First look: Eradicate the adapters and dongles with Plugable's lower-cost Thunderbolt 3 Do...

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in General Discussion
Plugable has thrown its hat into the Thunderbolt 3 ring with a pair of new docking stations, and the lower-cost TBT3-UD1-83 appears to be a good option for most at first glance.




The Plugable TBT3-UD1-83 is a new addition to the Thunderbolt dock lineup, and is more affordable than some options, retailing for $189. It is cross-compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, and has an unsurprising array of ports.

On the front is a USB 3.0 type A port and a USB 3.1 Type C generation 1 port. Ports on the back are two Thunderbolt 3, one DisplayPort 1.3, Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 3.0 type A, plus a microphone and headphone jack.




As with all of the Thunderbolt 3 docks we've tried, the Plugable unit has dual-4K support, with the DisplayPort and the Thunderbolt 3 pass-through port utilized for displays. Charging power is limited to 15W.

The Thunderbolt 3 cable included is very short -- but thankfully labeled well. The dock also includes a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, capable of 4K resolution at 30Hz, or 1080p at 60Hz.




Initial testing of the dock is positive, with similar transfer speeds to the other docks we've tested. AppleInsider will continue testing and report back.

The $189 Plugable TBT3-UD1-83 Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is available from an assortment of retailers through Plugable's website, or from Amazon.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    I don't get it. What is the point of 15 watt charging? This is a dock, on your desk, where you get work done.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    softekysofteky Posts: 129member
    How about a dock that includes TB3, Ethernet, USB3.1, DisplayPort, Audio, USB-C+power (minimum 86W), HDMI, & SDXC? Buying more popcorn in the meantime (taps foot).
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator
    Jeff_Rey said:
    I don't get it. What is the point of 15 watt charging? This is a dock, on your desk, where you get work done.
    Docks with full charging power are between $80 and $150 more, for equivalent ports. Plugable has one with full charging power in that price range that I'm looking at now.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator

    softeky said:
    How about a dock that includes TB3, Ethernet, USB3.1, DisplayPort, Audio, USB-C+power (minimum 86W), HDMI, & SDXC? Buying more popcorn in the meantime (taps foot).
    Minus USB 3.1 if you don't use the pass-through TB3 port for it, you're looking at the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock for these ports.

  • Reply 5 of 12

    Minus USB 3.1 if you don't use the pass-through TB3 port for it, you're looking at the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock for these ports.

    What do you mean about the pass-through TB3 port? I have one on my desk now and wonder if I'm missing something on my setup. I have one TB3 going to the MacBook, the other has a TB2 adaptor plugged into it going to my Pegasus J4. I have my LG 5k going directly to my MacBook.

    The only miss for me on this dock is more USB-C (or TB3) ports.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator
    barthrh said:

    Minus USB 3.1 if you don't use the pass-through TB3 port for it, you're looking at the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock for these ports.

    What do you mean about the pass-through TB3 port? I have one on my desk now and wonder if I'm missing something on my setup. I have one TB3 going to the MacBook, the other has a TB2 adaptor plugged into it going to my Pegasus J4. I have my LG 5k going directly to my MacBook.

    The only miss for me on this dock is more USB-C (or TB3) ports.
    In your use case, there's no way for you to use the downstream TB3 port as USB 3.1 type C. If you didn't have the J4, then you could use that port as a USB 3.1 type C generation 2 port, with appropriate cabling.

    I don't expect to see more than two TB3 ports on a dock. The spec really doesn't allow for it. I suspect more USB 3.1 type C generation 2 is a possibility in the future, but I think that all the dock manufacturers are using a common reference motherboard design and adding their own special sauce for things like eSATA, TOSlink, FireWire 800, that kind of thing.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 7 of 12
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Bring eSATA ports.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator
    appex said:
    Bring eSATA ports.
    Seriously, stop. I've already told you where to get them with Thunderbolt 3, at least five times.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 9 of 12
    nhtnht Posts: 4,177member
    Jeff_Rey said:
    I don't get it. What is the point of 15 watt charging? This is a dock, on your desk, where you get work done.
    Docks with full charging power are between $80 and $150 more, for equivalent ports. Plugable has one with full charging power in that price range that I'm looking at now.
    His point is that 15W for a desktop dock is pretty useless.  If I have to plug two things in I might as well get an even cheaper USB-C dock with pass through charging and use the 2nd port for higher speed access for whatever is the real bandwidth hog...which will provide faster throughput than going through any of the TB3 docks.

