Just looking at this monitor review...


More impressive is the upstream USB Type-C port. It can drive the 4K monitor, provide data to the monitor’s two USB 3.0 ports, and even charge a USB device – all at the same time.

How does USB Type-C deliver graphics to the monitor?

A. Are there dedicated USB Type-C graphics cards?

B. Are there shared/integrated USB Type-C graphics cards?

C. Is the graphics card in the monitor itself?

3 Answers 3


Are there dedicated USB Type-C graphics cards?

Yes, but this is not relevant. The USB type C connector was designed to be flexible and carry non-USB signals. In this case a USB type C connector is being used to deliver graphics to the monitor using alt-mode DisplayPort. USB-C also supports (although rarer) alt-mode HDMI.

USB Alternate Modes, [..] allow for different (non-USB) signals to be carried over USB Type-C connector. At the time the specification simply theorized just what protocols could be carried over Type-C as an alternate mode, but today we finally know what the first alternate mode will be: DisplayPort.

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In many cases the monitor will actually be connected to an upstream Thunderbolt port, as these will always carry USB-C and DisplayPort signals. However there are some USB-C ports (usually in laptops) that carry USB-C and DisplayPort signals without any additional functionality (e.g. USB-PD, TB, etc.) and these will be marked with both USB SS and DP logos like so:

enter image description here


The Type-C connector can work for graphics in two ways:

  1. The graphics can be transmitted over USB 3.0 standard and then converted into a video standard (typically VGA or Display Port) by a dedicated USB video-class device, notably made by DisplayLink company. The converter chip can be in a separate dongle, or built directly into a monitor. In this case it will be designated as "USB Monitor".

  2. The Type-C port pins can be switched (re-used) as a native Display Port if (a) host is designed so, and (b) the peripheral video device accepts this mode and signals over CC1/CC2 wires to turn the port into so-called ALTERNATIVE MODE. This mode is quite flexible. It can support full-featured USB 3.0 connection AND 2-lane DP. Or it could be full featured DP connection (since the Type-C port has four high-speed differential lines) without USB 3.0 and miaintain only USB2.0. To have this ALTERNATIVE MODE, the host must have a sophisticated data switch/multiplexer, and a circuitry to detect "alternative mode" signature from compatible displays.

Now to your questions:

A. There could be Type-C video cards, but I have no info if anyone makes them.

B. There could be Type-C DP-only graphics cards, but see (A). Not sure what do you mean under "shared".

C. No, there is no "graphics card" in a monitor itself in any case. In case of a dedicated graphics card with Type-C connector (used as a dedicated DP port), the graphics controller resides on host system, as a usual PCIe card. In case of "video over USB" and DisplayLink, the graphics is done in software by means of Virtual Graphics Card Technology.

For some discussion about DisplayPort and USB over Type-C, see this superuser thread.

  • it looks like now (3 years later), there are some high-end video cards with Type-C ports. There are some GeForce RTX 2060 cards by EVGA, some MSI and ASUS RTX 2070 cards, and some ASUS and Gigabyte 2080 cards.
    – tedder42
    Jan 20, 2020 at 17:35
  • No (Not yet, anyway)
  • Yes (via CPU-integrated graphics)
  • No

Usually, you’d use an external loopback cable (DisplayPort) to feed the video signal from your graphics card to whatever is providing the USB Type-C connectivity. Currently that’s either an add-in card or the mainboard itself.

The USB-C host will then mux the signals appropriately. To your graphics card it’ll look like any other DisplayPort connection.

The problem with a graphics card that would provide native USB-C is that it needs to interface with mainboard buses that are not available on the PCIe slot – if it’s supposed to provide the entire range of possible USB-C connection modes. If it’s just about graphics, it could probably work standalone.

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