DisplayLink Releases Updated Mac Driver (v2.4 Beta 1)

Update 11/12/2015: DisplayLink has released a new beta version driver, 2.5 beta2 in their continuing effort to improve the driver and workaround some of the limitations of Mac OS X 10.9,10.10 and 10.11 The driver links in this post have been updated to reflect the availability of this driver

Update 7/7/2015: The 2.4 code set has gone final and is no longer classified as beta! The background info in this post is still relevant, though the links will now take you to the current 2.4 release rather than the “Beta 1” release.

We regularly receive inquires from Mac users who are looking for updates regarding the compatibility of our DisplayLink-based USB docking stations and graphics adapters with Mac OS X. Progress has been slow, and there hasn’t been much substantive news to report in quite some time — until today.

imagesSome brief background for those unfamiliar with the situation: With the release of OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) almost a year and a half ago, we were disappointed to find that we could no longer recommend our DisplayLink-based docking stations and USB graphics adapters to Mac users running OS X 10.9 due to various issues introduced with the OS update. The regressions affected DisplayLink and other external display solutions (e.g. Thunderbolt to HDMI and DVI adapters; using iPads as extra displays). The 10.10 (Yosemite) update did not improve the behavior for DisplayLink devices.

Each new DisplayLink driver revision since the release of Mavericks has contained incremental improvements, though working around some of the key OS/API issues at the driver level has been a slow process.

DisplayLink has released their Version 2.4 Beta 1 Version 2.5 beta 2 driver for the Mac OS, and this release is the latest to make significant progress on some of the core issues that have been consistently present since the release of OS X 10.9.

The following are some of the most notable fixes in this release:

  • Display layout and positioning are now preserved after system reboot and sleep/wake
  • Portrait/landscape rotation orientation is correctly applied
  • Hot-plugging or unplugging a DisplayLink adapter is much less likely to cause undesirable system behavior
  • WindowServer crashing (which causes a spontaneous log-out from the OS) has been reduced
  • CPU utilization of DisplayLinkManager has been reduced in some scenarios
  • Constant OpenGL error logging in Console experienced by some users should be resolved

As excited as we are regarding the improvements above, caution is warranted as well. DisplayLink has had to work around existing OS X issues in this new driver release, which could make support fragile as OS X updates come out.

Some of the known-issues that still persist with this new driver are:

  • Some users will experience intermittent graphical corruption/distortion
  • WindowServer crashes/spontaneous log-out issues are still present in some scenarios
  • Higher than expected CPU utilization from DisplayLinkManager/WindowServer in some scenarios

Because this is a beta driver and because of the remaining Mac external display issues, we still can’t recommend our USB graphics products for use on Mac. But we’re quite glad to see this progress.

Download DisplayLink’s version 2.4 Beta 1 version 2.5 beta2 driver for Mac OS here.

Comments are welcome below, though we also recommend posting your experiences in the DisplayLink Mac Forum so that DisplayLink has visibility to as much user feedback as possible.

29 comments on “DisplayLink Releases Updated Mac Driver (v2.4 Beta 1)”

  1. David Kiser Reply

    Woohoo! Fixed my issue with monitor resolutions and multiple monitor arrangements not being saved! This issue has been driving me crazy

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi David,

      Appreciate the feedback, and glad to hear things are working well so far! I’m also very much enjoying not having to rearrange my monitors almost every day. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Gary

  2. Bob Gleed Reply

    So far so good – It’s just a shame that two weeks ago i purchased a Matrox triplehead2go box as I was getting fed up with looking at a blank monitor…
    If these improvements have been made without apple – one might ask why they haven’t been done earlier? – we’ve been living with this since Oct 2013.
    Anyway, I am grateful for this progress and will report back with any misbehaiviour.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi Bob,

      Glad to hear you’re having good results with the new drivers!

      Regarding why this approach wasn’t taken earlier, it’s tough to say with any certainty, as DisplayLink has stayed mum about the details. Since new APIs are being used, I suspect a significant amount of time was needed to essentially rewrite the drivers from the ground up. Though that’s just my speculation – don’t know that we’ll ever get the full back-story to the process.

      Ultimately at this point we’re just excited about the positive direction that things are heading on OS X!

      Thanks,
      Gary

  3. dwight spencer Reply

    I recently (yesterday) upgraded from mavericks to yosemite, and have noticed substantial lag/delay, when bringing up mission control (aka expose), when hitting the F3 key, when my displaylink usb3 hdmi adapter is connected. I’m on a 2012 mac mini, 16gb ram, 240gb ssd, intel hd4000 w/ 1GB, intel core i5.

    For example, it can take 2-3 seconds for OSX to respond to the F3 key press. Disconnecting the USB3 video adapter and performance goes back to normal. I tried both the 2.3 driver and the 2.4b1 one as well, with similar behavior. Watching “top” in a terminal shell shows WindowServer (the UI process) taking upwards of 200% cpu utilization. Disconnecting the adapter, without rebooting, returns to responsiveness, with WindowServer process taking 50-60% cpu instead.

