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I'm thinking about creating a "docking station" for my laptop. My idea is to buy a USB 3.0 hub and connect all the devices to it. (I'm using 2 different laptops and switching all the cables is annoying).

This would be nothing special, but the list of devices includes 3 FHD monitors. I'm planning to connect them with 3 USB->HDMI adapters (they have some simple graphic cards built in)

My concerns are:

  • will a single USB 3.0 port support 3 FHD HDMI adapters (power, data throughput)?
  • will system (Windows 10) have any problems with 3 adapters?
  • are there any laptop hardware limitations to consider?

Do you have any experience with similar configuration? Can you recommend particular devices?

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  • Please edit question with brand of model of USB->HDMI adapters with the "simple graphics card", and the resolution you want to use it at. This will determine the data throughput needed, so you can calculate if you'll saturate the hub. Do you really mean "USB 3.0" or "some kind of USB 3" (because max speed is quite different for those)? And in general, the experiences with the "simple USB graphics card" are not very good - there's a reason people still use HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort. – dirkt Sep 26 '19 at 14:28
  • @dirkt I don't have any particular devices in mind. I'm just trying to do some research to figure out whether this idea could even work. The resolution I need for every screen is FHD. – Andrzej Gis Sep 26 '19 at 21:31
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Partial answer, given you have no particular device in mind:

The only manufacturer for "simple USB graphics cards" I know is DisplayLink. For USB3 and FHD, you'd probably be looking at the [DL-3000](https://www.displaylink.com/integrated-chipsets/dl-3000 ) series. There's a number of manufacturers that use those chips, often you have to read the small print to find out which one they use (here is one example with the DL-3900).

Those chips already support two monitors and a bunch of other stuff like Ethernet, so they are really meant as the basis for a "real" docking station. There final products are also not cheap, so instead of buying two, it might be cheaper to buy a "real" docking station that already supports three monitors (using another DisplayLink chip that supports three monitors).

The chips use a compressed protocol, so I'd assume that three FHD monitors over USB3 should work and leave enough bandwidth for other devices, but I didn't do any measurements or calculations, so I can't say for sure. The only way to find is to buy one and measure.

Windows 10 drivers do exist.

You didn't mention it, so also consider a "switchable" USB3 Hub that you can connect to both laptops.

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