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Connecting Dual Monitors and USB peripherals to slim laptop!

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Viper69

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Received a Thinkpad from employer it has 2 USB ports, and a HDMI port- and that's it for ports.

The dual monitors I have are ViewSonic VX2478-smhd. They use HDMI and DiplayPort. My old company laptop had both, this one doesn't.

I have a keyboard, a mouse, and a webcam for USB peripherals.

What is the best way to connect the monitors into my laptop, IF that's even possible? Then, how could I connect the peripherals?

Thanks in advance.
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I usually get the docking station that goes with the laptop. The last couple have been USB connected so are pretty universal to the brand. Check the IBM website, Newegg usually has them too.
 
OP
V

Viper69

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Thanks guys...curious, someone at work hooked up a docking station and the resolution of my monitors changed, meaning the icons were larger on desktop. I couldn't make the resolution larger. I like my monitors to have small icons to maximize real estate.

How do I check this out and make sure it's not an issue before purchasing?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
You can adjust the size of the icons in Windows. Are you sure the resolution changed? Because icons can be a different size at the same resolution.

As far as resolution, logic tells me to look at the dock's specs to see what max resolution is across two monitors. I don't have much personal experience, sorry. What resolution are your monitors?

Also your employer won't provide a proper docking station for you?
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
@Viper69,
Most docking stations have problems with more than 1 monitor at a higher display resolution than 1920x1080. I highly recommend to find a docking station which is officially compatible with your laptop and in specifications has clearly described that works with more than 1 monitor at 2560x1440 (as this is your monitors' resolution). Usually on the laptop's product website there is a list of compatible accessories and there should be listed docking stations. If not then you can ask Lenovo sales support (contact is on their website).
 

wagex

Chapstick Eating Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
@Viper69,
Most docking stations have problems with more than 1 monitor at a higher display resolution than 1920x1080. I highly recommend to find a docking station which is officially compatible with your laptop and in specifications has clearly described that works with more than 1 monitor at 2560x1440 (as this is your monitors' resolution). Usually on the laptop's product website there is a list of compatible accessories and there should be listed docking stations. If not then you can ask Lenovo sales support (contact is on their website).
this just wanted to expand on it a little bit.
what kind of usb ports are on it? 3.0?
some of the universal docking stations are usb. Now if you want high res you are gonna wanna spend up and get a nice usb 3.0 dock that should handle 2 1080p monitors fine. I have a cheapie usb-c dock for my work laptop no name brand it works great for dual hdmi at 1080p they only do 30 hz each but those are my second monitors i have the main monitor connected direct to the hdmi out on the laptop so i can get 1080p 240hz

surprised no one has asked this... what is the model of laptop? for instance... my lenovo laptop has a usb-c charge port, and my usb-c dock plugs into it, then my charger plugs into the dock. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXTF2WR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I learned that my laptop usb port (not this dock) does not have enough bandwidth to run 3 monitors off of it alone at 1080p, so that's why the third is connected direct.. kind of annoying i have two things to plug in instead of just usb-c but you gotta work with what ya got lol.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
OP has 2x 1440p monitors and this is the main problem here. If it was 2x 1080p or even 3x 1080p then you can use Dell D3100 or anything similar or HP USB-C that also works with all other brands. However, both Dell and HP solutions don't work with more than 1x 1440p+ displays or are causing weird issues with display quality, blinking, or other weird behavior.

The main problem is that docking stations have limited graphics chips. If the signal quality/available display amount depended on the laptop's graphics card then wouldn't be any problem. There are other variables that may affect actually supported displays.
I recommend Lenovo docking stations for Lenovo laptops (like a docking station, not a USB one) just because dedicated docking stations work ... or you have a good reason to get a money refund.

This week I fight with 2x Dell 1440p displays, Dell docking station, and Dell laptop. Well, I'm done with that as Dell's support confirmed it won't work and they have nothing better to offer. It works only on 1 display at 1440p+ or 2 displays but at 1440p+1080p. The only way to make it work is to connect one display via the docking station and one directly to the laptop. Then both work at 1440p. So if you aren't lucky then this can be a solution on how to connect 2 displays to a laptop with limited outputs.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I was wondering that earlier, but didn't check the model # for res... oof. Nice catch, Woo!
 
OP
V

Viper69

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
You can adjust the size of the icons in Windows. Are you sure the resolution changed? Because icons can be a different size at the same resolution.

As far as resolution, logic tells me to look at the dock's specs to see what max resolution is across two monitors. I don't have much personal experience, sorry. What resolution are your monitors?

Also your employer won't provide a proper docking station for you?

I believe so. I went into Win10 and the resolution I wanted # x # is no longer available. The IT dept gave me a new box. At the office I use a 3 monitor setup (all identical monitors, brand, specs etc). But One monitor was always blinking out. They gave me a better box, but I had to settle for lower resolution a bit. Not a fan at all. At home is my office setup that I posted.

