Plugable Thunderbolt™ 3 Dual DisplayPort Adapter for Mac
- Harness Thunderbolt™ 3’s 40 Gbps bandwidth to enable two additional DisplayPort displays with resolutions up to 4096×2160@60Hz on Thunderbolt 3 Macs
- For Mac systems with Thunderbolt 3 ports such as the late 2016/2017 MacBook Pros and 2017 iMac
- Supports a single 5120×2880@60 (5K) display if both DisplayPort outputs are connected to a 5K-capable display
- Thunderbolt-attached displays offer best-in-class performance, without the additional system overhead of USB graphics adapters
- Adapter housing is made from sleek, lightweight aluminum allowing you to easily expand the graphical functionality of your Thunderbolt 3 laptop or tablet on the go.
- DisplayPort outputs can be converted to HDMI, DVI, or VGA if active adapters are used (adapters sold separately)
Leveraging 40Gbps of bandwidth made possible by Intel’s Thunderbolt™ 3 technology, Plugable’s Dual DisplayPort Adapter enables content creators and power users to connect two additional displays with uncompromising graphics performance. Supports up to two additional independent 4K displays (or a single 5k display) with 60Hz refresh rates and 30bpps color depth.
What’s in the Box
The Plugable TBT3-DP2X-83 comes with a robust, built-in 10″ (25cm) Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable and quick-install guide.
Watch The Video Demonstration
Mac System Compatibility
The TBT3-DP2X-83 is compatible with all Thunderbolt 3 Mac systems, including the Late 2016 & Mid 2017 MacBook Pro series and 2017 iMacs with Thunderbolt 3.
Please note: Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro systems with AMD graphics support up to 4 external displays. MacBook Pros with Intel graphics support a maximum of 2 external displays.
On Thunderbolt 3 Mac systems, setup is as simple as plugging the DisplayPort displays into the adapter and the adapter into an available Thunderbolt 3 port on your Mac.
While this adapter will work with select Windows systems, please note that if only Windows compatibility is needed, a less-expensive Windows-only version of the adapter here.
To work as expected with our Dual Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Adapters, the Windows Thunderbolt 3-enabled system must meet the following requirements:
- Current Thunderbolt 3 host firmware (NVM)
- System manufacturer must have physically routed two DP lines to the Thunderbolt 3 port. All Dell and Apple Thunderbolt 3 systems we are aware of meet this requirement. Support from other manufacturers varies from model to model.
- Requires updated system UEFI BIOS, Thunderbolt 3 drivers, and graphics (GPU) drivers from the system manufacturer
Below is a list of tested systems with the latest known NVM firmware, BIOS version, and DP line information:
Q: Will this adapter work with any Thunderbolt 3 system?
A: No! Please see the detailed Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility Guidance below for details
Q: Will this adapter work with a Mac?
A: Yes, the latest version of our adapter (denoted by the updated model/SKU TBT3-DP2X-83) is compatible with any Mac system that has a Thunderbolt 3 port. It cannot be used with a Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 1 Mac system
Q: Can the DisplayPort outputs be converted to HDMI, DVI, or VGA?
A: Yes! However, “Active” DisplayPort graphics adapters are required for this conversion. Passive adapters will not work.
Q: Why can’t passive adapters be used?
A: Passive DisplayPort to HDMI/DVI/VGA adapters rely on the host device supporting DisplayPort++, which allows the host to detect a passive adapter and send the appropriate signaling type required by HDMI and DVI displays. (Note: VGA uses different signaling, so all DisplayPort to VGA adapters are active by definition.)
For DisplayPort outputs that do not have DP++ functionality (such as the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dual DisplayPort Adapter, and many others), an active adapter is required.
Q: Does Plugable make active adapters that will work?
A: Yes! The Plugable DisplayPort to HDMI active adapter has been thoroughly tested with our Thunderbolt 3 Dual DisplayPort Adapter.
Q: Does the adapter support passing an audio signal over a DisplayPort connection?
A: Yes. The adapter does support carrying an audio signal via a DisplayPort cable to a display that has audio output capabilities.
