Plugable UD-5900 USB 3.0 4K Aluminum Mini Docking Station with Dual Video Outputs

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Product Description

A one-stop upgrade for your Windows tablet, laptop, or desktop our Plugable UD-5900 USB 3.0 4K Aluminum Mini docking station allow you to connect up to two additional monitors and eight accessories through a single USB cable. Including the latest drivers and firmware for compatibility with Windows 10, 8.1 and 7, it features two video outputs: an HDMI output and a DVI-I output with VGA adapter for mirroring/extending your Windows desktop to external monitors, a Gigabit Ethernet port, audio input/output via a single TRRS jack, and four USB 3.0 ports.

With graphics, networking, and USB hub chipsets that have been selected and tested together to ensure maximum quality, the UD-5900 provides:

  • An HDMI and a DVI port for connecting two external monitors and support for resolutions up to 3840×2160@30Hz* (HDMI only) and DVI / VGA up to 1920×1200 (DVI-to-VGA adapter also included)
  • An RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet network port (also supports 10/100 Ethernet)
  • External headphone/speaker combination TRRS jack
  • Four USB 3.0 ports for accessories (such as an external hard drive or another USB graphics adapter)

Note: *3840×2160 output only available when using a single HDMI display. If dual displays are connected, each will be limited to a maximum resolution of 1920×1200. 3840×2160 output requires a “High Speed” HDMI cable. 3840×2160 mode operates at a 30Hz refresh rate; all lower modes support 60Hz refresh. 3840×2160 output requires current DisplayLink drivers and attached monitor must natively support 3840×2160 via HDMI input

Watch Our Video Demo

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Compatible Systems

  • Windows 10, 8.1, 7, drivers can be automatically installed by Windows Update (with an existing Internet connection) or can be downloaded from Plugable.
  • Intel Core i5 or AMD Llano 2GHz or better CPU, 4GB+ RAM, and USB 3.0 connection recommended for productivity/web software at 4K. Single Intel HD 4000, AMD HD 7xxx, Nvidia 5xxM or better recommended for productivity and web software. Intel Core i7/AMD A10 2GHz+, 8GB RAM, and Intel HD 4000, AMD 8650, Nvidia 7xxM or better required for full-screen video playback. If using two 2K displays, system requirements will be much lower
  • Requires supported Intel / AMD / NVIDIA main GPU and WDDM compatible driver (most recent systems meet this requirement).
  • Ethernet port requires full-duplex network infrastructure.
  • Updated USB 3.0 host controller drivers and graphics drivers suggested for best performance and compatibility.

Incompatible Systems

Cannot be mixed with non-DisplayLink USB graphics adapters and drivers (e.g. MCT, j5, or SMSC).
Mac OS X, ARM-based versions of Windows (Surface RT) and Linux/Unix are not supported.

Monitor Compatibility

Supports a single HDMI display up to 3840×2160@30Hz, or dual 1920×1200 displays @60Hz DVI dual-link connection not supported. 3840×2160 (4K) resolution only available with native HDMI monitor. 4K not supported when using HDMI-to-DVI adapter/cable or DVI monitor.

Application Compatibility

Does not support HDCP, and will not allow for playback of encrypted Bluray disks or copy-protected content.
Suggested for web/productivity software; not recommended for gaming.

Gaming

USB graphics devices, like the UD-5900, 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

Power and Charging

Functions as a standard USB hub, but also has special charging functionality for charging phones and tablets via the two front USB 3.0 ports that comply with the USB-IF Battery Charging (BC) specification revision 1.2. When a BC 1.2 compliant device is attached to one of the two front USB 3.0 ports, it can charge at a faster rate (up to 1.5A vs 500mA of a standard port) while syncing data. Compatible devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad (Apple 30 pin dock connector iPads will not charge), plus various Android and Windows devices are supported. Not all devices support BC 1.2 charge and sync functionality.

Does not provide power to attached host laptop or tablet; the host system will still require its power cable/charger.

