Return to Level1Techs.com

USB-C for connectivity of screen in office


#1

Hey there,

In the office where I’m working, we are getting more and more computers with USB-C connection, and people find them more convenient to use. However, the cables that comes with the screen have a tendency to break (most likely due to misuse from the user perspective) and I am looking for some cables to replace them.

My questions is mainly related to the type of cable and speed necessary for this. Would a USB-C 3.1 gen 1/2 (5/10GB transfer speed) be sufficient for this use or s/would a Thunderbolt3 (1m active/passive cable) be a better option? The users don’t seem to use any high speed peripherals to the screen, mainly mouse and keyboards.


#2

Are these desktops or laptops? (or newer USB-C compatible monitors?)

Is the necessity to break out a USB-C port into other interfaces? If yes, I’ve sided with USB-C hubs that have the connectivity/power pass through I need.

Is the necessity to “dock” a workstation laptop to a desk and also take them home for travel work use? Again the adapter/dongle sector (especially with Apple products) lends itself to quality 3rd party vendors as opposed to Apple made products.

the cables that comes with the screen have a tendency to break (most likely due to misuse from the user perspective) and I am looking for some cables to replace them

Are these iMacs? or some other monitor being used as a primary/secondary screen in a dock-esque setup?

Only real options are a replacement cable that has some heft (USB-C to whatever connector you need), or a USB-C hub.

The biggest question is use case, and if you need power passthrough on a hub if you were to go with that solution.


#3

These are laptops, both Windows (mainly Lenovo) and MacOS-based. Usually, they are provided with a dongle if they wish, but some users would just like to connect a single cable and use keyboard/mouse from the computer.

No, mainly HP or Lenovo screen with USB-C connection, so more of a dock-ish setup.

Power would be needed (preferably 80 watts or so) due to the single-cable setup. Power passthrough on a hub would not be required.


#4

No others with experience of USB-C connection to a laptop and could say something what is needed?


#5

Been monitoring this thread for a while.
Only experience with USB-C I have is USB-C carrying Displayport. No daisy chain, no charging.


#6

I have a buddy who just went through this conundrum with his MBP and trying to find the right monitor to use with it, such that he could simply plug up a USB-C (male to male) cable from the monitor to the laptop. Some have USB-C ports, but lackluster power pass through.

I think the main question here is what monitors you’re using rather than the cables/dongles/hubs/etc.

The problem is that most monitors out there take in your standard types of display inputs… (HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort), and so newer laptop users with ONLY USB-C ports end up having to buy a plethora of adapters/hubs/converting cables…

So I guess you could handle it on the cable side or, if USB-C (male-male) cables come with these laptops, getting a whole mess of monitors with USB-C power pass through at your desired wattage.

Since the latter is less available (or more expensive), it seems that finding a good cable vendor that is robust and reliable is your best bet. But it depends on what you’d like to accomplish.

Hopefully the release of USB4 will make the use of that port form factor ubiquitous in the market. Until then, we are in this weird limbo of conversion dongles/hubs/cables.

I currently work on a new iMac and I have to have two USB-C hubs to get secondary displays (amongst other things) working. I’ve tried Apple, Targus, Anker, and Belkin products… of them I have had good experiences with Anker and Belkin, but YMMV and I don’t want to steer you in any direction but the one that works best for yall’s use case. I don’t have a horse in this race.

Best of luck.


#7

I see. Thanks for the heads-up on USB-C only carrying Displayport.


#8

The office seems to be opting for the Lenovo P27h, which have an USB-C type connector and charges a laptop via the said port.

I’ll probably end up getting the work to buy some cables to test with, and I can hopefully report back in this thread how that testing went.

Thank you for both of your answer :smile:


#9

USB-C carries lots of things, data, power, HDMI, DP, etc.
When it is the physical package for Thunderbolt, it adds PCIe.

You really need to look at what the devices on either end can handle.


#10

Yea it seems like documentation is sparse on that P27h, though it seems the USB-C port has power passthrough up to 65W or so, and if it works for your laptops, then thats groovy :slight_smile:

That seems like a pretty clean solution to just have a monitor, single cable to the laptop which carries video/power/etc, especially if they prefer using the laptop keyboard/screen and the p27h is just a secondary display.

I guess back to your original question is about reliable cables… I’m sure you’re doing the same searches I am but here is one that I found on amazon without any worrisome reviews… though this would be from Lenovo laptop to Lenovo monitor.

For the Macs you’ll probably have forego the “single cable” solution (if that P27h is the monitor of choice), as I believe they demand more power to charge on a passthrough cable (I could be wrong but I was thinking its 95W?). Most good USB-C hubs will have breakout ports for USB-C power/video ports of some kind/and a smattering of other usb 2.0 ports/etc.

Eager to hear your feedback. Hope you find what you need!


#11

I know, thus my initial question about the minimum viable requirements.

Good point! I’ll make sure to look into that.

I can confirm that the P27h can charge a laptop, so it’s pretty nice.

That is indeed the use case, and pretty convenient.

Unfortunately, I live in a country where Amazon isn’t present, so I have to use a domestic shop (good discounts though). But I’ll make sure to share my experience with testing of different cables and post what spec they have (given that it is listed/available).

I’ll guess I have to test this, so cables will be ordered on Monday.

I’ll update this thread. It didn’t seem like too many have experience with the use case I presented, so any finding I find, I’m happy to share.


#12

I mean, no, I’m not an expert or have had to overcome this same issue exactly, but I do care about stuff like this…

I helped my fiance set up a workstation at home with her company-provided MacBook Air (new one with only 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports), and I have an iMac at work.

She was given a Targus USB C hub from her mega-corp’s IT team. Its clunky but works for her, though she wishes they had a cleaner adapter to give her. I’m testing out different solutions myself.

I have two USB-C hubs to support external monitors at my desk at work. One is an Anker which makes great accessories, and one is a Belkin.

My former coworker nerd-bro friend has a MacBook Pro he docks with an UltraWide monitor ( Acer Predator X34P 34" UW-QHD ) at home, which I believe he does a single usb 3.1c cable to/fro… He also games on PC with DisplayPort so not exactly the same scenario we’re talking about here, but somewhat related.

Sorry about the Amazon link, hard to avoid those when searching for accessories. Maybe you’re allowed to order stuff from Alibaba, idk.

I’m just a shitty developer, not an IT guy… but my company’s IT guy and I like to chat about the hurdles like this he has to overcome.

Happy Testing!


#13

No need to be an expert. Experience comes a long way :smile:

We use the Satechi USB-C Slim adapter, and that works pretty good too.

No worry about the Amazon-link. It kind of sucks to not have that around, but luckily enough we have some decent alternative (though not as big with coherent selection).

It does seem like you touch into some of the aspects I’m currently exploring with the setups you mention, but as you say, not completely similar.

Discussing with colleagues comes a long way. I’m not the ‘IT guy’ myself, but people seems to notice that I know my way around technical aspects and at the same time know where stuff is located. I gave them my hand and they took my arm :joy:

Due to some challenges with the economy, we haven’t ordered the cables yet :cry:


#14

Hope things turn up for yall.

I had someone link me this when discussing mac laptop accessories. I have no experience with it, but it looks much like that Satechi you linked.