Issue playing video, Surface Book 2

I have a Surface Book 2 connected to an ASUS XG35VQ via a UD-ULTC4K. All is behaving fine (charging, USB, monitor) over both DisplayPort and HDMI except for when playing video.

Youtube videos for example (both in Chrome and Edge) freeze after 2 seconds and then play one frame about every 7 seconds.

Most crucially Microsoft Teams calls suffer immensely, with incoming video freezing alongside audio for about 5 seconds at a time. Connecting my USB devices and monitor directly to the Surface Book works fine.

I have attempted to force the browsers/Teams to run on the Nvidia GPU as apposed to the Intel; one, and disabled the Nvidia GPU altogether, with no joy. This also happens with or without the DisplayLink software installed. Any ideas?

Hello Dan,

Thank you for contacting Plugable support! Sorry to hear about this issue. I’d be more than happy to assist you.

We have a troubleshooting tool that helps us find out what is going on in situations like this. Please plug the device into your computer, then go to this page and follow the instructions there:

http://plugable.com/support/plugdebug

For Microsoft Teams, in the settings, try disabling “hardware acceleration” and see if that helps. You’ll need to have the latest DisplayLink drivers installed for the best performance.

Even if uninstalling the DisplayLink drivers, Windows will just reload an old version through Windows Update which is not ideal. If there were no drivers, the DisplayPort outputs, Ethernet, and audio on the dock won’t function. The HDMI port doesn’t use DisplayLink technology, rather, it uses USB-C VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode and is driven by the graphics card in the laptop directly.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know of other questions.

Thanks again for contacting Plugable support and best wishes!

Joshua Henry

Senior Engineer | Product Owner
Plugable Technologies

Thanks for the quick reply, just waiting for the debug to finish compressing now (I had also tried disabling hardware acceleration in Teams but no joy).

FYI I think I’ve narrowed it down to an incompatibility issue with my Steelseries Arctis 7 headset. With the dock plugged in to the laptop and the headset plugged in to the dock or in to the laptop, problems persist. If I unplug the Arctis 7 from the machine entirely and use either built in speaker/mic or a different bluetooth headset, everything is fine. Similarly, if I use the headset without the dock attached all works well.

Thanks for the information. Very strange behavior with the headset causing issue s. Unfortunately I haven’t had any first hand experience with that Steelseries model. Since it is wireless running on the 2.4Ghz spectrum, it could be an interference issue of some kind. USB 3.0/USB-C devices emit 2.4Ghz interference but are also subject to external interference as well. If you try to distance the dock as far as the cable allows from the headset receiver plugged into the laptop, is there any change?

We have some generic interference information on our product page that I’ll copy here just for reference. It mostly applies to a wireless mouse or keyboard, but the concept applies to any wireless device on the same band:

Problem: Why does my wireless mouse or keyboard appear sluggish or not work properly when used with the dock?

Solution: Most USB receivers for wireless mice and keyboards operate in the 2.4Ghz band. When connecting the receiver to any USB 3.0 port there is potential for interference that can affect the devices performance.

The most effective method is to add a short USB 2.0 extension cable between the dock and the receiver to mitigate the effect, and many wireless keyboards and mice come with such a cable for this reason.Intel has a technical whitepaper on the behavior for those interested here: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/universal-serial-bus/usb3-frequency-interference-paper.html and we have written about the behavior in more detail here (please see the RF interference section): https://plugable.com/2017/03/17/troubleshooting-wi-fi-performance-and-wireless-keyboard-mouse-issues-on-usb-docking-stations/

Unfortunately I’m unsure if this will work in this scenario, but it may be worth a shot.

Thanks!
Josh