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.
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  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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