Q: Does Plugable make an HDMI version of the Thunderbolt 3 Dual DisplayPort Adapter?
A: Yes! Information on the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dual HDMI Adapter can be found here.
General Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility Guidance
Overview and Drivers
In general, Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Stations and Thunderbolt 3 Dual Display Adapters do not require the installation of any drivers when used with macOS or Windows. When connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device, the host operating system should install all the necessary drivers automatically.
However, there are certain instances with Windows systems where additional driver installation may be necessary when using our Thunderbolt 3 docking stations (these are NOT required on macOS systems):
TBT3-UDV Docking Station:
Mac Thunderbolt 3 Systems – No drivers required.
Windows 10 – In general, no driver installations are required when using Windows 10. After initial connection if all functions of the dock are working as expected, then no additional action is required.
However, when the TBT3-UDV is used with certain eighth generation Intel processor-based Windows 10 systems an updated USB 3.0 driver may need to be installed to ensure the best performance of USB peripherals attached to the TBT3-UDV. We recommend installing the updated Asmedia USB 3.0 drivers here. For additional details, please see our TBT3-UDV product page.
TBT3-UD1-83 Docking Station:
General Thunderbolt 3 Information
Before purchasing or using a new Thunderbolt™ 3 docking station or video adapter for use with your personal computer running Windows, you will want to make sure that your computer can support it and be aware of differences from basic USB devices:
Note: The following does not apply to Apple Thunderbolt 3 systems.
- Many Thunderbolt 3 PCs require firmware and software updates before all adapters and docks will work.
- Dual display support is optional for Thunderbolt 3 PCs. How many displays are supported over Thunderbolt 3 depends on how the USB-C port has been wired on the system motherboard (up to a max of two), and is not changeable in software or by the Thunderbolt 3 graphics device.
- Support for PC charging (USB Power Delivery) on Thunderbolt 3 systems is optional. Many Thunderbolt 3-enabled PCs do not accept a charge over USB-C, and some PCs only will charge with their own branded power adapters.
- Unlike USB devices, Thunderbolt 3 devices must be manually authenticated (approved) for use by the user before the system will recognize them.
– Host computers equipped with Thunderbolt 3 have the ability to install various updates including NVM (Thunderbolt 3 related Non-volatile memory) and PD (Power Delivery) firmware, UEFI BIOS, supplemental Thunderbolt 3 software utilities (for authentication) and various drivers to resolve potential issues and increase compatibility with new Thunderbolt 3 products as they are released.
– System manufacturers have substantial discretion in how they implement various technical elements and features. As a result, compatibility information is complex. As a result many currently available Thunderbolt 3 systems are not fully compatible with our Thunderbolt 3 dual graphics adapters (with do our best to maintain compatibility tables of the individual product pages). Some systems may only be equipped with a single DisplayPort (DP) Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) line to the Thunderbolt 3 port which limits the port to a single display output. Due to this limitation some systems won’t be able to take advantage of our dual port Thunderbolt 3 graphics adapters regardless of firmware/software updates. This is a physical hardware limitation.
– Many system manufacturers ship systems with older firmware and may or may not have updated versions available for download at this time. The latest Thunderbolt 3 firmware for a specific system cannot be downloaded from Intel directly, as it first it has to be customized by the original system manufacturer. Intel has a Thunderbolt updates page with some update information, but as of this writing the list if fairly small. Currently our TBT3-HDMI2X-83 and TBT3-DP2X-83 adapters require the host system to have a Thunderbolt 3 firmware update with NVM version 14 or higher in order to work properly. The latest UEFI BIOS update from your system manufacturer must be installed before updating the NVM firmware.
Operating System Compatibility
Thunderbolt 3 technology is supported by any operating system which has driver support for Thunderbolt 3. Currently, Plugable supports Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 (64-bit only) and macOS 10.13 or later. Although support for Thunderbolt 3 devices under Linux is steadily evolving, Plugable does not support Thunderbolt 3 devices within a Linux environment at this time.
General Thunderbolt 3 FAQ
Q: Can a Thunderbolt 3 dock or adapter work in any system with any USB-C (USB Type C) port?
