If you like DisplayPort 1.3 wait until you meet USB 3.1

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2014 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: 4k, vesa, dockport, displayport 1.3, usb 3.1, DisplayPort Alternate Mode

The bilateral symmetry of the Type C plug has already put smiles on many faces, not having to flip the USB connector three times to find the right plug orientation will be a nice treat and steal some thunder from Apple's Lightning.  That is not all that USB 3.1 will be bringing however, 10Gbps of data throughput and up to 100W on a single cable have also been announced as part of the new standards capabilities.  There is something new today as well, support for DisplayPort over USB 3.1 which will perhaps only be available over specialized cables but could become a standard feature. 

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DisplayPort Alternate Mode takes advantage of the nature of USB 3.1 which offers four lanes for traffic to pass through, with a choice of USB data at up to 10Gbps per lane, up to 100W of power, DisplayPort AV at up to 8.1Gbps or at DP 1.2a speeds of 5.4Gbps which is likely the top speed on the first cables released.   For those initial cables you will need all four available lanes to be able to display at 4k resolutions but once the speed is increased to 1.3's 8.1Gbps you should be able to see VESA's promise of 4k video, Superspeed USB data and up to 100 Watts of power over a single cable.  Even when all four lanes are devoted to DisplayPort to run 5k video the cable will still support USB 2.0 speeds thanks yo separate pins dedicated for that function.

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"The new Type C USB connector is causing a lot of excitement, thanks in part to its reversibility (you can plug it in either way up) and high rates of data and power transfer. But there's now another reason to buy into in: DisplayPort support."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: VESA

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September 23, 2014 | 02:19 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

DisplayPort Alternate Mode takes advantage of the nature of USB 3.1 which offers four lanes for traffic to pass through, with a choice of USB data at up to 10Gbps per lane, up to 100W of power.

Wait... what? USB 3.1 can have 10Gbps per lane, I thought USB 3.1 could only pass 10Gbps total, there's using all four lanes, now your stating it can pass 10gbps per lane. That would be a total of 40Gbps. Do you mean pass 10Gbps on one lane and the rest can be accommodated for DisplayPort 1.3 or what ever device that may be connected.

I don't understand and been documenting everything about this new C-Type USB 3.1 and never read anything like this, I feel out of date. So if anyone can enlighten me about this new bandwidth.


September 23, 2014 | 03:42 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

Okay got the run down, guest I should've looked at the diagram better.

"DisplayPort Alternate Mode (“Alt Mode”) on USB Type-C Standard. Using the DisplayPort Alt Mode, a USB Type-C connector and cable can deliver full DisplayPort audio/video (A/V) performance, driving monitor resolutions of 4K and beyond, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1) data and up to 100 watts of power--over a single cable," VESA said in a statement.

Devices supporting DisplayPort Alt Mode on a USB Type-C connector can also connect to an existing DisplayPort device using a reversible USB Type-C to DisplayPort converter cable.

Like USB, DisplayPort uses a packetized data structure and differential AC-Coupled signal “lanes” that carry high speed data with an embedded clock. This allows the same electrical circuits and cables to carry either SuperSpeed USB data at up to 10Gbps per lane, or DisplayPort at up to 8.1 Gbps per lane, as defined in the new DisplayPort 1.3 Standard.

Early implementations of DisplayPort Alt Mode USB Type-C devices will likely use existing DisplayPort 1.2a capabilities that support up to 5.4Gbps per lane. Using 5.4Gbps across all four high-speed lanes will support up to 4K (4096 x 2160) display resolutions at a 60Hz frame rate with up to 30-bit colour.

The new VESA Alternate mode DisplayPort the added flexibility of 100W power and 10Gbit speeds of USB 3.1 will put a lot of pressure on the Thunderbolt standard. New VESA Alt mode will enable USB 3.1 ports on monitors as well as docking station that can charge devices up to 100W and offering quite fast USB 3.1, 3.0 or even 2.0 connectivity. There is enough bandwidth to support even 5K (5120 x 2880) resolution and beyond.

Much better understanding then the one above, nevertheless it was still informative.

September 23, 2014 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will a normal Laptop be able do drive all of that bandwidth in USB, if it is not being used for video? Or, will future Laptops with this standard built in be able to drive more than 10gb of USB bandwidth over the cable, for things like backup and such. I would love to have a laptop with enough USB 3.1 bandwidth and USB 3.1 Controller/s to move non video data over all the channels, it would be drastically less expensive/proprietary than Thunderbolt. I see laptops with usually 2 USB 3.0 plugs, but how do you tell if they are sharing bandwidth or they are each able to drive a full 5.0 Gb data transfer.

I have always wondered why the USB ports are not labeled with numbers, or the OSs does not have a Graphical System Topology Map, where users could see a map of their system schematic displayed by the OS, with all the components labeled, including the USB controllers(and whatever devices were plugged in), and Ethernet, WiFi, etc. and lines representing the data flow, and maximum throughput along with the current bandwidth usage displayed.

Its not going to be much use having all the bandwidth available over USB Type-C, if there is not going to be enough USB controllers(fed by PCI lane/s) to saturate the available bandwidth available in the 4 lanes. If this will eventually happen then great, Display port, and a little USB, or all USB and little or no display port(for backups on laptops connected to compatible drives, or hubs). Having the ability to drive video, or lots of USB bandwidth, will be better than the expensive Thunderbolt(the New Firewire). What they need is a way to aggregate the USB mode to combine all of the bandwidth for backup/file transfer, and maybe the Type-C and associated hardware will be so inexpensive that laptops could have at least 2 of these Type-c ports/plugs.

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