In the Box

The Plugable UD-5900 comes with a UL certified 5V/4A (20W) power adapter (US AC Wall Outlet Plug, 100-240V 50/60Hz); a USB 3.0 Type-A male to Type-B male cable (USB 2.0 compatible); a passive DVI-to-VGA port adapter; a quick-install guide; drivers CD and a VESA mount with screws

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VESA Mounting

The UD-5900 docking station includes a VESA mounting bracket compatible with both 100mm and 75mm hole mount patterns (along with the necessary screws) to enable mounting the dock to the back of a compatible monitor to free up additional space on your desk. Please check your monitor manual to confirm if your monitor supports this functionality.

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Docking Station Comparison

* 2560x1440 output only available when using a single HDMI display connected through the dock. If dual displays are connected, each will be limited to a maximum resolution of 1920x1200. 2560x1440 output requires a "High Speed" HDMI cable. 2560x1440 mode will operate at a 50Hz refresh rate; all lower modes support 60Hz refresh. 2560x1440 output requires current DisplayLink drivers and attached monitor must natively support 2560x1440 via HDMI input (most 2560x1600 monitors do not support 2560x1440)

** 3840×2160 output only available when using a single HDMI display. If dual displays are connected, each will be limited to a maximum resolution of 1920×1200. 3840×2160 output requires a “High Speed” HDMI cable. 3840×2160 mode operates at a 30Hz refresh rate; all lower modes support 60Hz refresh. 3840×2160 output requires current DisplayLink drivers and attached monitor must natively support 3840×2160 via HDMI input

Only for supported tablets. Please see plugable.com/ud-pro8 for more details

Support

Feel free to contact us directly at support@plugable.com if you have any questions. Whether you’ve purchased the UD-5900 and need support or you’re considering a purchase and would like help understanding this adapter’s features, we’re here to help.

FAQ

Do Plugable USB docking stations and graphics adapters support Windows 10?
Windows 10 drivers are available for all of our USB docking stations and graphics adapters. As with any new operating system, Plugable recommends that users wait before upgrading any mission critical systems. For additional information on Plugable USB graphics devices and Windows 10, please check out our blog post covering things more in depth.

Where can I download the user manual/quick start guide included in the box with the dock?
The most current documentation is available here

I have never used a laptop or desktop with more than one monitor before. Now that my Windows system has more than one display I am not sure how things are supposed to work or how to change them. Do you have any videos that can help?
We have a produced a series of short videos that introduce the concepts of multi-monitor setups, how to make changes to the way things behave and how to solve common problems. The direct links to the videos are:

I installed the dock on my laptop and everything works well with the laptop lid open. However, when I close the laptop lid the monitors connected to the dock turn off and the laptop shuts down. How do I fix this?

Windows has special power management settings that control what happens when the laptop lid is closed. If this happening, these settings need to be changed. Please right-click on the Start button and select ‘Power Options’ from the menu.

From the choices present on the left-hand side of the Power Options window, please click on ‘Choose what closing the lid does’. ** Important note – if you are running the Creators Update (or newer) to Windows 10, you will have click on the ‘Additional power settings’ option to access this window **

Make sure the setting for ‘When I close the lid’ under the ‘Plugged In’ column is set to ‘Do Nothing’. Click the ‘Save Changes’ button and restart the system, making sure that the laptop’s power adapter is also connected, and test the behavior again.

If I add the dock to my system to add additional monitors, does that prevent any of my system’s built-in video outputs from working? For example, if I connect the unit to my Surface Pro 4 tablet, does that prevent the built-in mini-DisplayPort output from working?
No, the docking station’s presence on your system will not preclude the use of any of your system’s built-in video outputs.

The USB 3.0 cable included in the box is too short for my setup. Can I purchase a longer one separately, and what type of cable to I need?
If the included three foot USB 3.0 cable is not of sufficient length, a longer cable up to six feet in length can be purchased separately (we don’t recommend cables longer than six feet due to potential performance issues). The type of cable required is a USB 3.0 Type-A to Type-B cable. An example of such a cable would this one.

