Plugable UD-3900 Dual Display Universal Docking Station

UD-3900

Features

  • Provides SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) link between computer to video, audio, network, and two additional USB 3.0 ports.
  • Compatible with Windows 8, 7, and XP (32-bit). Intel only (no Windows RT/ARM). Not for low-end Home Basic/Starter Windows installations. Not compatible with Mac and Linux at this time.
  • Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 (480Mbps) for both the PC and attached devices.
  • HDMI and DVI/VGA  ports for two external monitors supports display resolutions up to 2560×1440* (HDMI) and DVI / VGA to 2048×1152 / 1920×1200.
  • *Note: 2560×1440 output only available when using a single HDMI display connected through the dock. See additional details relating to 2560×1440 functionality in the FAQ below.
  • Network port offers wired Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (also 10/100 capable).
  • Graphics, audio, and networking all managed by single DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset.
  • USB 3.0 ports and components controlled by VIA VL811 chipset; four USB 2.0 ports controlled by Terminus chipset.
  • Stereo audio in/out with hotplug detection.
  • Comes with four-amp AC power adapter, USB 3.0 Type-A male to Type-B male cable, and DVI-to-VGA passive port adapter.

Connect up to 10 accessories to your Windows PC through a single SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port with the Plugable UD-3900, a universal docking station for Windows-based computers that offers the speed, performance, and reliability found in proprietary docking stations for specific laptop PC brands.
UD-3900 Back

With graphics, networking, and hub chipsets that have been selected and tested together to ensure maximum quality, the UD-3900 provides:

  • An HDMI and a DVI port for connecting two external monitors and supports resolutions up to 2560×1440* (HDMI) and DVI / VGA to 2048×1152 / 1920×1200 (DVI-to-VGA adapter also included)
  • An RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet network port (also supports 10/100 Ethernet)
  • External speaker output jack and a microphone line in
  • Two USB 3.0 ports for accessories (such as an external hard drive or another graphics port)
  • Four USB 2.0 ports (great for a keyboard and mouse with two ports to spare)

Note: 2560×1440 output only available when using a single HDMI display connected through the dock. See additional details relating to 2560×1440 functionality in the FAQ below.

Speed and Power
UD-3000 frontal viewPerformance is best when hooking up the UD-3900 docking station to a USB 3.0 port on a PC, allowing SuperSpeed data-transfer rates of up to five gigabits per second between the computer and the dock’s USB 3.0 components and ports. Play full-motion video in 1080p on the monitors attached to the dock’s video ports. Access your Gigabit Ethernet network through the dock’s network adapter without bottlenecks. Open files in lightning-fast time on external drives connected to the docking station’s USB 3.0 ports. The UD-3900 also can be connected to a computer’s USB 2.0 port, though communications between the computer and the docking station will be no faster than the USB 2.0 maximum of 480 megabits per second.

The UD-3900’s four-amp power supply provides current for attaching bus-powered devices to the spare USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, like flash drives or additional USB graphics adapters. However, the unit is not a charging hub. It has no functionality for recharging iPads, iPods, other tablets, or smartphones via its USB ports.

The dock will wake along with your PC from suspend and hibernation modes.

UD-3900_In use illustration

Integrated Chipsets
The heart of the docking station is its DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset, which manages dual graphics and audio output and Gigabit Ethernet functions. The integration of these functions on a single chipset means fewer internal components need to be bolted together, leading to increased compatibility and reliability overall. Drivers are installed automatically from Windows Update if an Internet connection is present when the docking station is first connected (a drivers CD also comes in the box).

You can extend or mirror your primary Windows desktop to a monitor connected to the UD-3900. With DisplayLink technology, graphics processing still is handled by connected computer’s central processor and graphics processor. The DisplayLink drivers on that PC compress and transmit pixels to the DL-3900 chipset, which decodes the data and displays it.

The UD-3900 can be used in conjunction with any of Plugable’s other USB graphics adapters for adding extra monitors. Please note that USB graphics adapters not powered by DisplayLink technology cannot be used on your PC simultaneously with the UD-3900. Drivers for non-DisplayLink USB graphics adapters must be uninstalled from the PC.

Graphic illustrating moving a window between two monitors

Moving windows between monitors is an easy drag-and-drop action.

The internal USB 3.0 components and two extra ports are managed by a VIA VL811 chipset, while the USB 2.0 controller chipset for the four USB 3.0 ports comes from Terminus Technology. USB 3.0 devices must be connected to USB 3.0 ports for proper functionality, but USB 2.0/1.1 devices can be connected to any of the six USB ports.

What’s in the Box
The Plugable UD-3900 comes with a four-amp, five-volt power supply; a USB 3.0 Type-A male to Type-B male cable; a passive DVI-to-VGA port adapter; a quick-install guide; and a drivers CD.


Resolutions Supported
The hardware is capable of supporting nearly arbitrary resolutions, up to its limit of 2560x1440 (HDMI) / 1920x1200 (DVI). VESA standard and widescreen resolutions are supported by most software, including: 2560x1440 (HDMI Only), 1920×1080, 1600×1200, 1680×1050, 1440×900. 1400×1050, 1280×1024, 1280×768, 1280×720, 1152×864, 1024×768, 800×600, 640×480. For all supported resolutions (other than 2560x1440 which has a 50Hz refresh rate), the display is refreshed at 60Hz, and the hardware is capable of 16, and 32bpp color depths. Some operating systems require specific depths, like 32bpp for Windows Aero support.