    While the USB display adapter was slower on mavericks than hdmi/display port connected, it was quicker that it has been with yosemite. I’ll keep an eye out for driver updates, to see if they release any more improvements.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Appreciate the feedback, Dwight – I’ve reproduced the behavior on a similarly-spec’d Mini in house and forwarded the results on to our DisplayLink contact just to make sure it’s on their radar. They’ve confirmed they are aware of the issue, but couldn’t give us any specifics regarding an ETA for a fix. I got the impression that the larger issue (high-CPU usage during 3D OS transitions) is something that’s going to take significant work, and I don’t expect this to be fixed as a part of the 2.4 code base.

      • dwight spencer Reply

        Glad to help. Just trying it again now, and it’s around 5-6 seconds from pressing the f3/mission control until the redraw. I didn’t mention yesterday, but i’ve got 3 monitors as well, one on display port (1920×1080), one on hdmi (1920×1200), and the third on the usb3-dvi adapter (1200×1920, portrait), if those help or matter any.

        I still have the oem sata drive with osx mavericks on it as well (yosemite i put on an ssd), that I could swap back in & try a test to compare the two behaviors, if that’s of any help in the future.

        dwight

        • Jamish Reply

          This isn’t exactly an ideal workaround, but I noticed that reducing the resolution greatly speeds up the switch. It’s about one second or less when I switch the DisplayLink monitor to 1280×800 instead of 1920×1200. It all depends on what you use your second monitor for and how much you use Mission Control.

          • dwight spencer

            thanks Jamish, …

            I gave that a try, but didn’t help much, and it would only drop to 1080×1920 anyway, not down to 1280×800. I use the third monitor for team chat apps, and the more room, the better. The goal with 3 monitors is screen real estate anyway, and I don’t use MC quite often enough that it’s too painful, just a nuisance for the moment

            dwight

  4. Alan Reply

    The new beta driver works very well with Plugable UD3900 docking station and Yosemite (2015 macbookpro) with 2 external monitors. The resolution and desktop arrangement are saved. No black screen.

      • Jamish Reply

        I have been using this with a Plugable UGA-3000 and a Yosemite (Mid 2012 MacBook Pro) with 2 external monitors. The resolution and physical arrangement of monitors are saved, but I am having trouble keeping window placement and desktop assignment.

        For example, I have Outlook and Lync set to “Display on Desktop 3”, Terminal set to “Display on Desktop 2”, and a bunch of Chrome windows on all three desktops, but not assigned to any particular one. (Note: In Yosemite, by enabling Spaces/Desktops or whatever, you can right click an app in the dock and go to Options > Display on Desktop X so the app always opens on that monitor)

        The desktop #’s correspond like so:
        Desktop 1 – DisplayPort monitor
        Desktop 2 – Plugable monitor
        Desktop 3 – Built in screen

        I frequently unplug my laptop to take to meetings. When I return and plug everything back in, sometimes the windows that were on Desktop 2 and Desktop 3 reverse. What was on Desktop 3 (Lync, Outlook) are now set to “Display on Desktop 2” and show up on my Plugable monitor. Terminal is now on Desktop 2 on my built in screen. And all windows that were unassigned (like Chrome) have also switched monitors. At least everything that was on my Desktop 1 (DVI Monitor) before disconnecting always finds its way back to Desktop 1.

        This happens about half the time. Interestingly, Desktop 2 is *always* the Plugable monitor and Desktop 3 is *always* the built in screen. Those do not change. But windows and apps flipflop between the two. I’ve narrowed it down to happening when I disconnect both the DisplayPort and Plugable USB at the same time when I’m in a hurry. If I unplug one, wait a second, then unplug the other, then plug them back in slowly (order doesn’t seem to matter in either step), then everything shows up right.

        It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t have any experience using OSX on a MacBook Pro that has both DisplayPort and HDMI ports, so I don’t know if this is a shortcoming of the OS or if this is a DisplayLink driver bug.

        • Jamish Reply

          To clarify, it’s not that the windows just move from one monitor to the other. They are actually reassigned to a different Display ID in the “Options > Desktop on Display X” setting in the dock.

          • Gary Zeller

            Hi Jamish,

            Appreciate you taking the time to outline the behavior of this complex issue.

            I’ve done a bit of testing here and have been unable to reproduce the behavior you’ve described. I’ve also forwarded this on to DisplayLink so they can try to reproduce it in-house as well.

            Thanks,
            Gary

  5. Robert Reply

    Hi there,

    My EVGA UV Plus+39 display adapter has been causing serious issues on my Macbook Pro (early 2011, 13″) under Mac OS 10.10: While things were working fine, sometimes even for several hours in a row, occasionally the computer became entirely unresponsive (I could still see all opened windows and move my mouse but no more than that) after having connected a second external display. The only solution was then to force a shut down and restart the computer. I’ve now installed the new beta driver and hope that this will help matters. I’ll definitely keep you posted.

