Introduction And Feature Overview
The unique ability of the DisplayPort signal to be split into multiple streams is something that has been around for a while, namely since DisplayPort 1.1 compatible graphics cards have been on the market. AMD’s HD 5000 series were the first to offer multiple display outputs from a single DisplayPort but is very much limited by the low bandwidth of DP 1.1. In terms of DisplayPort innovations we haven’t really seen an MST hub from anyone up until now which has been quite sad.
Today we are looking something that isn’t exactly glamorous but fills quite a large hole in the market. Club3D’s MST (Multi Stream Transport) DisplayPort Hub is one of the first of those elusive MST hubs that allows you to split off a DisplayPort compatible graphics card output into any combination of resolutions that fills the maximum bandwidth of the link, the two links would be DisplayPort 1.1 or 1.2 aka HBR and HBR2. You can see full bandwidth details below:
Most people will choose to use a trio of 1080p displays as these are currently the most affordable solutions on the market. This MST hub from Club3D does support Eyefinity but Nvidia surround does not work due to a lack of driver support from Nvidia, if and when Nvidia fix it the MST Hub will support it.
The ability to split a DisplayPort output into up to three displays of varying resolutions will also come in useful for mobile workstations where you need more display real estate but simply can’t get that in a mobile solution or when your graphics card supports more displays than it has ports. The Club3D MST Hub does require an external power source but uses only around 2.5-3.5 Watts.
The biggest rival to Club3D is the Matrox TripleHead2Go DP Edition but costing around £275+ this is mainly limited to the professional and business markets – most other people have made-do with other more affordable compromises and solutions. Club3D’s MST Hub on the other hand costs only around £90-100 making it about a third of the cost of its biggest rival and unlike the Matrox product the Club3D MST supports a higher overall resolution and more bandwidth over DP 1.2. This is compared to the maximum of 5760 by 1080 supported on the Matrox. It is also worth noting that the Matrox unit processes “on-chip” and sends the signal to the three monitors so isn’t capable of gaming, high frame rates or ultra high definition video playback whereas the Club3D MST retrieves the processing from the GPU so supports everything that the GPU would support.
The Club3D MST Hub, pictured above, serves a very functional purpose for desktop systems. With the vast majority of graphics cards only having three to four display outputs, yet supporting 6 displays, the only way to achieve more displays than the number of ports is to use one of these MST hubs. We will be testing the Club3D MST hub’s capabilities in a triple display scenario through one port because unfortunately we do not have six displays or a second MST Hub.
- Standards compliance/support:displayport v1.2, displayport v1.1a,VESA DDM
- Standard,HDCP V2.0,DisplayId,and EDID V1.4
- Supports main link rates of 5.4 bps(HBR2),2.7 bps(HBR)and 1.62 bps(RBR) from source
- Supports 1/2/4 lanes of main link for RX side
- Supports three DP++ output port,or two dual-link DVI ports,or the combination of ports
- For DP 1.2 source,supports DP1.2 MST multi video/audio steams
- Supports 1.1 source,supports ViewXpand
- Supports DP-DP Bypass mode
- Supports AUX-CH enables SBM and I2C mapping over AUX between the source/sink and device
- Dedicated I2C slave for main processor to access the device
- Supported output resolution:up to 2560X1600@60Hz each monitor in DP1.2 MST and up to FHD/1080p in DP1.1 or DP 1.2 SST
- Input pixel data depth 6/8/10/12 bits and supports output pixel format RGB444