Question Using a type C docking station intended for laptops with a desktop computer

Nov 17, 2018
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I have a Dell XPS 15 connected to a Dell docking station which works, usually, fine.

I was wondering if and how it is possible to connect a desktop PC to that same docking station. The reason is that I occasionally want to switch between the two machines.

Obviously a desktop PC is rarely lacking ports, but even a basic setup (2 screens, ethernet, desktop, mouse, audio...) is a lot of ports to switch between both devices.

I'm aware for some solutions for these issues, but neither sound as good as just swapping a type C cable between the laptop and the desktop.

Display switches (KVM) that support displayport are hard to come by, expensive and add a bunch of cables.

I already got the docking station and definitely need it for my laptop - if the desktop could just plug in to it it would require zero setup and zero additional cables.

Is this possible? Which type of hardware would that require on a desktop? Is just having a type C connector enough?


I don't care to have the desktop connected to electricity, so it doesn't have to be powered by the docking station. However the laptop must do that, which it currently does with my docking station.
 

TJ Hooker

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Apr 15, 2014
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What exact docking station do you have? It sounds like it has a USB C connection, can you not just connect it to your desktop and see it if works? If your desktop doesn't have USB C, a USB A to C cable isn't expensive.

If you connect your desktop to the docking station over USB, you will no longer be using your desktop's GPU and will instead be using a display adapter built into the dock. Whether or not this would matter depends on what GPU you have in your desktop and what you use it for.
 
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