Note: 2560×1440 output only available when using a single HDMI display connected through the dock. See additional details relating to 2560×1440 functionality in the FAQ below.

 

Hardware Requirements
Dual Core Intel CPU 2GHz or better. Windows GPU should be Intel, nVidia, or ATI

 

Operating System and Drive Details
WINDOWS VERSION COMPATIBILITY:
Drivers are provided automatically via the Microsoft Windows Update mechanism with approved drivers across for Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8. 64-bit and full Aero support on Windows 7. Windows XP 64-bit not supported. Not compatible with ARM-based Windows (MS Surface) or Windows RT. Note that Microsoft limits multiple display support in Windows 7 “Starter” Edition to mirroring screens. Even though drivers are provided automatically, we recommend visiting the Plugable 
driver webpage for the most recent drivers and other information.

DisplayLink’s Windows drivers make use of the main GPU for rendering, and require an Intel, nVidia, ATI/AMD primary graphics driver supporting WDDM to be installed. Most systems since Windows 7 satisfy this requirement.

Different USB graphics drivers types (DisplayLink, MCT/Tritton, SMSC, Fresco) are not compatible on the same system. In particular, some versions of MCT drivers will bluescreen when other USB graphics drivers are also present. Uninstall other USB graphics driver types before switching types, and stay with a single type (e.g. DisplayLink based) on a single system.

MAC COMPATIBILITY:
Mac is not supported due to significant limitations in the operating system.

LINUX COMPATIBILITY:
Linux is not supported for this device

HDMI TV Compatibility

The adapter supports HDMI through the 1.3 standard. To use a TV as a monitor via the adapter, the TV must support EDID, the extended display identification standard for communicating monitor capabilities to a PC. Many TVs that have a VGA port in addition to an HDMI port assume that computers will use VGA for connectivity rather than HDMI. In these cases, a VGA connection from the PC’s internal video card to the TV might provide the best results.

HDCP protected content not supported.

Performance Tuning

If you’re experiencing slowness or latency on your UD-3900 connected display:

  • Make sure your adapter is connected to a USB 3.0 port (if available) on your computer.
  • If USB 3.0 is not available, play 3D games and videos on a display that isn’t connected via USB.
  • When all else fails, reduce your USB-connected monitor’s screen resolution via the Windows display control panel.

By reducing the amount of data that needs to be compressed and sent over USB, you’ll increase responsiveness.

Gaming

USB graphics devices, like the UD-3900, are “virtual” devices where much of the heavy lifting is done by the CPU, by hooking into the graphics stack. The DirectX APIs used by games assume direct hardware access (a PCIe graphics card).  DisplayLink’s drivers attempt to emulate as much of the functionality as possible, which is why some 3D functionality (like that needed for desktop and apps) works.

We don’t recommend running games with USB graphics, because this emulation cannot be perfect. And even without specific compatibility problems, performance will always be a challenge – the extra CPU work required for USB graphics will be a source of reduced frame rates and problems. Normal desktop and application use are fine because they don’t push the system as hard as 3D games do.

Common problems experienced when trying to run a game on a USB graphics adapter include:

  • Games not launching
  • Games crashing
  • Screen flickering
  • Screen going black

Support

Leave your questions about this product here or contact us directly atsupport@plugable.com. Whether you’ve purchased the UD-3900 and need support or you’re considering a purchase and would like help understanding this adapter’s features, we’re here to help.

FAQ

2560×1440 Functionality

2560×1440 output is only available when a single HDMI monitor is connected to the dock, and requires a “High Speed” HDMI cable. 2560×1440 mode will operate at a 50Hz refresh rate; all lower modes support 60Hz refresh rate. 2560×1440 output requires current DisplayLink drivers and attached monitor must natively support 2560×1440 via HDMI input. Please note that most monitors that support 2560×1600 do not support 2560×1440.

What do the blue LED and the green LED on the Plugable UD-3900 indicate?

The blue LED indicates that the Plugable UD-3900 is being powered by its power adapter. The green LED lights up and stays steady when a  device is connected through any of the six USB ports on the dock. If no devices are connected to the USB ports on the Plugable UD-3900, the green LED only lights up for around five seconds when the dock itself is connected to the upstream system.

What do the green and amber LEDs on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-3900 indicate?

The green link LED on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-3900 is an indication that the Ethernet cable plugged into the port is live and it stays steady as long as the live cable is plugged in. The blinking amber activity LED is an indications that data is transferring through the port.  Both these LEDs will not light up when:
1) The drivers for the dock have not installed properly or is corrupted
2) The Ethernet Cable plugged in is not live or is faulty
3) The port has failed

When I plug an ethernet cable into the dock, none of the LEDs light up, and I do not get assigned a valid IP address. What could be causing this?

The ethernet controller in the docking station requires a full duplex connection. Half duplex connections are not supported.

Often, the issue is caused by older ethernet hubs and/or cabling that do not support full duplex connections.

Why does the “Display Color Calibration” tool in Windows seems to have no effect on the display(s) attached to my dock?

The DisplayLink GPU does not support color calibration functionality. Most monitors have built-in controls that can be used to adjust the characteristics of the display, though we realize this approach may not be ideal in all cases. For environments that necessitate near-perfect color reproduction and display calibration capabilities via software, a dedicated graphics card is recommended.

Can the UD-3900 charge host computer devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro?

The UD-3900 offers no host device charging capabilities.

Where to Buy

Plugable UD-3900 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Universal Docking Station with Dual Video Outputs for Windows 8.... Product Details
$99.00