A: No. Thunderbolt 3 docks and adapters will only work with Thunderbolt 3 USB-C computers and ports. Connecting to a USB-C port without Thunderbolt 3 capability will not work. Note that computers and docks may have a mix of Thunderbolt 3 and other USB-C ports that look very similar. Look for the Thunderbolt icon on both sides of the connection to ensure compatibility.
Q: How can I identify the NVM version on my system?
A: See “Identifying the NVM” section below.
Q: What if a newer compatible NVM is not available from my system manufacturer?
A: Unfortunately the only option is to contact your system manufacturer and ask when a newer version will be available, and to let them know that until it is, certain accessories you are looking to use will not work.
Q: How can I identify if my system has the necessary two DisplayPort lines to provide dual display output through the Thunderbolt 3 port?
A: Unfortunately in many cases this information is very hard to discern based on the manufacturers published specifications. If your system is not among those listed in our compatibility table above, please contact your system manufacturer for confirmation of how many DisplayPort lines are routed to your Thunderbolt 3 port.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dual display adapter and my monitor configuration changed by itself.
A: This may occur and is considered normal. You can change the main display back to your desired screen through the “Display settings” control panel.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dual display adapter and am only getting a single output.
A: Depending on what Thunderbolt 3 equipped system you have, it may only support a single output because of the DP Alt Mode line configuration. See above “Known Host NVM Versions & DP Lines” to find out if your system has one or two lines.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dual display adapter for the first time and my system crashed (hard lock).
A: Check to see if your system is running the latest Thunderbolt 3 software, NVM, UEFI BIOS, and all other updates from your system manufacturer. If everything is updated, unplug the adapter, reboot the system, and then reconnect.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dual display adapter and am not getting any output to either display.
A: If your system has hybrid graphics (combination of built-in Intel GPU and AMD or NVIDIA discreet graphics) make sure the Intel GPU is set to be the primary GPU in the UEFI BIOS.
Authenticating a Newly Attached Device
After connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device the first thing that you should see (assuming that the system NVM, BIOS, drivers, etc are up to date and compatible) is an automatic notification above the system tray notifying you that a new device has been attached. You will want to click OK:
After clicking OK, you may get a Windows User Account Control (UAC) popup asking if you “want to allow this app to make changes to your PC?”. Click Yes:
After clicking yes you should see a windows like this appear which is where you will approve the Thunderbolt 3 device that was just attached:
Click on the drop down menu where it says “Do Not Connect” and select “Always Connect”. Then click OK:
To view and manage the approved devices you can find the program sitting in the system tray. You may need to click the caret (up arrow icon) to show all of the running programs then right click on the Thunderbolt icon it and select Manage Approved Devices:
You may again get a Windows UAC prompt, click yes. After clicking yes the below window will open and you can see any approved devices and remove them if you choose.
How do I check which version of Thunderbolt 3 software and NVM firmware I am running in Windows?
To determine what version of NVM firmware your system has, the first step is to ensure you have the latest Thunderbolt software version which varies depending on the system manufacturer. You should be able to download it from your system manufacturer’s website.
Once installed you can open the software by searching the start menu for Thunderbolt:
Once open you can find the program sitting in the system tray. You may need to click the caret (up arrow icon) to show all of the running programs then right click on the Thunderbolt icon it and select Settings:
Now you should see the settings window. Click on Details to find out all of the Thunderbolt software and controller information:
If you do not see a ‘Details’ button, the alternative way to access this information is by selecting the ‘About’ option from the application icon’s context menu, similar to this example:
If a Thunderbolt 3 device has been connected to the system the Thunderbolt software will show you information about the controller. Below you can see the details from our Dell XPS 13 9350 system:
Unfortunately if a Thunderbolt device has not yet been connected to the system, the information about the NVM firmware may not be available within the utility:
If we determine a means to obtain firmware information without needing to connect a Thunderbolt device, and we’ll update this information.
If you have any questions feel free to contact our support team or comment below, we’re more than happy to help!
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