I have headphones or speakers connected to the analog audio output jack on the front of the dock, but no sound is coming out. How do I fix this?
The first thing to check when this happens is that the default Playback device is set correctly within Windows. We have a short video that shows how to do this here

I have connected an HDMI TV to the dock, and it appears that some of the image onscreen is being cutoff. What is happening and how to do I fix this?
In some cases a TV will cutoff parts of an image in an effort to make the image fit within the confines of display. This is called ‘overscan’. Most TV’s have a way to adjust this behavior, but the specifics of how to do so can vary substantially between different brands and models. Please watch our short video on the subject here to help resolve the issue.

3840×2160 Functionality
3840×2160 output only available when using a single HDMI display. If dual displays are connected, each will be limited to a maximum resolution of 1920×1200. 3840×2160 output requires a “High Speed” HDMI cable. 3840×2160 mode operates at a 30Hz refresh rate; all lower modes support 60Hz refresh. 3840×2160 output requires current DisplayLink drivers and attached monitor must natively support 3840×2160 via HDMI input

What does the blue LED on the Plugable UD-5900 indicate?
The blue LED indicates that the Plugable UD-5900 is receiving power from the adapter.

The blue power LED is flashing or not lighting up and my dock doesn’t work, what is wrong?
That the blue power light blinks indicates the unit is not getting the power it needs to function properly. The first things to check in that case are as follows:

  • That the wall power outlet (or power strip) is working properly. Switching to another outlet or power strip can sometimes help
  • That the ‘prong’ that attaches to the power adapter and provides the blades that insert into the power outlet is securely attached
  • The power adapter is securely connected to the back of the docking station and to the wall power outlet
  • That the correct power adapter model for the dock is in use, as on rare occasions a different power adapter may be used accidentally. A picture of the correct power adapter for the UD-5900 is shown below (click to enlarge)
  • UD-5900 Power adapter shown with U.S. style plug

In what countries can the power adapter included with the UD-5900 work?
The included power adapter supports voltages ranging from 100-240V, and frequencies ranging from 50Hz and 60Hz. When purchased in the U.S., the power adapter includes ‘prongs’ or ‘blades’ for U.S. style outlets. When purchased in the UK or EU, the power adapter includes prongs for both the UK and EU style outlets. At this time we do not offer prongs for any other outlet style. If necessary, a simple ‘travel style’ adapter can be used in conjunction with the power adapter to work with other styles of outlets.

I lost the power adapter for my UD-5900. Where can I buy a new one?
We sell replacement power adapters for use in the US, UK and EU via our eBay Store here. Direct links to each specific style are:

What do the green and amber LEDs on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-5900 indicate?
The green link LED on the Ethernet port on the Plugable UD-5900 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 indication that data is transferring through the port.  Both these LEDs will not light up when:

  • The DisplayLink driver for the dock has not installed properly or is corrupted
  • The Ethernet Cable plugged in is not live or is faulty
  • The network device to which the dock is connected only supports half-duplex communication (see next FAQ question below)
  • 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.

I use an application to change the color of my display to make it easier to see (like the f.lux application) but it doesn’t seem to affect the display I have connected to the dock. Why is this?
As mentioned above, the DisplayLink driver does not currently support this type of color adjustment so applications like f.lux will not affect displays connected to the dock. DisplayLink (the maker of the chip in the dock and author of the driver) is working to add this functionality in the future. Please see this post on the DisplayLink website for more information and the current state of the project.

While I can adjust the brightness of my internal laptop display or directly connected external display using the Windows Display Settings application, this option is grayed out and not available for the displays attached to the dock. Is something wrong?
Windows does not have the ability to adjust the brightness of a USB-attached display, so the behavior is expected. We recommend making use of the display’s internal on-screen menu options to adjust the brightness.

I cannot use my Intel, Nvidia, or AMD/ATI graphics utility to manage the monitors connected to the dock. Why is this?
The utilities provided by Intel, Nvidia and AMD/ATI are designed to only recognize and work with graphics adapters made by their respective manufacturers and they will not recognize USB-attached displays connected to the dock. It is recommended to use the facilities built-in to Windows to manage the displays connected to the dock (‘Display Settings’ on Windows 10 and ‘Screen Resolution’ on Windows 8.1 and 7).

