Plugable’s New Thunderbolt 3™ Docking Station Now Shipping

Today Plugable is proud to announce the availability of the latest addition to our growing line of Thunderbolt™ 3 products, our Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station for Apple Macbook Pro 2016 and Dell Thunderbolt 3 Systems.

The dock supports a single DisplayPort or HDMI Display (with included adapter). The dock does not charge the host computer. It does power itself and attached downstream USB devices.

The first in our series of Thunderbolt 3 docking stations, when connected to a compatible macOS or Windows Thunderbolt 3 system the TBT3-UD1-83 provides the ability to connect a single 4K display via its DisplayPort++ output (passive DisplayPort to HDMI adapter included for HDMI displays). This connection functions as a direct line to the host system’s internal graphics adapter and provides for the same level of performance as a direct connection.

The TBT3-UD1-83 also provides a wired Intel gigabit Ethernet connection using an i210 chipset, analog audio input and outputs, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C port and one ‘downstream’ Thunderbolt 3 port that can be used to daisy chain up to five additional Thunderbolt 3 devices or provide for a 10Gbps network connection to another Thunderbolt 3 host using an additional Thunderbolt 3 cable (purchased separately).

The downstream Thunderbolt 3 port can alternatively be used to attach a second 4K display using a USB-C video adapter, such as our USBC-DP cable, USBC-HDMI adapter (purchased separately).


Plugable TBT3-UD1-83 Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

Watch Our Video Demo

A few important notes: Our TBT3-UD1-83 docking station does not provide the ability to charge the host system. Those who require the ability to charge should wait for our upcoming TBT3-UDV docking station (more information on that upcoming product here) which does allow up to 60W of power to charge the host system.

All manufacturers can design their Thunderbolt 3 systems differently, and certain design decisions can affect compatibility with our dock and/or its ability to support two external displays. We have found that the Apple MacBook Pro late 2016 systems with Thunderbolt 3 and all Dell Windows Thunderbolt 3 systems work well with our dock and can support two displays, and we will be maintaining a compatibility list for other host system manufacturers on our product page.

Dell systems will require the most up to date system BIOS and Thunderbolt 3 NVM firmware to ensure things work as expected (the required NVM version number can vary depending on the host system) while Apple systems perform these updates automatically.

In certain cases 4K monitors connected to the dock may be limited to 4K@30Hz refresh rates, please see the FAQ section of our product page for more information.

Plugable was founded on the concept of turning the PC ‘inside out’ by providing USB docking stations to add functionality, and we are proud to offer our first docking station product that takes full advantage of the 40Gps bandwidth provided by Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

And just for those that have subscribed to our new posts (subscription form in sidebar) or come to plugable.com to check us out, we have a limited number of docks available at 20% off (savings of almost $40 USD). Request your code here.

21 comments on “Plugable’s New Thunderbolt 3™ Docking Station Now Shipping”

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      USB-C is a great method for providing power, but the power requirements of the unit (72 watts in total) made the DC port the better option for this product.

      • leetcat Reply

        Excuse the late replay, I believe USB-C is rated to 100watts. The compatibility with using USB-C would be better than the DC-port, as UBC-C cables you can buy easily and the DC port is much more difficult to find if broken or lost.

        • joevt Reply

          100W is the max. Many USB-C ports do not support the max. For Thunderbolt 3, there’s a minimum of 15W? Devices use the Power Delivery protocol to decide all that. You can read about that elsewhere (there’s also some YouTube videos). Because of that, a separate port for power is needed. That port is the DC power port. There are a couple of seperate changes that could be made:

          1) Change the DC power port to a USB-C PD input port. This removes reliance on a non-standard power supply in favor of a standards based alternative.

          2) Use power from the Thunderbolt upstream port if there’s enough power and there’s no power available from the power port (whether it’s a DC port or USB-C PD port). This allows removing the need of the power supply altogether.

          Both of those changes would add some cost without much benefit, depending on the answers to questions like these:
          How often does a power supply need replacing?
          Are there any Thunderbolt 3 ports that supply enough power?
          Are there any chargers using the Power Delivery protocol that can supply enough power?
          Doesn’t the name “Docking Station” imply that it usually remains in one location, and only the computer needs to be portable, so why make the dock more portable by allowing it to work without a separate power connection?

  1. thammons Reply

    I have the 4-TB3-port 1916 MBP. And with this dock, I’ll still be short of TB3 powered ports. Why did you include only two?

