DisplayLink Receives ‘Pro’ Enhancement with Synaptics DL-7000 Chip Upgrade

Forward-looking: You may be familiar with Thunderbolt and standard USB-C docking stations, but there’s a third contender quietly gaining ground: docks that utilize Synaptics’ DisplayLink technology. This autumn, these docking solutions are set to take a significant leap forward with the introduction of DisplayLink Pro, designed to elevate performance and capabilities.

DisplayLink docks offer a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive Thunderbolt options by employing data compression techniques to transmit high-resolution video streams through conventional USB connections. While you may experience some quality degradation during intense gaming, general desktop tasks remain largely unaffected. One of the major benefits is that these docks can typically support more displays than their Thunderbolt counterparts, all while being more budget-friendly.

At a recent Dell conference, Synaptics announced its ‘Pro’ technology could connect six 4K displays to a single Dell XPS laptop. This is a remarkable feat for a relatively low-cost docking solution.

The core of this innovation is Synaptics’ new DL-7000 chipset, capable of driving a 1080p display at an impressive 240Hz refresh rate. Additionally, DisplayLink docks can support 4K displays at 120Hz or a single 4K screen at up to 144Hz.

However, the only way to identify if a DisplayLink dock features the DL-7000 chipset is by looking for a logo that states ‘DisplayLink Pro’ – so keep an eye out for it.

Beyond raw specifications, DisplayLink Pro represents an intriguing evolution in the concept of docking stations. As noted in the report, Synaptics describes its compression technology as a “software graphics card” that is “GPU agnostic” – meaning it can function across various devices regardless of their graphics hardware.

PCWorld also reports that the company demonstrated the capability for dock manufacturers to install custom software and applications directly onto the docks at Computex. One mock demonstration showed a message from a company’s IT department regarding upcoming changes displayed right on the dock’s screen.

In terms of connectivity, the docks will feature 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet in addition to all the high-resolution display outputs. They will also maintain backward compatibility with older DisplayLink devices, allowing for upgrades without the need to replace existing docks.

Although Synaptics is at the technological helm, it will not be selling these DisplayLink Pro docks directly to consumers. Similar to previous DisplayLink products, the DL-7000 chipsets will be integrated into dock designs created by Synaptics’ partners and OEMs.

Image credit: PCWorld

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