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tedwill

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
123
162
Northville, MI
I have two LG 4k monitors. What is the best docking station to connect to both in 4k and pass through power to a MacBook and also my work laptop (Lenovo). Both support USB-C.

Are some docking stations powered and others aren't? I can't seem to find one that is USB-C in and out, only USB-C in and USB-3 out or HDMI.

Also, what is the best setup? A powered dock that uses USB-C to connect to MacBook, then HDMI to the monitors, or USB-C or USB-3?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

-Ted
 
Last edited:

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
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4,062
Which LG 4K monitors?

You probably want a Thunderbolt 3 dock with a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort alt mode and a second Thunderbolt 3 port. One display can connect to the USB-C port with DisplayPort alt mode, and the other display can connect to the Thunderbolt 3 port.

Most Thunderbolt 3 docks will provide power to the laptop. Search for power delivery.

One such dock is the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 120W. It provides up to 100W to the laptop. The dock has multiple display outputs provided by a built-in DisplayPort 1.4 MST hub, but macOS does support MST for multiple displays, so you can only have one display connected to the MST hub ports (DisplayPort 1, DisplayPort 2, USB-C with DisplayPort alt mode, or VGA), and one display connected to the Thunderbolt 3 port.

Maybe you can find other similar docks.
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
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4,062
If you have a MacBook instead of a MacBook Pro, then you can't use the Thunderbolt features of the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2. A MacBook can only have one external display. A MacBook Pro can have multiple external displays.
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,623
4,062
It may be possible to use a USB to video adapter that uses DisplayLink for additional displays. I don't know how well it works in macOS. It doesn't use a direct connection to the GPU so the number of DisplayLink displays is not limited by the GPU. Since it doesn't have a direct connection to the GPU, it's not good for video or gaming but should be good enough for browsing and text editing.
 

tedwill

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
123
162
Northville, MI
If you have a MacBook instead of a MacBook Pro, then you can't use the Thunderbolt features of the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2. A MacBook can only have one external display. A MacBook Pro can have multiple external displays.
Sorry, I misspoke, I have the MacBook Pro - 13" 2018 Model and two LG 27UK850-W 27" 4K UHD IPS Monitors. I also use a newer Lenovo laptop for work, which works great with USB-C to connect directly to one of the monitors for video and power.

I just bought the second LG monitor wanted both the MacBook pro and the Lenovo (not at the same time) to use both monitors at 3840x2160.

I mistakenly bought the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini, which does not provide power to the MacBook Pro or the Lenovo. The monitors came with these cables:

USB-C -> USB-C
HDMI
Display Port

Would you recommend a similar dock, only one that provides power and use either HDMI or Display Port? I know those work with 4k, but I haven't been able to find any that support USB-C out from the dock to both monitors. These monitors support USB-C.

Thanks!

-Ted
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,623
4,062
Avoid HDMI if the display has DisplayPort or USB-C.
DisplayPort has more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0, so it can do 4K 60Hz 10bpc RGB.
HDMI 2.0 is limited to 4K 60Hz 8bpc and might do chroma subsampling 4:2:2 or 4:2:0.
I already mentioned the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 as one option supporting two USB-C display connections.
The displays have DisplayPort input, so you don't need to limit yourself to Thunderbolt 3 docks that have a USB-C display output.

You didn't say what model the Lenova is or what features it has so I don't know how many displays it can support externally.
 

tedwill

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 13, 2016
123
162
Northville, MI
Avoid HDMI if the display has DisplayPort or USB-C.
DisplayPort has more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0, so it can do 4K 60Hz 10bpc RGB.
HDMI 2.0 is limited to 4K 60Hz 8bpc and might do chroma subsampling 4:2:2 or 4:2:0.
I already mentioned the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 as one option supporting two USB-C display connections.
The displays have DisplayPort input, so you don't need to limit yourself to Thunderbolt 3 docks that have a USB-C display output.

You didn't say what model the Lenova is or what features it has so I don't know how many displays it can support externally.
Thanks! I will get the HP dock.
 
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