Dell XPS 13 9350 – External Display

January 5, 2016

UPDATE: 2/24/2016 – Haven’t tried for awhile with external monitor, but did recently and no luck in 16.10. Updated to 17.04, still no dice (everything else works fine though, so that’s nice). Hopefully this will get fixed. 🙁

UPDATE: 6/1/2016 – To stop the flickering in chrome run chrome non-maximized. Fixes it. ‘Fix’ is in the google chrome bug report on this issue. Hopefully they fix for maximized too, but good enough for now.

UPDATE: 4/30/2016 – With 16.04 released my results have been solid. I’ve had issues where if plugging in the USBC cable didn’t work I could unplug POWER from the laptop and then retry and it would work … but I haven’t had much of that anymore either. It seems this ‘use case’ is stabilizing and mostly reliable. I do see screen flickering at times especially when flash/html5 video is playing through chrome, but I noticed that on my System76 Galago UltraPro as well so I’m guessing this has to do with an X driver issue and nothing specific to the XPS 13. Looks like this laptop is only getting better with age.

If you’ve followed my Dell XPS 13 9350 installation guide and have the 4.4-rc7 kernel running, you know that most things are running pretty well for me.

One thing that the new XPS 13 has (which is very cool) is USB-C. The downside is that there’s no displayport, and no other ways to get video out.

I took a chance and bought this USB-C to DisplayPort adapter from amazon and hoped for the best. Lo and behold, opened it up, plugged it in (side note: make sure you push it in until it ‘clicks’) and bam … my Dell UltraSharp U2715H poppped up like a champ and worked right away – note this is at 2560×1440 resolution.

I love ubuntu and this laptop!


  • Reply Etienne January 6, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Wow, this is a big news. Can you explain this, technically?

    Here’s one question I asked to these guys:

    They told (see their 5th point) that in the XPS 13, the USB 3.1 gen 1 spec is not implemented properly – they’re using a TB3 variation of this implementation, meaning that there shouldn’t be a DisplayPort Alt Mode – so essentially no video possible.

    So is your adapter spawning a new USB video card, or is it taking the video stream directly? Not sure how one can see the difference…


    • Reply Jim Basilio January 6, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Great question, unfortunately I have absolutely no idea. The device was cheap enough I was willing to take a leap given there’s not many alternatives until their “Dell Thunderbolt™ Dock – TB15” is available. I imagine that’s going to be a pricey device though and I had no issue just using the USB-C for video only when I need my external monitor.

      If you find out the details let me know, until then I’ll just sit back and enjoy my external monitor happily working. 🙂


      • Reply Etienne January 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm

        Well, I my self is in quest for a 1-plug dock.

        I’m looking for a USB-C charger, a RJ-45/HDMI and this device:

        waiting for the TB15 or this Razer Core (scroll to the Bottom):

      • Reply Daniel Neely January 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

        The Chromebook doesn’t do thunderbolt; so assuming the Hydradock people are right about the XPS not supporting displayport alternate mode un USB3, this adapter would have to include an internal GPU to work.

        If that’s the case, you can probably confirm it by poking around in video/display settings somewhere and seeing the internal display running on the Intel GPU, and the external one running on whatever is in the USB dongle.

        Unfortunately the only computer I have access to with multiple GPUs is a work computer running Windows 7, so I have no idea where to look in Ubuntu.

        If you configured your XPS to dualboot instead of deleting the W10 install, I think opening display settings, clicking the advanced settings link at the bottom of the dialog, and then selecting your screens one at a time and clicking display adapter properties for each will give the needed information.

        • Reply Etienne January 7, 2016 at 7:44 am

          Ubuntu-wise, I think a simple lsusb should give some hints already.

          • Jim Basilio January 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

            Nothing is added to lsusb when the display kicks on.

            I did find that it doesn’t kick on 100% of the time. I do have to plug in/out a few times and sometimes have to reboot – much more inconsistent than I thought given my initial ‘plug and work’ case.

            I’ll dig some more in the logs tonight, initially I didn’t see anything showing on in the syslog or dmesg output but I’ll check it out.

            I find it REALLY hard to believe this teensy little plug has a GPU in it… but I don’t know.


  • Reply Shawn January 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Hey, I found your site through reddit

    Bought the adapter, and tried this for myself. Happy to report that it’s working with my Ultrasharp U2415!

    Thanks a lot for this tip!

    • Reply Jim Basilio January 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Awesome! Glad to hear it! I’m hoping with the release of the 4.4 kernel and skylake stabilization that it’s rock solid for me as well. For now it’s a little flaky still with skylake.

  • Reply Jon February 26, 2016 at 1:26 am

    What Bios version are you running? I am on Bios 1.2.3 on my 9350 and am getting no output DP signal. My usb-c to HDMI adapter is working properly. I am wondering if this is a Bios versioning thing.

    • Reply Jim Basilio February 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      I’m running 1.0.5. I’ll look at updating it since I’m having issues with 16.04beta1. I did have to unplug the power cable, then plug in USB-C (and had to unplug USB-C once or twice) to get it to work. Then I could plugin power cable again. Odd, but it worked.

  • Reply Andres March 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

    I’m running ubuntu 15.10 in my XPS 13 9350 Skylake. Everything seems working good, but recently I bought an adapter USB – type C
    and the screen in my monitor lose the signal and recover it again. As soon I click on Chrome on Mozilla crashes again. I don’t know if the issue is the adapter or something is wrong in my configuration video card.
    Thanks in advance for your help

    • Reply Jim Basilio March 24, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      I just updated my 16.04 pre-release and external monitor isn’t working at all. Hoping things get fixed before release. Luckily for me I use my system76 galago ultrapro for my work that’s plugged into an external monitor and my xps13 for ‘portable’ work. But I certainly don’t expect many ppl to do that so hopefully this gets fixed.

      Sorry I couldn’t help. Best of luck.

  • Reply Ed April 2, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I just returned my XPS13 to Dell because I could not connect to an external display using three different USB-C to HDMI adapters (including the Dell adapter). The XPS13 worked great as a stand alone but I spent hours with Dell Support and even sent it in to resolve the problem. They returned it to me stating they replaced/repaired mother and daughter board but as soon as I connected an HDMI source it would exhibit the same problem. Very frustrating since I like the XPS13 in every other respect.

    • Reply Jim Basilio April 2, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      That’s too bad but I’m glad you got your money back. I haven’t tried HDMI since it doesn’t go up to the resolution I have on my monitor (at least most specs don’t). It DID work for me on USBC to display port but that didn’t work a couple weeks ago when I tried.

      I had a previous generation and it had the ‘coil whine’ which made me return it (also crazy loud fan under load).

      This skylake generation though is fantastic for battery life, noise (essentially silent on everything but the highest loads like gaming which it’s not meant for), and form factor.

      But if you need an external monitor it seems like only having USBC was a mistake. They should have had a mini display port as well…

      Thanks for posting.

  • Reply Jorge May 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Have you looked into running a second monitor at the same time?

    • Reply Jim Basilio May 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      You mean a second external monitor? No, I have not done that.

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