DisplayLink Apple Mac OS X 2.1 Beta now available

DisplayLink has released a beta of their new version 2.1 drivers (Sept, 2013) for Apple Mac OS X 10.6 – 10.9.

This new 2.1 driver has many improvements over the previous Mac OS X version 2.0 drivers (March, 2013). In short, it’s a must-have install for Mac users on 10.8.5 and earlier. It supports all existing DisplayLink-based USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 adapters and docks, including Plugable’s. And it’s a first step towards 10.9 support.

Here are the details.

Limited support for OS X Mavericks (10.9)

Mavericks requires updated USB graphics drivers. 2.1 is the first version from DisplayLink with support for 10.9. However, it is very rough support, with a long list of limitations, detailed below.

Once Apple and DisplayLink have further updates leading up to the release of 10.9, Apple multi-monitor enthusiasts will have a lot of improvements to look forward to, in terms of improved multi-monitor support. From Apple’s OS X Mavericks page:

There’s no longer a primary or secondary display — now each has its own menu bar, and the Dock is available on whichever screen you’re working on. You can have multiple app windows running on either display. Or run an app full screen on each one. Even show a desktop on one display and a full-screen app on another.

Support for Dual Head Docks

DisplayLink 2.1 supports the latest firmware configuration format for the latest docks and adapters, and adds support for the new Plugable UD-3900 docking station, offering dual HDMI/DVI display outputs as well as ethernet input, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 4 USB 2.0 ports.

Ethernet bug fixes

The DisplayLink Mac 2.0 driver was the first to offer support for the DL3500 chip’s ethernet functionality. This initial release revealed a few wonky issues with ethernet on our USB 3.0 DisplayLink based product, like the Plugable UD-3000 docking station. Most common was the issue of network disconnections- where the network cable would show being unplugged even when it was actually connected.

DisplayLink 2.1 resolves all known instances of these problems, allowing you to surf in peace.

What limitations and problems remain on Mac?

For technical users on OS X seeking to maximize workspace and productivity, DisplayLink’s 2.1 driver is a big step forward. However, there are still important issues to consider:

  1. Mac OS X will not support USB 3.0 audio until 10.8.5 / 10.9. Until then, audio on a dock or display will not work when connected via USB 3.0. This is an Apple limitation. Fortunately, Apple’s support for this is coming soon.
  2. Mavericks 10.9 breaks existing USB graphics drivers. While this version 2.1 driver has some early support for 10.9, there are still many issues remaining. DisplayLink calls out these issues:
    • Screen corruption and layout issues when adding more than one additional DisplayLink monitor.
    • Some applications using single buffer rendering may flicker on DisplayLink monitor.
    • Scrolling pages in Safari may cause corruption on DisplayLink screen.
    • Playing movie in QuickTime may cause the title bar to flicker.
    • Fast user switching may not work correctly when using DisplayLink monitors.
    • Sometimes rotating one DisplayLink monitor rotates a different display.
    • Sometimes when DisplayLink monitor is set as primary after waking up from sleep it is disconnected and there is no login screen visible.
    • Corruption on the screen may be visible while rotating DisplayLink displays.

    In short, until DisplayLink and Apple have further updates for 10.9, DisplayLink users should avoid the upgrade to 10.9 if possible.

  3. DisplayLink’s OS X 2.1 driver relies on system CPU and not GPU processing, so the video and application-specific notes in our previous blog post, DisplayLink USB Graphics and OS X Limitations, remain relevant.

The bottom line is that DisplayLink 2.1 fixes a number of larger bugs relating to ethernet and dual display outputs under OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” and provides initial support for OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”. This makes our USB 3.0 docking station products a whole lot better on OS X. Just keep in mind that this is still in beta, and it may introduce its own little quirks.

Additional details and the driver .dmg download are here:
DisplayLink 2.1 OS X Beta Forum.

We’re here to help and we welcome your questions. Email support@plugable.com anytime, or just comment below. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

2 comments on “DisplayLink Apple Mac OS X 2.1 Beta now available”

  1. Osama Reply

    Thanks for the explanation, But is there any problem if I use the newest Macbook Air with dual Sys (windows& Mac OS)?

    Also, are these problems will be shown on the last updated Mac I OS systems?

    • Bernie Thompson Bernie Thompson Reply

      I’m typing this on the latest Macbook Air (2013) right now. Windows in boot camp is very good (as good as a normal Windows system). Mac has the limitations above for the DisplayLink driver – but if you’re aware of the limitations and ok with them, it can be a great multi-monitor solution for productivity work.

Leave a Reply