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I have a 2020 Macbook Pro (with the M1 chip). I also recently got an ASUS ProArt display which has an HDMI port, Display Port and some USB ports.

I wanted to see if it's possible to connect the external monitor as a second screen, while also charging my Macbook using the same wire.

I understand that I need a hub of some sort and a wire that can handle both tasks.

What are the specifications for hardware that would allow me to connect one cable to my M1 Mac and have power and a display share a cable?

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In general the cleanest solution to achieve this is usually a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 monitor. These connectors not only have capacity for the video signal, but also feature power and USB passthrough to the MacBook.

If you don't have a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 capable monitor, you would need to get a separate USB-C Hub or docking station. They usually not only feature a video output (usually HDMI), but also USB and SD card slots, sometimes even Ethernet. Yet, be careful: although USB-C is fast (5Gb/s) it is limited, i.e. if you connect 3 external SSDs, a 4K monitor and want 1Gb/s Ethernet, that's obviously not going to work.


You mention you have an ASUS Pro Art display. Without knowing the exact model, on ASUS website they are all featured as either USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 capable, so you should actually be able to only plug one Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cable into your M1 Mac and be ready to go. Some of them even feature a USB-Hub, which means there are some old-style USB-A ports on the monitor which will also be passed through via the USB-C/Thunderbolt connector to your MacBook. Even further some allow daisy chaining, so you can connect another Thunderbolt device to the monitor and use that as well.


Read more about the difference between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C.

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  • I have the ASUS ProArt Display PA248QV. I do not believe it has thunderbolt capabilities. I believe it only has the following: DisplayPort, HDMI, D-sub, Audio in, Earphone jack, USB 3.0 ports. Is there still a way to have one wire for charging and display output? – Vlad Verba Mar 12 at 14:28
  • This older model neither has USB-C nor thunderbolt. Therefore, you will need to use a Docking station or hub. A hub/docking station will also allow you to utilize the monitors USB ports with the supplied USB-B to USB-A cable. See here: dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/LCD%20Monitors/PA248Q/… – X_841 Mar 12 at 15:18
  • I have the following hub that i use for my MBP: link What cord an I supposed to use that would let me charge and connect to my display? – Vlad Verba Mar 12 at 17:25
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Any hardware that supports USB-4 or Thunderbolt 3 will work. In general, you can have some devices that draw more power than your hardware, but the M1 Air and Pro draw so little power, I don’t think anyone has shipped a display or dock or hub that won’t fully power the 2020 M1 hardware lineup.

The Intel Macs that use Thunderbolt 3 can draw more power than a lot of docks/displays provide, so they work as long as the internal battery can make up the difference between whatever power the dock provides and the shortfall based on current power budget. If the Mac idles, the dock should keep it running 24x7 even if the hub is 60 W or lower since most Macs idle less than that.

As for vendors - I have had excellent results with:

  • CalDigit
  • Sonnettech
  • OWC
  • Belkin
  • Elgato
  • Dell (be sure you check video capabilities, many only run 30 Hz)

I have had very bad results with other vendors I’m not going to name at present so be sure you understand what your warranty and return policies if you buy any brand, especially one not listed above. Some people are fine with inexpensive docks or low refresh rates, others want to launch those accessories into orbit when they realize they could have had 4k + 60 Hz and years of use from a dock had they shopped around a bit and not bought the cheap one.

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Some kind of dock is likely what you are looking for. I'll offer an example of such a product to give an idea on what kinds of products are available.

https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-usb-c-travel-dock-e

There's all kinds of similar products out there like the example I gave, don't take it as an endorsement but only as an example. Consider what ports you need on your dock, consider your budget, consider any future growth (4K screen, dual screen, Thunderbolt support, etc.), and look for something that fits your needs. The above example is likely a "middle of the pack" dock. Apple offers a simpler one that might work for you too:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MUF82AM/A/usb-c-digital-av-multiport-adapter

If you are looking for some additional "horsepower" then there are docks with built-in GPUs like these:

https://www.sonnettech.com/product/egpu-breakaway-puck/overview.html

There's a lot of solutions out there, just think about what you need and how much you want to spend.

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  • Are you aware that M1 Macs can't utilize an eGPU? macworld.co.uk/news/m1-macs-will-not-support-egpu-3797873 – X_841 Mar 12 at 10:35
  • @X_841 Indeed, an oversight on my part. There's nothing preventing the M1 from utilizing an eGPU but a lack of drivers. This was proven by Linus Tech Tips when using a networked eGPU on an M1 Mac. Using a network instead of the TB3 port abstracts the GPU from the PCIe bus and allows software built for this to get accelerated video. Expect drivers soon. Buying an eGPU now gambling for video drivers later may not be wise. I recall testing shows (some? all?) eGPU docks still support video, just not accelerated video, and the other functions work as expected. – MacGuffin Mar 12 at 11:02
  • I know that you can make an eGPU work, but doing so requires much more hardware and you need to know what you're doing. Someone asking how to connect a monitor, is most likely not able to do that. I don't know why you would buy an eGPU only to use it as a dock. That just makes it a really expensive docking station. – X_841 Mar 12 at 11:27
  • @X_841 I was merely showing the wide variety of docks available. A dock with a GPU would be expensive, and likely overkill for a great many people. I'm just showing that the options range from under $50 to over $500. – MacGuffin Mar 12 at 12:24
  • Good intent, but I would make that very clear in the answer. Someone reading your answer (and not reading the comments) might think that an eGPU works with the M1 chip, buy one and then realize it has been just a waste of money. – X_841 Mar 12 at 12:26

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