Watch the Product Video
TBT3-UD1-85W Specific FAQ
General Thunderbolt 3 FAQ
Installing & “Authenticating” dock on Windows and Mac
Plugable’s TBT3-UD1-85W Thunderbolt™ 3 Single Display Docking Station offers high-performance expansion of your Thunderbolt 3-enabled Mac or Dell system. Provides up to 85W of power to charge a compatible Thunderbolt 3 host system. Connect a single display up to 4K 60Hz (4096×2160@60Hz) via the integrated DisplayPort++ port. Thunderbolt 3’s massive 40Gbps bandwidth enables you to run your high resolution display connected through the dock at the full native performance of your system’s graphics processor while also enabling access to your wired network and existing USB peripherals.
Supports connection to wired gigabit Ethernet networks using the integrated 1.0 Gbps i210 Intel network adapter. Provides analog audio input and output jacks for connecting stereo headphones and microphone. Provides two extra USB 3.0 Type-A ports (supporting BC 1.2 charging) and one USB-C 3.1 Gen1 port for device connectivity (Front USB-C port does not support Thunderbolt devices or VESA DisplayPort Alternate Mode video output)
Thunderbolt 3 compatibility is complex, and some features like PCI-E bandwidth, support for 2 displays over Thunderbolt 3, and the necessary firmware updates for docking compatibility (BIOS and NVM) are system-specific. Apple and Dell Thunderbolt 3 systems are currently the best-performing, best-supported systems with this docking station.
For details on supported monitor configurations and what components are needed to add a second display, and non-Apple and Dell compatibility, please see additional details below. Requires updated NVM firmware, system BIOS, and Thunderbolt/GPU drivers from your system vendor. Ability to add a second display depends on design decisions made by your system manufacturer and requires additional hardware, sold separately. Some Thunderbolt 3 systems support a maximum of 20Gbps Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth. Docking station will not function if attached to a non-Thunderbolt 3 capable USB-C port.
Compatible with Apple and Dell systems which have Thunderbolt 3 support built-in (not all Windows systems support charging). Other brands of Thunderbolt 3 systems may work, but not support all of the functionality offered by this dock. Please see important details regarding system compatibility, frequently asked questions and more in the sections below.
Thunderbolt 3 is a powerful new technology, and system manufacturers have substantial discretion in how they implement various technical elements and features. As a result, compatibility information is complex, and many currently available Thunderbolt 3 systems do not support all the features offered by this Thunderbolt 3 docking station.
Some systems support a second display using a USB-C Alt Mode adapter, sold separately. To support a second display through the dock, the host Thunderbolt 3-enabled system must meet the following requirements:
- System manufacturer must have physically routed two DisplayPort lines to the Thunderbolt 3 port. Currently all Thunderbolt 3 systems from Apple and Dell meet this requirement.
- DisplayPort implimentation from HP, Lenovo, MSI, Gigabyte, Acer, Razer, Clevo, and Intel varies.
- Requires updated system UEFI BIOS, Thunderbolt 3 drivers, and graphics (GPU) drivers from system manufacturer
- If you have a Thunderbolt 3 host system which supports two video outputs, a separate purchase of one of the following Plugable adapter models is required: USBC-DP, USBC-HDMI, USBC-DVI, USBC-VGA Please see the FAQ section below for more information.
- Apple MacBook Pro 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 models with Thunderbolt 3
- Apple MacBook Air 2018, 2019, and 2020 models with Thunderbolt 3
- Apple iMac 2017, 2019, and 2020 models with Thunderbolt 3 (dock will not power the iMac, original Apple power cable must be used)
- Apple Mac mini 2018 with Thunderbolt 3 (dock will not power the Mac Mini, original Apple power cable must be used)
- Dell XPS 13 systems with Thunderbolt 3 (for example 9350, 9360, 9365, 9370, 9380,7390, 9300)
- Dell XPS 15 systems with Thunderbolt 3 (for example 9550, 9560, 9570, 9575, 7590, 9500)
- Dell Latitude models with Thunderbolt 3
** Thunderbolt 3 support is optional on many Latitude models, and some models only support USB-C devices. See important note below **
- Dell Precision 15 models with Thunderbolt 3 (for example 15 3510, 3520, 5510, 5520, 7510, 7520)
** Thunderbolt 3 support is optional on many Latitude models, and some models only support USB-C devices. See important note below. Some Precision laptops cannot be charged via Thunderbolt 3. **
- Dell Precision 17 (for example 7710, 7720)
** Thunderbolt 3 support is optional on many Latitude models, and some models only support USB-C devices. See important note below. Some precision laptops cannot be charged by Thunderbolt 3 **
Important Note Regarding Dell systems and ‘Optional’ Thunderbolt 3 support – While some Dell XPS, Latitude and Precision models (such as the XPS 13 9360 and Precision 5510) include Thunderbolt 3 support by default, other models such as the XPS 12 9250, Precision 3520 and Latitude 7370 to name a few must be configured with optional Thunderbolt 3 support at the time of manufacture and purchase in order to support the use of Thunderbolt 3 devices. Dell has more details about the various models and how to tell if your system has Thunderbolt 3 in their Knowledge Base article here. Please check that your Dell system has Thunderbolt 3 support prior to making a purchase of our Thunderbolt 3 Docking station.
