Thunderbolt 3 Monitors with Multiple Monitor Inputs
 
Notifications
Clear all

Thunderbolt 3 Monitors with Multiple Monitor Inputs  

  RSS

itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

In the past year I have been looking for the best Thunderbolt 3 monitor. USB-C monitor is a possibility but this is a go big or go home purchase. I'm a big opponent of the LG UltraFine 5K monitor so that's not an option either. Its sole Thunderbolt 3 input causes a lot of headaches for people especially when it comes to eGPU use. It's so bad that Apple had to lend a hand in designing the Blackmagic eGPU [review link].

I wanted a Thunderbolt 3 monitor because of other great features this interface offers such as daisy-chaining, expansion ports, and power delivery. The #1 requirement for me is monitors with Thunderbolt 3 input as well as DisplayPort and HDMI. There are not too many choices currently. None of them provides 5K resolutions like the LG UltraFine. The highest resolutions monitor of the bunch is LG 34WK95U-W. LG marketed this monitor as Ultrawide 5K in that it comes the horizontal space of a 5K display and the vertical space of a 4K one.

Below is the list of Thunderbolt 3 monitors with multiple inputs. 4K monitor Thunderbolt 3 input is the most common option (4 out of 9). If you're looking for a gaming monitor with Thunderbolt 3, your choices are very limited with only two options. Please let me know if there are other monitors.

  • ASUS ProArt PA34VC [3440*1440 @ 100Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI
  • ASUS ProArt PA32UC [3840*2160 @ 60Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 4x HDMI
  • ASUS ProArt PA27AC [2560*1440 @ 60Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
  • Lenovo ThinkVision X1 [3840*2160 @ 60Hz] - 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
  • Lenovo ThinkVision P32u-10 [3840*2160 @ 60Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI
  • LG 34WK95U [5120*2160 @ 60Hz] - 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 
  • LG 34WL850 [3440*1440 @ 60Hz] - 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI 
  • LG 32UL950 [3840*2160 @ 60Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
  • Samsung C34J791 [3440*1440 @ 100Hz] - 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI

Over Black Friday I was able to get two ultrawide monitors with thunderbolt 3, LG 34WK95U ($880) and Samsung C34J791 ($570). The LG Thunderbolt 3 monitor has that unique resolutions and Nano IPS panel while the Samsung Thunderbolt 3 monitor has 100Hz refresh rates and FreeSync. Previously I have used a Dual DisplayPort to Thunderbolt 3 monitor adapter, GC-ALPINE-RIDGE add-in card, and an HP Z27q 5K monitor to test TB3 output with different eGPU configurations [Mantiz Venus + WX 9100 build, Sonnet Breakaway + R9 Fury X build, and Netstor HL23T-Plus + RX 5700 XT build].

These two monitors both include with a 2m long Thunderbolt 3 cable in their accessories box. LG package has a DisplayPort cable while the Samsung has HDMI cable. Samsung C34J79x uses a huge power brick to slim down the housing and bezel but it's a curved panel so the shipping box is very big. On the other hand LG 34WK95U-W has a thicker and heavier housing due to the internal power supply. It feels very well built.

My first test was with the 2010 Mac Pro running Catalina and RX Vega dGPU. I also installed the GC-ALPINE-RIDGE AIC in this Mac Pro for Thunderbolt 3 monitor output test. Everything worked as expected through both DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 input on the Samsung C34J79x. The only minor issue is 60Hz refresh rates in macOS. Fortunately SwitchResX allows me to choose 3440 x 1440 @ 100Hz with ease. There's no scaling at this native resolutions so texts are kind of small but pixel density is nice and sharp.

The LG 34WK95U-W was tested through my X99 Designare PC with on-board Thunderbolt 3 + Vega Frontier Air dGPU. Ubuntu detected the monitor immediately and worked great in native resolutions, 5120 x 2160 @ 60Hz through DisplayPort. At 200% scaling text was easy to read and pixel density is amazing. In order to produce Thunderbolt 3 monitor output, I connected a DisplayPort cable from dGPU to the DP-IN port of this X99 Designare motherboard. Likely due to its outdated TB3 implementation, the max resolutions through Thunderbolt 3 on this motherboard is 3440 x 1440 @ 60Hz.

