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2 Bronze
2 Bronze
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Docking station for XPS 9510 without high resolution requirements

I just got the new XPS 15 and this is my first Dell Laptop. Unfortunately, it has almost no ports, so I need some docking station or adapter. It would be great to get some recommendations... Here is some info about my setup:

- i7, Nvidia 3050 Ti

- 1 old display (Dell U2515H), next year also a second one without high quality requirements. Laptop is only used for work (software development)

- Laptop 99% of time time on the desk plugged in

- No need for USB C ports but for quite some USB A ports.. possible also with an adapter

I don't understand the idea of power via docking station... I mean, I have no problem putting having an additional cabel, the docking station and the laptop will be next to each other on the desk. And I don't get the impact of the docking station differences on my use case. I have following options:

- WD19TBS for 300 Euro is quite a lot of money

- WD 19 for a little less

- TB16 with 130W cable for less than 100 euro or with 240W for a little bit more

- A simple USB C hub with 1 or 2 displays support and various other ports for 30-100 Euro

It would be also an option to buy something for the next year and then something better/newer when/if I buy another display or the prices drop.

What would you recommend or could you share some experience with me? I already read quite some topics but everybody has a different use case...

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7 Plutonium
1932

@Antiohia  If you don’t care about getting power from a dock and can get the ports you need from a simple USB hub or something, then get a USB hub and a USB-C to DisplayPort cable. Those items plus your charger will occupy all three ports, but if that covers your needs and you don’t mind connecting/disconnecting three cables as you come and go, it’s certainly cheaper.

Power from a dock though can be handy because for one thing, if you come and go a lot, only having one cable to deal with is nice. For another, it frees up your current power adapter to be used elsewhere, such as another area you use your laptop a lot or just as a dedicated on-the-go charger so you don’t have to unpack and repack it every time you come and go from your desk. If you want that, the WD19S 180W w/ 130W PD is what you want — NOT the WD19S 130W w/ 90W PD, which will be underpowered for your system. You can run dual 1440p displays or single 4K 60 Hz. The WD19TBS, which only comes as 180W w/ 130W PD, allows dual 4K 60 Hz or triple 1440p.


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7 Plutonium
1933

@Antiohia  If you don’t care about getting power from a dock and can get the ports you need from a simple USB hub or something, then get a USB hub and a USB-C to DisplayPort cable. Those items plus your charger will occupy all three ports, but if that covers your needs and you don’t mind connecting/disconnecting three cables as you come and go, it’s certainly cheaper.

Power from a dock though can be handy because for one thing, if you come and go a lot, only having one cable to deal with is nice. For another, it frees up your current power adapter to be used elsewhere, such as another area you use your laptop a lot or just as a dedicated on-the-go charger so you don’t have to unpack and repack it every time you come and go from your desk. If you want that, the WD19S 180W w/ 130W PD is what you want — NOT the WD19S 130W w/ 90W PD, which will be underpowered for your system. You can run dual 1440p displays or single 4K 60 Hz. The WD19TBS, which only comes as 180W w/ 130W PD, allows dual 4K 60 Hz or triple 1440p.


7 Plutonium
1931

@Antiohia  I forgot to address your other scenarios. The TB16 is the predecessor of the WD19TBS, and I wouldn’t recommend it based on the number of complaints it generated. But if you go that route, to run an XPS 15 properly you’d need the 240W version of that dock. The WD19 dock family models only require 180W for an XPS 15.

As for a multi-purpose hub, that would work too, but depending on the brand and feature set, it might be more expensive than a USB-C to DisplayPort cable plus a regular USB hub. And the benefit of a USB hub is that if you have certain peripherals that will stay at your desk, you can just leave them plugged into that hub. I guess if you don’t plan to take the multi-purpose hub with you, then you could also do that with that product, but you might find that you want to take a multi-purpose hub with you so you have those types of ports on the go — but in that case you’d be plugging things into your laptop AND plugging things into that hub every time you came and went. Lastly, depending on the USB devices in question, you might need a powered USB hub rather than one that relies on power from the system, which might not be able to handle devices like USB-powered hard drives and devices that charge via USB. Some multi-purpose hubs have a USB-C power passthrough port, but your laptop’s 130W charger won’t work properly when used that way.


1931

Thank you, @jphughan!

I don't come and go, in the last year I have used my laptop only on my desk. But I will need to switch between 2 laptops, so it would be great to have some kind of a hub. However, I haven't found any other option than the Dell docks for 130W power supply and I am not really sure that it is worth paying 300 euro more just because of that. That is why I am considering the TB16 dock or a hub. Is the WD19S so much better than the TB16? Or is the TB 16 not compatible with the laptop I got?

7 Plutonium
1927

@Antiohia  130W over USB-C was achieved in a proprietary fashion because until very recently, the USB PD spec maxed out at 100W, so that’s why you’re not finding that capability elsewhere. The TB16 isn’t officially certified for the XPS 13 9310 because even its successor the WD19TB(S) had been out for two years before the XPS 15 9510 launched, so I’m sure Dell didn’t go back and test the TB16 for official certification. That said, if you get the 240W version it SHOULD work. But it’s also true that the TB16 generated more than its fair share of complaints around reliability and stability even with systems it was certified to operate with, so if you go that route, I’d buy it from somewhere with an easy return policy.

But to be clear, the WD19S would be a downgrade from the TB16 in terms of capabilities. The WD19S is newer, but it’s regular USB-C, whereas the TB16 is a Thunderbolt dock. The WD15 (USB-C) was replaced with the WD19(S), and the TB16 (Thunderbolt) was replaced by the WD19TB(S).


2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1925

Wow, so much useful information! Thank you a lot.

