Best Thunderbolt 3 USB-C dock (May 2018)??

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Crunch, May 20, 2018.

  1. Crunch macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    Jun 26, 2008
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    #1
    Hi all,

    I need a Thunderbolt 3 dock, and that's unlike the USB-C NON-TB3 dock I have right now from Satechi.

    I like the one from Plugable but I'm not sure if it has that 2nd gen. TB3 controller to work with the 2016 MacBook Pro yet?

    Basically, I need external monitor support at 60Hz. I'm amazed by how many docks advertise support for 4K, but only in the fine print, it will tell you that it's only at 30Hz. Don't these companies know that they're going to get them back, except for those who output to a 4K TV maybe who only use it to watch movies.

    I like the idea of Power Delivery too. It's not as important, however, although I guess you could say you have an extra power supply in a dock that supports it at 60W or above, which is nice.

    I also absolutely need the Gigabit Ethernet port. I'm trying to go with as little wireless as I can get away with without disrupting my workflow too much.

    The Lenovo TB3 dock looks attractive, but I'm not sure it's compatible.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences....
     
  2. mroy16 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    #2
    I'm using the Pluggable TB3 dock with my 2016 MBP 13" nTB. I'm quite happy with it. I previously used tried the OWC dock, but that died and OWC customer support was slow and unhelpful.

    There are several different TB3 docks that people around here will recommend. Ultimately, the difference is what combination of ports you really want. If you have a specific input for your external monitor already, maybe look for a dock that has the correct output already, saving yourself an extra dongle.
     
  3. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #3
    Oh, thank you @mroy16, that's actually very possibly the dock I want to get! That's great news. Are we talking about the TBT3-UDV or the TBT-UD1?

    I agree with you on OWC, by the way. They were so-so when I used them for a few things many years ago, and it looks like nothing's changed. The OWC TB3 dock was also amongst my major contenders, but I'm glad to be able to strike them off my list! :)

    Thanks again!
     
  4. mroy16 macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2017
    #4
    I'm using the UDV. I chose it for the relatively low price (compared to some other TB3 docks available at the time) and the 5 USB-A ports, which are great for my legacy peripherals. I'm also using the ethernet port, and the DP with included HDMI dongle.
     
  5. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #6
    Sweeeeeeet! You've got the flagship product then.

    Ok, so would 2 monitors be supported? I would think one DisplayPort monitor (or via HDMI adapter) and then another via one of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports, is that right?

    And yes, I love the many USB 3 ports. So your model also does the charging, if I've got that right. Do you ever use the regular Mac charger that came with the laptop? You just use the one Thunderbolt 3 cable, right?

    Thanks again and sorry for the 20 questions. :D

    I'll be damned. Shoulda done a proper search. Thank you!
     
  6. mroy16 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    #7
    I haven't tried to run two monitors, but it should be possible, exactly as you described.

    I use the charging cable that shipped with my Mac at work, where I run it through a multi-port AV dongle. At home, I connect to the dock with a single cable and get power, display, ethernet, audio, and USB-A peripherals all at once.
     
  7. PatrycjaKozdra macrumors member

    PatrycjaKozdra

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    #8
    I'm using the one by Satechi and it's really good no issues so far.
     
  8. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #9
    Which one? Satechi doesn't appear to make a Thunderbolt 3 dock, but rather only a USB-C line of docks. I have their highest end one and it performs great, but it's decidedly not TB3. When I first bought my all USB-C/TB3 MacBook Pro and was forced into adapters, dongles, and docks on day one, I thought this actually was a TB3 dock too.

    My problem with it is its wimpy 2-inch cable that's permanently affixed to the dock, so there's no way to use one long cord and put it somewhere stationary. On the other hand, it's a great portable dock! It sure is convenient to have 3x Type-A USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI, 1 USB-C, and even Gigabit Ethernet and both regular size SD as well as microSD card slots in the palm of my hand. :D

    My other problem with it is the fact that it's not a TB3 dock. I was fooled for a while because I was traveling and only ever outputting to 1080p monitors, but always using all three USB ports on it at the same time. It can get really hot, but I've used it for almost a year and it's great. Kind of shows how powerful USB-C is on its own.
     
  9. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    Portland / Seattle
    #10
    OP, are you aware of Intel's TB product portal for certified products? One of my vendors made me aware of it a few months ago; I own/run a engineering company and I have to deal only with certified products with some of the SW I use, or very often SW just won't work. That written, I'm not going to direct you to a particular product, however, here's a link that can narrow it down a bit.

    The link I offered includes only docks and certified products for the macOS platform. Regarding DP products, on that list are StarTech - the only related company that has supplied VESA-compliant DisplayPort cables and adapters. I use StarTech cables, personally and in my company. What you need to be aware of is that the 30Hz limitation has pretty much nothing to do with the product itself but the hardware in the TB device, the cabling, and the device (display) being connected to - and there's nothing to be done or improved upon related to that combination. I can't find a dock to work with some of my displays at greater than 30Hz but I can find USB-C cables that will allow me to connect my iMP to two BenQ 27" or LG 32" displays at 60Hz.

