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How To Use USB-C With Dual Monitors

Who would have guessed that something as simple as a cable could revolutionize technology in such a dramatic way! This one nearly-universal cable can be used for so many purposes and with so many different devices. Many people seem to ask, apart from transferring data, charging, and power delivery, how else can a USB-C cable be used?

If your monitors have USB-C capability, you can daisy chain them together for a dual-monitor setup, with only one connected to your computer. If the screens don’t have USB-C ports, you can buy a USB-C dock that will allow you to connect the monitors to your laptop with HDMI or DisplayPort cables.

Regardless of the types of monitors you have, you can set them up for whatever work you need to get done. Let’s find out how many monitors a USB-C cable can support, how you can connect two monitors using a laptop and USB-C, and also how to pick the best adapter or dock for the job. Read on to find out more!

How To Connect 2 Monitors to a Laptop with USB-C 

A USB Type C adapter or hub connected to the laptop

To be able to connect two monitors to your laptop using a USB-C, the laptop must support MST (Multi-Stream Transport). MST allows connection to a single Display-Port on a laptop or desktop for multiple monitors. When you connect two monitors to a dock and the laptop automatically detects them, that means it can support MST.

If your laptop supports MST, you will be able to set up your monitors in the following three ways:

  • With the images on the two monitors being the same
  • With the images on each screen being separate or independent of each other
  • With one particular image splitting into different parts across each monitor.      

If the laptop does not support MST, then the two monitors will only be able to display the same image.

Now let’s look at the two different options for connecting two monitors to a laptop:

Option 1: How to Daisy Chain Two Monitors together

Using Multi-Stream Transport (MST), you can connect two monitors directly together instead of needing to connect both of them to your computer. You’ll need DisplayPort cables or USB-C cables to do it.

  1. Connect a power cable to each monitor.
  2.  Turn on the power.
  3. Connect one end of a USB-C cable to your computer.
  4. Connect the other end of the USB-C cable to one of the monitors.
  5. On the first monitor, there will be an orange plug. Remove it, because you’ll need to send the signal out to the second monitor, and the port will do so.
  6. Take one end of a USB-C cable and plug it into the open port in the first monitor.
  7. Plug the other end of that USB-C into the second monitor. Leave the orange plug in this monitor.

Option 2: How to Connect Two Monitors to a Laptop using USB-C

There are two main methods for connecting two monitors to a laptop using a USB-C.

To achieve either, you’ll need two monitors, a laptop that supports MST, a power plug for each, a USB-C cable, the USB-C dock, and a DisplayPort or HDMI cable, whichever works for your monitors. A Display Port cable has a small notch on one corner, and the end is wider.

  1. Check whether the laptop you want to use can support the two monitors and has a port for USB-C.
  2. Connect the dock to your computer with a USB-C. You should make sure that the dock you have can support two monitors and has a USB-C port.
  3. Then, connect one end of your DisplayPort or HDMI cable to the dock and the other end to a monitor. Then do the same for the second monitor, and you’ll be good to go.

How Many Monitors can a USB-C Support?

It’s possible to connect two monitors using a dual-monitor docking station or by daisy-chaining the monitors together. The docking station is an incredible invention that allows you to easily declutter your working station. With a single power adapter, you’ll be able to very easily connect your dock to your laptop.

Connect the dock to the power adapter, then connect your laptop to the dock so that it can power and charge. Docks can support USB power delivery of up to 60 watts.

How to Pick the Right Adapter or Dock for You

USB Type C adapter or hub connected to the laptop

There are several things you need to consider when choosing the right dock to use for your situation.

  • It’s important to consider the laptop model you are buying the dock for: The computer’s operating system will significantly determine the kind of dock it can work with. Not every laptop is compatible with every dock. However, there are docking stations that work with multiple operating stations.
  • The docking station might have all the correct ports, but does it have the right cables?: You need to be aware of the cables you’ll need since docks don’t support all cable types. The right cables should also have the right plug to allow you to connect to your port. The cable should also be long enough to cover the distance between your laptop and your dock.
  • What kind of connector will you be using? You need to consider this, as the connector on your laptop and your dock should be of the same type. For example, if you’ll use the USB-C on your laptop to connect your dock, find out if your laptop has the same USB-C port. This will let you know whether you can connect an extra monitor.
  • Another factor to consider is what you want to use the docking station for: You will discover that docking stations have different functions. Some can only support one extra monitor. Some can support two. Others have ports where you can charge your phone or laptop.
  • You should consider whether your dock can support video and audio output: If the video and audio quality are of great significance to you, you need to know whether the dock you want to purchase supports 4K resolution and whether the speakers will work well.
  • How easy it is to install and work the docking station should also be of great concern: You would hate to be in a position where the installation process is long and tedious.

Have a look at some of our recommended docks:

Do All USB-C Ports Support Monitors?

Not all USB-C ports support monitors. If you’ve purchased an expensive (or even an inexpensive) USB-C dock, it’s like that the port is going to work with your monitor. However, if a USB-C port can’t support a monitor, it’s probably just there purely for power delivery.

If that’s the case, the port will typically have a small lightning logo next to it, signaling that it’s for power delivery only. That said, trying out a port with your monitor isn’t going to hurt or break anything, so why not check it out?