Next-Gen USB Docks Will Run Two 4K Monitors From One Laptop

We recently picked our favorite laptop docks, but they might not be the best for long. Chip-maker DisplayLink just gave us an exclusive look at how its upcoming DL-6950 chip will superpower the next generation of docks, allowing them to output to two 4K displays at once.

Docks like Plugable's USB-C Triple Display Dock and Targus' DV1K-4K can support multiple 1080p screens or one 4K monitor, but many users want two of the same display running at the same resolution. The DL-6950 will support two 3840 x 2160 monitors running at 60 frames per second.

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During our brief demo, we saw a prototype dock that could run on either a single USB-C cable for video and charging or a USB Type-A cable and an AC adapter. A representative for DisplayLink said that this backwards compatibility is designed to satisfy IT departments, which don't have to buy the latest computers to use the latest docks.

The reference unit that we were shown featured 6 USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C 3.1 port, two HDMI 2.0 and two Display ports, an Ethernet jack and power input. Another prototype that we were shown (but did not see working) had an additional USB Type-C port on the front, which DisplayLink claims could be used to power an additional USB-C monitor at 4K, though we didn't see this working.

The DL-6950 can be partnered with other chips, which the company said could result in multi-chip docks for scalable solutions, or the use of adapters to grow with IT departments' needs.

The chips are in early production now, and DisplayLink told us that the first product announcements may come at Computex, with docks coming to market in September or October of this year. While OEM's haven't made any pricing announcements, DisplayLink believes that docks with the DL-6950 chip will cost less than $200, which is in-line with today's most expensive products.