As previously reported, not all USB Type-C (aka USB-C) ports are the same. While Type-C enables video, data, and power over a single connection it doesn’t mean all the capabilities have been implemented on the host or device. And even if the receptacle is marked, various hosts and devices are not always compatible.
The good news is that of all the USB Type-C docking stations that we’ve evaluated, the Targus DOCK410 appears the most compatible and the performance is comparable, if not superior, to other brands. Targus has done an excellent job of designing the DOCK410 to support the broadest range of USB Type-C host platforms and devices to provide a universal solution.
The DOCK410 specifically support the following with a single USB Type-C cable connection to either A) a USB Type-C Display Port Alternate Mode port or B) a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 Alternate Mode port with Windows, Mac OS X or Ubuntu Linux, specifically:
- DisplayPort 1.2 Alternate Mode
- Power Profile 4 up to 60W
- USB 3.0 5 Gbps (USB 3.1 Gen 1)
- Dual HD Video, up to 2048×1152.; Single to 4K2K, dual at reduced frame rates
- Works with USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 Alternate Mode
Ways to approach using the DOCK410
Not all manufacturers implement USB Type-C the same. Therefore, it’s important to know what the USB Type-C connector is being used for on both your host (e.g., laptop, PC tablet, etc.) and your device (e.g. universal dock). This brings up the importance of understanding how a “host” and a “device” function. For instance, some hosts can supply power to devices and others require power from devices. In the case of the DOCK410, it’s a device to the host PC/MacBook®/Chromebook™ that can supply up to 60W of power to the host.
USB Type-C Power Delivery
The DOCK410 is a USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD) 2.0 Profile 4 Universal Docking Station (UDS). See here for a list of the specific voltages and current charging supported by the PD profiles. Some hosts charge at 15V, which was not originally in the USB PD specification; however, Targus implemented 15V charging in the DOCK410.
Some host devices do not support USB PD. If your host doesn’t seem to charge with the DOCK410, make sure the USB Type-C port that the DOCK410 is connected to can be supplied power at one of the levels in the PD2.0 specification, noting that no more than 60W total is available. Even if your laptop supports a higher wattage, the dock may still provide a charge to your device’s battery, just at a slower charging rate.
DisplayPort Alternative Mode
The DOCK410 is also a USB Type-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode (DP Alt-Mode) Universal Docking Station. While DP Alt-Mode theoretically supports up to DP1.3 data rates, the DOCK410 supports rendering up to 4K2K at 30Hz on either of the DP ports or the HDMI 1.4 port.
NOTE: Your host must support Multi-Stream Transport (MST). Otherwise, you will only be able to “mirror” two external displays. This is a limitation from the host device, not the Targus UDS. For example, we’ve noted that late model OS-X based Apple MacBook laptops do not appear to support MST, as noted here and here. It also appears that the Windows®-based PC implementations of MST are not always stable; please verify with the PC vendor.
Keep in mind that not many hosts can support two 4K2K at 30Hz streams.
Also, the DOCK410 DVI-D port supports up to 2048×1152 at 30Hz and can be used while the HDMI or other DP port is at 4K2K 30Hz.
For using VGA, an active DP to VGA converter cable is recommended. But beware: Many of the cheapies out there don’t work very well. The HDMI port can be converted to DVI-D with a passive converter.
If your external monitors do not seem to work, check with the manufacturer that the host’s USB Type-C port supports DP Alt-Mode (or TB3/TB3 Alt-Mode) and then check your OS settings. For instance, in Windows make sure the monitors are “extended,” if desired, rather than “mirrored.” Also, some graphic cards adapters default to having external monitors off. So you may have to turn them on, configure for extended or mirrored, and then configure the resolution and positioning as with any external monitors. Finally, always make sure your cards adapters driver is up to date per the host manufacturer’s support site (i.e., support.dell.com and not just via Windows Update).
Thunderbolt 3 Video
The DOCK410 DP Alt-Mode is compatible with Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) or TB3 Alt-Mode over USB Type-C. TB3 carries one or two 4-lane DP1.2 stream(s) natively. The DOCK410 use only 2-lanes of DP1.2 HBR data to render external graphics. Chrome OS and Mac OS X (on new MacBook laptops) don’t support MST. So while up to two monitors can be connected, the displays will only render in mirror mode on MacBooks, and only one 4K2K @ 30Hz on PC, or two 1080P monitors if the PC support MST.
Other Things to Note
- Your laptop or device must have a native USB Type-C Thunderbolt or DP Alt. Mode port. Using an adapter on a USB 3.0 Type-A port will not work with the DOCK410.
- Your device must be running Windows 10 or Mac OS X Yosemite (v10.10) or later, or Chrome OS (R53 or above).
- A driver is needed for both Mac OS X and Windows for the Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) port. If your host is connected to the Internet and enabled, Windows will get the driver from the Windows Update Catalog. For MacBook, you may need to run updates to Mac OS X.
We’re working on a compatibility matrix for Targus’ USB-C products including the DOCK410. But while Targus has tested across many host and devices, there are always new products coming onto the market.
Targus is here to help. Feel free to post your questions to this blog, but ideally contact us to resolve any issues you encounter when using the DOCK410 or any other Targus USB Type-C device.