I have been wanting to make the Framework 16 my main computer for a while now, and I finally got to place my order!
Has there been any discussion on good usb-c docks for the framework 16? Personally, I need something with 4 USB ports (would have to make my keyboard and mouse on one USB port, would love to add my mic/camera onto that as well to free up USB ports) and a way to charge the laptop when docked, plus 1-2 external monitor outputs. Are there any docks you all recommend?
I don’t think too many TB4/USB4 docks provide more than 100W of power just yet (someone else may know better if something came out recently with higher PD?), so depending on your FW16 configuration, the dock may or may not be able to provide enough power under all loads. For laptops that require 98W or less of power, I have been using the CalDigit TS4 at work with various laptops and it works pretty great on Windows and Apple machines. I don’t see why it wouldn’t for FW16 as well, again depending on the config.
That said, since I am getting the RX 7700S on mine, I am thinking about waiting a bit to see if some higher PD docks come out, especially something like the TS4 but with 150W+ PD.
Keep in mind the TS4 is marketed as a Thunderbolt 4 dock. Yes it supports USB4, however some features are modified or unavailable. For instance when using USB 4 as the host, the 2.5Gb/s Ethernet port on the dock is dialed back to 1Gb/s.
@Zachary_Adams that is what I was noticing aswell. Every dock is 96w or under for PD. This actually surprised me since the new MacBooks require up to 140W and my search hasn’t yielded anything that provides that much power. You would think that companies would want to atleast make it no compromises for the MacBook.
I guess we just have to wait for a bit till the USB PD 3.1 standard starts to catch on more. I personally am not getting the graphics card (I have a much bigger goal of directly connecting my rtx 2080ti to the pcie 8x slot with an adaptor).
TB4 is USB4. With a few optional features. Nothing of what the TS4 does is incompatible with USB4.
It might be incompatible with your specific host, but it is not incompatible with USB4.
As long as the host supports PCIe tunneling, you will get the 2.5G NIC. Also, the TS4 does not have a secondary USB NIC onboard, like other docks like the Lenovo TB4 dock have, so if you do not have PCIe tunneling, you will have no network at all.
Luckily, every current USB4 host also supports PCIe tunneling, by virtue of it being either an Apple, Intel or AMD implementation. And Microsoft mandates PCIe tunneling for every device advertising USB4 and launching with Win11, so that will stay true for the foreseeable future as well (the announced 3rd-party USB4 host controllers also support PCI tunneling).
The TS4 is less well suited for AMD hosts, because they only have a single DP tunnel and the TS4 relies on multiple DP tunnels to connect more than one monitor. Other docks include MST, which makes them not care about that limitation of AMDs current USB4 implementation.
Unless a dock were to break out a magsafe connection to deliver 140W, there isn’t currently a point in building higher PD Macbook docks because the USB-C ports only support 100W. I think Dell or HP may have built >100W docks but they are proprietary and bump up the current at 20V instead of following the PD3.1 spec.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be just a magsafe 3 cable, as Apple gives you a usb-c to magsafe 3 cable that can handle 140 watts: 140W USB-C Power Adapter - Apple
Even though it’s not stated on the website, it’s assumed the current MacBooks (in atleast their magsafe connectors, the thunderbolt 4 connectors are also rated for USB4: so maybe?) support PD 3.1 up to 140 watts.
But I think the real issue is how new the technology is, probably not enough time for manufacturers to get PD 3.1 docks out.
Works with various models (today I’m using a Lenovo), BUT, relies on a power pin to get the full output.
Another option, which has worked for the HP Zbooks, is multiple power sources through different USB ports. I plug a 120w Zbook into two power-delivery USB-C docking monitors and it draws from both, getting enough to charge this way.
Not sure if the FW will be able to copy that trick. Also, you have to have two power sources. Funny solution but make of it what you will.
Yeah, but you know it’s not that. It’s about getting the power adapter out and connecting that up every time. That’s a nuisance. Alternatively of course just buy two power adapters… one for the bag, one for the desk. Cheaper than a dock at least, not ideal, but works “for now”.
This conclusion is missing information. USB4 is modeled on TB4 however it actually more closely follows TB3. Every TB4 host supports USB4. Same cannot be said for USB4.
Minimum voltages are different for one. PCIe requirements are not same. TB4 supports 40Gb/s up to 2M cable. USB4 only up to 1M cable.
You are correct. I misread a review I saw for the TS4 that discussed 2.5Gb/s limitations when using USB4. This won’t be an issue for FW Ryzen implementation.
Thanks for pushing me to do more research on this.
That’s not quote right, TB4 literally runs on USB4, though it has stricter requirements and none of that “optional feature” bs the usb-if tends to pull. Though so far all the USB4 implementations I know of are full featured.
TB4 does have a few extra tricks like more dedicated DP channels and stuff that is mostly necessary for apple stuff since macos refuses to support MST for some reason.
That is straight up just the stricter testing thing, has nothing really to do with the technology used.
As far as the cable length thing, there’s already active cables that go beyond 2M so I suspect there will be manufacturer tested passive cables longer than 1M. However it will be use at your own risk when exceeding the spec, unless 20Gb/s is acceptable to the user.
I think you need to do a bit more reading. TB4, unlike TB3 is no longer a protocol, but only a certification for USB4 & other USB functionality. Every part of TB4 that you get on the connector is already part of some kind of USB-spec. Only not all parts are mandatory. How to tunnel PCIe through USB4 is defined in the USB4 spec. There are no minimum speeds, because all of PCIe tunneling is optional. TB4 just certifies that that optional feature is actually supported with at least 32G / x4 Gen 3. That is all.
And you are wrong about the cable lengths. Active USB4 cables can do 40G over 2m. USB4 is where the requirement came from that USB4/TB4 cables need to be backwards-compatible to USB3, DP and everything else. Also why USB4 allows greater distances with the same quality of cable. A TB4 cable is just a branded, more expensive and arguably better tested USB4 cable.
That is also how framework could just call there devices USB4 before they attained TB4 certification. It is all USB4, it has always been. Even the backwards compatibility to TB3 is part of the USB4 spec. If you actually check the Windows USB4 drivers or Linux drivers on any modern TB4 device like our Frameworks, they will distinguish only TB3 and USB4 as both, the hardware generation as well as the connection mode. There is no “TB4” happening on the cable. Going forward, that is purely the Thunderbolt Logo, marketing and certification efforts from Intel on top of stuff that already follows the USB4 spec.
Edit: I looked into your Ars article from further down and sadly, they are simply wrong on a few details. Looks like not the best source when it comes to USB-stuff and the disitinction between TB4 and USB4.
Here an excerpt of Intel’s public 13th gen CPU specs page 115:
TB4 is just a “solution brand” that requires the combination of the listed features of USB (including USB4) and DP features. It is not a protocol like TB3 was.
That is a very interesting term. I think that is more designed to obfuscate for example AMDs lack of the 2nd DP tunnel and we really should push manufacturers to just list the actual speeds for each protocol and tunnel. Most consumers might not care about that, but to call that full featured when TB4 supports more is misrepresenting. And even TB4 is not at the outer limits of USB4. ASMedia has shown you can put more than the x4 Gen 3 connection through USB4 (40G) and Intel and AMD even support that even though it is even beyond TB4 requirements (only newer integrated controllers of course).
HDMI and DP and USB themselves already have those positions (i.e. DO NOT advertise anything with HDMI 2.1, but instead list the Gbit/s supported, the modes TMDS/FRL and all the optional features). It is just nobody is following those rules and as a result consumers get more confused then they would need to be by that already quite complicated topic.
And then they try to instinctively assign some kind of meaning to stuff like “DP 1.4” or “USB 3.2” which will come back to bite them eventually / has already with USB3.
And we can already see the beginnings of people trying to shoehorn in USB 4.1 or USB 4.2 because they did not understand why and how they were already wrong when doing this with USB3.