Plugable Launches TBT3-UDZ: A Comprehensive Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C Docking Station
Plugable is introducing three new products at CES 2020, and the most interesting of the three happens to be the Titan Ridge-based TBT3-UDZ Docking Station with a 100W power delivery budget. Even though the TBT3-UDZ is not the first Titan Ridge-equipped docking station in the market (the StarTech.com TB3CK2DP and the Seagate FireCuda Gaming Dock are already available in retail), the unit brings in some unique features differentiating it from the other docking stations in the market. The use of Titan Ridge allows the docking station to work with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C host ports.
The TBT3-UDZ includes DisplayLink chips to provide two 4Kp30 display outputs when used with USB-C hosts. In the case of a Thunderbolt 3 uplink, subject to display routing over the host port, two DisplayPort 1.4 outputs (up to 4Kp60) can be activated. It also features 100W power delivery (the highest we have seen in any Thunderbolt 3 dock from Plugable as yet). Plugable suggests that this would fit well with the 96W charging power requirement for the new Apple MacBook Pro units. The dock comes with a 170W adapter, and includes a wide variety of ports:
- Two display outputs (HDMI1 or DisplayPort1) and (HDMI2 or DisplayPort2)
- 1x Thunderbolt 3 uplink port with 100W power delivery
- 1x RJ-45 1Gbps port
- 5x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports (5 Gbps)
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (10 Gbps)
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (10 Gbps) with BC 1.2 (7.5W) charging capability
- microSDXC slot
- SDXC slot
- TRRS audio input/output port for headphones and microphones
The TBT3-UDZ will be available for purchase in Q2 2020 for $299.
Plugable also announced a USB-C DisplayPort 1.4 MST to Dual HDMI 2.0 adapter. This can enable users of systems like the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro 7 to drive two 4Kp60 displays without using a DisplayLink adapter. The adapter supports up to 25.9 Gbps (more than the 18 Gbps requirement for HDMI 2.0), allowing for higher-resolution dual displays with a single cable. HDR is also supported. The adapter will be available for purchase in Q2 2020 for $40.
The adapter will require MST (multi-stream transport) support on the DisplayPort 1.4 host output port in order to drive two different 4Kp60 HDMI monitors.
Plugable is also launching a Realtek RTL8156-based 2.5 Gbps USB Ethernet adapter. On the host side, it requires a USB 3.0 port (either Type-C or Type-A), while the Ethernet port can auto-negotiate to 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, or 2.5 Gbps (802.3bz). Wide compatibility (Windows / macOS / Linux kernel 3.2+) is also being promised.
NBASE-T USB Ethernet adapters are a dime a dozen in the market currently – some of the popular ones include the StarTech.com US2GA30 priced at $110, the TRENDnet TUC-ET2G at $50, the Asustor AS-U2.5G at $46, the Cable Creation adapter at $24, and the QNAP QNA-UC5G1T at $79. The QNAP model is also capable of speeds up to 5 Gbps. The Plugable model differentiates itself with the attached USB-C to USB-A adapter ensuring wider host compatibility. The model will go on sale in Q2 2020 for $50.