Highlighted
KevinW123
1 Copper

Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3

Does anyone know of a dock (thunderbolt 3) that will work with the Alienware 17 R3?  I bought the Dell Thunderbolt 3 TB16 thinking that this would work... It did not.  Just curious if there is any actual product out there that will do the job.  Thanks. 

0 Kudos
5 Replies
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3

It should have worked, with the exception of being able to charge the system, since the 17 R3 requires far more power than can be delivered over USB-C/TB3 (as of this writing, anyway).  What did or didn't work?  Did you make sure you had the latest system BIOS, Thunderbolt driver/software, system Thunderbolt firmware, and TB16 firmware?  If not, install those items in that order.  Then you'll also need the ASMedia USB driver and the Realtek USB Audio and Ethernet drivers.

0 Kudos
KevinW123
1 Copper

Re: Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3

Yes.  I installed in that order. However, when i plug in the cable, it does not light up.  It does do the standard windows beep that a device has been connected.  Under device manager it shows the 3.1 usb connection, but that is all.  Maybe, i got a bad dock?

0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3

That's certainly possible.  The light might not always light up though, fyi.  My wife has a WD15 that she uses with her XPS 13 as well as a work-issued Lenovo system, and it doesn't light up on the latter system even though it works just fine with that system, including charging it.  But just to check a few other things first, the first time you connect a TB16 you're supposed to get a popup from the Thunderbolt application prompting you to allow the connection, assuming you have the default Thunderbolt security mode configured in your BIOS.  Are you seeing even that?  If not, launch the Thunderbolt software manually (Start menu > Thunderbolt), right-click the system tray icon that will appear, and click View Attached Devices, then check the Manage Approved Devices list.  Anything useful in either of those areas?  If they're not even being shown in the software, then a bad dock is the likely culprit.  You could try at least temporarily going into your BIOS and dropping your Thunderbolt security down to the lowest level so that you don't have to approve devices just to see what happens, but I definitely wouldn't recommend running that way since Thunderbolt grants direct PCIe access to the system, which can allow nefarious devices to get up to all sort of mischief -- which is why Thunderbolt defaults to prompting for approval in the first place.

0 Kudos
BrettleeVIC
1 Copper

Re: Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3

I noticed the same thing, make sure you plug the thunderbolt into the right port (mine was on the back and had a lightening symbol). Then in the tasktray of windows a blue thunderbolt icon appears. You have to right click this and click "Approve attached devices" and change both to always connect, by default they are not approved. Dissapointed the thunderbolt does not also charge the laptop as both the thunderbolt and the laptop have power supplies that are hilariously large and heavy.
0 Kudos
jphughan
5 Rhenium

Re: Thunderbolt 3 Dock and Alienware 17 R3


@BrettleeVIC wrote:
I noticed the same thing, make sure you plug the thunderbolt into the right port (mine was on the back and had a lightening symbol). Then in the tasktray of windows a blue thunderbolt icon appears. You have to right click this and click "Approve attached devices" and change both to always connect, by default they are not approved. Dissapointed the thunderbolt does not also charge the laptop as both the thunderbolt and the laptop have power supplies that are hilariously large and heavy.

The TB16 can supply at most 130W to an attached system, and that's only possible when the TB16 itself has a 240W power supply connected to it rather than the lower 180W option.  I believe the reason the TB16 needs so much more power than it provides to the system is because it can provide up to 60W to a peripheral attached to the "upstream" Thunderbolt port on the back of the dock, in addition to running the dock electronics and any USB devices you might plug in -- so the TB16 needs a fairly large "reserve".  Anyway, even the 130W it can provide to the system is more than the 100W official max defined in the USB Power Delivery spec that's used by USB-C/TB3, so Dell is already doing something proprietary there to stretch it a bit.  The problem is simply that Alienware systems require significantly more than 130W.  Dell just introduced a new TB18DC that can supply up to 210W of power, but it does that by connecting to the system over two TB3 ports, so it only works with systems that actually have two in a specific arrangement, which at the moment I believe is only the new Precision 7x30 systems.  Otherwise, designing a single cable that can carry the amount of power some Alienware systems would use plus the 40 Gbps bandwidth TB3 offers would require a pretty thick cable.  It might also require thicker gauge wiring for the actual USB-C/TB3 connector pins inside the system, and there are practical limits there because the connector has to remain its standard relatively small size.

0 Kudos