Category Archives: Mac

DisplayLink Releases Version 2.1 Driver for Mac OS X

There have been many multi-monitor regressions from OS X 10.8.5 to 10.9, and USB graphics has been significantly impacted.

Part of the confusion is not knowing which new problems are fixable by DisplayLink and which ones will require waiting for the next point releases by Apple.

We have a clearer picture of that now with DisplayLink’s version 2.1 driver final release. A number of things are greatly improved, including a fix for the new performance problems on 10.9 — performance is now back up to 10.8.5 levels.

However, we’re still recommending that anyone on 10.8.5 with a multiple-monitor setup, stay there until Apple has a chance to get out some point releases. In particular, multi-monitor setups of many types are losing configuration, often on sleep. And virtual graphics drivers like DisplayLink aren’t working for 2 or more displays. Both of these problems are new for 10.9.

See the comments on our original 10.9 multi-mon post for different problems reported by customers with DisplayLink and non-DisplayLink hardware. DisplayLink lists the 10.9 issues they’re aware of in the DisplayLink KB article for OS X 10.9.

So, progress .. but for most 3+ monitor users, 10.9 is still not workable. So we can’t recommend any of our Plugable brand products with DisplayLink for Mac, unfortunately. We’ll update as Apple and DisplayLink put out additional point releases.

Feel free to post your experiences in the comments below — it helps everyone to have the behaviors be known. Thanks!

Before You Upgrade To Mac OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”)

Good news: Mac OS X 10.9 is available today and for the first time, it’s a free update, so app and hardware developers will be able to start counting on Mac hardware running the latest software in general (kinda like the iOS world).

Bad News: Mac OS X versions have historically broken some percentage of 3rd party hardware, and OS X 10.9 appears to have a particularly big impact. Many hardware devices will need updated drivers for 10.9, either because the older drivers simply don’t work at all, or because they work but with new problems.

If you can, it may be better to wait for the adventurous to forge ahead and report their findings on 10.9, before taking the upgrade.

DisplayLink Based USB Products

Users with DisplayLink-based USB Docking Stations and Graphics Adapters should avoid updating to 10.9, if at all possible. See here for details.

DisplayLink-based USB devices that work well on 10.8.5 (up to 4 additional USB displays) will be broken for most uses by the 10.9 update. In particular, 2+ USB displays or any HDMI-attached displays (even non-DisplayLink) don’t work reliably because of screen configuration issues.

We don’t know when this is going to be fixed — but evidence is it will require fixes both from Apple and DisplayLink, so that will take a significant amount of time.

If you are able to stay on 10.8.5, or if you only need a single USB attached DVI/VGA monitor on 10.9, use
DisplayLink’s latest 2.1 Beta drivers.

USB Network Adapters


Mac OS X 10.9 (and 10.8.5) includes support for both the AX88772 chipset and the AX88178 chipsets in our USB 2.0 USB Ethernet adapters, and UD-160-A docking station. For these chips, we recommend first uninstalling any ASIX drivers and repairing disk permissions before upgrade to 10.9 (relying on your built-in net connection), and just plugging in to use the Apple drivers after upgrade.


For our USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter, an updated ASIX driver is required. In addition to Mavericks support, compatibility issues with Android File Transfer seem to be resolved. That said, we’re seeing reports of some new problems with 10.9 and would recommend caution. For those who have already updated to 10.9, the compatible driver is available at:
the latest ASIX driver version to get 10.9 compatibility. Note that this driver does not yet have the new 10.9 signature, so you’ll also need to click ok on installing the driver unsigned.

USB Serial Adapter

The latest driver version is required to work with 10.9.

Plugable USB to RS-232 DB9 Serial Adapter

Serial devices will be automatically created (“ls /dev | grep serial”" to see them), however the network control panel in 10.9 now no longer shows serial devices as connected, even when they’re in use.

Other Devices

For all of our other devices, we’re recommending in-box drivers, or they don’t require 3rd party driver installs (hubs, cables, etc).

If you have a question about a product we didn’t mention, please feel free to comment below. We’ll get it added.

And if you hit any 10.9 upgrade problems with Plugable products, we’ll work to help. Just email support@plugable.com anytime.

Thanks!

Multiple Monitor Issues with OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”)

OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”) has been released today and is a free update.

But multiple monitor users should hold off – OS X 10.9 appears to break many multiple monitor setups.

