@Tpholloway Thanks for the kind words! I've worked in various IT roles over the last 15 years or so, and I'm a tech hobbyist in general. Helping people on forums like this one is sort of my way of doing pro bono work to do some good in the world. 🙂 Things have definitely been busier this year with so many people unexpectedly finding themselves needing to set up home offices and needing to know what to buy, why what they have isn't working as expected, etc.!
I'm a big fan of Anker products myself. Between myself and my wife (who normally travels a lot for work), we've got their USB battery packs, wall chargers, LOTS of their cables, and a handful of their multi-purpose adapters like the one I just linked. The only product of their that has ever failed me was one of their Lightning cables due to the gold contacts wearing off on the Lightning connector, but it was covered by a lifetime warranty, so they asked me for a photo of the damage and of the serial number of the cable (which was printed on the jacket), and they sent me a new one. Easy peasy.
The system I referred to earlier is a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2. It's basically the only direct competitor to the XPS 15 (other than Apple systems). I had an XPS 15 9530 before, but when I was looking to replace that system, the XPS 15 7590 was using a years-old chassis that still only had one USB-C/TB3 port, which didn't make sense to me to buy in late 2019, and then the new XPS 15 9500 came out and ONLY had USB-C/TB3 ports, which didn't thrill me either. There are also a few design gripes I have with the latest XPS systems, particularly the relocation of the Home/End keys from the arrow keys to the top row of the keyboard, which has generated a TON of complaints from power users who rely on those keys. And there are some other things. I wrote up a thread about that here. I guess Dell is trying to compete more directly with Apple and therefore felt that going all USB-C/TB3 was ok, but as an IT pro and general power user, I like having different types of ports so I don't need a dongle for almost every single thing I might want to plug into my system -- and I like having more than 2-3 ports overall. Of course having a docking station at home and that Anker mini-dock I mentioned can take the sting out of that type of thing, but again, sometimes it's nice to just be able to plug something right into your system. And that was just one of several reasons I went with the X1 Extreme rather than another XPS 15.
I have a brand new Dell XPS 13 9300 with the latest bios (1.2.0), it doesn't work with the two external monitors I have at home. One is an old Dell 30" (2560x1600) with a Foinnex USB-C to DP cable with PD injection, works great with an old Macbook pro and HP Elitebook, but not with the Dell XPS 13 9300. Not even the power delivery works (the laptop doesn't show as being charged). The second monitor is a brand new Odyssey G9 (5120x1440) with a Moshi USB-C to DP cable, which works great with the HP but not with the Dell XPS 13 9300. 😞
What do I have to do in order to get it to work? Buy a new cable?
On that front, I just bought this adapter. There are a variety of these types of adapters on the market depending on what connectors you want and what you're willing to spend, but I picked that one because it includes everything I need and also includes support for the latest and/or greatest iterations of each underlying technology. Specifically, it includes:
- USB-C power passthrough for power sources up to 100W, whereas some only support up to 60W inputs. (Note however that this adapter will "skim" 15W from the source to run itself, so if you want to keep supplying the XPS 13's full 45W to it, you'll want a USB-C power source that can supply 60W or more. Those aren't difficult to find. Or you can just plug the XPS 13's adapter directly into a different port and use this adapter without external power, which works, except that you might not be able to use high-powered USB peripherals through it, such as USB-powered hard drives.)
- USB-C data port that supports up to USB 3.x Gen 2 (10 Gbps). Most adapters only support 5 Gbps or don't have a USB-C data port at all.
- USB-A "regular USB" ports that also support 10 Gbps rather than the much more common 5 Gbps.
- HDMI output that supports HDMI 2.0b output for up to 4K 60 Hz HDR (when paired with a system that supports DisplayPort 1.4 over USB-C, which the XPS 13 9300 does). Most adapters today only support up to 4K 30 Hz because they only support DisplayPort 1.2 over USB-C input from the system.
- SD and MicroSD
Thanks for the recommendation, as that is an impressive feature-list for a little inexpensive hub.
Yes, I have also found that the Anker devices to be a step above other no-name/generic devices. I have purchased various Anker devices before and use them on my Apple computers with success. So, I ordered one of these Anker USB-C Hubs for my XPS-13 (9300) and will give it a try.
I also plan to install the new v1.2.0 BIOS on the XPS-13.
@Tesla1856 Glad you found my recommendation worthwhile. Judging by your link, it appears you bought the same one. 🙂 I've bought Anker wall chargers, power banks, and cables for a while, although more recently I've been straying to one of their big competitors (RAVPower) because Anker seems to be falling behind a bit in the high wattage USB PD game. RAVPower has a 90W dual port USB-C wall charger that's small due to GaN tech, supports all common voltage levels (5, 9, 12, 15, 20), and also supports multiple wattage output splits between its two ports: 90/0, 45/45, and 60/30. Anker doesn't have anything quite like that. I have a dual port 60W charger of theirs from a while ago that can do 60W out of either port when used alone, but when both ports are active, both are limited to 30W. It won't do a 45/15 split, for example. It seems they have a newer one that will, but it's still only 60W total.
And then 2 days ago I got a RAVPower power bank with 20,000 mAh capacity and the ability to output at up to 60W via USB-C, which means it's usable for charging my laptop. (It also has an 18W USB-A port, with total output across both ports limited to 60W.) Compared to my iPhone X, this power bank is the same height, slightly narrower, and only as wide as a USB-A port -- and it's even pretty light. Anker doesn't have anything quite like this either. They have a 26,800 mAh power bank that can do 45W output, but it's currently only sold with a 60W charger that I don't need, and apparently 60W and 100W max variants of that bank are in the works, but they'll be a lot more expensive and they're larger than I'd want to deal with.
But Anker's PowerLine III cables are great. The 6ft 100W USB-C cable is so close to the thinness of equivalent 60W cables that you wouldn't be able to tell them apart unless you had them side by side and were looking very closely, and they finally have Lightning to USB-C cables in 1-foot length, which I like for carrying with my power bank to avoid unneeded cable slack.
Well that was a short-lived victory.
After installing 1.2.0 things worked great. For a day. I got 4k at 60hz on my connected monitor, no problem.
I worked in another room for a while on the laptop with no monitor connected.
When I came back to my monitor and plugged in one of three things would happen-
The XPS will only recognize a maximum resolution of 1920x1080.
The XPS will only recognize a maximum resolution of 3840x2160 @30hz
The XPS won't display any video at all.
Uplugging/replugging/rebooting seems to generate any one of these three outcomes.
So I guess I'm waiting for that November update now. Rad.
Ok we all waited a long time for BIOS 1.2.0 to find out that only the EC gets an update.
from version 1.0.5 to 1.0.6 and firmware 1.0.11 is still used in the Windows Device Manager.
myself have tested all third party cable providers that I have all now work as expected.
I think that I already mentioned the reference to the EC in this thread at the beginning and 2 months later there will be a patch 🙂
Let us all still affected help to get the rest of the docks running.
Thanks to everyone who supported us in the forum up to this point, thanks also to Dell for their support.