I really don't care about the taking-stuff scenario, it happens no more than a few times per year. And then I need to take everything, including power adapter, wireless mouse and keyboard, so also the hub. What I will need regularly would be switching between 2 laptops, both on the desk. 

I hadn't considered the charging of external devices at all. Thank you for the hint! So, the standard hubs wouldn't be able to deal with my external HDDs and with my phone while transferring files? And having a hub with power is surely not an option while charging the laptop... If it is so, then I would really need a docking station. Or I would need to remove the laptop power cable when transferring files... Are the hubs really not able to use the power from the laptop?

The WD19(TB) cost multiple times more than the TB16. And I think I can get a TB16 with 30 days free return. But will I notice the issues in the first 30 days? I have also read a lot of complaints from the TB 16. 

7 Plutonium
1909

@Antiohia  I think you misunderstood the USB hub portion. All you need in order to have a USB hub that will handle higher-powered devices is a powered USB hub, meaning a hub that comes with its own power cord that plugs into an electrical socket. Those are not difficult to find, although they’re more common with hubs that offer five or more ports instead of four or fewer, the latter of which typically only draw power from the attached system (or an attached USB-C port source if it supports USB-C power passthrough to a laptop, but again that isn’t a good solution with an XPS 15.) But for example you could get a 7-port powered USB 3.0 hub, plus a female USB-A to male USB-C adapter to plug that hub into your XPS. Plug your USB devices into that. If you need audio and Ethernet, there are USB Audio adapter and USB Ethernet adapters that aren’t very expensive and could also be plugged into that hub. And then the hub will just stay permanently at your desk.

Then get a USB-C to DisplayPort cable for your display. In terms of running a second display in the future, since your U2515H has a DisplayPort output connector, as long as your second display has a DisplayPort input (and is 2560x1440 or lower resolution for bandwidth reasons), you could connect the second display to your U2515H to create a daisy chain, in which case you will be running BOTH displays still from that single USB-C port through the USB-C to DisplayPort cable going to the U2515H.

And then keep using the system’s power adapter. 

The only wrinkle in this setup would be if you ever needed to connect an actual USB-C or Thunderbolt device, since in this proposed setup you have no open ports left on your system and no way to connect a USB-C or Thunderbolt device any other way. But maybe that isn’t a realistic concern in your case, at least for now.


7 Plutonium
1909

@Antiohia  I edited my post above to reorganize some information and also wanted to share a bit more here.

USB hubs can draw power from the system, but that isn’t very much power. Powered USB 3.x ports are only required to supply 900 mA at 5 V, meaning 4.5 W. USB-C ports can go higher, but whether that system’s USB-C ports will supply more power and whether the hub will accept it are separate questions. But the fundamental issue is that if you take power from a single USB port on a laptop and then expect to use it for four other USB devices that rely on being powered over USB, plus the power required to run the 4-port hub itself, now you’ve got five devices trying to run from the power of a single source port on the system. If you have low-powered devices or some USB devices that don’t draw power over USB at all (like a printer), then that might be fine. But there are also combinations of devices where you simply won’t have enough power available from the system to run everything properly. And that is why powered USB hubs exist. For example, I have a 14-port USB hub that comes with a 60 W power adapter that plugs into a wall. Of course even that wouldn’t be enough power if all 14 devices were trying to draw the max 4.5 W level simultaneously, but that isn’t a realistic scenario. (For one thing, USB 2.0’s requirement was only 500 mA, meaning 2.5 W, so any USB-powered device that can run properly from a standard USB 2.0 port won’t be drawing more power than that.)


3 Argentum
1881

@Antiohia- @jphughan gave you outstanding advice and I'd like to expand on that a bit to hopefully make your decision easier.

The (in my opinion) huge advantage of a docking station is that you can connect ethernet, monitors and other peripherals to the dock and then use one cable to connect that to your laptop. That is important if you take your laptop with you frequently or if it is difficult to get to in order to disconnect those things attached to the laptop. In my case, I always used to drop one of the cables behind the desk and have to look for it.

Docking stations also have the advantage if you share a desk with someone else. I share a home office with my wife for video conferencing and a second office for normal office stuff.

Both offices have two monitors, wired internet and forth but one is set up with lighting for conferencing (and has a nicer background).

If one of us has a conference scheduled, then that office is used and the other one of us uses the other office - unplugging one cable gets us disconnected and two minutes later we're up and running in the other office. Using the same keyboards in both offices makes it completely seamless.

A hub is far cheaper, but doesn't allow for monitors or ethernet to be connected, but if you leave that connected to your laptop and just need additional USB ports, then that will certainly work.

Like JP said, if you are plugging in something that requires power, then you'll want a powered hub. Buy a quality one or you will hate yourself.

Oh, and a note about the TB16. From my experience, the majority of problems with that version is the cable that sometimes has a wonky connection. I've found a few instances where the TB16 works better than the 19TB - but you'll want to buy it somewhere where you can try it out to make sure that it works with your system. If it does, then I suspect that it will continue to work.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
1851

Thank you a lot, @jphughan! Now I got the issue with the power on the hub. As my display has a few USB A ports, I think I should be able to use one of them, should I need some more power for some device. Most of the time I have only simple stuff on the ports like mouse and keyboard.

Thank you, @ECharles for the very practical answer and also the shared experience that the TB16 is not absolutely no go.

As I don't move the laptop from the desk and everything else is also there, I will first try it with a hub and then look for a docking station, should the hub not be enough for me. This has also the advantage that the hub is generally smaller than a dock and, should I ever need to take the laptop elsewhere, I will also need to take the hub/dock and all devices from the ports.

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