At least 4 distinct issues with external displays have been duplicated on the “Golden Master” developer seed OS X 10.9. There are no known workarounds or resolutions available at this time:

  1. HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
  2. Display Preferences lost on reboot or hot plug
  3. A significant performance drop from 10.8.5 on USB attached displays
  4. Window server crashes

We have already created a bug report with Apple on the first issue, HDMI displays causing unexpected mirroring. However, Apple has not yet responded to it. In an effort to get more traction on this bug, we’ve created an OpenRadar bug report. We need your help to gather more information. Please leave a comment on the OpenRadar bug report with your system information and any relevant setup details.

HDMI displays cause unexpected mirroring
Apple does not make bug reports submitted to them visible to others, so we are showing that report here. Apple has not yet responded to it. This bug affects DisplayLink-based hardware (like ours), along with other HDMI setups using non-DisplayLink hardware. Because this bug report was based on testing with 10.9 preview releases, the behavior might be better or different in the final OS X 10.8 final release version.

Submitted Apple Bug Report: HDMI displays create mirror issues under 10.9 GM seed

When attaching additional displays beyond a single primary display, HDMI attached displays will override a user’s display preferences (resolution and arrangement of additional displays).

This has been tested and reproduced using both USB to HDMI adapters, Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters, and the HDMI output built-in to a current gen USB 3.0 Mini.

When using a HDMI to DVI adapter (Apple branded or 3rd party), the issue is not reproduced: the error seems to be triggered specifically by HDMI (regardless of whether the HDMI is a built-in port, a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter or cable, or a USB to HDMI adapter.

To be clear, I AM able to use a mix of DVI or VGA attached displays without hitting this issue: the issue only occurs when attempting to add an HDMI display.

After manually disabling mirroring and arranging the displays, they will work normally- however the issue will recur on reboot and typically whenever the HDMI display is re-attached. In the case of the Thunderbolt to HDMI cable or adapter or a USB to HDMI adapter (DisplayLink 2.0 and 3.0 based), a reboot or hotplug event will “break” the non-mirrored display arrangement—although anything other than “deep” sleep does NOT. That is to say display arrangement is retained until the system reboots or enters deep sleep, or on hot-plug events.

Please note that similar issues were seen on earlier 10.9 builds, however these actually got worse on the GM seed pushed 10/7/13.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Use a normally working 10.9 Mavericks system with built-in Thunderbolt and HDMI display outputs.
2. Attach any HDMI display via built-in HDMI port, USB to HDMI display adapter, or Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter/cable.
3. Observe that HDMI display comes up in mirror mode rather than as an extended display.
4. Disable display mirroring, arrange displays to match physical locations.
5. Reboot system: observe that display preferences are lost.

6. Repeat, substituting a DVI or VGA connection to the same HDMI display. Observe that mirror mode issue is not encountered, and that display preferences are retained up on reboot.

Expected Results:
Displays should come up in “extended” mode, regardless of how they are attached.

Actual Results:
In my testing on 3 Mavericks systems, any HDMI display comes up in mirror mode, and causes display preferences to be lost on reboot (and various other conditions previously mentioned).

Version:
OS X 10.9 (13A598)

Submitter:
Jeff Everett (support@plugable.com)

Display Preferences Lost on Reboot or Hotplug
Distinct from the issue where HDMI displays cause unexpected mirror mode configurations, display preferences like monitor arrangement, resolution, and background are almost always lost on reboot and “hotplug” events when USB display adapters are unplugged and then reconnected. This means users may have to re-configure the OS X settings relating to physical arrangement of their multi-display systems on every reboot or every time they have to disconnect/reconnect from their USB display devices.

No or Slow Rendering on USB Attached Displays
An occasional problem when running 2 or more USB attached displays is that the displays won’t update most pixels. Mouse cursor movement is visible, however any updates made by applications onscreen are not visible, leaving the external display unusable.

Window Server Crashes
Although infrequent, the window server can crash. This renders a system unusable as all displays repeatedly go black/blank while the window server restarts.

Investigation is ongoing as to whether these issues are “core” OS issues with 10.9 Mavericks or may be resolved by further updates to DisplayLink’s 2.1 beta driver. At least one issue (with HDMI displays creating unexpected mirroring) appears to be a fundamental OS X issue, as this has been reproduced on a system with no DisplayLink driver installed, using only the HDMI and Thunderbolt ports built into a late 2012 Mac Mini 6,1.

Additional details are available on DisplayLink’s “Known issues with DisplayLink on OS X 10.9 Mavericks” page, as well as in their OS X 2.1 beta driver forum.