First look: CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 with 85W charging power for 15-inch MacBook Pro...

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in General Discussion
CalDigit's second Thunderbolt 3 dock has hit the AppleInsider test bench, and with it, the promise of full charging power for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.




We've already examined the first-shipping Thunderbolt 3 dock from CalDigit, the TS3 Lite. The Thunderbolt Station 3 -- TS3, henceforth -- is taller, but not as wide horizontally, but can also be positioned vertically, possibly saving some desk real estate.

Like all of the Thunderbolt 3 docks, the power supply is pretty giant, and beefy. Also, like most of the docks, there's an enclosed, short, passive Thunderbolt 3 cable included that is mostly useless for more than just testing the device out when you get it.

TS3 with iPhone SE
TS3 with iPhone SE


The TS3 has a different assortment of ports than the TS3 Lite does. The new dock has USB 3.0 type A, with an audio in, and audio out port on the front. On the back is the pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, two eSATA ports, two USB 3.0 type A ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet connection.




Initial examination of connectivity still shows good dual-4K support, with the DisplayPort and the Thunderbolt 3 pass-through port utilized for displays. An eSATA RAID case connects fine, with all drives shown -- but we haven't run any serious tests on that yet, or examined the USB 3.0 ports for UASP.




Over the next week, AppleInsider will test the CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 dock, including benchmarks and testing with eSATA RAID enclosures.

CalDigit is shipping pre-orders of the Thunderbolt Station 3 now, with new orders expected to ship at the end of June. The dock is priced at $299.99. B&H is also accepting pre-orders at $299.99 with no sales tax outside NY and NJ.

The Thunderbolt Station 3 Lite is a thinner unit that AppleInsider previously examined, with a slightly smaller number of connections and limited charging power, and is positioned as a value option at $199.99. B&H is currently taking $20 off the TS3 Lite with free expedited shipping and no sales tax outside NY and NJ.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Does CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 work using eSATA with drives like LaCie d2 ones?
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,338administrator
    appex said:
    Does CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 work using eSATA with drives like LaCie d2 ones?
    FTA: "An eSATA RAID case connects fine, with all drives shown -- but we haven't run any serious tests on that yet, or examined the USB 3.0 ports for UASP."
  • Reply 3 of 7
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,491member
    I can understand the TB3 being a daisy-chain interface, but why the heck aren't these dock manufacturers placing USBc (not TB3) connectors on the front of the unit?  Is there a technical reason for it?

    As far as I'm concord, put a USB-A, USBc, and maybe even an SD card slot on the front and we're golden.  Heck, maybe even I would pick one up.  I'm stumped by this.  Does anyone else know why they're not doing it?

  • Reply 4 of 7
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,338administrator
    sflocal said:
    I can understand the TB3 being a daisy-chain interface, but why the heck aren't these dock manufacturers placing USBc (not TB3) connectors on the front of the unit?  Is there a technical reason for it?

    As far as I'm concord, put a USB-A, USBc, and maybe even an SD card slot on the front and we're golden.  Heck, maybe even I would pick one up.  I'm stumped by this.  Does anyone else know why they're not doing it?

    The TS3 Lite has a front-mounted USB-A and USB-C port.

    edited June 2017
  • Reply 5 of 7
    sflocal said:
    I can understand the TB3 being a daisy-chain interface, but why the heck aren't these dock manufacturers placing USBc (not TB3) connectors on the front of the unit?  Is there a technical reason for it?

    As far as I'm concord, put a USB-A, USBc, and maybe even an SD card slot on the front and we're golden.  Heck, maybe even I would pick one up.  I'm stumped by this.  Does anyone else know why they're not doing it?

    I'd like to see a TB3 dock with a built-in power supply (so no external power brick required). Seems like a dock maybe just a bit bigger than the Caldigit TS3 could fit one inside, considering the size of the Apple power brick. Then this could actually function as a travel dock. Even a somewhat bulky dock could still be more compact than a bunch of dongles and a power brick.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    BittySonBittySon Posts: 50member
    Does anyone know why it is taking so long to get TB3 units out there and shipping?  Everything seems to be in the preorder stage.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    BittySon said:
    Does anyone know why it is taking so long to get TB3 units out there and shipping?  Everything seems to be in the preorder stage.
    There were certification issues for a while for some reason. Apparently a lot of things were changing in OS X regarding power delivery over Thunderbolt.
    sflocal said:
    I can understand the TB3 being a daisy-chain interface, but why the heck aren't these dock manufacturers placing USBc (not TB3) connectors on the front of the unit?  Is there a technical reason for it?

    As far as I'm concord, put a USB-A, USBc, and maybe even an SD card slot on the front and we're golden.  Heck, maybe even I would pick one up.  I'm stumped by this.  Does anyone else know why they're not doing it?

    I'd like to see a TB3 dock with a built-in power supply (so no external power brick required). Seems like a dock maybe just a bit bigger than the Caldigit TS3 could fit one inside, considering the size of the Apple power brick. Then this could actually function as a travel dock. Even a somewhat bulky dock could still be more compact than a bunch of dongles and a power brick.
    The TS3's is HUGE (it's longer than the dock itself) so that would make the device quite a bit larger. I like it the way it is now, especially because I wouldn't want a huge dock on my desk and long Thunderbolt cables are expensive. I have a small USB C adapter for less demanding travel needs. 

    appex said:
    Does CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 work using eSATA with drives like LaCie d2 ones?
    I have a Lacie D2 Quadra (older model with USB 2). It works with eSata but for some reason it disconnects on sleep. I wake up the computer in the morning and I see twelve or so "this device was disconnected improperly" messages. I've emailed Caldigit about it.
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