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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett ... I have spoken to Dell these last couple of weeks and unfortunately they now mention the new update won't fix this issue and they have no plans to get this fixed as they think I should be using an external dock to get this working! I was shocked when they told me this during the support call.

I am now contemplating whether to return my laptop and get a full refund.

It will be good if you can also raise a ticket with Dell so they are aware that many people are having this problem.

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@davdatong Thanks for the update. I specifically got a new monitor with Thunderbolt 3 support (LG 32UL950) so I wouldn't have to get an external dock and could minimize clutter and extra boxes. My work laptop (HP Elitebook) works just fine with my new monitor and one TB3 cable to do everything.

This is nonsense that they will not do a simple software patch in order to make people buy their $300 docking station.

I really want to live the one cable dream!

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett . Yes, I understand your frustration, I also want one cable to do everything I need... I don't see how it works in an older version of their dell xps and doesn't for this. It seems like a build flaw in the new Dell XPS and maybe unable to fix with a software update...

 

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett Just to check, have you tried the following:

- Charge up the laptop with another USB-C cable, then plug in the TB3 monitor. Does this work?

- Does the TB3 monitor connect if say, you use the DisplayPort output instead and connect it to an adapter to USB-C?

- You have tried to enable TB3 boot support etc, I assume?

- Is the display detected at all? Does the system go into a connect/ disconnect loop or nothing at all?

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@describee - The display works fine when I plug one side into the monitor, and provide power to the laptop with the other port. This defeats the purpose of what I thought I was getting into: only having to use one cable for charging/video/data (TB3)

- I'm sure the displayport output works fine, but I'd be in the same boat of needing to plug in a charger to the other port to support the machine.

- How do I do TB3 boot support? Thanks for your help.

- Display is detected, yes it goes into a connect/disconnect loop. The one exception is it is connected just fine using one TB3 cable for about 60 seconds when the laptop is fully charged, presumably works until the battery goes down to 99%.

 

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett TB3 boot support can be enabled in BIOS but I don't think that would resolve your issue.

I have recently purchased a bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort adapter and my monitors (1920x1080 60Hz and 2560x1440 144Hz) seem to work fine when connected, whether or not the XPS 13 9300 is running on battery (about 80% battery) or on AC power. My adapter, however, is bus powered and does not send any power to the laptop.

I am beginning to suspect the issue could be a conflict with the Power Delivery system on the laptop, although I wonder if this could be fixable in a BIOS update?

Could you try the following:

- Run the "Thunderbolt Control Center" on your laptop. I believe this should be pre-installed, otherwise you can download it from the Microsoft Store.

- With the display plugged in, can you launch the Thunderbolt Control Center, click on your display, and see under "Device Info", what does it say under Power Mode? Try this in both the cases when the AC is connected or disconnected. Mine shows this. 

Also, would be helpful to know if, when the display is undergoing the connect/ disconnect loop, does the display continue showing up on the Thunderbolt Control Center, or it also disappears and re-appears?

tcc.png

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@describee Thanks for all your help!

- For Power Mode in the TB Control Center, it says "Self power." It also says this when the AC is disconnected, as I get about 60 seconds of everything working fine with only the TB3 cable plugged in and no AC.

- During the connect/disconnect loop, the display doesn't connect long enough to see anything on the screen, cannot tell if it is still detected within the TB Control Center.

- My monitor has an 85W TB3 input/output, and a 15W TB3 input/output. The laptop is able to connect to either to display the 4K UHD screen. I think the monitor does this so you can daisy chain devices. Ideally I'd like to use one of those ports on the monitor to go to the laptop, and then use the second one to connect a USB hub for more devices. When I removed the AC and plugged the laptop into the 15W port, I get the following error: "Dell Power Manager - The power adapter wattage for your system does not meet minimum system requirements for normal operation. Attach a supported power adapter with at least 27 watts." It makes sense because this should only be receiving 15W, but I point it out as I don't get that error when using the 85W port...

- After working with Dell Customer Support, they concluded this: "This computer is working as designed, as the ThunderBolt port cannot accept the incoming charge, it is only capable of charging other devices up to 5 V/3 A power output that enables faster charging."

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett

Thanks for the info. I am really not sure what could be the issue. Could you try setting the display mode to "Extend" instead of "Use second screen", so that your laptop's main display still works? This is so that you can see if the device still remains detected in the Thunderbolt control center. I have no TB3 monitor myself so I cannot test this issue.

Could you also clarify -- the connect/disconnect issue arises both in the 85W and 15W ports? Or the 15W port works fine, just that it will not charge the laptop?

Another thread I found showed similar issues with an XPS 9550: https://www.dell.com/community/Laptops-General-Read-Only/Trouble-with-XPS-15-9550-USB-C-Thunderbolt-.... Some were able to 'solve' the issue by reducing the Wi-Fi output strength. Not sure if this would work in your case (you could try, say, uninstalling or disabling the Wi-Fi adapter first) -- but if it does, then it would point to a driver conflict.

