Tuesday, 06 June 2017 14:56

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD (first look)

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Belkin has released a Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD that uses the 40Gbps speed to support dual 4K video and 85W power delivery over one USB-C cable.

To put that in perspective a Thunderbolt 3 equipped computer can transfer data at up to 40Gbps – that is eight times faster than USB-C 3.0. It will be of most benefit to Thunderbolt 3 equipped computers including those from Acer, ASUS, Alienware, Dell, Lenovo, HP, MSI, Razer, and Toshiba. A list of the specific models (current at 20 May) is here.

Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C is destined to replace most other USB standards as well as Apple’s Lightning connector. A good overview is here. What it means is that one connector can support dual 4K external monitors over DisplayPort 1.2, 85/100w power, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, USB-3.1 (10Gbps), PCI Express Gen 3), and it will daisy chain.

Belkin’s Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD costs $529.95 and is initially available from Apple’s online store – obviously to support its MacBook Pro (13/15” late 2016 onwards) but it will work with any Thunderbolt 3 system.

Ports

  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x 3.5mm audio out and 1 x 3.5mm audio in
  • 3 x USB-A 3.0 5V/1.5A charge
  • 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 3 (one for connection to the computer and one for up to 5 daisy chained USB-C Thunderbolt 2 devices)
  • 1 x DisplayPort

Belkin Thunderbolt dock specs

The 240V power adaptor delivers 170W power to support attached devices and a dedicated 85W to power the Thunderbolt 3 device – this should be sufficient for any Intel 7th generation Kaby Lake device – via the 1m USB-C cable (supplied).

To run dual 4K monitors you can use the DisplayPort (up to 5K support) and buy a DisplayPort splitter cable (about $120 online) or use USB-C Thunderbolt enabled monitors.

Using USB-C adaptors it will support HDMI, DVI, and VGA as well. Thunderbolt 3 equipped monitors come from LG, Dell, ASUS, Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Apple. As the dock does not use an internal video card to drive the monitors no drivers or software is required.

 Belkin Thunderbolt dock


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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