USB 4 docks arrive with enough bandwidth for two 4K 120Hz displays
Plugable’s latest USB 4 dock doesn’t require compromises when using external monitors with your laptop. The USB4 Dual Monitor Docking Station (model number UD-4VPD) contains not one but two HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing compatible laptops to be connected to dual 4K displays running at a refresh rate of 120Hz. Plugable’s press release notes 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 offers the 40Gbps worth of bandwidth needed by the dock. (Thunderbolt 3 is supported, but Plugable’s press release notes that, in some cases, it’ll offer “reduced display mode options.”) The dock is also designed for Windows 10 systems and newer.
While you can plug in a MacBook, macOS doesn’t support the multi-stream transport (MST) technology used by the dock, so it’ll only offer one additional display at “up to 4K 60Hz, or 8K 60 Hz,” per Plugable’s website. Plugging two monitors into a MacBook via this dock will result in one of them cloning the laptop’s display, giving two screens 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 MD125U4 USB4 Portable Docking Station, which also offers support for up to two 4K / 120Hz monitors via a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports. Interestingly, Kensington’s press release says its dock can support a single 8K monitor at up to 30Hz, while Plugable claims its dock supports a single 8K display at 60Hz.
Alongside two HDMI 2.1 ports, Plugable’s dock has nine other ports. There are two USB-A 10Gbps ports, one USB-A 5Gbps port, one USB-C 10Gbps port with up to 20W of power, and a USB-C port for connecting to a laptop that offers up to 100W of power. There are a pair of SD card slots (including one microSD) and a 2.5Gbps ethernet jack. Finally, you get a 3.5mm audio jack for good measure, and a one-meter USB 4 40Gbps cable comes in the box.