A quick test of Sonnet's Dual DisplayPort adapter: Two 4K monitors on one port

A quick test of Sonnet’s Dual DisplayPort adapter: Two 4K monitors on one port

One of the criticisms of MacBooks with Apple’s M1 and M2 chips is that you can only connect one external monitor. The solution here is Sonnet’s “DisplayLink Dual DisplayPort Adapter”, which turns a USB-A or -C socket into two DisplayPort ports. You can operate a 4K monitor with a refresh rate of 60 Hertz on each one. The manufacturer also offers another variant of the adapter that provides two HDMI ports.

The prerequisite for this, however, is the installation of the DisplayLink Manager 1.6.1. The driver fools macOS into real monitors, calculates the image content using the Mac processor, compresses the data and sends it via USB to the DisplayLink chip in the adapter. This unpacks the signals again and sends them to the one or both displays. The procedure generates increased CPU load, which an M1 processor provides without a murmur.

During installation, you have to allow the driver to record screen content. Then it can be started via an additional item in the menu bar.

USB 3.2 to Dual DisplayPort Adapter 4K 60Hz

Manufacturer:

sunshine

Outputs:

2 × DisplayPort (4K@60Hz) (dual HDMI adapter also available)

Entry:

USB-A or USB-C (adapter included)

System requirements:

Mac (Intel/M1/M2) from macOS 10.15, PC from Windows 10, Ubuntu from 20.04

Dimensions:

7.9 × 6.0 × 1.1cm

Weight:

72g

Price:

€184

For the test, we connected a 4K and a 2.5K monitor (WQHD), each with a diagonal of 27 inches, to a Mac mini M1 in addition to a Full HD display via the adapter. According to the “Displays” system settings, both worked at 60 Hertz and full resolution and showed the extended desktop. With the 4K display, windows dragged across the Finder desktop still jerked noticeably, with the 2.5K monitor the effect was only noticeable on closer inspection.

The 4K monitor can usually be brought to the Retina-typical display “looks like 2560 × 1440” with larger but sharper elements on the Mac with the “Larger text” setting. This intermediate stage was missing from the DisplayLink adapter. Here you have to decide between native 4K and very small text or 4K as Full HD with very large text – unless you reduce the base resolution.

With the Dual DisplayPort, you can easily operate two more monitors on M1 Macs. DisplayLink has got the usual display problems under control much better.

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