I read a blog article on your site about multi display compatibility with host Thunderbolt 3 ports. It explained how to use Intel Thunderbolt Software, but I can’t find any such thing. My system is an Intel NUC7i5BNH. It’s running Windows 10 (updated) and has all the Intel driver and BIOS updates, as of this writing.
I don’t find the thunderbolt.exe utility on my system, nor do I find any reference to it on Intel’s support site.
Thanks for posting. The Thunderbolt App gets installed as part of the “Thunderbolt bus driver”, which can be found here:
After installing, you can open your Start menu, start typing “Thunderbolt”, and the app should be found via search. Alternatively, you can browse to the file page. (Both options are shown in the attached image.)
That aside, I will say that in our testing so far, we have not found any NUC models that were designed to support dual displays over Thunderbolt 3.
Thanks for the link. The system documentation is confusing, so you may be right. This is what it says:
184.108.40.206 DisplayPort* via USB Type-C
DisplayPort is a digital communication interface that utilizes differential signaling to achieve a high bandwidth bus interface designed to support connections between PCs and monitors, projectors, and TV displays. DisplayPort is suitable for display connections between consumer electronics devices such as high definition optical disc players, set top boxes, and TV displays. The maximum supported resolution is 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz, 24bpp. DisplayPort via USB Type-C connector is compliant with the DisplayPort 1.2 specification.
DisplayPort output supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST) which allows for multiple independent video streams (daisy-chain connection with multiple monitors) over a single DisplayPort. This will require the use of displays that support DisplayPort 1.2 and allow for this feature.
For information about Refer to DisplayPort technology http://www.displayport.org
It goes on to say, in a table format, that three monitors, using a DisplayPort 1.2 hub, could each display a separate 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz image stream.
This is new technology to me.
Yes indeed, all things USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are incredibly complex and confusing.
Adding to the challenges, many of the host system OEMs haven’t quite absorbed it and then incorrectly advise their customers. This is a perfect example which isn’t made distinct in most OEM documentation: support for two native DP “streams”/displays over Thunderbolt 3 is different from MST, which is a different means of supporting multiple displays.
Theoretically MST is great; it can support multiple display daisy chaining from any “compatible” DisplayPort source, be it USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, or a DP port on a host system. However, in practice we’ve found it to be frustrating and temperamental if trying to mix and match hosts and monitors from different vendors. Many of our competitors offer MST hubs – a quick look at their Amazon reviews will give some insight into the hit-or-miss nature.
So, for a Thunderbolt 3 host system which supports 2 native DP streams – primarily Dell and Apple at this point, very spotty from all other OEMs – our dual-display Thunderbolt 3 products can be used successfully since the host is providing the necessary support:
However, for Thunderbolt 3 systems which don’t support 2 native DP streams – all Intel NUCs, many/most HPs, many/most Lenovos, many/most Gigabyte, etc – our dual adapters above will only output to 1 display at a time, because that’s all the host supports in Thunderbolt 3 mode. MST – essentially multiplexing multiple DP signals into 1 – is the alternative means of multi-display output in these scenarios.
Please note we do not officially support MST in any of our products, given the reasons mentioned above.
Thanks! That’s very forthright and helpful! I guess I knew that Thunderbolt 3 was a relatively immature technology, in terms of the peripherals ecosystem. You’ve saved me a great degree of frustration.
Happy to help! There’s so little detailed information out there that we’re glad to share it – hopefully this proves useful to others who encounter this post as well.
Regarding the peripheral ecosystem, thankfully the device side has come along nicely over the last couple years. The complexity with how different hosts chose to implement different feature sets, however, is still quite a challenge. (Though thankfully Tier 1 OEMs like Dell, Intel, HP, and Lenovo are improving on documenting what features their TBT3 & USB-C port(s) support.)
I later found this explicit information on an Intel page:
ThunderboltTM 3 features on Intel® NUC Kits and Mini PCs
–15 watts device power—hubs, hard drives, and audio interfaces
– One Single 4K (Ultra HD) or 1080p video support (via DisplayPort 1.2)
For example, only one display works using a Thunderbolt to dual HDMI or dual DisplayPort adapter.
– Daisy-chaining up to six devices (not including displays)