It would be cool if someone would design a port replicator / docking station that could use the expansion cards.
They should just work with any dock that has Type-C ports, except that they’ll stick out and won’t flush fit.
Gotta say, I think USB-C “solved” docking stations for a regular workstation.
One simple cable for absolutely everything, nothing to align or slide, just plug and go.
The days of a docking station which the laptop slots like this one into are dead and buried:
For un-docked working the Framework expansion cards are a great little feature as you can pick your load out without having to have a dongle (I for one loved having a USB-C on both sides of my Google Pixelbook as it meant I could hook up power whichever side was convenient for the cable, and I hate laptops which only put a single USB-C on one side)
I like having two monitors, power cord, speakers, and Mouse all in a docking station for my work laptop. I have no idea how all that can be hooked up to a single USB C as you say.
Not meant as a specific endorsement; just as an example of the kind of equipment that is readily available to provide what you’re asking for:
The idea nowadays seems to be that dual monitors can be achieved by daisy-chaining them using DisplayPort. I don’t know if that works properly with the Framework USB-C port, but I think it’s the intended use, so there’s a good chance it would. All the other connectivity is integrated in the monitor, in the form of a USB-C hub. Provided that all your data requirements fit within the USB-C connection bandwidth, you’ll be getting everything you need through a single cable.
- There are USB-C/Thunderbolt docks with dual HDMI
- USB-C is power delivery
- Many USB-C docks have audio jack out, some even have SPDIF
- Mouse & keyboard are just USB-A, every USB-C dock and dongle adds USB-A
- Most also add Ethernet
Literally my top Google result for “usb-c dock dual hdmi”
USB4/Thunderbolt 4 has an extremely high data rate, 40 Gbps, more than sufficient for 3+ monitors, USB 3, USB 2, Ethernet, audio and more, simultaneously.
And power can be delivered back over the same cable.
See the USB-C/Thunderbolt Dock Megathread.
I drive 2 Dell U2415 monitors over DisplayPort with my Framework laptop, using DisplayPort daisy chaining. Occasionally I also have a third Dell U3417 daisy chained to the first two, and it all works well. It’s not quite common in monitors though - mostly the Dell U series monitors support this, but I haven’t come across many others that do.
Now I’m curious, as I’m considering buying exactly the monitor @Nils refered to here (U2723QE), does that work in Linux (and sway in particular) at all? Is this using “DisplayLink” stuff or something else?
I don’t have that monitor, but a similar one U2421HE (just 1920x1080) works perfectly with all its hub functions. I’ve connected to other 4K USB-C monitors and have less comprehensively tested its functions and it has worked fine. I have not had more than one monitor connected (daisy-chained or otherwise).
I have had endless trouble with an RTL8153 ethernet adaptor in a portable USB-C hub, and the Dell monitor I have has an ethernet adaptor that advertises itself identically (and works fine there). So I am very wary about ethernet adaptors that advertise themselves as RTL8153 (which, unfortunately is almost all of them nowadays), because there are clearly really bad ones out there [the adaptor also misbehaves on OSX and Windows, but the OSX and Windows drivers recover more gracefully – the linux driver just locks up until reboot]
So my impression is that (good) standard USB-C hub stuff works well under linux.