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My company has a "Quality of Life" benefit that if I don't use, I will lose. I am thinking about buying 2 Dell P2416D monitors (2560 x 1440), and a docking station that is compatible with both my work and personal laptops.

My work laptop is a Dell E7470 running Windows 10. My personal laptop is a MacBookPro10 purchased in Aug 2012 that I run Windows 10 via Bootcamp on 90% of the time.

I don't game, and don't expect to add speakers. I really just want to have two monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse. Nothing fancy.

Any recommendations?

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  • What exactly are you looking for? You mention monitors, a laptop dock, and a keyboard and mouse. We like to focus on only on piece of hardware at a time as this allows us to explain our recommendations in as much detail as necessary. – Cfinley Jul 14 '17 at 19:04
  • Also, MacBooks do not support traditional docking stations. I have seen one that basically remaps all the ports to the back or the side. The point of this comment is basically saying that you will not find one dock for both laptops. – Cfinley Jul 14 '17 at 19:08
  • Thanks for the answer. I was hoping to buy a dock that would work for both laptops. The mention of the monitors, keyboard and mouse was simply to inform the extent how I intended to use it. For all intents an purposes, I was hoping to be able to use the same monitors, keyboard, and mouse, with either laptop. – ErR Jul 16 '17 at 1:46
  • I don't know about Apple Devices, but in theory I think the Dell Dual-Video Docking station would suit you and would maybe be included in your QoL package? It should connect over USB 3.0 and then support up to two displays (1x HDMI, 1x DP) and you should also be able to plug your peripherals in. (I don't know though how well Video Transmission over USB 3.0 will go) – SEJPM Jul 16 '17 at 12:35
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The device SEJPM mentions in his comment would fit you requirements and is offered by a variety of manufacturers to complement their laptop products as well as 3rd party computing devices. DisplayLink is the company that makes the chips that enable the video functionality. I have used such a device before and I still have it, though I have a problem with calling these devices docks as these are not traditional docks but big dongles with 45W PSUs and they can get quite hot.

They get the job done quite reliably and the manufacturer offers drivers for a wide variety of platforms, even Linux (they didn't offer drivers for their 3.0 devices at first, but this has been solved a few years back). My older Thinkpad T530 from 2012 had no problems displaying 3 1080p videos with this and my 2 Dell 1080p monitors connected at home.

Edit: In theory everything should work fine, but I did some testing with the devices I have here in the office (1×Dell U2512H, several Dell U2412M), turns out that you should check when getting one of the DisplayLink devices and which one in particular exactly as dual 2560×1440 may be too much for Gen 3xxx devices like mine, devices with 5xxx chips may support such high resolutions older ones were probably made to just support dual 1080p or 1200p.

The U2512H is detected on my Linux machines with recent drivers at proper resolution but as soon as I plug one of the other monitors in its resolution drops to the highest one supported at this data rate (similar to HDMI 1.3 only capable devices, though I connected the bigger monitor to the DisplayPort output). You can set the refresh rate to 30Hz to still drive the monitor at full resolution, but I don't recommend that. DisplayPort chaining is not supported on mine, so a third monitor will just be a clone.

Also DisplayLink solutions don't support night modes as offered through f.lux, Redshift and some recent desktop environments.

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  • Just a note for anyone looking for the same answer I was.... I finally purchased, and tested this out with both systems, and it works great. Thanks to SEJPM and LiveWireBT for the advice. – ErR Sep 25 '17 at 15:41

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