Highlighted
Wojtekj
1 Copper

XPS 15 9560 GTX 1050 not working when plugged to D3100 docking station

Hi

I have just bought XPS 15 9560 and tried to give it a test run and play some game. Performance was not great and i noticed that gtx 1050 gpu is not working. I have D3100 docking station where i have 2x27" FHD screens plugged in with HDMI, mouse, keyboard and RJ45 for internet connection. When i plug out doicking station and use my laptop screen geforce GPU is working fine and i have 170FPS instead of 50FPS with docking station. Do you know why it happens? Nvidia drivers are up to date

Tags (4)
0 Kudos
4 Replies
jphughan
5 Tungsten

Re: XPS 15 9560 GTX 1050 not working when plugged to D3100 docking station

It's a combination of two factors.  First, the D3100 uses a DisplayLink chip to send graphics data to the displays rather than having them directly attached to the GPU as most docking stations do, including the TB16 that would work with your dual 27" displays.  Second, due to limitations in Windows, the DisplayLink driver can only tap into the "boot" GPU, which is the integrated GPU on this system and in almost every other system that has both integrated and discrete GPUs.  The only exceptions would be systems like the Precision 7000 Series models, where the integrated GPU can be completely disabled, but that's made possible by using a more complex and expensive wiring design that's found pretty much only on high-end laptops like the Precision 7000 range.

However, even if the latter limitation didn't exist, DisplayLink displays would still be horrible for gaming.  DisplayLink works by requiring a driver on your system that causes your CPU and GPU to compress display data before transmitting it as regular USB traffic to the adapter (or dock, in your case).  A DisplayLink chip inside the adapter/dock then decompresses it and sends it to the displays.  Having displays run over USB is handy if you want to use more displays than your laptop's regular display outputs support and also if you're a business that wants a single dock that will be compatible with a wide range of systems that have a mixture of "regular" display outputs (DisplayPort, USB-C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, etc.), but DisplayLink also some significant drawbacks, on top of the one you've already discovered:

- If your CPU and GPU are already heavily utilized, they might not have enough capacity to perform this extra display compression, which can lead to compression artifacts, judder/slow-mo effect, etc.
- If your USB bus is already heavily utilized by something else, like a file transfer to/from an external hard drive, there may not be enough bandwidth left for the display data, which can cause the same issues I just mentioned.
- If large portions of the display area are changing at once, such as when watching full screen video or gaming, then there's more display data to compress for each frame, which means higher CPU and USB requirements and therefore a greater likelihood of encountering the issues I mentioned above.

Your real solution here is to return the D3100 and buy a TB16 dock instead.  Make sure you get the one with the 240W AC adapter since you'll be using it with an XPS 15, and as a perk, the cable from the TB16 to the XPS will also be able to charge the system, so you won't need to keep a separate charger connected.

0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Tungsten

Re: XPS 15 9560 GTX 1050 not working when plugged to D3100 docking station

UPDATE: I just noticed your dual 27" displays were only FHD, not the more common 1440p.  In that case, you can save some cash if you get the WD15 dock instead, since the WD15 can handle dual FHD -- but that's the MOST it can handle, so if you think you might want to upgrade to 1440p or 4K later, you'll want the TB16 since it can handle dual 4K and even some triple-display configurations.  And once again since you have an XPS 15, you'll need the version that comes with the higher-wattage AC adapter.  For the WD15, that's the 180W adapter, but for the TB16 you'd still need the 240W adapter.

0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Tungsten

Re: XPS 15 9560 GTX 1050 not working when plugged to D3100 docking station

Looks like my original post disappeared after an edit.  Here it is again:

The behavior you're seeing is a combination of two factors.  First, the D3100 uses a DisplayLink chip to send graphics data to the displays rather than having them directly attached to the GPU as most docking stations do, including the TB16 that would work with your dual 27" displays.  Second, due to limitations in Windows, the DisplayLink driver can only tap into the "boot" GPU, which is the integrated GPU on this system and in almost every other system that has both integrated and discrete GPUs.  The only exceptions would be systems like the Precision 7000 Series models, where the integrated GPU can be completely disabled, but that's made possible by using a more complex and expensive wiring design that's found pretty much only on high-end laptops like the Precision 7000 range.

However, even if the latter limitation didn't exist, DisplayLink displays would still be horrible for gaming.  DisplayLink works by requiring a driver on your system that causes your CPU and GPU to compress display data before transmitting it as regular USB traffic to the adapter (or dock, in your case).  A DisplayLink chip inside the adapter/dock then decompresses it and sends it to the displays.  Having displays run over USB is handy if you want to use more displays than your laptop's regular display outputs support and also if you're a business that wants a single dock that will be compatible with a wide range of systems that have a mixture of "regular" display outputs (DisplayPort, USB-C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, etc.), but DisplayLink also some significant drawbacks, on top of the one you've already discovered:

- If your CPU and GPU are already heavily utilized, they might not have enough capacity to perform this extra display compression, which can lead to compression artifacts, judder/slow-mo effect, etc.
- If your USB bus is already heavily utilized by something else, like a file transfer to/from an external hard drive, there may not be enough bandwidth left for the display data, which can cause the same issues I just mentioned.
- If large portions of the display area are changing at once, such as when watching full screen video or gaming, then there's more display data to compress for each frame, which means higher CPU and USB requirements and therefore a greater likelihood of encountering the issues I mentioned above.

Your real solution here is to return the D3100 and buy a TB16 dock instead.  Make sure you get the one with the 240W AC adapter since you'll be using it with an XPS 15, and as a perk, the cable from the TB16 to the XPS will also be able to charge the system, so you won't need to keep a separate charger connected.

nazuri33
1 Copper

Re: XPS 15 9560 GTX 1050 not working when plugged to D3100 d

Just to clarify; I have a Dell Inspiron 15 7567, which has both an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti (of which only the HDMI port is exposed), and onboard Intel HD Graphics 630. Considering I'm not using the laptop for gaming, would the following configuration be feasible:
- One monitor plugged directly into the 1050Ti via HDMI
- An additional two monitors connected to the HDMI ports on a D3100 (encasing this DisplayLink chip, which utilises both the CPU and Intel GPU in some decompression magic?)

I guess the idea would be to use the two monitors connected to the D3100 as a dual set for an Ubuntu VM (which would have 4 logical processors and 8GB DDR3 RAM allocated to it), while the GTX1050ti would be used in the host machine for standard graphics rendering and most likely intensive deep learning. The TB16 is a bit out of my price range unfortunately. Any ideas would be much appreciated. Cheers!

0 Kudos