I proceeded to try the LG Thunderbolt 3 monitor in Windows 10 and got the same results on this X99 computer. Radeon Settings > Displays provided specs on the monitor and current link speed. Thunderbolt 3 monitor input was again at 3440 x 1440 @ 60Hz. The display is blurry through this configuration and not what I would call usable. When connected to the 2016 15" MacBook Pro through Thunderbolt 3 cable, the 34WK95U-W worked well so it's an issue with TB3 port on my X99 desktop. I will be testing with different eGPU configurations soon.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RX 5700 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Prototype eGPU Enclosure) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
motoic
(@tsh3721)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Can eGPUs power these? What about the 5k?

2018 15" MBP w/ Radeon Pro 560x
Nvidia GTX 1070
Akitio Node
32" LG 32UD99-W at 4k
macOS Mojave, Bootcamp Windows 10

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro (R9 M370X) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I may be a bit biased but after experiencing another "high end" LG monitor (briefly) I am glad to go back to my 5K. The design and build quality is head and shoulders above other monitors (IMO obviously) and the convenience of TB3 connectivity is fantastic.

To each their own though!

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
motoic
(@tsh3721)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: @eightarmedpet

I may be a bit biased but after experiencing another "high end" LG monitor (briefly) I am glad to go back to my 5K. The design and build quality is head and shoulders above other monitors (IMO obviously) and the convenience of TB3 connectivity is fantastic.

To each their own though!

The build quality of my LG 32UD99-W is poor and it's full of bugs unfortunately. I ultimately cannot figure out if I can drive a 5k display with my eGPU or not so I haven't pulled the trigger on one. 90% of content here seems to indicate it's not possible but then other people say they're using it?

2018 15" MBP w/ Radeon Pro 560x
Nvidia GTX 1070
Akitio Node
32" LG 32UD99-W at 4k
macOS Mojave, Bootcamp Windows 10

 
2015 15" MacBook Pro (R9 M370X) [4th,4C,H] + GTX 1070 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (AKiTiO Node) + Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@tsh3721

it all depends on your use case... for me, gaming in Windows, I accept and additional 5% loss in performance from not driving the monitor directly but due to how windows handles graphics it can be driven.

macOS ironically doesnt work quite as well.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Atypical resolutions and high refresh rates monitors work unpredictably in macOS. It simply sucks at handle these monitors. Fortunately there's third-party solutions. One I highly recommend is SwitchResX. Except for a brief while in 10.14.4 to 10.14.5, my Samsung CHG90 could not reach 3820*1080 @ 144Hz. With SwitchResX I simply assign the resolutions I want and it works great with even the latest macOS 10.15.2 version through eGPU.

@tsh3721 There are 5K monitors besides the LG UltraFine. I have been using the HP Z27q with eGPU just fine. It needs two DisplayPort cables but otherwise works great. It can also work through a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DP adapter. Build quality is not great but the panel is beautiful and matte finish is my preference.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RX 5700 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Prototype eGPU Enclosure) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

Atypical resolutions and high refresh rates monitors work unpredictably in macOS. It simply sucks at handle these monitors.

Situation is even worse on macOS Catalina. I’ve had situations where my standard 4K60 monitor ran at 30Hz (no option for 60Hz). What’s funny is that only one of them ran at 30Hz, while the other ran normally. Both were connected to eGPU via DisplayPort. This happened when I re-enabled SIP and rebooted (I did not have any patches, etc. installed - I had just done an NVRAM reset). I then disabled SIP again and it was back to normal. It might have been coincidence that rebooting multiple times fixed, as SIP would seem to be unrelated to the problem. Weird and inconsistent nevertheless. 

Posted by: @eightarmedpet

I may be a bit biased but after experiencing another "high end" LG monitor (briefly) I am glad to go back to my 5K.

Basically as long as I don’t see the UltraFine 5K in person I should be ok :p

purge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@mac_editor

Yeah, avoid seeing one in the flesh... I was unconvinced until I saw them in the Apple Store and then I was sold, and after a brief stint of infidelity that didn't pan out as expected, still am. I thought it was one of the mods or solution writers on here who had the MBP, Core and 5K set up I used on one of my home page mocks, still one of the nicest set ups ever.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 560 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 [build link]  


ReplyQuote