The New 2016 MacBook Pros & Plugable’s Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Products [Updated]

2016-10-27-new-apple-macbookEveryone at Plugable has been excited to see the release of Apple’s new MacBook lineup, with the MacBook Pro making the leap to USB-C and Thunderbolt™ 3. All of the new 2016 MacBook Pros will offer between 2 and 4 Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C ports including support for host charging.

Our new 2016 MacBook Pro arrived Monday 10/31 at which point we dived into testing with our USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 products. We’ll continue to provide updates regarding compatibility in this post, on the relevant product pages on our site, and on our Amazon listings.

Feel free to comment below if you have any particular questions that are unclear from Apple’s announcement, and we’ll do our best to get answers.

Ongoing Compatibility Test Results as of 3/28/17

USB-C Docking Stations
USB-C Single Display Docking Station with Charging (UD-CA1): Some MacBook Pro owners are reporting video sync issues when outputting video and charging simultaneously through this dock, and we are disclaiming compatibility until issues are better understood. Please see product page at the above link for additional details. (If you’re an owner of the UD-CA1 and experiencing compatibility issues with your MBP, please contact support@plugable.com and we’ll be glad to help.)

USB-C Triple Display Docking Station with Charging (UD-ULTCDL): Some MacBook Pro owners are reporting video sync issues when outputting video and charging simultaneously through this dock, and we are disclaiming compatibility until issues are better understood. Please see product page at the above link for additional details.

Additionally, there are issues with macOS Sierra and DisplayLink functionality which might result in a sub-optimal user experience. Please read our blog post on the topic and contact us with any questions prior to purchase.

USB-C Alt Mode Display Adapters
USB-C to DisplayPort (USBC-DP): Compatible
USB-C to DVI (USBC-DVI): Compatible (note: macOS requires HDCP-compliant DVI monitor, even when not viewing copy-protected content)
USB-C to VGA (USBC-VGA): Compatible
USB-C to HDMI (USBC-HDMI): Compatible

USB-C Hubs and Accessories
USB-C Flash Card Reader (USBC-FLASH3): Compatible
USB-C Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (USBC-E1000): Compatible
USB-C 3 Port Hub (USBC-HUB3P): Not Compatible

USB-C Cables
USB-C to USB-A Adapter Cable (USBC-AF3): Compatible
USB-C to USB-C USB 3.1 Gen2 USB-IF Certified Cable (USBC-C100): Compatible
Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Cables (40Gb .5m; 20Gb 1m; 20Gb 2m): Compatible

Thunderbolt 3 Devices
TBT3-DP2X: Incompatible
TBT3-HDMI2X: Incompatible

43 comments on “The New 2016 MacBook Pros & Plugable’s Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Products [Updated]”

  1. FuzzyPuffin Reply

    Are your TB3 docks still expected to be released by the end of the year? And do you expect they will power the rMBP?

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for the interest! We’re developing our upcoming Thunderbolt 3 charging dock (TBT3-UDV) to be compatible with all of the new MacBooks.

      Given the complexity of Power Delivery firmware development, it’s likely that adding Mac compatibility will push release of the TBT3-UDV into 2017.

      We’ll certainly be updating our Thunderbolt 3 page with additional release information as it becomes available.

      • Gary Zeller Reply

        Thanks for asking! We’re aiming for Q2 of this year, and will post additional information on our Thunderbolt 3 page (plugable.com/thunderbolt-3) once we’ve got additional ETA details to share.

        • B Robertson Reply

          I see the TBT3-UDV is now listed as summer/early fall. I’ve been waiting on this product for almost a full year now. Can you provide an update / comments on what is taking so long please?

  2. Jeff Reply

    The update your Thunderbolt 3 page says Thunderbolt controller chip is the issue, but there are two USB-C *only* devices listed above that have compatibility issues. Is this a separate issue?

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for posting, Jeff. The incompatibility of current Thunderbolt 3 devices with the new MacBook Pro is an entirely separate issue.

      The incompatibility between the 2 non-TB3 USB-C devices you mention is unrelated, and something we’re investigating further.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Totally agree! To be clear, all of our Thunderbolt 3 devices use Intel Alpine Ridge chips.

      Non-Intel Thunderbolt 3 controllers do not exist at this point, and Intel’s given no indication they will open up development of Thunderbolt 3 controllers to 3rd parties.

  3. Jake Reply

    Will either the current or replacement dual display port adapters work in reverse, allowing dual displayport inputs into the dual link thunderbolt port driving the LG 5k display?

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for posting, Jake. None of the dual display adapters will work in reverse; they will only function when attached to a compatible Thunderbolt 3-enabled PC.

  4. Gregory S. Reply

    I watched Bernie Thompson’s 3 Nov. 2016 YouTube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-28jfVLUdQ) and need to clarify the connectivity he was explaining starting at the 2:35 mark.

    1. Bernie said the monitor was connected to your docking station and the docking station was connected to the MacBook Pro. Is that correct? The cabling looked like the MacBook Pro was connected to the monitor and the monitor was connected to the docking station, but I could not sort out the spaghetti of cables shown.

    2. The video shows two docking stations so it’s not clear which is connected the first monitor and the MacBook Pro — again, the cabling jumble didn’t help. Unfortunately, the video cut away to a stock photography image of the docking station while Bernie was explaining and pointing to things, further obfuscating the matter. Perhaps you could post a diagram of how things were connected.

    I’m interested in your product because, like many folks, I’m a bit dismayed by the port situation on the 2016 MacBook Pro re: legacy USB devices I use with my current Macs. Thanks!

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for posting! To your first question, the connection order used in the video is MacBook Pro -> USB-C cable -> Plugable UD-CA1 dock -> HDMI cable -> Dell monitor.

      To your second question, only the one dock laying flat horizontally on the table was in use. The second dock to the far left of the desk standing up vertically was not connected, and only there to allow you to see the Plugable logo.

      Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

      Bob

  5. John Coker Reply

    If I have a DisplayPort monitor, will this docking station work with your USB-C to DisplayPort cable in another port of the MBP or can there be only one use of “DisplayPort Alternate Mode”? Note that I don’t care about the HDMI connection on the docking station so perhaps that can be disabled?

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Good question, John. Most systems support DisplayPort Alternate Mode through one of their USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports. But in our testing new MacBook Pro appears to support simultaneous Alt Mode outputs from each of its two Thunderbolt 3 ports which is a great feature.

      So your proposed config of pluggin the UD-CA1 docking station into one of the MacBook’s Thunderbolt 3 ports and the USBC-DP cable plugged into the second Thunderbolt 3 port should work. (Though native DisplayPort output will be a feature of our upcoming TBT3-UDV docking station, so there’s a more streamlined single-device solution for this type of functionality in the works as well.)

  6. Shaun Reply

    I have a Dell 5k mst monitor how do I go about connecting it to the new MacBook Pro 15, my old MacBook pro had two display port ports, but now I am feeling a little lost? Thanks!

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for posting Shaun. Unfortunately we don’t have any 5K monitors for in-house testing so we don’t have much insight into your specific scenario. Hopefully Dell can help shed some light on compatibility.

    • joevt Reply

      Each Thunderbolt 3 port is also a DisplayPort 1.2 port. You probably just need two USB-C to DisplayPort cables (USBC-DP) to connect the Dell 5K display to the MacBook Pro 2016.

  7. Simon B Reply

    Hi,

    Just wanted to clarify:

    If I were to buy the current USB C 3.1 dock for my new MacBook Pro 2016 it should work ok including charging.

    If I were to wait and buy the Thunderbolt 3 dock when it is released, the only main difference would be throughput 10Gbps vs 40Gbps, and maybe a different port or 2 on the dock? otherwise essentially does the same thing?

    Thanks

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for posting. To your question, our UD-CA1 single display USB-C should work OK including charging. Our UD-ULTCDL Triple display dock should work OK including charging, but with performance issues imposed by macOS Sierra on the DisplayLink outputs which we speak to here -> http://plugable.com/2016/09/21/plugable-suggests-displaylink-users-wait-on-macos-sierra-upgrade/

      While our USB-C dock and upcoming Thunderbolt 3 dock provide the same basic functionality the difference is in the details in terms of the number of displays supported (including the maximum resolution and refresh rates) and the Thunderbolt dock’s ability to daisy chain devices.

      Hopefully that information helps. If you have any additional questions please reach out to us directly via support@plugable.com and we will be happy to provide more detail.

      Thank you,

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

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for asking! We’re anticipating being back in stock late-November/early-December.

  8. Suleman Khan Reply

    Will usbc-dp adapter cable be able to be connected to Macbook Pro 15 2016 model with my Dell U2415 24″ monitor. I have two of them – and will I be able to use the ports on the displays? Thanks

    • David Washburn Reply

      Although we have not tested with your specific Dell monitors, I would expect our USBC-DP cables to work in order to display from the system. Unfortunately, our cable will not enable the use of the USB ports and audio port on the display as these downstream ports typically require a USB cable to be connected from the monitor to the computer.

  9. Jason Reply

    Thanks for a great product. Can’t wait for the issues with macOS Sierra to be resolved so it will be even a better experience. I will unfortunately still have to use my UD-3900, since my work laptop does not have USB-C or Thunderbolt. It is nice to have one dock no matter which laptop that I have to use.

    Any work when we might see the fixes for Sierra?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Bob Boerner Bob Boerner Reply

      Thanks for posting, and thank you for the kind words about our products. Actually DisplayLink -> http://www.displaylink.com/, the maker of the chips in our USB video adapters and docking stations, do all the driver development so they get all the credit for the hard work that goes into the software. There have been reports in their end user forum here -> http://www.displaylink.org/forum/showthread.php?t=64795 that in the latest public beta of Sierra 10.12.2 Apple has resolved some of the outstanding issues, so we are hopeful that once released there will be better parity with the Windows platform.

  10. Ростик Лесовий Reply

    I’m planning to buy new MacBook with this docking station and have one question. New MacBooks 15″ (R Pro 460) come with 87W power brick. Will 60W provided by this dock be sufficient for heavy laptop usage or will it drain battery?

    If no, do you have any plans on releasing stations with more powerful power delivery? From what I know TB3 supports up to 100W PD.

    Thanks.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for asking! We don’t yet have a definitive answer on this but generally speaking most laptops rarely consume 100% of the power their rated power brick capacity. So we’re hopeful that the dock and 87W MacBook will negotiate the highest mutually-supported voltage (60W), and we’ll post additional information once we have more information on this.

  11. Brad Garland Reply

    Hi there, I have the new 13″ MBP on the way and I’m trying to figure out what I need for my Dell U3014 30 inch display. It has HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini Displayport and DVI on the back. I’m currently using a dual-link DVI to provide 2560×1600 @ 60hz through my Mac Mini. How can I replicate this with new MBP? Mini Displayport? HDMI doesn’t work…

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Monitors which only support their highest resolution via Dual-link DVI are tricky!

      We unfortunately don’t have a solution to offer, though you might want to try Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, which will provide a mini-DisplayPort you can test your current adapter with.

      If you do give that a try, please let us know how it goes — thanks!

      Thanks Felix and joevt!

      • Felix Mann Reply

        I would not advise this. Unfortunately the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter does NOT pass through the DisplayPort signal. Not to an Apple branded MiniDisplayport to Dual Link DVI adapter and not to a Thunderbolt 2 Dock with HDMI output.

      • joevt Reply

        Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapters do not pass DisplayPort signals. Apple’s adapter is nice compared to third party adapters because it’s smaller, cheaper, and works in reverse (allowing Thunderbolt 3 devices to be used with Thunderbolt 2 Macs or Thunderbolt 2 devices to be used with Thunderbolt 3 Macs). You can read about it here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207266

      • Brad Reply

        Thanks for all the replies. Here’s what I’ve found now that I’ve received my new MBP. Had already purchased (and will return) the Thunderbolt 2 to 3 conversion adapters and as said below, it didn’t work. I was able to, through the Dell U3014 monitor, use the HDMI-to-USB-C adapter and have it output full 2560×1600 resolution as that is also the native display on the MBP monitor itself. Still trying to rectify my crazy dongle situation but that has nothing to do with this! Thanks all.

    • joevt Reply

      The best solution is a USB-C to DisplayPort cable such as the USBC-DP.

      HDMI could work if you use a Mac OS pixel clock patch to allow higher than 165 MHz pixel clock for HDMI output (if that is the problem).

      For monitors that only have Dual Link DVI input (like the Apple 30″ Cinema Display), a DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI adapter is required. Apple makes one. So do other companies.

      To connect a monitor that only has Dual Link DVI input to a computer that only has HDMI 1.3 or Single Link DVI (supporting HDMI 1.3 speeds), you need a HDMI (input) to DisplayPort (output) adapter (these are relatively new) to connect to a DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI adapter. You need both adapters because I don’t think anyone makes a HDMI to Dual Link DVI adapter that actually outputs a Dual Link signal.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Thanks for asking! macOS does not support MST (display chaining). So you would need two USB-C to DisplayPort cables; one for each display. (In our brief testing, MST chaining does work in Boot Camp.)

    • joevt Reply

      Apple doesn’t support DisplayPort MST daisy chaining so if you want a solution that doesn’t use more than one USB-C port, then a Thunderbolt adapter with two DisplayPort outputs is required. Plugable.com has tested their THUNDERBOLT™ 3 DUAL DISPLAYPORT ADAPTER and found it to be NOT compatible with the MacBookPro 2016. Even if the adapter was compatible, Plugable.com has this note:

      “Dual display support is optional for Thunderbolt 3 PCs. How many displays are supported over Thunderbolt 3 depends on how the USB-C port has been wired on the system motherboard (up to a max of two), and is not changeable in software or by the Thunderbolt 3 graphics device.”

      I don’t know if that applies to the MacBookPro 2016.

  12. sung uk Reply

    I have a question.
    I’m working with ud-ca1 and macbook pro retina 2016, is the link between these two products in Thunderbolt3 mode? Or is usb 3.1 gen2 mode?

  13. joevt Reply

    I was able to use two 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz displays connected to a MacBook Pro 2015 using an “Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter”, and a “Pluggable Thunderbolt 3 Dual DisplayPort adapter” connected to a “AKiTiO Thunder3 Duo Pro”. I had to use the AKiTiO because it has two Thunderbolt 3 ports that I can connect both adapters to (because they both have non-detachable USB-C male connectors and I don’t think anyone makes a USB-C female to female connector).

    I had to install a “TB3 enabler” kernel extension patch to allow the unsupported devices to work in macOS Sierra. A 4K display works but that will disable the second display connected to the Dual DisplayPort adapter, because Thunderbolt 2 doesn’t have the bandwidth for more than that.

    Maybe the “TB3 enable” would allow the MacBook Pro 2016 to use the tbt3-dp2x

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