review

StarTech Dual Monitor HDMI Adapter USB C Power Delivery

Friday, January 25, 2019

A must for Windows desktop users is a nifty compact solution like the StarTech Dual 4k HDMI Monitor adapter with Power Delivery which lets you simultaneously fast-charge your peripheral devices while outputting video to two monitors as long as the laptop supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST).
The StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter is easy and quick to setup as it doesn't require the need of installing additional drivers or software and it's compatible with Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10. The adapter can work with Chrome and Android devices with limited support as the adapter is not equipped with Multi-Stream Transport. In the case of Chrome, Ethernet is only supported via bus power from the laptop.
DK30C2HAGPD HDMI version
You can output to two HDMI 4k 30Hz monitors, two HDMI 2k 60Hz monitors or a single 4k 60Hz (refresh rate) monitor which is great because you can watch dynamic content like live sports broadcasts at 60 frames per second (fps) and do 4k gaming at 60fps. 
4K 30Hz monitors can only refresh the image on screen 30 times per second which is great for watching non-action videos and movies but not so great for first person shooter gaming and high action movies. For 30fps gaming, you really want to stick to real-time strategy (RTS) games like Age Of Empires and Rise Of Nations.
Both 4K 30Hz monitors and 4K 60Hz monitors have their advantages and disadvantages so it's nice that the StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter can handle different refresh rates.
Saying this, clarity of a 4k TV isn't solely dependent on refresh rate but also on the source content so if the content you are watching is not broadcasting in 4k, then you will not get 4k clarity. This is particularly true for standard set top boxes which broadcast many channels in either 1080p or 720p resolution so your 4k TV will try to upscale the low resolution channels up to 4k.

Luckily, there is a major upgrade in the pipeline for antenna TV - ATSC 3.0 - that will allow 4K Over-the-Air (4k OTA) TV broadcasts. The date for when we will be able to get 4k through antenna has not yet been announced. In the meanwhile, it's worth looking into digital media streaming players like the Roku Player stick or the Apple tv stick, which can output 4k without taking a lot of space.
measures 1.8cm high, 12cm long, 6cm wide and weighs 300 grams
The StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter can be bus powered from a laptop or powered from an electrical wall socket. The USB-C Power Delivery port is power pass through only and can deliver up to 100 watts to power peripherals and even charge a laptop although the maximum wattage for laptop charging is capped at 85 watts when peripherals are attached.
While the adapter does a good job at handling lower (24Hz) and higher refresh rates, it's worth keeping in mind a few things about the adapter. For power delivery, you need to use a USB-C power adapter which is not included. Also, the USB-C port of your laptop must support USB Power Delivery 2.0 or 3.0 and DP Alt mode to pass power through. 4K can only be achieved if your monitors support 3840 x 2160p resolution and whether your laptop video card hardware supports 4k video output.

Saying this, there is Power Delivery 3.0 Fast Role Swap support which is a nifty bit of technology that prevents loss of USB power to the StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter should the adapter lose power.
The USB C Power Delivery port is located on the front of the unit where you also find the dual HDMI ports, a standard USB 2.0 port and a gigabit Ethernet RJ45 socket for wired network connectivity. Be aware though, that Ethernet speed is limited to the DP Alt Mode you are in. The maximum Ethernet speed in USB 3.0 mode is 1000 Mbps, while in USB 2.0 mode is 100 Mbps.
On the back of the StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter you find a the USB C port that connects the laptop, a single USB 3.0 port that is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, and the DP Alt Mode (a.k.a DisplayPort Alternate Mode standard).
What's neat about DP Alt Mode is that it can deliver non-USB signals like DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C connection, eliminating the need for a dedicated DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 connector.
The DP Alt Mode switch on the StarTech Dual 4k HDMI monitor adapter lets you conveniently choose between USB 3.0 (also known as USB 3.1 Gen 1) and USB 2.0 transfer speeds to deliver higher display resolution.
DP Alt mode USB 3.0 is capable of outputting enough signal bandwidth for two 1080p HDMI monitors and or a single 4k 30Hz monitor, while DP Alt mode USB 2.0 is capable of outputting enough signal bandwidth for two 4k 30Hz monitors or one 4k 60Hz monitor.

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