I would also be livid at receiving such an incompetent response from Dell technical support, and I would point out the following to them:

  • On the Dell XPS 9300 spec page and marketing materials, the Thunderbolt 3 port is advertised as supporting Power Delivery, so it will definitely accept a charge.
  • The XPS 9300 itself comes with a power adapter that charges through the Thunderbolt 3 port, so it is ridiculous to suggest that the laptop cannot be charged through the port.
  • Even if the laptop cannot be charged through the port, there is no reason why a self-powered Thunderbolt 3 device (you need to make clear that the monitor separately draws powers from the mains) will not work when the XPS 9300 is running in battery mode. I don't know if it helps, but perhaps draw a diagram for them. Also point them to this image which shows the XPS 9300 connected to an external monitor via Thunderbolt 3 and the XPS 9300 not requiring an external power source. (Curiously, when I go to Dell's website this morning, I get an updated image without the cables now).

I would try my best to escalate the issue directly to an engineer/ technician who knows what they are talking about. Also, I noticed Dell itself has a monitor with Thunderbolt 3 port, here. If possible, try to get their technicians to test connecting this particular monitor to the XPS 9300. It should exhibit the same issue if the problem lies with the laptop.

If all else fails, I would try to get a refund and opt for another brand.

By the way, have you approached LG about this? Not sure if they could do anything about the situation too. I suspect the problem could be in part due to Dell moving to the Ice Lake platform which I believe has some tweaks to the Thunderbolt 3 controller (although we never heard any such compatibility issues with the XPS 7390 2-in-1 which also runs on Ice Lake)

Another expensive workaround that could potentially work is to get a powered Thunderbolt 3 dock and plug in your monitor either through daisy-chained TB3 or DisplayPort. It is still one cable to the laptop though you'll have a couple more cables to deal with downstream. And you could potentially run into the same issues...

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@describee - Extend doesn't work. Goes into the same connect/disconnect loop when I unplug the power source.

- Yes the connect/disconnect loop arises in both 85W and 15W ports. Both ports are able to accept video just fine, and can pass through other USB devices through both ports connected through an external hub.

- Changing wifi output strength doesn't work. I went to settings, wi-fi, properties, configure, advanced, transmit power, and adjusted it from "5. Highest" to "2. Medium-low." Same connect/reconnect loop when I unplugged the power source. I was also hesitant about this because the other thread says it interferes with Bluetooth, and I have a couple Bluetooth accessories connected.

- Will try to get in touch with Dell tech support today. I'm not very good at navigating their tech support people to get to a competent technician yet.

- Will try getting in touch with LG. Another detail I forgot to mention is I bought this TB3 monitor on Amazon, and it is a "renewed" item (refurbished). I saved $300 compared to a brand new one, hoping this isn't part of the issue.

- I'd really like to avoid getting a dock. If we can't get a fix for this setup, I'm leaning towards returning the monitor and just getting a 4K UHD monitor and live with having two cables coming out of my XPS 13 9300. A regular 4K monitor is less than half the price of a TB3 monitor. I have also been thinking about getting the XPS 15 and hoping it doesn't have the same issues, but it is more of a pain to transfer my files over to a new computer. Another XPS 13 9300 monitor limitation is because it doesn't have a separate graphics card, it cannot output to a wide UHD display (like the 5K2K LG 34WK95U-W that I almost bought).

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Re: XPS 13 9300 thunderbolt 3 issue

@saswett Agreed on the technical support aspect, but unfortunately this seems to be consistent across brands.

If I'm not wrong the Iris Plus GPU in the XPS 9300 supports DisplayPort 1.4 natively and hence should support 5k2k. However, I understand that someone here has tried the 5k2k model and has similar issues.

Getting a powered dock and connecting the monitor via DisplayPort could potentially still yield a one cable solution (at least to the laptop), but of course, I have no idea whether such a powered dock would have similar issues on the XPS 9300. You could try a powered USB-C dock with DisplayPort 1.4 support -- this should also work fine with a 5K2K display.

Another last ditch attempt I could think of is to install the new "unlocked" Intel HD Graphics driver directly from the Intel website here: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/29557/Intel-Graphics-Windows-10-DCH-Drivers?product=80939 . These are newer than the ones on Dell's website, though I doubt that would help much.

Unfortunately, it seems as though Thunderbolt implementation on many recent laptops is broken (not just Dell), or not tested properly. And then today it was announced that Thunderbolt has a serious security vulnerability...

I took a look across brands and the Lenovo Yoga S740 seems like a good alternative to the XPS 13, but apparently its TB3/ USB-C port is known to fail after a few days (and you need to keep re-flashing the BIOS in order to get it to work again). Meanwhile, someone posted on the Acer forum that his Swift 5 could only charge at 10W when connected to a Caldigit TS3 dock. 

Seems like good TB3 support is only available on Macs.

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