Important Note Regarding System Charging via Thunderbolt 3 – Some workstation class laptop systems (such as many Dell Precision systems) cannot be charged via a 3rd-party Thunderbolt 3 docking station or may require more power than our docking station can provide in order to gain a positive charge. Please check your system’s power requirements prior to making a purchase of our Thunderbolt 3 Docking station.
- Lenovo Thinkpad P50 & P70
- Dell Alienware 15 R2
- Razer Blade Stealth
- Porsche Design BOOK ONE
Other Thunderbolt 3 systems may be compatible, but have not been confirmed by Plugable. Please contact us directly at email@example.com for more information prior to purchase if your system is not listed above.
In the Box
Thunderbolt 3 TBT3-UD1-85W docking station, 0.8 meter (2.6 feet) Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps cable, DisplayPort to HDMI passive adapter, quick installation guide and UL certified 20V/8.5A (170W) power adapter (US AC Wall Outlet Plug, 100-240V 50/60Hz) Units sold in the UK or the EU will come with the appropriate power cord.
As with any new technology, as Thunderbolt 3 evolves there is always the possibility things may not work as expected or that things may behave inconsistently. When using our Thunderbolt 3 dock with a supported system and the latest publicly available Thunderbolt NVM firmware with a single connected display things work as expected during normal use and transitioning to and from the various power states (on, off, sleep, resume, hibernate).
However, when two displays are connected, the first via the internal DisplayPort output and the second via an optional USB-C HDMI, DVI or VGA adapter, the second display connected via the USB-C adapter may not always work as expected when resuming from sleep or hibernation. In almost all cases this behavior can be resolved by unplugging the USB-C adapter and then reconnecting, or rebooting the host system. This behavior is much less frequent when using a USB-C to DisplayPort cable.
TBT3-UD1-85W Specific FAQ
Q: Does the TBT3-UD1-85W charge/power my system?
A: Yes, the dock will provide up to 85W of power to charge a compatible Thunderbolt 3 host system when the Thunderbolt 3 cable is connected to the dock’s charging Thunderbolt 3 port (indicated with the laptop icon above it). Please note that not all Thunderbolt 3 laptops can be charged via Thunderbolt 3.
Q: What does the white LED light on the front of the dock indicate?
A: The presence of the white LED light on the front of the dock indicates a Thunderbolt 3 connection to the host system has been established. The white light will only be present when the dock is connected to a Thunderbolt 3 host. It is normal and expected that this light will not be present when the dock is not connected to a host laptop.
Q: What are the specifications of the included power adapter?
A: A photo of the included power adapter’s specification label is provided below for reference:
Q: Do I need to install any drivers to use the dock?
A: No driver installation is needed when using the dock with macOS or Windows 10.
Q: When I connect the dock to my Apple Mac system, I receive a warning that states, “Cannot Use Thunderbolt Accessory: Connect accessory to a Thunderbolt port on this Mac.” How do I fix this?
A: This typically occurs because the cable being used to connect the dock to the system is not a Thunderbolt 3 cable, but rather a USB-C cable (the white cable included with MacBook Pro laptops for charging is a USB-C cable, not Thunderbolt 3). Please use only the Thunderbolt 3 cable we include in the box with the dock to connect it to your system. For additional information about this issue, please see this demonstration video -> https://youtu.be/YJKKOjFc6zE
Q: I have my headphones or speakers connected to the audio output of the dock, but I do not hear any sound coming through. How do I fix this?
A: Both Windows and macOS have the ability to select a default device for sound output. If audio output via the dock is not working, please ensure that the ‘USB Audio CODEC’ device (which represents the dock’s audio output) is set as the default audio playback device. From within macOS this can be done via the Sound application within System Preferences. From within Windows this can be done by following these steps:
1. Right-click on the speaker icon in the Task Tray in lower right-hand corner of the desktop (by the clock).
2. From the menu that appears, select the ‘Playback devices’ option.
3. From the ‘Sound’ window that opens, right-click on the entry that says ‘USB Audio CODEC’ and select ‘Set as default device’.