    Last bit regarding the "30Hz" thing - that restriction is for 4k res only. You'll likely see (pun intended) at/near 60Hz at lower resolutions. I choose my 4k displays solely for the higher pixel pitch, not for regular use at 4k as interface elements are too small in most instances, while viewing video at 30Hz at 4k is perfectly acceptable to me (and the clients that pay me plenty...).
     
  10. Outrigger macrumors 68000

    Outrigger

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #11
    I've been using Caldigit's TS 3 Plus for the last 3 months and its been solid. Supports 2 x 4k displays @ 60Hz. Did a review if you want to check it out.

    http://bit.ly/2Fuh9ja
     
  11. Crunch thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Crunch

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    #12
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply and for the link!

    I am also a fan of BenQ monitors. In fact, I am the current owner of a 32" 1440p VA monitor from BenQ and it's been great! I would like to upgrade to a 4K one though and it definitely needs to be 60Hz. Any advice on that front? I might just go with BenQ again. They seem to have reasonably priced 4K monitors.

    Like you, I also wouldn't be using it to watch movies on it, but to get the "Retina" quality back, now that I'm used to this gorgeous 15" display in my MacBook Pro.

    In terms of a TB3 dock, the Kensington is on sale right now for $190 (down from $250). I wonder if that's compatible. I'll have to take a closer look.
     
  12. campyguy macrumors 68040

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    #13
    The BenQ displays I have in my home office and in my offices are the BL2711U displays. Keep in mind that BenQ's display unit builds panels for other manufacturers - the panel in the BL2711U is also in Dell's P2715Q display (and its successor, I don't know what the model number is - but I have purchased several P2715Q displays, for myself and my company) - their may be other users of BenQ's panels.

    I prefer the dense pixel pitch in the BL2711U/P2715Q, and definitely prefer BenQ's interface compared to the dumbed-down P2715Q. The P2715Q is still being sold by Dell, now at pretty decent price, but I'd buy the BenQ still for its better GUI and options. One of the PCs in my home office has two BL2711Us connected - that workstation uses Pro-E/SOLIDWORKS/AutoCAD/CATIA - and the rendered fly-throughs look pretty realistic even when compared to what is projected on more-spendy Eizo displays. 4k@60Hz on either the BL2711U or P2715Q is easily achievable and looks very nice; I had two of each connected to my older late-2013 15" rMBP and was able to play back 4k videos at 60Hz on two displays with no issues - I make sure that my clients can play back our media with zero issues. The newer P2715Q displays (built after 1/2017) include HDMI 2.0, as do all BL2711U displays. I prefer displays to have multi-year warranties - 3-year warranties come with both of these displays.

    IMHO, there aren't many - if any - displays that look better unless you're picky and spending more than $800 per display or buying a 5k iMac or iMP. My only nick is that at 4k the GUI elements can get pretty small - for that, I'm using an LG 32UD59 that I purchased at Costco a few months ago at a deep discount (just replaced by the 32UD60). The LG 32UD59 is connected to my base iMP, buying from Costco with my Costco VISA added 4 years to the 1-year warranty - I wouldn't buy this display with the standard 1-year warranty; LG sells a "commercial" version of the LG 32UD59/60 with identical specs and a 3-year warranty for about $1700 (no way!!!) - I'd buy a quality Eizo display for that amount of coin.

    My advice? Dell's P2715Q (or its current replacement, which uses the same panel but has a slimmer bezel) or BenQ's BL2711U are nice displays - I prefer the latter solely on BenQ being far more macOS friendly and its far-more-customizable GUI, which you'd need to pay much more for with any pro-level Ultrafine Dell displays. The LG 32UD59/60 options are pretty nice - mine doubles as a TV in a pinch (although the speakers are a bit muddy...). I can recommend some Eizo displays like those in my offices, but be prepared to have a friend wake you after you pass out from sticker shock! Cheers.
     
  13. carestudio macrumors 6502

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    #14
  14. PatrycjaKozdra macrumors member

    PatrycjaKozdra

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    Toronto
    #15
    Oops! You might be right it is a dongle with many outlets. My current setup is Rain stand for MacBook and the Satechi Dongle. Not a bad option...
     
  15. agtoau macrumors regular

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    Silicon Valley, CA
    #16
  16. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

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    #17
    I'd say the TS3 Plus. It has almost no compromises.
     
  17. agtoau macrumors regular

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    Oct 1, 2006
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    #18
    I just returned the unopened Promise TD-300 and placed an order for the Caldigit TS-3 Plus.
     

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