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Our Thunderbolt 3 dock only requires one available Thunderbolt 3 port to connect the unit to the host system. The second Thunderbolt 3 port is for a down-stream Thunderbolt 3 device or a second video output using a USB-C to video adapter or cable like our USB-C to DisplayPort cable -> http://plugable.com/products/usbc-dp/

  2. joevt Reply

    Intel’s Thunderbolt chips have either 1 or 2 ports. Additional ports would require additional chips, each costing more money and taking more space and more power? Are there other technical reasons for not having more ports? More chips also require a larger PCIe switch chip, or additional switch chips that would slightly increase latency? I suppose more ports wouldn’t allow more displays since they would be restricted to the display capabilities of the port from the computer. I guess I’m wondering how the cost changes for each additional port added?

    My question is, why do current Thunderbolt 3 docks choose to add USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 gen 1 ports (5 Gb/s) when there exists USB 3.1 gen 2 chips? These could be provided by a USB 3.1 gen 2 chip, or a Thunderbolt 3 chip in USB only mode. Maybe the problem is that these chips only add up to two USB ports, so you would need more chips? The audio is provided by a USB codec? That would take one port of a USB chip.

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Thanks for sharing the press release. That is great news, and we look forward to Thunderbolt 3 systems becoming more widely available!

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      We don’t as of yet have any of the recently announced Apple Thunderbolt 3 systems you mention in our test lab to confirm compatibility with our products, but we expect that our recently released Thunderbolt 3 docking station (TBT3-UD1-83) and our upcoming Thunderbolt 3 products will work as expected. As we have more information we will be sure to update our product pages with fresh compatibility information.

    • joevt Reply

      I don’t think Apple would change the support for Thunderbolt 3 devices that they don’t currently support. In that case, the tb3-enabler patch will allow any Thunderbolt 3 device to work.

  3. Josh Reply

    I was wondering if you could confirm that I will be able to drive “Acer ProDesigner BM320 bmidpphzx 32″ 4K Ultra HD” Monitor from MacBook Pro 15″ w/ touchbar at 4k @ 60 hz? It’s a pretty new monitor, so you might not know, but I thought I’d check before I buy the docking station. Thank you!

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for posting! Unfortunately, we don’t have the specific model Acer monitor you mention (nice looking monitor BTW) in our test lab, so we cannot guarantee its compatibility with our Thunderbolt 3 Docking station. It should be able to be physically connected to the dock’s internal DisplayPort output (as the monitor offers a DisplayPort input), but there are some cases where 4K displays may not work as expected when connected in this manner.

      We speak to the displays known to be affected by this issue in our FAQ section here -> http://plugable.com/products/tbt3-ud1-83#faq. In cases where that occurs, one alternative solution is to make use of a purchased separately USB-C to DisplayPort cable (like this -> http://plugable.com/products/usbc-dp to connect the display to the dock’s second Thunderbolt 3 port, rather than the internal DisplayPort output.

      Please let us know if that information helps, or if you have any additional questions!

      Bob
      Plugable Technologies
      http://www.plugable.com/support

      • Josh Reply

        Thanks for the super quick and thorough reply Bob! I’ll might have to hold off in the short term, but will definitely be ordering the USB-C to DP cable per your suggestion as a short term solution. Thanks again!

        • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

          You are very welcome Josh! If you do move forward with your purchase in the future and have the time to report your results we would be most appreciative as it will help us to help others in the future. Thank you!

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for asking — we’re excited about DisplayPort 1.4 also!

      With Nvidia just releasing DP 1.4 sources in the past year, Intel doing so with Titan Ridge next year, and few (if any?) 1.4 displays on the market, DP 1.2 has a long life ahead. Certainly something we’ll be considering on our future TBT3 and other DP products.

  4. Miroslav Reply

    Do you plan to add power delivery to charge the attached notebook in some new model / version of this dock ? (I know about the usb-c model, but it’s not thunderbolt, doesn’t support 4k@60Hz and doesn’t look so nice either)
    One more general question about your products – i noticed you don’t have information for compatibility with Elitebook x360 1030 G2 – it’s listed in some charts, but compatibility is Unknown. I own one, so what should I expect if I want to buy such product –
    would the compatibility be similar to HP Spectre, or do you plan the add the compatibility data and I should wait ?

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      We will be releasing in the near future our TBT3-UDV Thunderbolt 3 docking station that will be able to charge the host with up to 60W of power, and the latest detail and availability estimate are here -> http://plugable.com/thunderbolt-3 (sorry we can’t be more specific in terms of the time frame).

      In terms of compatibility, we don’t have your HP Elitebook x360 1030 G2 in our test lab so we will not be able to guarantee compatibility with our Thunderbolt 3 docking stations. To expand a little bit, each manufacturer can design their Thunderbolt 3 systems differently, and those internal design decisions can affect how well Thunderbolt 3 peripherals like our dock can work. To complicate matters further, while many manufacturer’s systems within a single brand behave similarly, we have found that within HP’s different model ranges specific devices can behave differently compared to each other.

      As a result, we typically don’t recommend our products for systems when we don’t have compatibility information to help prevent frustration later on. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to us directly via support@plugable.com

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