Kimbos
1 Copper

17 R3, TB, 3100 dock, 3 monitors issue

I have 3 monitors connected to a Dell 3100 docking station (via 2 hdmi and one display port cable), with the docking station connected to an Alienware 17 R3 via the TB port. And it works, sort of...

On a random basis the monitor connected via the display port cable will go black for a second or so then come back to life and operate as normal.  The frequency is every maybe minute or two, and seems become more frequent the more windows / graphics I have going on.

Any thoughts what I can do about this - as far as I can tell all my software is bang up to date.

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4 Replies
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: 17 R3, TB, 3100 dock, 3 monitors issue

Especially since you mentioned that it seems to happen more often when more activity is occurring on the displays, get the latest DisplayLink software directly from DisplayLink.com.  The D3100 is old by now, so Dell might not be keeping the Dell Support page for the D3100 up to date with the software from DisplayLink.  Incidentally though, the fact that Dell Dxxxx docks such as the D3100 use DisplayLink makes them a bad choice for many use cases, including and especially use cases involving a gaming-oriented system.  See my post in this thread, specifically the post marked as the answer, where I went into detail about the drawbacks of DisplayLink.

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Kimbos
1 Copper

Re: 17 R3, TB, 3100 dock, 3 monitors issue

Thanks for your response, unfortunately it did not solve my problem.

Having said that, your thread about use of display port technology was new news to me so I have decided to dump the D3100 docking station and replace it with something else.  But what...

My basic need is to have triple monitor support for flight simulation software. The TB16 says it supports 3 monitors, but its video interfaces are VGA, HDMI, DP, Mini DP, Thunderbolt so I am still using DP to get three monitors (unless I use a VGA interface...). Can you recommend a component that avoids DP completely?

Maybe external GPU enclosures should be my answer (e.g. Alienware Amplifier and the VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Accelerator) which offer at least 3 USB 3.0 interfaces. What do you think?

Also, and this is my dumb understanding, can I use TB3/USB-C as a video interface?  If so, should I be looking for 3 hdmi video interfaces, 3 TB3 video interfaces, or something different?

 

Thanks very much for your help!

 

 

Looking at the TB16 it says thr

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jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: 17 R3, TB, 3100 dock, 3 monitors issue

@Kimbos  it's absolutely crucial to note that DisplayPort and DisplayLink are completely different things.  The former is an absolutely fantastic display output connector (and protocol).  The latter is the sometimes problematic technology I was referring to.

In terms of recommending an option, what are the resolution(s) of your displays?  If they're 2560x1600 or below, then a Thunderbolt dock will be able to run 3 of them.  It can't run triple 4K displays, though.  If that's your setup, you can put two of them on a Thunderbolt dock and connect the third one directly to your system.  Also note that since I wrote that post, Dell has replaced the TB16 with the WD19TB as its current Thunderbolt dock.

Yes, in most docks that have "upstream" USB-C/TB3 ports, including the TB16 and WD19TB, you can use a USB-C to DisplayPort cable to use it as a display output.  You can also use a regular USB-C cable if your display actually has a USB-C input, although I've sometimes seen problems with using Dell USB-C inputs from the USB-C outputs of certain docking stations.  I'm not sure why it happens, and I admittedly haven't tested the WD19TB specifically, but the workaround has always been to use a USB-C to DisplayPort cable instead.  And if the upstream port actually supports Thunderbolt and you have a Thunderbolt display (relatively rare), you would need to use a Thunderbolt cable to carry the video signal.

An eGPU setup certainly has its advantages, but it's also fairly expensive, so if you don't need the extra GPU horsepower, a dock that can actually taps into the GPU outputs wired to your system's USB-C/TB3 port rather than using DisplayLink should improve things significantly.

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Kimbos
1 Copper

Re: 17 R3, TB, 3100 dock, 3 monitors issue

This is great, I can work with this.

Thanks for your time and advice, it is very appreciated.

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