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Do USB displays use the GPU?

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Do USB displays use the GPU?

I have an old i7 980 desktop and old Surface Pro 3 tablet. I basically only use the desktop to game. Surface is for everyday browsing. I never travel with the surface. It stays connected to a power cord 24/7. I'm just more comfortable laying down than being at a desk. Rather than replace both with two new machines, the thought hit me of making one build to serve both requirements. I'm picturing a sort of tablet tethered to a PC tower. A tablet that can not only handle gaming, but one that would never get hot. I see "portable touchscreen monitors" for sale that are very similar in form to the Surface. That is what has me confused.

The USB standard appears to be a dumpster fire. Some only say USB C with zero mention of what communication they use. Some have mentioned displayport through USB C. Some have mentioned Thunderbolt through USB C. Would any of these use the PCIe GPU in a desktop? I've seen some displays with HDMI ports, and I obviously could connect that to the GPU for video. They make no mention though if there's a way to retain touch with a USB cable in addition to the HDMI cable.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 06:37 PM
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i would say it entirely depends on the monitor/video driver most are cheap and require passthrough via onboard or dedicated gpu.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 08:47 AM
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What do you mean by a USB display. There are probably displays that connect via USB to any device and can act as their own GPU+display.
And then you have monitors/TVs etc. that use displayport over USBC instead of DP or HDMI to connect to a GPU.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-22-2020, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by JackCY View Post
What do you mean by a USB display. There are probably displays that connect via USB to any device and can act as their own GPU+display.
And then you have monitors/TVs etc. that use displayport over USBC instead of DP or HDMI to connect to a GPU.
I'm looking for a "portable touchscreen monitor". That's how they seem listed. A screen sort of Surface/iPad-ish in form. I want to connect it to a desktop but use a rtx-2070 (or whatever I may purchase) to handle the graphics.

What I'm confused about is the multiple USB C standards and how they work... Is there such a things as a USB C port on a desktop that can send the full potential of the discrete GPU (not what's built into the CPU) to a display? USB C Displayport? USB C Thunderbolt?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 01:30 PM
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Modern GPUs have DP over USBC output. Some monitors have DP over USBC input. Thunderbolt is mostly an Apple way of ecosystem lockdown by combining multiple things into a cable+connector again taken from something else, such as PCIe+DP while using physical connections and cables of miniDP or later USBC. USB4 pretty much obsoletes Thunderbolt.

No idea what's confusing, it's all on wiki if you want to read it. If your GPU has DP over USBC output and your monitor DP over USBC input then you can connect them, same as if it was DP to DP or HDMI to HDMI.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 01:56 PM
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Probably not helpful, but we have USB docking stations in the office with dual monitors and ethernet lan connectivity. I confess I am not sure if the integrated graphics from the laptop i5 are involved or not. It is fine for dual 1080p office work and videos, never tried to game on it.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 03:08 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by ynk1121 View Post
The USB standard appears to be a dumpster fire. Some only say USB C with zero mention of what communication they use. Some have mentioned displayport through USB C. Some have mentioned Thunderbolt through USB C. Would any of these use the PCIe GPU in a desktop? I've seen some displays with HDMI ports, and I obviously could connect that to the GPU for video. They make no mention though if there's a way to retain touch with a USB cable in addition to the HDMI cable.
The USB-C port on the Turing GPUs (like the 2070) works for both USB-C to Display Port and USB-C to DVI. If you get one of those USB-C portable displays you can plug it into the 2070's USB-C port and it will use that GPU to render. Do not get a Thunderbolt display.

The USB-C ports on the motherboard will not be able to send video rendered by the GPU, that would take copying the video output over PCIe to the system to send out the USB-C port. This is not normally possible (not sure if possible anywhere but definitely not standard) and would have an impact on performance.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Asmodian View Post
The USB-C port on the Turing GPUs (like the 2070) works for both USB-C to Display Port and USB-C to DVI. If you get one of those USB-C portable displays you can plug it into the 2070's USB-C port and it will use that GPU to render. Do not get a Thunderbolt display.

The USB-C ports on the motherboard will not be able to send video rendered by the GPU, that would take copying the video output over PCIe to the system to send out the USB-C port. This is not normally possible (not sure if possible anywhere but definitely not standard) and would have an impact on performance.
Perfect. Thanks.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 04:53 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Asmodian View Post
The USB-C port on the Turing GPUs (like the 2070) works for both USB-C to Display Port and USB-C to DVI. If you get one of those USB-C portable displays you can plug it into the 2070's USB-C port and it will use that GPU to render. Do not get a Thunderbolt display.

The USB-C ports on the motherboard will not be able to send video rendered by the GPU, that would take copying the video output over PCIe to the system to send out the USB-C port. This is not normally possible (not sure if possible anywhere but definitely not standard) and would have an impact on performance.
This is totally doable, one can send the video output over anything, any connection, be it USB, LAN, store it to disk, what ever. Even the hackery of rendering on one GPU and sending it to monitor connected on a different GPU. All of these obviously have a latency, even bandwidth limitations.
Where as DP over USBC should work the same as DP to DP, no penalty.

https://www.displayport.org/displayport-over-usb-c/

Some high end phones support DP over USBC, so one can use them as a "PC": hook them up to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, though I bet the mobile system UI will leave a lot to be desired and so do mobile OSes in general.
USB4 is supposed to support DP2.0.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 05:34 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by JackCY View Post
This is totally doable, one can send the video output over anything, any connection, be it USB, LAN, store it to disk, what ever. Even the hackery of rendering on one GPU and sending it to monitor connected on a different GPU. All of these obviously have a latency, even bandwidth limitations.
Can you send it to a USB portable display with a Turing GPU plugged into a Windows 10 PC? I have never seen anything that would allow that. Do you have any links?

I wasn't trying to say that was impossible as a technology, only that today you cannot send the output of a 2070 via a USB-C port on the motherboard. You could if someone implemented it but no one has. Of course streaming video is a thing.

The closest I have seen is Optimus and similar mobile GPU solutions which route the dGPU though the iGPU to send it to the display. This works, not great and there are performance impacts, but it does work. However, it does not let you send that dGPU output to a USB port.

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