Are Plugable USB video adapters or docking stations compatible with Touchscreens?
Touchscreens that do not require drivers and use the host’s operating system’s built-in USB Human Interface drivers (HID) to record touch inputs can be made to work with our products, but Plugable does not provide support for doing so due the complexity of multi-monitor touch screen setups.

Can the UD-5900 charge host computer devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro?
The UD-5900 offers no host device charging capabilities.

Why does my wireless mouse or keyboard appear sluggish or not work properly when used with the dock?
Most USB receivers for wireless mice and keyboards operate in the 2.4Ghz band. When connecting the receiver to any USB 3.0 port there is potential for interference that can affect the devices performance. The most effective method is to add a short USB 2.0 extension cable between the dock and the receiver to mitigate the effect, and many wireless keyboards and mice come with such a cable for this reason.

Intel has a technical whitepaper on the behavior for those interested here:
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/universal-serial-bus/usb3-frequency-interference-paper.html

We have written about this in more detail in our blog post on the subject here. For even more information please see Intel’s whitepaper here.

When I connect the dock to my system, my internal Wi-Fi adapter stops working or suffers from poor performance. Why is this happening?
There are several factors that can cause this to happen, along with several potential fixes. Please see our blog post on the topic for more information.

I have a cable with a DisplayPort connector on one end and an HDMI connector on the other. Can I use this cable to connect a DisplayPort display to the HDMI output of the dock?
No, the cable described is a passive cable designed to work in one direction only, from a DisplayPort output to a HDMI input. It will not work in the other direction.

I’m not sure what types of video cables can be used to connect my monitors to the dock. What options are available?
Please see our detailed blog post on the subject here for more information about video cable options. Note, the article refers to our UD-3900 dock, but the same options apply to the UD-5900.

Can I use the dock in conjunction with a KVM switch?
No, Plugable does not recommend or support using our dock with a traditional KVM switch. If you simply need to share the dock between two systems, the dock can be manually disconnected from the first system and then manually connected to the second system. For those that would like a more permanent solution that does not require disconnecting the unit, our USB 3.0 Sharing Switch can be used to share the dock between two systems (the dock can only be used by one system at a time).

After the Windows Anniversary or Creators Update, applications that make use of OpenGL (like SketchUp for example) are not working properly and/or produce an error message when launched while the dock is connected to my system. Why is this happening and how do I fix this?

Microsoft and DisplayLink (the maker of the chip in our dock and author of the driver) have identified a bug within the Windows 10 Anniversary and Creators Update. With the Anniversary or Creators Update to Windows 10, Microsoft has now integrated support for the DisplayLink technology used in our docking station into Windows itself, and in certain cases applications which make use of OpenGL may not work as expected.

For example, the SketchUp application requires the use of graphics adapter that supports a standard known as OpenGL -> http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/114278

In some instances, Windows mistakenly directs the tasks intended for the system’s internal graphics adapter (which does support OpenGL) to the DisplayLink-based docking station. Our docking station is not a traditional graphics adapter in and of itself (it relies on the CPU and internal graphics adapter to work), and this results in the incorrect behavior or error message. DisplayLink speaks to this issue directly here -> http://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/942862-my-device-is-not-working-properly-on-windows-10-an (under the section ‘OPENGL 1.1 REPORTED INSTEAD OF 4.X’)

Pending Microsoft fixing the issue within Windows itself, there are two possible workarounds. The first is to configure Windows to have the ‘Main’ display set to a display directly connected to your internal graphics adapter, whether that is an internal laptop display or another external display connected to one of the systems built-in video outputs (a quick guide to doing so is here -> https://youtu.be/7nnKztRZXsw).

If that doesn’t prove a suitable workaround, booting the system without the dock connected, launching SketchUp (or any other OpenGL application), and then connecting the dock may also help.

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