    Robert

    • Robert Reply

      The freezes are back, although they seem to occur less frequently (~1/day) than they did before. I still hope for further improvements of the driver software…

      • Gary Zeller Reply

        Hi Robert,

        The freezing issue isn’t something that we’re seeing getting widely reported, so there might be something unique that’s worth further investigation. If you haven’t already done so, I’d suggest posting in DisplayLink’s Mac forum to get their input on the issue – there might be a non-driver related fix since you’ve had the issue with both 2.3 and 2.4.

  6. stefan Reply

    I’m using Mac OS X 10.10.13 on a macbook pro 13inch mid 2009 with displaylink driver 2.4b1.
    Since a few month as soon as i connect my displaylink adapter my screen connected via displayport gets corrupted and the screen attached via usb stays completely blank.
    Is this behaviour a known issue? I cant find it listed on displaylinks website.
    All of this is extremely frustrating for me. Any solutions?

    cheers Stefan

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi Stefan,

      I wouldn’t consider what you’re describing to be expected behavior. If you’ve already tried uninstalling and reinstalling the DisplayLink drivers and the issue persists, there’s likely something more significant going on either on the software side or with the hardware of the adapter itself.

      If you’ve got a Plugable DisplayLink adapter, please email support@plugable.com with your Amazon Order ID number from the purchase of the adapter, and we can certainly assist with troubleshooting.

      If it’s a non-Plugable adapter, we’d recommend troubleshooting with the manufacturer of your adapter or posting in the DisplayLink forums for assistance.

      Thanks!
      Gary

  7. Will Hicks Reply

    Hi all!

    So, I’ve been coming back here every so often to see if there has been any developments since the 2.4b1 release and was pleased to see that there was.

    However when updating to 2.4RC the monitor working fine on 2.4b1 just stopped working, no amount of fiddling would let me use it.

    I notice there haven’t been many comments after 2.4RC was released so I assume either everyone else’s has worked first time, or I’m the first?

    Anyway, a word of caution, just keep the 2.4b1 install handy just incase you need to roll-back like me.

    Any help from the team as to how to resolve this would be appreciated 🙂

    Cheers!
    Will

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi Will,

      Interesting results. We haven’t had any similar reports of this behavior with the 2.4 final drivers, though I have seen a few mentions of it in the DisplayLink forums. Though it’s rare, I believe it’s on their radar as a rare issue that is being escalated/investigated by their driver team.

      If you’d like, it might make sense to copy/paste your post above in the Mac forum on DisplayLink’s site just so they can take a look and provide feedback: http://displaylink.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=30

      Glad that the 2.4b1 still works well in the meantime!

      Cheers,
      Gary

      • Will Hicks Reply

        Hi Gary,

        Thanks for the quick acknowledgment!

        It is an odd bug, but hey, this is rather unique software, so I suppose issues like this are going to be expected…

        I’ll go post that now, thanks for the suggestion, didn’t think about putting it anywhere else to be honest!

        Cheers for the support!
        Will

  8. Chi Reply

    Installed on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) running 10.11 (El Capitan).
    Monitor not seen by the OS.

    Any update as to when we should expect a update for this?

    Thank you,

    Chi

    • Chi Reply

      Never mind me – Just tried reinstalling it again and it’s worked 🙂

      Keep up the good work Plugable!

  9. GaryG Reply

    I have uninstalled the drivers for my Mac Mini and reinstalled several times after upgrading to el capitan and I have been unable to get the drivers to work. They were working fine prior to the upgrade to El Capitan. What steps do I need to take to troubleshoot this?… If I can get this working again I want to see if I can run 3 more for a total of 6 monitors.

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Gary,

      While we mentioned in the post we don’t recommend our USB video products for Mac at this time, DisplayLink has just released a new beta version of their Mac driver here –> http://www.displaylink.com/downloads/sla.php?fileid=175 While we haven’t had a chance to test this driver ourselves, the release notes do list some El Captian fixes. If you update to this version of the driver does that help?

      One important thing to mention, the DisplayLink driver on the Mac will limit you to four total USB connected displays.

      Thank you,

      Bob
      Plugable Technologies
      http://www.plugable.com/support

      • GaryG Reply

        Thanks for the response, I will try that tomorrow. 4 total USB displays with the 2 on board would be perfect.

        I regret updating this to El Capitan for this one reason. Beta 2 was working great on Yosemite.

        My setup is 6 displays to be connected to one machine and soon to replace my Linux machine with another Mac Mini which will run 4 monitors.

        Thanks!

  10. Kanisorn Hongwatcharasakun Reply

    I cannot download the driver. I got complained “Access denied” when I tried to download via “Download DisplayLink’s version 2.4 Beta 1 version 2.5 beta2 driver for Mac OS here.”

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