reader
– 3.5mm TRRS audio
– has audio~60

4K60 USB-C hubs for laptops with DP 1.2

These hubs limit USB peripheral speeds to USB 2.0 (480Mb/s) to ensure that a single monitor will run at 4K60 over DP1.2 alt mode. Example laptops in this category are Surface Book 2, Surface Go, Surface Go 2, and Surface Laptop Go. Newer, more capable laptops with DP1.4 will work fine, but DP1.4 hubs are a better choice for those systems.

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, external power supplies are sold separately.

Device Brand/ModelPhotoUSB-C PD passthrough powerMonitor
ports
Other ports     Additional NotesCost ($USD)
Cable Matters 201055-BLK60W2x DP 1.2
(2x 4K30 or 1x 4K60)
– 2x USB 2.0
– 100Mb/s Ethernet
– also consider 201355~60
Cable Matters 201056-BLK60W2x HDMI
(2x 4K30 or 1x 4K60)
– 2x USB 2.0
– 100Mb/s Ethernet
~60
Cable Matters 201031-BLK60W1x DP 1.2 /
1x HDMI /
1x VGA
(1x 4K60)
– USB 2.0
– 100Mb/s Ethernet
– 3 video ports but only 1 distinct video output~50
Startech DK30C2DAGGPD100W (~85W laptop charging)2x DP
(2x 4K30 or 1x 4K60)
– USB 3.x
– USB 2.0
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– Has physical switch to choose high bandwidth video or high bandwidth USB/Ethernet
– detachable USB-C cable
~100-125
Startech DK30C2HAGPD100W (~85W laptop charging)2x HDMI (2x 4K30 or 1x 4K60)– USB 3.x
– USB 2.0
– 1Gb/s Ethernet
– Has physical switch to choose high bandwidth video or high bandwidth USB/Ethernet
– detachable USB-C cable
~100
Ruiyushidai/UXD hub100W (~85W laptop charging)1x HDMI
(1x 4K60)
– 2x USB 2.0~30

Why choose a portable hub vs a Desktop-class dock?

CharacteristicDesktop-class DockPortable Hub
Travel weight1-1.5kg (2-3.25 pounds)100-500g (0.25-1 pound) depending on external power supply
Cost ($ USD)~$100-300~$30-100 (plus power adapter)
Power supplyincluded; required to operate docksold separately; recommended but not required to operate hub
Cabledetachable 1m (3 feet) cable (typical)15-30cm (6-12 inches) integrated cable (typical)
Cable managementgood; easy to route cables to work with other devicesvaries; port placement chosen for hub compactness, not convenience
PD laptop charging60-100W60-85W (some power used by hub)
Reliabilitygoodgood when external power supply attached;
fair when detached
# distinct monitor outputs2-41-2
# USB ports3-81-3
3.5mm Audioyessome
Ethernetyessome
Smartcard readersomesome

Honorable mentions

Here are a handful of products that didn’t quite fit the defined criteria but are interesting nonetheless:

Please let me know of additional 4K60 capable hubs you’ve had good results with.

More reading

40 thoughts on “Run your 4K monitors alongside USB devices from a single USB-C laptop port

  1. Through your post is how I first learned that there are finally hubs that do PD passthrough and DP 1.4 with DSC. I have a Surface Laptop 3 and a monitor that provides PD power (and can do power/data/video on one cable, but only TB3, not USB) so now there is finally a hub which would allow me to get power, high res video and USB 3 via a single cable connected to the Surface Laptop 3….

    Well, sort of. I got the Cable Matters 201331-BLK and here are my impressions.

    First, power pass through and USB work fine.

    Video doesn’t work so smoothly, though.
    * So my monitor runs at 5120×2160 – a little over 4K. I can run it at max 30 Hz even though there should be enough bandwidth for 60 Hz. If it can do two monitors at 3840×2160@60Hz, adding that extra 1280×2160 screen area (way less than another 4K monitor) to get to 5K shouldn’t force it to go down to 30 Hz.
    * In fact with the prior adapter I used – Cable Matters 201046-BLK – I was able to run 5K60 + USB2. Now I have USB3, but only 5K30…
    * Things get even worse when I try to add another monitor. I thought, well maybe it forces the 30 Hz, so that you can still add other monitors at full resolution. I added a 2560×1600 monitor… and… it forces it down to 1280×800 (albeit at 60 Hz with no option to change it).

    I don’t know if there are any software tweaks to make it work well. Ultimately it delivers marginal utility.

    Maybe the CalDigit SOHO works better… That’s the other option with can do PD pass-through + 2+ DP 1.4 with DSC + USB3.

    Like

    • I couldn’t recreate my Surface GO / 2x2560x1440@60Hz setup with a cable matters 201055 dock on a Surface Laptop 3 either, bummer. Since there are no problems with other Intel 10Gen/11Gen LG laptops it’s fair to assume these Intel 10Gen Surface devices have some issues with their USB-C implementation, e.g. not achieving same resolution with an HBR2 gen dock yet not working with an HBR3 gen/DSC enabled dock either, I eventually bought a Matebook X Pro 2021 and a TB3 enabled LG 4K Ultrafine display to run a dual 4K 60Hz setup through daisy chaining another display

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cable Matters 201331-BLK and Surface Laptop 3 setup is not working for me to have dual 4K monitors at 60Hz. One monitor can do max 4K 30Hz, another only 1080p at 60 Hz…

    Like

  3. Probably silly question: in order to exploit 2x4k, does monitors need to support DP 1.4 too? In my case I have two BenQ PD3200U (4k panels). In the panel config I can choose between DP1.1 and DP1.2, does it mean they wont work at 4k60hz even if my surface pro 7 supports it?

