Macbook Air (June 2012) compatibility with USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI on OS X Lion/Mountain Lion


I have a question regarding “Plugable USB3-HDMI-DVI USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI Adapter for Multiple Monitors up to 2048×1152 (DisplayLink DL-3500 chip)”.

The new Macbook Air (released June 11, 2012) supports USB 3.0 and I wanted to know if it would be compatible with it. It is running OS X Lion and eventually will be running Mountain Lion.


Hi Roly,

Thanks for asking! It’s definitely *not* compatible. There are no Mac drivers from DisplayLink for their USB 3.0 generation chips (DL-3x00). We don’t expect these drivers until 2013 or so.

So please don’t buy for the Mac!


Hi Bernie,

Thanks for this lightning fast response.

It’s sad that there are no way of running 2 external monitors on the new Macbook Air :frowning: I was hoping to dock it and use it as a desktop when I’m at the office.

I heard that USB 2.0 would work but that the second monitor would feel kind of laggy (running videos for instance) and that’s why I was hoping for the 3.0 to resolve this issue.

But again, thanks for this super fast response. That was really efficient! I’ve been trying to get an answer from so many companies (by calling or email and yet no response). I discovered you, asked the question and by the time I got my coffee made, I got an answer :slight_smile:

Glad I found you and looking forward into Plugable Technologies! (Great service is rare nowadays)

Hi Rory,

For USB 2.0 graphics adapters (which do have Mac drivers), Mac performance is unfortunately slower than Windows performance for USB graphics devices on the same machine. The bottlenecks are actually in software – that unfortunately means USB 3.0 would make little difference anyway.

It is a shame - the need for extra monitors via USB is even greater with thin-and-light laptops with few ports (like the Air) – but we can only recommend our USB graphics on the Mac in cases where customers go in understanding the performance limitations and occasional hassles on Mac – vs. the snappy results they’ve seen with USB graphics adapters on Windows.

And we can hope that in the future Apple and DisplayLink will be able to remove the limitations on USB graphics drivers in OS X and achieve functionality and performance parity with Windows, but that’s not the case yet today.

We want customers who buy the product to have it meet their expectations. Hope that background helps!

Thanks again! You’ve been very helpful.

Another question for you Bernie. If I purchase the USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI – even if 3.0 is not supported by Mac yet – is it still going to work as USB 2.0? USB 2.0 actually works – with limitations – but it does work, so I was wondering if it would work as 2.0 even with the 3.0 model. I would have the right hardware until the 3.0 driver gets released.

I hope that was clear :slight_smile:

Also, how ‘laggy’ are Macs with DisplayLink? Is it noticeable when browsing? (or just when watching videos)

Thanks again!

Hi Roly,

Unfortunately DisplayLink has not yet released a Mac driver that works with the DL-3XXX chipset that powers the USB3-HDMI-DVI, so you would not be able to use it even in USB 2.0 mode on a Mac. Sorry about that. Our USB 2.0 DisplayLink-based products ( are the only graphics adapters we offer right that work on a Mac right now.

As far as your second question goes, we use the adapters every day in the office everyday on Mac and PC platforms and see good performance. But some Mac customers have reported limitations that we haven’t been able to reproduce. I’d recommend reviewing customers’ comments on these products on and also to see if any of their feedback addresses or heightens your concerns. If you have more questions for us, just let us know.

Best Regards,

Plugable Technologies

Thanks Aaron. You guys are very helpful!!

Hi ooman,

I also own a MBA 2012 and I am doing my research about connecting to two external monitors. At the moment I have found two possible solutions:

1.- USB 3.0 to DVI: Usually don’t support MacOS, but i found this which could work:…

2.- Matrox DualHead2Go.

That’s all i know by now, but I’ll keep on researching!!!

The Matrox Dualhead2Go Digital Mac Edition (ME) is the other I’ve seen that splits the displayport/Thunderbolt display into two monitors or three depending on which model you get. I personally have not purchased it but, I’m sure, there is a huge market out there for MBA’s, MBP’s, etc, that want that extra monitor. One nice thing about the matrox, is that i still have my USB ports free to use.…

I definately would be interested in the displaylink USB 3.0 for Mac, it’s 2013 now, I wonder if there is an update regarding the drivers?

MAC Driver 2.0 is released, for support on DL-3X00 chipsets

May 7, 2013

MAC OSX DRIVER Version: 2.0 (46843)

This is DisplayLink Mac OS X Software v2.0 Product Release.

This release delivers the following features
* Support for DL-3x00 devices (Video, Ethernet and stereo audio support)
* Bug fixes and compatibility improvements for all products
* Improved performance for all products

News Release -…


The last post related to this subject is over 2 years old. Has any progress done to support the Macbook Air?

Hi Jose - Yes, thanks.  But Apple’s API for external displays (USB or network) unfortunately isn’t designed for high performance.  So the responsiveness on Mac isn’t the same as Windows.  It’s good enough for web pages, but many other uses common on Windows it’s too sluggish.  So we’re still not recommending for Mac, unless those limitations are understood.  Hope that helps, thanks!

How does it even work for Mac? I can’t get it to light up my monitors at all on the Mac? Keyboard and mouse, yes – monitors no. What gives?