With Computex now in full swing this week has and will continue to be a flurry of product and standard announcements. To that end and kicking off their Tuesday, the VESA has sent us a status update on DockPort, the organization’s combined display/data/power cable and interface standard.

The last time we talked to the VESA was at CES 2014. There, the organization announced that they were adopting AMD/TI’s Lightning Bolt specification as a VESA standard, and were in turn making it an official extension to the DisplayPort standard. At the time the DockPort specification was still in development, with a projected finalization of Q2’14.

Catching up to Computex then, the VESA is announcing that they have finished the DockPort specification on schedule and are releasing the final specification to their members today. Since the provisional release earlier this year DockPort has seen a specification bump – it now carries USB 3.1 rather than USB 3.0 – a relatively minor change since USB is fundamentally just another interface being carried over the much faster DisplayPort cabling. Otherwise this is the expected next step in the development of the standard. With the final specification in hand, device makers can begin final design and production of DockPort capable controllers and devices, though the VESA does note that device manufacturers are going to have to wait a bit for compliance testing as the compliance test is not yet complete.

Along with today’s announcement of the finalized specification, the VESA has also released the DockPort logo. The logo will be used to identify DisplayPort devices with DockPort capabilities, as the physical DisplayPort basis means that while DockPort devices can fall back to DisplayPort-only operation, their enhanced abilities only work when both the source and the sink are DockPort capable.

Meanwhile we’re still in the process of tracking down information on DockPort’s power delivery capabilities. Remember that DockPort will use new cabling (despite reusing DisplayPort itself), so there’s still the question about how much power source devices can provide and how much power the new cable can carry. The VESA’s own infographic lists “up to USB 3.1 speed charging power,” however as USB 3.1 has multiple power tiers it’s not clear which of those are going to be applicable.

Update: The VESA has since contacted us and stated that DockPort will be capable of carrying up to 80W

The VESA tells us that various vendors will be showing off early DockPort devices at Computex this week. If nothing else, we’d expect to see a further iteration of AMD’s Discovery concept tablet as that has been the DockPort proof of concept device thus far. Though if DockPort gains traction, then it would be the first of many such devices to make use of DockPort’s single-cable capabilities.

Source: VESA

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  • repoman27 - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    "it now carries USB 3.1 rather than USB 3.0 – a relatively minor change since USB is fundamentally just another protocol being carried over DisplayPort."

    With DockPort, USB is never carried over DisplayPort. DockPort is based on a simple mux that can use two of the signaling pairs from the DP main link for SuperSpeed USB instead. It switches at the circuit level, not the packet level. With DP 1.2 HBR2 operating at 5.4 Gbit/s and SuperSpeed USB at 5.0 Gbit/s, this is a fairly simple trick. Having two pairs operate at 5.4 Gbit/s and two at 10 Gbit/s will be a bit more challenging no doubt, and is probably not possible with the first gen TI silicon. Incidentally, the USB 3.x ports are provided by a separate controller, usually the I/O controller hub.

    Also, I believe all cables are to be captive (not sold separately or detachable) so they will be able to handle whatever power scheme is required, most likely relying on the USB Power Delivery specification. The current TI DockPort chip supports selection of 0, 5, 12 and 19.5 V for power delivery straps.
  • The Von Matrices - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    Displayport 1.3 runs at 10Gb/s. I would expect DP 1.2 & USB 3.0 silicon initially with DP 1.3 & USB 3.1 silicon later.

    The problem with Dockport is that in it's current iteration you're limited to 2560x1600@24bit/60Hz with Displayport 1.2 + USB 3.x. With high resolution laptop displays becoming increasingly common, I would think it's disappointing to be limited to an external monitor with the same or lower resolution than the laptop. Dockport will only make sense once DP 1.3 is used as part of the standard as that allows a 4K 60Hz display in addition to USB 3.x.
  • repoman27 - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    I think DP 1.3 HBR3 is actually 8.1 Gbit/s with visually lossless compression (I'm not sure if VESA is sticking with 8b/10b encoding or why they would choose to do so).

    And unless you happen to own one of the very few DP 1.2 capable displays on the market, you would essentially be limited to 1920 x 1200 without additional hardware to shift gears. Also, you can't concurrently use SuperSpeed USB and MST. So have fun waiting for a 4K display with DP 1.3 SST (dual-channel, HBR3) support for 60 Hz operation.

    DockPort is a $2 switch to mux DisplayPort and USB with Power Delivery. The solutions it enables have nothing to do with the 4K display set for the foreseeable future.
  • Hrel - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    increasingly common? Yet still exceedingly rare. 4K is still for early adopters only, and will be for years to come. No content even exists in 4K.

    I for one am waiting for 8K to go beyond 1080p.
  • ivan256 - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    "Content"? What's that?

    My applications are all 4K ready. Even the ones that are old.

    Laptops are not TVs. "FullHD" set PC displays back 10 years, and now we're finally starting to get somewhere.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    Thank you for that clarification. The comment was meant to be about the cabling, but that's my own fault for not being clear about that and the article has been updated accordingly.
  • iwod - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Would like some update and comparison to Thunderblot.

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