New USB-C dock triples support for Mac M1 external monitor, says Anker
If you have an M1-based Mac, Apple says you’re limited to just one external monitor. But this week Anker, which produces power supplies, chargers, docks and other accessories released a docking station that is said to increase the maximum number of monitors on your M1 Mac to three.
The Anker 563 USB-C docking station for $ 250noticed MacRumorsconnects to the USB-C port on your computer (which does not connect to have be a Mac) and can also charge a laptop up to 100 watts. Of course, you will also need to connect a 180 watt power adapter. Once connected, the dock adds the following ports to your setup:
- 2x HDMI (version not specified)
- 1x USB-C (3.1 Gen 1): charges devices up to 30 watts
- 1x USB-A (3.1 Gen 1): charges devices up to 7.5 watts
- 2x USB-A (2.0)
- 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack
- 1x Ethernet
To add three monitors to your MacBook M1, you’ll need two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort. However, there are some notable limitations.
If you were hoping to use a trio of 4K displays, you were out of luck. The docking station can only support one 4K monitor at a time, and the output will be limited to a refresh rate of 30 Hz. Most public monitors and TVs operate at 60 Hz, and monitors can reach up to 360 Hz. 4K monitors will even reach 240 Hz this year. Running 4K at 30Hz can be great for watching movies, but for fast-paced action everything may not look so smooth to the eye watching 60Hz or more.
If you add a second external monitor via the Anker 563, the 4K screen will still run at 30Hz via HDMI, while the DisplayPort will support a resolution of up to 2560 × 1440 at 60Hz.
There are still disappointing caveats when looking at the installation of three monitors. The 4K monitor will run at 30 Hz, but you can no longer use another monitor with a resolution of 2560 × 1440. Instead, two additional monitors are limited to a resolution of 2048 × 1152 and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. If the display does not support 2048 × 1152, Anchor says the monitor will default to 1920 × 1080.
You also need to download the DisplayLink software and you need to work with macOS10.14 or Windows 7 or later.
Apple I say that “using docks or serial circuit devices doesn’t increase the number of displays you can connect” to the Mac’s M1, so don’t be surprised if it hiccups while running.
Anchor is not alone in trying to do what Apple says cannot be done, as noted Edge. Hyper, for example, offers options for adding two 4K monitors to the MacBook M1, one with a frequency of 30 Hz and one with a frequency of 60 Hz. This list includes center for $ 200 with a port choice similar to the Anker 563 and a two-year limited warranty (the Anker dock gives 18 months). It runs in DisplayPort Alt Mode, so you don’t need a DisplayLink driver, but it still requires the annoying Hyper app.
Plugable offers dock solutions that claim to work with the M1 Mac at a price similar to the Anker dock, and they also 4K limit to 30 Hz.
However, some docks have even more limitations when it comes to the M1. CalDigit notes that for their dock, “users cannot expand their desktop to two displays and will be limited to either dual ‘mirror’ displays or 1 external display depending on the dock.”
Alternatively, and for a few hundred dollars, you could buy a new macbook and upgrade to M1 Pro, M1 or Max M1 Ultra processor. Depending on the device, these chips can support two to five external displays, Apple says.
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