The First Universal USB-C Docking Station with Alternate Mode and Power Delivery Support

Finally, a comprehensive docking solution for Macbook 2015 / 2016 users that works across platforms with the Chromebook Pixel 2 and compatible USB-C Windows systems.

The Plugable UD-CA1 is the first universal docking station for Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS with Alternate Mode HDMI video output and 60 Watts of Power Delivery (PD) — available now for $129. It is the perfect compliment to your laptop that supports the new USB-C connector and its optional high-end power and graphics capabilities.

This docking station is the entry point to Plugable’s new USB-C and Thunderbolt™ 3 based docking station family. It provides a one-stop, powered solution for connecting essential peripherals as well as an extra 4K (3840×2160@30Hz) display. On supported systems, the Plugable UD-CA1 has a fully plug and play experience with no extra drivers or authentication steps needed. As long as the host system supports VESA (DisplayPort) Alternate mode, the display is driven by the system’s main graphics processor and existing driver. Support has been tested on Windows 10/8.1, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Chrome OS, and even modern Linux distributions. Any future operating system with built-in support for multiple monitors should work, on laptops with the necessary USB-C hardware support.

The Plugable UD-CA1 utilizes the “VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode over USB-C” (“Alt Mode”) which has a direct pipeline to the host graphics processor (GPU) in your system. The connected monitor will perform as a natively attached display. Video and photo editing, gaming, and other resource-intensive tasks are possible assuming that the system’s GPU capabilities are sufficient for the application being used.

DisplayPort Alternate Mode generates a native DisplayPort signal which is then converted inside the docking station to HDMI 1.4 to accommodate widely available HDMI monitors and TVs.

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Note that these features require hardware support in both the host system and the device. Not all USB-C computers are compatible. Many current USB-C systems which do support Alt Mode video output do not support charging via USB-C. Systems such as this will output video from the dock, but will still need their proprietary OEM chargers.

Conversely, while some USB-C phones and tablets may accept charging via PD, most do not support Alt Mode video output.

As of today, good use-case examples are the MacBook Retina 12″ 2015 / 2016, Chromebook Pixel [2] 2015 (using Chrome OS and Arch Linux), Alpine Ridge based Thunderbolt 3 motherboards, and Dell XPS 9350 / 9550.

Any questions? We’d be happy to help! Feel free to comment below.

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17 comments on “The First Universal USB-C Docking Station with Alternate Mode and Power Delivery Support”

  1. Roger Reply

    Any idea when this will be available in the UK – I have just purchased an XPS 9350 and this looks like a “must-have”

        • Patric Neumann Reply

          Units are in the air on the way to the UK as we speak. It will take 1 – 2 weeks until they check into amazon.co.uk and are available for purchase.

          • Patric Neumann

            UD-CA1-EU is available in the UK as of today and will be available in .de .es and .fr in the next two days

    • Rob Reply

      I think the thunderbolt 3 one they are releasing soon will be even better because it will have better display options than this

      • Gary Zeller Reply

        Thanks for posting Rob! We’re excited about what’s possible with our upcoming Thunderbolt 3 docks as well. However, the UD-CA1 is still a great fit for users who don’t require the extra features/bandwidth of Thunderbolt 3, and those with existing USB-C systems that don’t support Thunderbolt 3 (such as the MacBook 12″, Pixel, etc).

  2. Delfin de Achaval Reply

    Any idea if this is compatible white Razer Blade Stelth??? 😁😁

  3. Dan Notov Reply

    Is the UD-CA1 compatible with the HP Spectre X2? I see the HP Elite x2 listed, but not the Spectre.

    • Joshua Henry Joshua Henry Reply

      To our knowledge it is not compatible due to differences in charging. At this time we have not had the chance to try one in our lab to confirm.

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