    Pretty much all the $300 full power TB3 dock solutions are overpriced when you consider you can buy an eGPU box for not a whole lot more.

    $400 for a Mantiz that I can put a SSD into and have 5 USB-A + 1 ethernet is a much better deal.  I wish I had jumped on that $300 group buy offer but I assume eGPUs will simply get cheaper over time.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator
    nht said:
    Jeff_Rey said:
    I don't get it. What is the point of 15 watt charging? This is a dock, on your desk, where you get work done.
    Docks with full charging power are between $80 and $150 more, for equivalent ports. Plugable has one with full charging power in that price range that I'm looking at now.
    His point is that 15W for a desktop dock is pretty useless.  If I have to plug two things in I might as well get an even cheaper USB-C dock with pass through charging and use the 2nd port for higher speed access for whatever is the real bandwidth hog...which will provide faster throughput than going through any of the TB3 docks.

    Pretty much all the $300 full power TB3 dock solutions are overpriced when you consider you can buy an eGPU box for not a whole lot more.

    $400 for a Mantiz that I can put a SSD into and have 5 USB-A + 1 ethernet is a much better deal.  I wish I had jumped on that $300 group buy offer but I assume eGPUs will simply get cheaper over time.
    I got his point. But, for some, it might be worth saving the around $100 and just use two cables to the MBP like we used to do in ye olden days of early 2016. Full 87W charging on USB 3.1 Type C as opposed to TB3 is still a mixed bag. I haven't had any problems with power on the suitable TB3 docks, assuming the right cabling.

    I don't disagree with the eGPU assessment, though. It'll be interesting to see what happens to pricing when Intel lowers the licensing pricing next year.

    I hadn't seen the group buy for the Mantiz. That's a sweet price for that enclosure. So far, of all of them I've tested, it's my favorite.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 11 of 12
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,514member
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    I got his point. But, for some, it might be worth saving the around $100 and just use two cables to the MBP like we used to do in ye olden days of early 2016. Full 87W charging on USB 3.1 Type C as opposed to TB3 is still a mixed bag. I haven't had any problems with power on the suitable TB3 docks, assuming the right cabling.

    I don't disagree with the eGPU assessment, though. It'll be interesting to see what happens to pricing when Intel lowers the licensing pricing next year.

    I hadn't seen the group buy for the Mantiz. That's a sweet price for that enclosure. So far, of all of them I've tested, it's my favorite.
    I suppose there might also be some who want a less expensive small dock to toss in their computer bag if they need some ports while on the road.

    re: eGPU - since I'd eventually want one of those anyway, I agree as well. An eGPU box that provides a few necessary ports and maybe room for extra SSD space would be a sweet deal overall. I guess the downside is that when you don't need the GPU power, you still get the noise that you wouldn't with a dock. So, a really cool feature would be to be able to use it with or without the GPU (i.e.: some kind of pass-through of the display-port or whatever when the GPU isn't needed, so it can be powered down, but still retain the ports/SSD, etc.)

    Looking at the blog pages for the Mantiz, it seems to have an Ethernet driver installer. Why would they not use an Ethernet chip compatible with macOS?
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,111administrator
    cgWerks said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:
    I got his point. But, for some, it might be worth saving the around $100 and just use two cables to the MBP like we used to do in ye olden days of early 2016. Full 87W charging on USB 3.1 Type C as opposed to TB3 is still a mixed bag. I haven't had any problems with power on the suitable TB3 docks, assuming the right cabling.

    I don't disagree with the eGPU assessment, though. It'll be interesting to see what happens to pricing when Intel lowers the licensing pricing next year.

    I hadn't seen the group buy for the Mantiz. That's a sweet price for that enclosure. So far, of all of them I've tested, it's my favorite.
    I suppose there might also be some who want a less expensive small dock to toss in their computer bag if they need some ports while on the road.

    re: eGPU - since I'd eventually want one of those anyway, I agree as well. An eGPU box that provides a few necessary ports and maybe room for extra SSD space would be a sweet deal overall. I guess the downside is that when you don't need the GPU power, you still get the noise that you wouldn't with a dock. So, a really cool feature would be to be able to use it with or without the GPU (i.e.: some kind of pass-through of the display-port or whatever when the GPU isn't needed, so it can be powered down, but still retain the ports/SSD, etc.)

    Looking at the blog pages for the Mantiz, it seems to have an Ethernet driver installer. Why would they not use an Ethernet chip compatible with macOS?
    Hm, my test unit had a compatible ethernet chipset out of the box. I wonder if they changed suppliers along the way someplace.
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