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Intel and j5create team up to launch one of the world’s first USB4 hubs

The JCD401 USB4 hub has three video outputs and allows two external 4K displays to be used simultaneously. It also has a power transfer function thanks to the Power Delivery standard and accepts up to 85 W of power.

USB4 ports (official name for USB 4.0) are becoming widespread on laptop computers, for example the latest Apple MacBooks, but their number is sometimes insufficient to meet all needs. Hence the interest of buying a multifunction concentrator. Specialist in computer accessories, the manufacturer j5create will launch in August its USB4 hub JCD401. For this, it has teamed up with Intel, which provides the controller to process the various inputs/outputs.

The entry point of the compact aluminum case (51 x 135 x 15 mm) is a 20 cm long USB Type-C cable, compatible with USB4, but also Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3. The JCD401 has no less than three outputs video (USB Type-C, HDMI, DisplayPort) and allows the simultaneous connection of two external displays with a display up to 4K at 60 Hz. You can see the different connection examples in the image below:

Intel and j5create team up to launch one of the world’s first USB4 hubs
(c) j5create

However, the computer must be able to manage two external screens in addition to its internal screen. This is the case, for example, with the 14-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s SoC M1 Pro, but not models that include an M1 SoC. The hub has another USB Type-C input for plugging in a power adapter, saving you from hogging an outlet on the laptop. The input is compatible with the Power Delivery 3.0 standard and accepts up to 85 W of power, which is more than enough for most ultraportables. Data transfer is also part of it with a USB Type-A port and the same USB Type-C port as that for the display.

JCD401 connectors
(c) j5create

Unfortunately, j5create’s hub shows limits in this area and is content with a maximum speed of 10 Gbit/s, i.e. the specifications of USB 3.2 Gen 2. However, this limit can be exceeded. explained by the bandwidth consumption of the two video outputs (up to 18 Gbit/s for 4K at 60 Hz on the HDMI 2.0 port) out of the total of 40 Gbit/s that the USB4 port provides at most. However, the standard has dynamic bandwidth allocation to provide optimal performance when connecting multiple devices.

The JCD401 hub is compatible with Windows 10/11, as well as macOS 11/12. It will come at a price of 124.99 euros.

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