StarTech on Thursday announced two new Thunderbolt 3 miniature docking stations that the company made more affordable than existing 4-in-1 docks. The Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks feature two 4Kp60-capable display outputs, a USB Type-A header, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller.

StarTech’s family of Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks consists of two models: the TB3DKM2DP with two DisplayPort 1.2 outputs enabled by the TI TPS65983 controller and the TB3DKM2HD with two HDMI 2.0 outputs enabled by the Parade PS176 controller. In addition to display outputs, the mini docks feature one USB 3.0 connector driven by ASMedia’s ASM1042A as well as a GbE header controlled by Intel’s WGI210AT chip.

Unlike higher-end Thunderbolt 3 docking solutions from StarTech and other suppliers like OWC and Promise, the TB3DKM2-series cannot charge notebooks (which means that these laptops will need to use an extra TB3 port for charging). Furthermore, since the mini docks are based on Intel’s Alpine Ridge controllers, it's also worth noting that they only compatible with TB3 host ports and can't fall back for pure USB Type-C hosts.

A clear advantage of StarTech’s Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks over full-fledged docking stations are their miniature sizes as well as lower prices. Their obvious disadvantages are a limited number of USB-A ports and the lack of a model featuring both DisplayPort and HDMI outputs in the lineup (both limitations are conditioned by BOM and production costs).

StarTech's Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks at a Glance
  TB3DKM2DP TB3DKM2HD
Thunderbolt Controller Intel Alpine Ridge JHL6540
  Port 1 × TB3 connector (input)
USB Controller ASMedia ASM1042A
  Port 1 × USB 3.0 Type-A
Ethernet Controller Intel WGI210AT
  Port 1 × GbE port
Display Output Controller Texas Instruments TPS65983 Parade PS176
  Port 2 × DisplayPort 1.2
(up to 4Kp60)
2 × HDMI 2.0
(up to 4Kp60)
MSRP $164 $183
Additional Details Link Link

StarTech.com’s Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks will be available directly from the company as well as from leading retailers like Amazon, CDW, and other. The TB3DKM2DP mini dock with two DisplayPort 1.2 headers costs $122 from Amazon and $164 when bought directly, whereas the TB3DKM2HD with two HDMI 2.0 outputs will be available for $183 in the coming weeks when acquired from the manufacturer.

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  • fred666 - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    Still not worth it over the USB-C only (no thunderbolt) mini hubs. Reply
  • HStewart - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    Even though I like the USB-C hubs - like my pluggable one, Thunderbolt beats USB-C hands down - it has 4x the bandwidth. Reply
  • karatekid430 - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    I don't like Thunderbolt 3 for the bandwidth - in fact, it leaves me wanting more. Yes, it is an improvement. But it is limited to 22Gbps for data. The rest is for video, which could be useful, but not for me - I get my video from my external graphics. I like it for the PCIe connectivity, which allows for things like the external graphics. But Thunderbolt 3 would be a lot nicer if it could enable the full 32Gb/s of PCIe 3.0 x4 to external GPUs - since they do not need to send DisplayPort through the Thunderbolt bus. Reply
  • madLyfe - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    possible to run 2 external monitors on a macbook air(2015) from this? seriously asking for a friend :P Reply
  • WithoutWeakness - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    Apple doesn't make a MacBook Air with Thunderbolt 3 ports. Reply
  • HStewart - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    Best choice is to find Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort or HDMI like the following

    https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Thunderbolt-D...

    You will only need to use a single Thunderbolt port.
    Reply
  • En1gma - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    it's tb3 not usb-c so no need in additional controllers for dp
    TPS65983 is just "USB Type-C and USB PD Controller, Power Switch, and High-Speed Multiplexer" and i suppose TB3DKM2HD has TPS65983 especially for "USB Type-C ... and High-Speed Multiplexer"
    PS176 is dp to hdmi converter
    Reply
  • karatekid430 - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    1. Please forgive me if I don't get the gist of your post

    2. But afaik the Thunderbolt controller takes care of the USB-C functionality, because the DisplayPort lines from the GPU are routed directly to the Thunderbolt controller. So it probably sees the USB-C adapter and masquerades as a plain USB-C controller. I am not sure exactly what the port controllers do, though. I thought the NVM firmware for the Thunderbolt controller can affect the power delivery, unless the Thunderbolt controller flashes part of the firmware to the port controller.

    3. This is why it is so sad that people keep buying HDMI just because it works on TVs. They are going out of their way to convert the signal, which means more power, cost and complexity. It is just moronic. DisplayPort is much leaner and meaner, and is routable, unlike HDMI. It opens up the possibility of a USB-C hub with all USB-C ports, all with alternate mode DisplayPort, because DisplayPort can use hubs too - MST hubs. So just like the USB signal, you can divide the DisplayPort signal to each port.
    Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, May 17, 2018 - link

    "Furthermore, since the mini docks are based on Intel’s Alpine Ridge controllers, they are not compatible with PCs featuring USB Type-C headers."

    Seriously, when are we going to start seeing Titan Ridge hubs/docks... and more importantly monitors?
    Reply
  • karatekid430 - Sunday, May 27, 2018 - link

    Reckon, I have seen Sonnet and Promise release brand new 10Gbps Ethernet devices in the recent weeks. Titan Ridge was announced ages ago. I know for a fact that it is in the hands of manufacturers to develop products with. Intel will probably allow them to sell the products in line with the Z390 chipset launch. Which will not be before the Linux 4.17 kernel reaches stable release, because it introduces Titan Ridge support. Anyways, they couldn't wait a few more months and make something without two year old controllers?

    What is really sad is there are still plenty of products for sale that still use the discontinued DSL6X40 (2015) controllers. Did they stockpile the chips or what? How do they still have them?
    Reply

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