They tend to buy cheaper components at times is my impression.

At home I don't have a docking station because my old corp computer had enough ports to plug EVERYTHING into it. These newer slim laptops have virtually no ports.

The office monitors- I don't know I'll have to check. For now I'm only concerned about my HOME office setup.

@Viper69,
Most docking stations have problems with more than 1 monitor at a higher display resolution than 1920x1080. I highly recommend to find a docking station which is officially compatible with your laptop and in specifications has clearly described that works with more than 1 monitor at 2560x1440 (as this is your monitors' resolution). Usually on the laptop's product website there is a list of compatible accessories and there should be listed docking stations. If not then you can ask Lenovo sales support (contact is on their website).

Thanks I didn't know this regarding docking station and multimonitors! Maybe I should get an Ultrawide for work at home.

this just wanted to expand on it a little bit.
what kind of usb ports are on it? 3.0?
some of the universal docking stations are usb. Now if you want high res you are gonna wanna spend up and get a nice usb 3.0 dock that should handle 2 1080p monitors fine. I have a cheapie usb-c dock for my work laptop no name brand it works great for dual hdmi at 1080p they only do 30 hz each but those are my second monitors i have the main monitor connected direct to the hdmi out on the laptop so i can get 1080p 240hz

surprised no one has asked this... what is the model of laptop? for instance... my lenovo laptop has a usb-c charge port, and my usb-c dock plugs into it, then my charger plugs into the dock. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXTF2WR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I learned that my laptop usb port (not this dock) does not have enough bandwidth to run 3 monitors off of it alone at 1080p, so that's why the third is connected direct.. kind of annoying i have two things to plug in instead of just usb-c but you gotta work with what ya got lol.

The new Laptop...it's a Lenovo core i7, normal USB ports, not type C. The power port is a USB-C.

Model Thinkpad E14 Gen 2


In my old dell. I had 2 monitors plugged, mouse, webcam, keyboard -it was great. This lenovo- meh
 
Last edited:

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Before yo
The office monitors- I don't know I'll have to check. For now I'm only concerned about my HOME office setup.
Right. Irrelevant. I didn't ask about those either, lol.

Just be sure to check the supported res of the device or new docking station. Ultrawide res may not be supported. :)
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
This one shows as compatible on the Lenovo website - https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/acce..._usb-docks-(universal-cable-docks)/40au0065us
Looks like max is a single 4k display at 60hz. I guess it will give an option to connect one display to the docking station and the second one to the laptop's HDMI. I didn't try on this laptop, so I'm not 100% sure.
The docking station's power supply delivers power to the docking station and via USB-C it works as a data and power cable for the laptop. In other words, you come to work and connect only a USB-C to the laptop, and the laptop's power supply can stay in the bag or at home (there is a picture on the docking station's website).
 

wagex

Chapstick Eating Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
That's basically the same as my laptop, I think mine's a gen1 e15 (i5-10210U). A usb-c dock that has dual 4k monitor support should handle both 1440p monitors, there are some options that aren't Lenovo, and I thought Lenovo had a dual monitor version.

You should be able to plug one monitor into the laptop hdmi port though if you decide to get a dock with a single video output.

Though for that particular model you might see how much bandwidth it supports on that usb-c it could be [email protected] or something silly.. kinda like mine it wouldnt do a third monitor on the dock even though the dock has 3 hdmi ports i can only use two at a time.

reading the specs on the gen2 it has usb 3.2 on the usb-c port so it should be able to handle the most complicated docks fine. should. lol
 
OP
V

Viper69

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Before yo

Right. Irrelevant. I didn't ask about those either, lol.

Just be sure to check the supported res of the device or new docking station. Ultrawide res may not be supported. :)
UW = true forgot about that, thanks ED.

This one shows as compatible on the Lenovo website - https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/acce..._usb-docks-(universal-cable-docks)/40au0065us
Looks like max is a single 4k display at 60hz. I guess it will give an option to connect one display to the docking station and the second one to the laptop's HDMI. I didn't try on this laptop, so I'm not 100% sure.
The docking station's power supply delivers power to the docking station and via USB-C it works as a data and power cable for the laptop. In other words, you come to work and connect only a USB-C to the laptop, and the laptop's power supply can stay in the bag or at home (there is a picture on the docking station's website).

I saw that one as well. But I wasn't sure if it would work. The only port I have that is USB-C is for the power brick. Or is USB-C slots on laptop also for data transfer too, like a USB-C flash drive?

I don't mind plugging one monitor into that box, and one into the HDMI port of my laptop. I'm fine with messy connections. Will have to see if my corp will buy it for me...
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
USB-C on laptop marked as 65W is for both, powering the laptop and data transfer. That's why you can connect a docking station and it will work as a power supply. Some laptops have 2x USB-C, one is power+data and one is data only. It's usually marked on the laptop, next to the connector.