    Like

  4. I just got the Ruiyushidai/UXD hub but unfortunately it does not allow me to set 60Hz at 4K or UHD resolution on my MacBook Air 2018. However, 60Hz is possible with a Lenovo USB-C to HDMI adapter. What could be the reason for this? I actually thought to have found the solution.

    Like

  5. Thank your for collaborating all this information, I consider this the most useful site on the internet concerning this topic.

    I’m running a dual 2560×1440@60Hz configuration with a Surface GO1 and cable matters 201055 dock for some time now.

    The new cable matters 201355 should be the ideal successor to this dock for people who already have a USB-C HBR3 equipped laptop like Surface Laptop3/4.
    Avoid the cable matters 201331, it’s promised dual4K output just isn’t working on most systems, probably due to the USB 3.0 ports eating away the bandwith.

    Like

  6. Hi
    I just bought an i-tec C31NANODOCKPROPD for my SP7 and 4K 60Hz didn’t work.
    Their support said that intel 10th gen G series CPUs only support DP1.4 in 4 lane mode, and not in 2 lane mode so 4K 60Hz won’t work with USB 3.
    What’s your experience?

    Like

    • Linking the reddit thread for the benefit of others: https://www.reddit.com/r/UsbCHardware/comments/nxozm2/itec_sbc_metal_nano_3x_display_docking_station/

      Yeah I’ve updated the article to list out some of the compat issues folks are having. The hubs that limit USB speeds to 2.0 certainly seem to work better with certain laptops from the late 2019/early 2020 era. Unfortunately, the Cable Matters 201355 is always out of stock – otherwise it would be my goto choice.

      Like

      • Yeah. I just ordered the club3D one, and report back with resoults.
        Unfortunately cable matters isn’t available here in europe.

        Like

        • The Club3D csv-1593 also maxes out at 4K 30Hz. So with this limitation in mind, I can reccomend both.

          Like

          • Welp, looks like the initial marketing materials for these docks was wrong. Club3D has corrected it on their page and it now states 1x 4K60 OR 2x 4K30. How disappointing. The CE-Link page is still misleading stating dual 4K60 in one spot but dual 4K30 in another. Clearly, DSC is not working on this dock.

            Like

  7. Hey there, I was almost ready to pull the trigger on the Cable Matters 201331 for my Surface Book 3, but now, reading all the negative experiences with SP7 / SL3, I am a bit puzzled. Dan, kudos for running this site, btw, very-very helpful!
    I would like to run 2x 4K@60Hz and have 100W USB-C PD passthrough and optionally wired ethernet. So I should just go with the 201355 and accept 480mbps ethernet speeds? Any word on the stability of the 201365/201375 with 2020 Microsoft devices?

    Like

  8. I don’t have surface, but a Lenovo Yoga Laptop with Ryzen7 4800 U. I don’t need 4K (my monitor only has 2560*1080@75Hz), but would like to have a USB-C Dock hat gives me Freesync and HDR. Both work over the HDMI-Port of my Laptop and over a USB-C to Displayport cable, but with none of my USB-C docks.
    As I understand it ‘normal’ USB-C docks could give me HDR (when they’re 4k60 capable), but for Freesync I would need a dock that doesn’t touch the DP Signal. So the Cable Matters 201046 should work. But it’s difficult to come by (for normal prices). I found also the Cable Matters 201246, which seems to be a related but a bit differend version, but on amazon it’s only specified as DP 1.2 and 4k60. Would it work with Freesync and HDR?
    Or are there other Docks that support both?

    Like

    • Oh Freesync / DisplayPort adaptive sync is a good question. I don’t see that in marketing materials for Docks. I think you’ll have to ask the vendor. I would assume that DP1.2 docks don’t have this capability unless they specifically mention it (which means they actually have DP1.2a).

      DP1.4 docks are far more likely to work, especially those limited to USB 2.0 like the hard-to-find CM 201046 and 201355. These ought to act exactly like your USB-C->DP adapter but just have a little USB 2.0 hub as well. If you can get your hands on one of these at a reasonable price, I think its worth a shot.

      For customers building gaming-oriented rigs, I always recommend plugging the monitor directly into the PC rather than through a Dock. High refresh, HDR, Sync, etc, just work better that way. It is a hassle to have multiple cables, but for gaming its really the best way.

      Like

      • So I bought the Cable Matters 201246 – and Freesync and HDR do actually work.
        On the Packaging it says only “4K”. I’m a bit stumped, because having only USB 2.0 i’d guess that the DP Signal is 4Lanes untouched, but then it should support 8k. Is there even a way (or a reason) to dumb the signal down to dp 1.2?

        Like

        • Actually, I believe this 201246 model does do 8K30 via Display stream compression. I’ll update the article accordingly.

          Like

  9. This is an awesome writeup! I was able to get four 4k60 displays running on a 2021 Zephyrus G15 (with the rtx3060) using two adapters. Wasn’t sure my laptop would handle that, but it’s working great. It’s even running the laptop display at 165hz at the same time.

    I used a Cable Matters 201355 and (since I couldn’t find another in stock) a 201375. It appears to be the same thing just without the USB ports and doesn’t have any trouble doing dual 4k60.

    Reddit post with pictures https://www.reddit.com/r/ZephyrusG15/comments/tynei7/successfully_running_four_4k_60hz_native_displays/

    Like

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