The Bottom Line
StarTech is widely known as the maker of all cables to go from this to that but adding to their portfolio, they do dabble in the AV, KVM, and Add-On card market as well as Thunderbolt 3.
With the release of Thunderbolt 3, StarTech introduced its docking station lineup to initially include a Windows-only version, the TB3DK2DPW, and a macOS and Windows version, the TB3DKDPMAW. Each offered 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, 15W charging, and plug and play functionality. With many vendors now pushing into what I call generation 2 of their docking solutions, StarTech too has updated their lineup to include the solution we have in-house today, the TB3DK2DPPD.
The upgrade to this latest solution has put StarTech on par with CalDigit when it comes to power delivery. This second-generation solution has been upgraded from 15w of the first to 85 watts in this latest iteration. Connectivity stays the same, obviously, with Thunderbolt 3 using the Intel DSL6540 controller. We also have a Fresco Logic USB 3.0 controller, Texas Instruments USB Audio Interface, and Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet. On top of these specifications, the StarTech does offer monitor connection via the DisplayPort supporting both 4K and UHD resolutions.
Compatibility includes Windows and macOS platforms with a Thunderbolt 3 port available. The MSRP of the StarTech TB3DK2DPPD comes in at $404.99 with a three-year warranty.
The packaging keeps with that traditional color scheme, yellow on white. We have an image of the dock to the right with a full host of marketing details covering the front of the box.
The back has a diagram on the right and outlined three-year warranty at the top.
Included with the StarTech unit, we have a Thunderbolt 3 cable and power adapter rated at 20v 8.5A and reading materials.
Diving into things, we have the front of the dock with its USB-C port on the right and fast charge Type-C to the left. The enclosure is full aluminum with plastic front and back panels.
The back side gives us a look at the rear I/O. Left to right; Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and Audio provides way to dual Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort.
Diving into testing, we see USB 3.0 storage offer 359 MB/s read and 325 MB/s write at QD1, which is average for a docking station.
USB-C with our portable SSD provided slightly more performance as expected, reaching 528 MB/s read and 492 MB/s write.
Our last test offered insight on the Gbe performance of the StarTech dock and as you can see was disappointing but once again seem to be a trend with these docking solutions.
I've had a few StarTech products come through over the years, and one thing they always deliver on is build quality. This new TB3 docking solution is no different offering a full aluminum shell for durability with a good selection quality parts internally. Unfortunately, that's where it ends for the StarTech.
Performance is subpar on the two USB 3.1 G1 Type-C ports. I was able to reach 359 MB/s read and 325 MB/s write in testing and while that is average for most solutions like these, StarTech can do better. Moving on to the Gigabit Ethernet, we once again found subpar performance for the Intel i210 Gbe controller reaching a peak of 500 Mbps in testing.
Furthermore, the StarTech solution carries an MSRP of $404.99 making it the most expensive Thunderbolt 3 docking solution on the market while at the same time offering the least amount of connectivity with two Type-C ports, one USB-C, one RJ45 and Audio in/out. This leaves me quite disappointed overall and that's why I simply cannot recommend this solution to anyone.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- Networking: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: StarTech needs to go back to the drawing board as the 85 watt charging is the only thing going for this solution.
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