I know there’s a wiki on compatible USB C docks, and that’s been an awesome resource, but…well…it’s almost too much information
If you don’t mind, I’d love a straight-up recommendation for a good USB C dock. I’m coming from 7 years of using a Dell XPS 13 with the WD15 docking station, and I’ll be honest, those things are buggy as heck. I’ve set up a bunch of them for clients of mine over the years, and there always seems to be SOME sort of problem related to the dock, and it always seems to be a different problem. So I’m a little skittish and trying to find a dock that works really solidly.
Here’s my wishlist, and I’d really appreciate the recommendations:
charging, of course (don’t care how fast)
ideally, a button to power it on so I don’t have to set the power mode to keep the device on when closing the lid on power
dual monitor support with at least one 4k output
various USB ports, don’t really care what assortment
don’t need card readers but don’t mind if it has them
this one might be tricky: something that’s reasonably easy to mount
That last one is tripping me up in my searches. Everything seems to be either that weird, awkward stick shape where ports basically come out of four sides, making it impossible to manage the cables or the dock its self, or it’s a big brick that sits on a desk. I could possibly do the big brick and create a shelf for it in my desk area, but I’d like to avoid the extra work
Thanks for your time and sorry for the long post. I’m loving my Framework DIY so far, even though I’ve only had it for a day!
Dell docks operate over Thunderbolt (Intel proprietary super-fast PCIe interconnect), so they can basically do whatever resolution you want.
This also contribute to their bugginess, because Thunderbolt and Modern Standby cannot live on the same street.
You also have “Thunderbolt Security” on a good amount of machines where BIOS will block Thunderbolt until un-plug and re-plug it.
So far as Thunderbolt dock goes I would actually recommend Dell ones. The 130W work just as fine. But for USB-C ones
Clarification: USB-C alone neither do DisplayPort Alt-Mode nor Power Delivery. You need a “USB-C 3.2 with Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alt-Mode”
you have plenty of choice. Anker have a few (?) as well.
Up until recently, my “work machine” was a MacBook Pro, with which I used a CalDigit TS3 dock. When I changed jobs and found out I could just use my own hardware, I immediately set down to testing the same setup with the Framework, and found that it worked pretty much perfectly, including as an undocumented Thunderbolt device (The 12th Gen models have since been actually officially rated as Thunderbolt-capable; the 11th Gen remain merely Thunderbolt-ish, but so far it’s worked for anything I needed!)
ETA: Linux 6.1 kernel recognize the CalDigit TS3 explicitly as a Thunderbolt device, to be clear.
I am using it with 3 monitors all 2K resolutions though. Plus ethernet and USB 2.4GHz receivers for a mouse and keyboard. Good thing is that all connections come out of the back of the dock so it is easy to put it away in a cable tray under the desk and have the single cable from the dock connected to the laptop on the table through the desk grommet. Super clean look.
Bandwitch is the main benefit from usb 3.0/1/2 - C docks vs Thunderbolt docks. Especially useful for eGPU usage and for multi-monitor support.
My recommendation from my own experience is spend the extra on Lenovo or Dell Thunderbolt docks, they seem to be the best supported in Windows & Linux (I haven’t tried HP Docks) (Theres also a Seagate Mini dock with a firecuda NVME inbuilt which looks cool but I’ve never tried it) Over time in my experience it would seem that Thunderbolt docks handle multi-monitor support better than their Usb 3.0/1/2 - C counterparts
I haven’t had any experience with USB 4 docks either so I can’t comment… Hope this is somewhat helpful to someone.
That promises “Linux” support and checked all the boxes for me (4x USB-A, audio, network, 2xHDMI).
It … kind of works? I tested the USB-A ports, charging, networking, and the HDMI ports, all worked the first time. But! When I disconnect and reconnect the hub, the HDMI ports stop working. It’s quite infuriating especially since there’s very little diagnostics available. It’s unclear how the devices show up on my computer, I can’t even tell what device provides the HDMI connectors in lsbusb.
I’ve also seen the USB keyboard drop keypresses, which is also not … fun.
I suspect foul play inside Sway, anyone has seen anything like this?
And yeah, those things are costly! This one goes for 300$ a pop, not great.
Thanks for the input everyone. I’m going to suffer with my current Dell WD15 for a while, as I recover the funds from purchasing the laptop Some of these docks are pretty expensive, and the Dell dock technically works. TBH, I would consider keeping it if the power button would work. I keep my laptop screen closed when docked, so it’s annoying to have to open it, connect, then close the lid every time I come back to my desk. Hopefully I can find a dock that has a working power button…