Q: What type of audio chipset is built-in to the dock, and what are its specifications?
A: The TBT3-UD1-85W dock has a Texas Instruments PCM2912A audio chipset. For detailed specifications, please see the Texas Instruments website here.
Q: Can I add a second display through the second Thunderbolt 3 port on the docking station?
A: As noted above, some Thunderbolt 3 systems support two displays, while others only support one. This behavior is entirely based on engineering decisions from your system manufactuer.
Q: I’ve confirmed my system supports two displays via Thunderbolt 3. What type of monitors are supported?
A: The docking station includes a DisplayPort++ output, which means you can connect a DisplayPort monitor via a DisplayPort cable. If you wish to connect an HDMI monitor, please use the included passive DisplayPort to HDMI converter which supports monitors up to 4K@30Hz refresh. If using a DVI or VGA monitor, separate DisplayPort to DVI or DisplayPort to VGA adapters can be used.
Q: Does the docking station work on Linux?
A: The docking station does not currently support Linux.
Q: Is Wake-on-LAN supported via the Ethernet adapter within the dock?
A: No, Wake-on-LAN is not supported.
Q: Which Plugable USB-C Alt Mode Adapters or DisplayPort adapters are compatible with the dock?
A: To convert the dock’s internal DisplayPort output to HDMI: Please use the included passive DisplayPort to HDMI adapter (maximum resolution of 4K@30Hz refresh)
To convert the DisplayPort output to DVI: Plugable DPM-DVIF Passive Adapter
To convert the DisplayPort output to VGA: Plugable DPM-VGAF Adapter
For systems which support a second display output through the docking station via USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 Alt Mode, please make a separate purchase of one of the following:
USB-C to DisplayPort (6′ cable): Plugable USBC-DP Alt Mode Adapter Cable
USB-C to HDMI (6′ cable): Plugable USBC-HDMI-CABLE Alt Mode Adapter Cable
USB-C to VGA (6′ cable): Plugable USBC-VGA-CABLE Alt Mode Adapter Cable
Q: Does the docking station support Dual-Link DVI output?
Q: Does the docking station support DisplayPort MST (also known as DisplayPort daisy-chaining) video connections?
A: No, MST setups are not supported.
Q: Are there any compatibility issues between specific monitors and the TBT3-UD1-85W dock?
A: Certain monitors may be incompatible or limited to 4K at a 30Hz refresh rate when connected through the dock’s native DisplayPort output (this is an interoperability issue between the monitor display hardware and a chip in the dock; this issue is not limited to Plugable Thunderbolt 3 docking stations).
The following monitor models are known to be impacted:
- Asus PB287Q, PQ321Q
- Dell P2417H, P2715Q, P2415Q, UP3216Q
- LG 31MU97C-B, LG 24UD58-B, LG 27UD58-B, LG 27UD68-P
- Philips 288P6LJEB
- Sharp PN-K321
- Viewsonic VX2475Smhl-4K, VX43804K
- Samsung U28E590D
This can be worked around in some cases by changing the monitor’s internal settings to use “DP 1.1”, which will limit the display to 4K@30Hz. The included passive DisplayPort to HDMI adapter can also be used, which will also limit resolution to 4K@30Hz. Alternatively, the display can be connected using a Plugable USB-C to DP or USB-C to HDMI adapter to connect the display (rather than the DisplayPort on the dock), which may allow 4K@60Hz functionality on affected displays.
Q: Is there a recommended DisplayPort cable for use with this dock?
A: We suggest using DisplayPort cables which are certified for DP 1.2 operation, and shorter cables will generally produce the best results.
Q: How can I tell if my system supports 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3, or 20Gbps Thunderbolt 3?
A: Please check with your system manufacturer regarding Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth on your system.
Q: Do all the Thunderbolt 3 ports on my 2016 MacBook Pro offer the same features and performance?
A: Per Apple’s documentation:
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) delivers full Thunderbolt 3 performance on all four ports.
- MacBook Pro (13-inch,2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) supports Thunderbolt 3 at full performance using the two left-hand ports. The two right-hand ports deliver Thunderbolt 3 functionality, but have reduced PCI Express bandwidth. Always plug higher-performance devices into the left-hand ports on MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) for maximum data throughput.
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports) delivers full Thunderbolt 3 performance on both ports.
Q. Are there any best practices in regard to connecting USB 1.1 devices to the dock?
A: For the most consistent performance, we recommend that USB 1.1 devices (such as keyboards are mice) be directly connected to the docking station’s integrated USB Type-A ports.
Q. My USB devices connected to the dock are not initially working as expected when the host system is booted from being completely off or when it is restarted, but do function properly once Windows is loaded. Why is this?
