cach22
2 Bronze

17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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Hello,

I have the the Alienware 17 R3. I am currently using the HDMI port to a TV for a second monitor. 

This laptop contains a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3.0.

I would like to know if this laptop could control two 4K monitors through a docking station connected to the USB-C port using Thunderbird 3.0.

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jphughan
7 Gold

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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@cach22  It's Thunderbolt 3, not Thunderbird, but yes Thunderbolt 3 would allow you to run dual 4K 60 Hz displays.  You don't even need a full docking station if you only want to run displays.  You can get a Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter (or Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI 2.0 adapter if you prefer), but if you want a full docking station, then there are Thunderbolt 3 docks like the Dell WD19TB.  However, you would not be able to properly charge an Alienware 17 R3 from a docking station since that system requires much more power than can be delivered over USB-C/TB3.

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jphughan
7 Gold

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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@takiyon  If you want to verify which GPU controls the USB-C/TB3 port, connect a display to that port (it doesn't have to be through a dock), then open NVIDIA Control Panel and go to the Surround/PhysX section.  In there you will see a diagram showing which GPU controls each display.  But even if the output is wired to the Intel GPU, that does NOT mean that you will be unable to use the NVIDIA GPU.  The NVIDIA GPU can still work through the Intel GPU using technology called NVIDIA Optimus.  If you want to understand the different types of multi-GPU laptop designs and their various benefits and drawbacks, see the post I wrote that is marked as the answer in this thread.

But even if the Intel GPU controls the display outputs, you would be able to run dual 4K 60 Hz displays through a Thunderbolt 3 dock.  Just note that if you get a WD19TB, there are some restrictions on the port combinations you can use in order to run dual 4K 60 Hz, and those restrictions are different based on whether the source system supports DisplayPort HBR2 or HBR3.  If the Intel GPU controls the outputs, it will be an HBR2 system.  If the NVIDIA GPU controls the outputs, it will probably be an HBR3 system.  So just make sure you try the correct port combinations.  Those are explained in the WD19TB User Guide on support.dell.com.

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jphughan
7 Gold

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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@cach22  It's Thunderbolt 3, not Thunderbird, but yes Thunderbolt 3 would allow you to run dual 4K 60 Hz displays.  You don't even need a full docking station if you only want to run displays.  You can get a Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter (or Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI 2.0 adapter if you prefer), but if you want a full docking station, then there are Thunderbolt 3 docks like the Dell WD19TB.  However, you would not be able to properly charge an Alienware 17 R3 from a docking station since that system requires much more power than can be delivered over USB-C/TB3.

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cach22
2 Bronze

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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Thanks for the fast reply. Yes, I meant to type Thunderbolt. I've only typed it a couple hundred times the past few days. Funny how that happens.

I was also curious about the charging aspect, so thank you for answering that question as well. It is like you read my mind.

The reason I am looking for a solution with a docking station is because there are multiple configurations available. I am working from home and my work laptop has a Dell docking station with HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort Ports on it. I am going to take the opportunity to go to a dual display setup. That means I will be purchasing monitors that have both HDMI and DisplayPort ports. So the question became "How do I connect to the same two monitors with my personal laptop?".

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takiyon
2 Bronze

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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I have the same machine. Thinking about getting the WD19TB. However I want to make sure that I can drive 2 4k monitors using displayport outputs. Will the internal nvidia gpu display? I was told that the Thunderbolt 3 port is only connected to the Intel 530 Graphics chip. Please advise.

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crimsom
4 Germanium

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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Hi @takiyon  welcome to this user to user discussion forum. This is not Dell Supported, 

Plugging in the external monitors and then pressing power-on button should have automatically detected new devices and enabled their recommended settings. Right click on empty part of screen and open Windows' Display settings, follow the prompts to enable/change settings of all external monitors, if the docking station requires manual intervention.

Please click on Kudos to say thank you for response from another user. Please share an update on progress, so that other users derive benefit from your experience. Thank you. 

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takiyon
2 Bronze

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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@crimsom I appreciate the response. However I want to make sure that video display from the dock while I am gaming. Will this work?

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jphughan
7 Gold

Re: 17 R3, multiple 4K monitors through docking station

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@takiyon  If you want to verify which GPU controls the USB-C/TB3 port, connect a display to that port (it doesn't have to be through a dock), then open NVIDIA Control Panel and go to the Surround/PhysX section.  In there you will see a diagram showing which GPU controls each display.  But even if the output is wired to the Intel GPU, that does NOT mean that you will be unable to use the NVIDIA GPU.  The NVIDIA GPU can still work through the Intel GPU using technology called NVIDIA Optimus.  If you want to understand the different types of multi-GPU laptop designs and their various benefits and drawbacks, see the post I wrote that is marked as the answer in this thread.

But even if the Intel GPU controls the display outputs, you would be able to run dual 4K 60 Hz displays through a Thunderbolt 3 dock.  Just note that if you get a WD19TB, there are some restrictions on the port combinations you can use in order to run dual 4K 60 Hz, and those restrictions are different based on whether the source system supports DisplayPort HBR2 or HBR3.  If the Intel GPU controls the outputs, it will be an HBR2 system.  If the NVIDIA GPU controls the outputs, it will probably be an HBR3 system.  So just make sure you try the correct port combinations.  Those are explained in the WD19TB User Guide on support.dell.com.

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