First Look: Iogear Quantum Thunderbolt 3 Pro 85 dock for 15-inch MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited May 2018
Iogear is back with another Thunderbolt 3 dock with some connectivity and power improvements including a front-mounted USB 3.1 generation 1 type-C port.

Iogear GTD735 dock front


The Iogear Quantum Thunderbolt 3 Pro 85 Thunderbolt 3 dock (model GTD735) is just about the same size as the rest of the docks we've looked at, minus a few of the more vertically-oriented ones. And like all of the Thunderbolt 3 docks we've seen so far, the power supply is still pretty giant.

Iogear dock GTD735 with power supply


Iogear has changed up the available ports a bit since the last release. On the front, the new dock has a 5Gbit/sec USB 3.1 type C generation 1 port, and a USB 3.0 type A 5Gbit/sec port.

On the back is a fairly standard assortment of ports. Standard ports include the two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports capable of providing 85W of charging power which is an improvement over the 15W on the previous Iogear dock, one USB 3.0 type A port, Gigabit Ethernet, and a 4K DisplayPort capable of 60 Hz refresh. A discrete microphone jack, plus another for a headset round out the ports.

Iogear GTD735 dock back


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. So, like with nearly every other Thunderbolt 3 examination we've done, plan on $50 or more for a longer cable in most situations in a separate purchase.

Initial examination of connectivity still shows good dual-4K support, with the DisplayPort and the Thunderbolt 3 pass-through port utilized for displays.

We've only performed rudimentary examinations of the dock so far. We can say that the USB 3.1 Type C port on the front and the pass-through Thunderbolt 3 port support UASP for the fastest transfers possible given the limitations of each port. We've also tested connecting a SSD in conjunction with a pair of 4K monitors and haven't seen any issues -- but a more detailed benchmark breakdown will wait for a full review.

What we do like is the lack of heat pouring off the device. With nearly every other dock we've used, the cases get pretty hot to the touch, and we've been reluctant to mount them to a monitor, or to put them in an enclosed space out of the way. This isn't the case with the Iogear Quantum Thunderbolt 3 Pro 85, so it's a bit easier to jam the dock someplace and not worry about an overheat situation.

We'll be examining the GTD735 a bit more in the coming weeks.

The Iogear GTD735 Thunderbolt 3 dock retails for $299. However, it is routinely available from Amazon for less than $250.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,633member
    I see docks like this opening up new vistas for MacBook users -- but it needs to get better.  This is because there is an innate difference in the requirements for a highly portable device versus a high end desk top device.  To be portable the device has to embrace compromise such as small screens and thin & light keyboards without number pads -- along with the lack of other, user specific peripherals.

    My own experience with business type users are that they will take their laptops  home and on business trips where they are willing to deal with the limitations inherent in a portable device.  But, when they return to the office they want to simply drop it onto a dock and start using high end, professional keyboards, screens and other peripherals.

    This concept could work for both the high end, professional MBP user as well as the more casual user of consumer grade MacBooks an MacBook Airs:   Those who drop their laptop into their back pack in the morning then, on return home in the evening, would like access to high end keyboards, large screens, etc. etc, etc...  

    This could also utilize an eGPU to enhance the experience and really expand the potential.

    But, to make that real, Apple would need to make it part of the product design with say, an external port meant for just that purpose so the laptop could simply be dropped onto or into a  dock that is attached to the necessary peripherals.   People don't want to deal with plugging and unplugging cords.   That's a very un-Apple like thing to do...

    p.s.  Even more exciting to me is the idea being able to plug in my 2020 iPad with its A15X processor into a dock and use it as a desktop level device driving a 27 inch 5K screen, decent keyboard as well as a decent game controller.

    edited May 2018
  • Reply 2 of 5
    neo-techneo-tech Posts: 25member
    Pitiful number of additional ports for $299. I went with the OWC Thunderbolt3 dock. It only provides 65W, but that's enough to keep my 15" 2016 MBP going for the workday.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    nhtnht Posts: 4,383member
    neo-tech said:
    Pitiful number of additional ports for $299. I went with the OWC Thunderbolt3 dock. It only provides 65W, but that's enough to keep my 15" 2016 MBP going for the workday.
    It's $229 on amazon and has a USB-C port which the $299 (on Amazon) OWC doesn't. 

    For $299 the Caldigit TS3+ is far superior to the OWC. 5 USB-A, 2 USB-C, 1 TB-3 (+ the one that goes to the computer), DP, Ethernet, SD reader, mic and headphones.

    85W and cool running the IOGear quantum isn't a terrible option while the OWC is overpriced in comparison to the TS3+.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,405member
    These TB3 docks have been completely underwhelming to me.  It's the reason why I unpacked and un-retired by Apple TB2 monitor and continue using it for my 2017 MBP.  There are just one too many compromises.  

    If I'm going to pay $300-$400 for a TB3 dock, then cram it with as much of the current-to-future ports as possible, and in a logical way.

    Gigabit ethernet, HDMI, USBc and USB-A(style) ports, and place the "obvious" ports on the FRONT of the unit too so we don't have to sit up to reach behind it.  It's frustrating and just shows a bad design.  Makes me wonder if they're all using the same reference board design and slapping their own name on it.

    Place at least one USBc port, USB-A, and SD card slot on the front, and everything else (and then some) on the back.   The power bricks are a conundrum to me as I understand why they are so big to support the MBP power requirements, yet wonder if just incorporating it as a single device design would be better to reduce cable clutter, or maybe some how make it smaller and less of the massive bricks that they currently are.  Certainly much easier to replace an external power brick than an internal one but darn those things are huge.

  • Reply 5 of 5
    nhtnht Posts: 4,383member
    sflocal said:
    These TB3 docks have been completely underwhelming to me.  It's the reason why I unpacked and un-retired by Apple TB2 monitor and continue using it for my 2017 MBP.  There are just one too many compromises.  

    If I'm going to pay $300-$400 for a TB3 dock, then cram it with as much of the current-to-future ports as possible, and in a logical way.

    Gigabit ethernet, HDMI, USBc and USB-A(style) ports, and place the "obvious" ports on the FRONT of the unit too so we don't have to sit up to reach behind it.  It's frustrating and just shows a bad design.  Makes me wonder if they're all using the same reference board design and slapping their own name on it.

    Place at least one USBc port, USB-A, and SD card slot on the front, and everything else (and then some) on the back.   The power bricks are a conundrum to me as I understand why they are so big to support the MBP power requirements, yet wonder if just incorporating it as a single device design would be better to reduce cable clutter, or maybe some how make it smaller and less of the massive bricks that they currently are.  Certainly much easier to replace an external power brick than an internal one but darn those things are huge.

    The TS3+ is $300 but has what you wrote.  There is a USB-A and USB-C on the front along with the SD reader, mic and headphone jacks.  It does run pretty hot though.

    Kind of pricey but....Thunderbolt.  Do I wish more USB-C on the back vs USB-A?  Yes, but for 2018 it's not a bad mix.

    The big jump in price seems to be handling 65-85W power.
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