A: Thunderbolt 3 Windows host systems can have security settings with the System BIOS that affect if Thunderbolt 3 devices or USB devices attached via a Thunderbolt 3 device like our dock will work prior to Windows being loaded. While each manufacturer’s systems can be different, within the system’s BIOS there should be an option to enable ‘Thunderbolt Adapter Boot support’ which will allow the devices to work as expected prior to Windows loading. ** It is important to understand the security aspects of making this change, as this will preempt the security choices made within the Thunderbolt application within Windows **
General Thunderbolt 3 FAQ
Q: Can a Thunderbolt 3 dock or adapter work in any system with any USB-C (USB Type C) port?
A: No. Thunderbolt 3 docks and adapters will only work with Thunderbolt 3 USB-C computers and ports. Connecting to a USB-C port without Thunderbolt 3 capability will not work. Note that computers and docks may have a mix of Thunderbolt 3 and other USB-C ports that look very similar. Look for the Thunderbolt icon on both sides of the connection to ensure compatibility.
Q: How can I identify the NVM version on my system?
A: See “Identifying the NVM” section below.
Q: What if a newer compatible NVM is not available from my system manufacturer?
A: Unfortunately the only option is to contact your system manufacturer and ask when a newer version will be available, and to let them know that until it is, certain accessories you are looking to use will not work.
Q: How can I identify if my system has the necessary two DisplayPort lines to provide dual display output through the Thunderbolt 3 port?
A: Unfortunately in many cases this information is very hard to discern based on the manufacturers published specifications. If your system is not among those listed in our compatibility table above, please contact your system manufacturer for confirmation of how many DisplayPort lines are routed to your Thunderbolt 3 port.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dock or dual display adapter and my monitor configuration changed by itself.
A: This may occur and is considered normal. You can change the main display back to your desired screen through the “Display settings” control panel.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dock or dual display adapter with two attached monitors and am only getting a single output.
A: Depending on what Thunderbolt 3 equipped system you have, it may only support a single output because of the DP Alt Mode line configuration.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dock or dual display adapter for the first time and my system crashed (hard lock).
A: Check to see if your system is running the latest Thunderbolt 3 software, NVM, UEFI BIOS, and all other updates from your system manufacturer. If everything is updated, unplug the adapter, reboot the system, and then reconnect.
Q: I connected my Thunderbolt 3 dock or dual display adapter and am not getting any output to either display.
A: If your system has hybrid graphics (combination of built-in Intel GPU and AMD or NVIDIA discreet graphics) make sure the Intel GPU is set to be the primary GPU in the UEFI BIOS.
Authenticating a Newly Attached Device
When first connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device to a Windows system, the device must first be authenticated through Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 software (this is not necessary with Apple macOS systems). To do so you can use the below instructions as a guide:
After connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device the first thing that you should see (assuming that the system NVM, BIOS, drivers, etc are up to date and compatible) is an automatic notification above the system tray notifying you that a new device has been attached. You will want to click OK:
After clicking OK, you may get a Windows User Account Control (UAC) popup asking if you “want to allow this app to make changes to your PC?”. Click Yes:
After clicking yes you should see a windows like this appear which is where you will approve the Thunderbolt 3 device that was just attached:
Click on the drop down menu where it says “Do Not Connect” and select “Always Connect”. Then click OK:
To view and manage the approved devices you can find the program sitting in the system tray. You may need to click the caret (up arrow icon) to show all of the running programs then right click on the Thunderbolt icon it and select Manage Approved Devices:
You may again get a Windows UAC prompt, click yes. After clicking yes the below window will open and you can see any approved devices and remove them if you choose.
How do I check which version of Thunderbolt 3 software and NVM firmware I am running in Windows?
To determine what version of NVM firmware your system has, the first step is to ensure you have the latest Thunderbolt software version which varies depending on the system manufacturer. You should be able to download it from your system manufacturer’s website.
Once installed you can open the software by searching the start menu for Thunderbolt:
Once open you can find the program sitting in the system tray. You may need to click the caret (up arrow icon) to show all of the running programs then right click on the Thunderbolt icon it and select Settings:
Now you should see the settings window. Click on Details to find out all of the Thunderbolt software and controller information:
If a Thunderbolt 3 device has been connected to the system the Thunderbolt software will show you information about the controller. Below you can see the details from our Dell XPS 13 9350 system:
Unfortunately if a Thunderbolt device has not yet been connected to the system, the information about the NVM firmware may not be available within the utility:
Intel is working on an updated version of the Thunderbolt software that should provide the firmware information without needing to connect a Thunderbolt device, and we’ll be sure to update this post once it is available.
If you have any questions feel free to contact our support team and we be happy to help!
Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries