USB-C/Thunderbolt Dock Megathread

Oh, perfect! I wasn’t aware of that setting. Thanks. :+1:

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I think I bought the same hub, it’s branded as ZMUIPNG but looks identical. I’m yet to receive the laptop so I was wondering how the hub was holding up. Are you happy with it?

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YES, I have had it attached to the back edge of my desk and the cord is JUST long enough to connect to the laptop (do wish it was a few inches longer).

I have Cat-5, 2 HDMI, 1 VGA, my desk keyboard, mouse, trackball, Logitech C920, Audio for Speakers, Marine AIS receiver, and some other stuff all going through it.

I do route to a powered USB hub for the keyboard, mouse, trackball BTW (Not quite enough ports for my applications.)

It gets slightly warm to the touch, but doesn’t seem to be an issue. I am using the Framework 65w power adapter for it and pass though to the laptop. I do plan on getting a 100w for this at some point, but I am still able to charge the laptop fine.

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That’s great to here as my set up is similar (outside the trackball and AIS).

That puts my mind to rest, thanks.

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I have just bought and tested the Anker 575 (#3 on the list. Is there a reason the model numbers aren’t listed?). Running Fedora 35 with dual HDMI monitors and have also confirmed the USB ports, audio, ethernet, card readers, and charging all work without issue. Pretty much a perfect out-of-box Linux experience in my case.

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I’ve been using the Caldigit TS4 for a week now, which works almost perfectly.

Specs here: https://www.caldigit.com/thunderbolt-station-4/
Excellent writeup on the internals here: CalDigit TS4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock Teardown – Dan S. Charlton

What I tested:

  • USB on all downstream USB and thunderbolt ports.
  • DP output
  • DP alt mode on both downstream TB ports (using the framework HDMI expansion module).
  • I only tested two displays (the builtin DP connector together with one downstream TB port), since I could not fit two framework expansion cards side by side in the TB ports, and I have no other USB-C-to-DP/HDMI converter cables. Docs for the TS4 suggest that only two outputs at a time is the max anyway (not MST hub inside).
  • SD card readers (regular SD and μSD are separate devices, so can be used simultaneously).
  • Audio output (front and back, though only either front or back can be used, in accordance with documentation). I have not tested audio input, but I’d be surprised if that did not work.
  • Ethernet connection (only tested at Gbit, it supports 2.5Gbit as well).
  • Wake up from sleep (standby) using keyboard attached through this dock works (as I think must be supported for TB4 certification).
  • Wake on AC also works (when enabled in the BIOS, if the laptop is fully powered off, including hibernated, plugging in the power plug of the TS4 powers up the laptop - ideal to turn on the laptop in the morning without having to open the lid).

A small issue I’m seeing is that if I hibernate the laptop, and then unplug the TS4, the laptop also powers on again. This happens even when power on AC attach is disabled in the BIOS, even when nothing is attached to the dock. It does not happen when the laptop is normally powered off, only when hibernated. But because it also happens when unplugging the TB cable (not just when powering off the hub), I suspect this is probably a firmware/OS issue on the framework side, probably not even specific to this dock. I’ll create a separate topic to discuss this issue in a minute.

Another small issue is some incompatibility between my keyboard (which has a USB hub builtin) and the audio devices inside the TS4. When I plug in my keyboard into a USB port that is on the same internal USB hub as the front audio port, the USB audio device (or sometimes the keyboard) has USB enumeration issues and does not work. Same for the back audio. Plugging in the keyboard into the hub that has the back audio, and then plugging in front audio works just fine (so I have to be a bit careful with plugging in the keyboard depending on which audio I want to use. I would plug in the keyboard into another downstream hub, but then I get too deep nesting of hubs, so that doesn’t work…). In any case, I suspect this is either an OS or TS4 bug, I doubt that it is Framework-specific.

Interesting about this dock (maybe others do this as well, dunno) is that the USB devices inside the dock (audio, SD cards) only show up as USB devices when you insert a cable or card into them, which seems neat.

Somewhat surprising is that the USB2 hubs inside the dock are all single-tt, so that means if you’re using slow USB devices (e.g. mice, sound cards), you might need to carefully select which ports to use for them, or add another multi-tt hub behind the dock.

In USB compatibility mode (I added a USB2-only converter cable somewhere in the uplink), all USB ports, the card reader and audio still work. Ethernet does not work, since that is a PCIe only ethernet chip that needs thunderbolt to work. In my USB2-only setup, display outputs obviously did not work (no DisplayLink or similar display-over-USB present). Whether display output would work on a non-TB but DP-alt-mode capable USB-C port I do not know (no such port available for testing here).

USB topology is top-level 5-port hub (4-port on USB3):

  1. 5-port hub (4-port on USB3)
    1. 4-port hub
      1. Back side USB-A port
      2. Back sise USB-A port
      3. Back-side USB-C port
      4. Back-side Audio (2188:6537, USB2 only)
    2. 5-port hub (4-port on USB3)
      1. Back-side USB-A port
      2. Back-side USB-A port
      3. SD card reader (2188:3231)
      4. Front-side USB-A port
      5. Front USB audio (2188:6537, USB2 only)
    3. Front-side USB-C port
    4. Front-side USB-C port
    5. Unused?
  2. Unused?
  3. TI device (USB2 only)
  4. Downstream TB
  5. Downstream TB

On USB3, the top-level hub uses different port numbers (1: TB, 3: TB, 4: hub), the other hub use the same port numberings.

Here’s the USB port numbers visually (for USB2, for 3 they are slightly different):

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Just ordered a refurb Dell WD15 plus 180W PSU for £50! Hopefully should do the trick for desk use.

Just want to echo that the Dell WD19TB is working perfectly for me.

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Everything seems to work with Lenovo ThinkPad Universal USB-C Dock w/ HDMI, DP, USB-C Ports (40AY0090US) using Windows 10. I am using 4k@60hz w/ HDR on via DP + 1920x1080p@60 via HDMI with no issues. Audio works. Network works. I’m not sure how to tell actual wattage received but it should be 65W with a the included 90W power supply.

I nuked my linux partitions out of frustration relentless AX210 WiFi frustrations during PopOS!/Ubuntu/Manjaro/Mint testing despite various online fixes. If it seems like that is is ever actually resolved I’ll report back if I try again.

I added my experiences with the Chinese “Anker PowerExpand 6-in-1” Hub and the Dell D6000 to the table. Both work fine in Linux (Tested on Arch).

The Anker can be had pretty cheap, small and is perfect for mobile users. USB, Ethernet, HDMI. It needs to be fed through a USB-C PSU (not included, your frame.work power supply will do just perfect). It can output HDMI at 30Hz only, though.

The Dell D6000 Dock needs Windows for firmware updates. Most refurbished offers on eBay have not the latest firmware. Also make sure it comes with a Dell PSU; the Frame.work USB-C power supply will not be sufficient.

Has anyone used a 10 Gbit/s ethernet Thunderbolt adapter (especially with Linux)?

I’m looking at the CalDigit Connect 10G, but it has no Linux support (already have the CalDigit Element Hub, which doesn’t have support either, but works regardless).

[Windows 10] Dell WD19TBS (180W) working perfectly with my Framework without firmware update nor driver installation.
:white_check_mark: Charging
:white_check_mark: 2x DP Output
:white_check_mark: Ethernet
:white_check_mark: Peripherals

I guess a thunderbolt/USB hub does not really need specific OS support, that’s all just standard TB/USB protocols to manage them.

An ethernet chip is a separate and specific device (connected through tunneled PCIe in this case), so it does need a specific OS driver. However, it might very well be that the chip used inside the Connect 10G is supported by Linux and then it might just work (since the PCIe tunneling will make it look like the ethernet chip is directly connected to the PCIe bus anyway) even when Caldigit does not provide drivers or explicit support for Linux.

I could not quickly figure out what ethernet chip is used inside the Connect 10G (and it’s not listed here either), though.

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Like @Patrick_Corey, I can confirm that the OWC USB-C Travel Dock E works with my Framework (batch 8) using Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

I’ve tested HDMI, Ethernet, and USB-C power pass through.

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Hi! Really appreciate reading your comprehensive reviews!
Unfortunately I still couldn’t really find something that fits my needs.

The OWC Dock E looks like a perfect candidate but I need a displayport connection to drive my 3440x1440 120hz screen.

All I need is power passthrough, ethernet, 1 or 2 USB-A and said displayport. It shouldn’t have displaylink and work with (arch) linux.

Is my only option really 2 cables or did I miss one? They all seem to do only 4k@60hz, which probably means for my resolution 60hz as well.

As others have mentioned, the Dell WD19TB seems to work completely for me. I do have one small issue, however. My Framework laptop running Windows 11 recognizes both my monitors: 1 x Dell U3415W and 1 x (very old) Dell 2407WFP. The newer 34" Dell displays a full resolution of 3440x1440. However, the older 24" Dell outputs at 1050x1680 in portrait mode. When I plug in my Dell laptop (a Latitude 7480 also running Windows 11), it outputs the 2407WFP at 1080x1920. The aspect ratio is just a teensy bit off while the Framework is connected. Not sure if the problem is the dock, the laptop, the graphics card, but I cannot get my Framework to output 1080x1920 as my Dell does.
If it helps, the U3415W is plugged directly via Displayport on the monitor to Displayport on the dock. The 2407WFP is connected via VGA to VGA-to-HDMI adapter into the dock’s HDMI port.
Not sure if anyone else has noticed this kind of behaviour with this or any other dock.

@Domenico_Cotugno Do you see more resolution options if you only have the 2407WFP connected to the dock with the U3415W disconnected?

Hi @Anand_Gadiyar! I hadn’t tried that yet, so I did just now. I still see the same resolutions as before with the U3415W disconnected. It caps out at 1050x1680.

@apol1o - In my research I did not see a good dock supporting 120 Hz.

Based on your post, I went back to Intel’s website for the processor:

This is the processor in my laptop (Batch 6). If I am reading the specifications correctly, the chip only supports 60 Hz via HDMI and DisplayPort.

Hope this detail helps you
Cheers

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@Patrick_Corey
The page clearly states:

Max Resolution (DP): 7680x4320@60Hz

@apol1o
I have a similar requirement for a 1440p UW at 120 Hz+. Is it because your monitor doesn’t have HDMI 2.0? The DP 1.2 standard itself supports enough bandwidth for 4K60 which is close to UWQHD at 120 Hz; if you’re having trouble with a device it might be lax adherence to standards, who knows.

There are a couple docks by Cable Matters that support even up to DP 1.4, but the USB A ports are 2.0 and the ethernet is only 480 MBps. Everything else I’ve found is backordered or is too pricey (I thought $100 USD would suffice for charging, two USB 3.0 and one DP 1.2)

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