New Adapter from Plugable Technologies Enables 4K Ultra HD Monitors up to 3840×2160 on Nearly Any USB 3.0 Capable Windows 7 and Higher System

Ultra HD 4K monitors with resolutions up to 3840×2160 are starting to move into the mainstream. Many Windows-based tablets and laptops shipped in recent years don’t yet support this new generation of displays, and certainly don’t support connecting more than one of them to a Windows PC.

We’re excited to announce the Plugable UGA-4KDP USB 3.0 Graphics Adapter. It’s the first widely available solution for connecting one or more 4K DisplayPort-based monitors to any Windows 7 or later PC with available USB 3.0 ports. Using one adapter per monitor, you can connect 6 or more huge monitors. The adapter is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so older machines will work — but for most scenarios USB 3.0 is a must for performance reasons.

The Ultra HD 4K generation of monitors available today support either DisplayPort or HDMI inputs. This adapter outputs DisplayPort signals, enabling connection without any additional adapters. Output to HDMI-only monitors is still possible, but requires an active DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (not included) which supports these higher resolutions. If an active adapter is needed, the Plugable DP-HDMI is an excellent choice, as it’s been tested extensively with our UGA-4KDP at 4K resolutions.

The DisplayLink DL-5500 chipset at the heart of this adapter is a virtual graphics device. It uses the computer’s own CPU and GPU for rendering pixels, then compresses and sends just the pixels that change over the USB bus. Actual display to the monitor is then refreshed from memory on the device at 60Hz for all modes up to 3840×2160, and 30 Hz at that highest mode.

This is a great solution for web and application use, but is not recommended for 3D gaming or motion video.

Have any questions at all? Comment below or email – we’d be happy to help! We’re excited to help bring 4K to the PC masses – thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

7 comments on “New Adapter from Plugable Technologies Enables 4K Ultra HD Monitors up to 3840×2160 on Nearly Any USB 3.0 Capable Windows 7 and Higher System”

  1. Jeff Watson Reply

    Any time lines on the HDMI 1.4 or 2.0 versions of a 4K USB adapter? The monitor I’m eyeballing is really an HDTV and I’d prefer to skip some variations that might not work that you mentioned.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi Jeff – we’re not yet at the point where we’re able to provide specific details about the time lines or pricing on the HDMI version of the 4K adapter. Though I can say that it definitely won’t be an HDMI 2.0 device – it will output 4K@30Hz, just like the current DisplayPort version.

  2. Bill Reply

    Have recently purchased “Plugable USB 3.0 to DisplayPort 4K UHD” and am really pleased with the product. Existing laptop HDMI port was only capable of outputing 1920×1080 so 2560×1440@60Hz or 3840×2160@30Hz is a big improvement.

    A recommendation:
    I know USB3 bandwidth is a limitation but would it be possible to output 4K at 60Hz and drop frames where there is too much change in the screen? This would mean that moving the mouse about on a static screen would be more responsive.

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Bill – Thank you for the kind words! Technically the bottleneck for 4K 60Hz is at the DisplayLink chip and the DDR3 memory. They need to be clocked high enough to be reading pixels fast enough from the frame buffer to refresh the screen over DisplayPort at a 60 Hz rate at 4K. Today, that’s only possible at 30Hz. Now if screen content is changing, the bottleneck then can shift to USB 3.0, but as you say when it’s mouse movement, that’s not a problem since there’s so little data changing.

      DisplayLink is working on pushing clocks and other features to improve. But actually hitting 4K 60Hz might take a new chip. We’re seeing similar challenges with native DisplayPort over USB-C docks (VESA Alternate Mode) where 4K 30Hz fits within 2 lanes at HBR2, but next-generation chips and protocols are needed to hit 60Hz.

      Some of DisplayLink’s improvements will apply to current hardware, so look for updates (like the upcoming 7.8 driver) to get those for your current adapter. Thanks again for posting! – Bernie

  3. John Stevenson Reply

    Is Display LInk going to launch a 4k @ 60hz usb 3.0 adapter… if not why not create a dock that uses 2 usb 3.0 ports… or widi?

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