Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I recently got a new Dell XPS-13 9370 laptop. One of the goals with this was to replace both my stationary PC and my old laptop, so that I would have everything on just one computer. The XPS-13 is powerful while still being compact and light, and relatively quiet (I hate noisy computers). And it comes with Thunderbolt 3 - both for connectivity and for charging.

I purchased the "Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16 - 240W" docking station along with the laptop so that I would be able to connect my monitor, wired network, printer, and power - all with just a single cable.

Unfortunately it turned out that the Dell docking station was much more noisy than the laptop. It has a fan which is on almost all the time. And it has a weird delay with sound (speakers in monitor connected via Display Port).

So then I tried the "Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock" instead. This worked very nicely (no fan, no sound delay), except it turned out that it can only power Mac Books - not Windows computers. And I thought that Thunderbolt was based some type of standard... sigh!

Finally I got a "StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station for Laptops". And this works perfectly. No fan, no sound delay, it powers the laptop, and it just works.

Dell Thunderbolt Dock TB16 - 240W

Product page: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-business-thunderbolt-dock-tb16-with-240w-adapter/apd/452-bcnu/pc-acessories
SKU: TBDOCK-240W
Size: 145 x 145 x 53 mm (5.7 x 5.7 x 2.1 in)
Pros: Lots of ports.
Cons: Annoying noise from fan, rather big and heavy.

Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Product page: https://www.elgato.com/en/dock/thunderbolt-3
SKU: 10DAA8501
Size: 200 x 80 x 30 mm (7.9 x 3.1 x 1.2 in)
Pros: No fan - no noise, compact and light.
Cons: Only powers Mac Books, few ports.

StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station for Laptops - Mac and Windows - 85W Power Delivery

Product page: https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/Laptop-docking-stations/thunderbolt-3-docking-station~TB3DK2DPPD\
SKU: TB3DK2DPPDUE / TB3DK2DPPD
Size: 220 x 80 x 30 mm (8.7 x 3.1 x 1.2 in)
Pros: No fan - no noise, compact and light.
Cons: Few ports.

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