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Best docking station for XPS 13 7390 laptop?

I bought a Dell system last fall that has given me nothing but problems. I have a XPS 13 7390 laptop, 2 Dell P2418D monitors, and a Dell Universal Dock D6000. The laptop works fine. But, my 2 monitors are basically useless because they fail to receive a DP signal from the laptop so enter sleep mode. I’ve been on multiple calls with Dell Technical Support; they have updated every driver and done all sorts of things. Nothing works for more than 24 hours. The last technical support technician suggested the problem might be that the Dell universal dock D6000 isn’t compatible with the XPS 13 7390 and that’s why my monitors aren’t getting a DP signal. Can anyone recommend a docking station that definitely is compatible with the XPS 13 7390? Thanks. 

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27390

@KSteck  The Dell D6000 is a poor choice overall since it relies on "indirect display" technology called DisplayLink, which has a lot of drawbacks that I wrote about in detail in the post marked as the answer in this thread.  If you haven't already, try updating the D6000 firmware from here and then get the latest DisplayLink drivers directly from DisplayLink.com.  That might at least improve things.

But if you want a proper dock that can run your displays via an actual native GPU output, you'd need a Thunderbolt 3 dock, not a regular USB-C dock, since the regular XPS 13 7390 (i.e. the non-2-in-1) doesn't provide enough video bandwidth over regular USB-C for dual QHD.  The Dell WD19TB is a Thunderbolt 3 dock that is officially compatible with your system though.


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27380

Thank you! After speaking multiple times with Dell’s technical support over the last several months, you are the first person to give me a straight-forward answer to my questions about the Dell D6000 docking station. Since I know all of the separate components of my system work ok, I’ve been dubious about the D6000 for quite some time, given that it connects the 2 Dell P2418D monitors to the laptop. But, Dell technical support won’t directly tell me whether the D6000 is a compatible docking station or not. And, I am beyond frustrated having to call them every couple of days to see if they can deal with the problem. 

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7 Plutonium
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@KSteck  The Dell D6000 is a poor choice overall since it relies on "indirect display" technology called DisplayLink, which has a lot of drawbacks that I wrote about in detail in the post marked as the answer in this thread.  If you haven't already, try updating the D6000 firmware from here and then get the latest DisplayLink drivers directly from DisplayLink.com.  That might at least improve things.

But if you want a proper dock that can run your displays via an actual native GPU output, you'd need a Thunderbolt 3 dock, not a regular USB-C dock, since the regular XPS 13 7390 (i.e. the non-2-in-1) doesn't provide enough video bandwidth over regular USB-C for dual QHD.  The Dell WD19TB is a Thunderbolt 3 dock that is officially compatible with your system though.


27381

Thank you! After speaking multiple times with Dell’s technical support over the last several months, you are the first person to give me a straight-forward answer to my questions about the Dell D6000 docking station. Since I know all of the separate components of my system work ok, I’ve been dubious about the D6000 for quite some time, given that it connects the 2 Dell P2418D monitors to the laptop. But, Dell technical support won’t directly tell me whether the D6000 is a compatible docking station or not. And, I am beyond frustrated having to call them every couple of days to see if they can deal with the problem. 

27375

@KSteck  Happy to help.  The D6000 actually would be compatible with your system, purely because it would be compatible with practically any system.  There's a reason Dell calls it a "Universal" docking station, which is a term they only use with their DisplayLink-based docking stations, namely the Dxxxx models.  And the reason they're called Universal is because all they require is a USB-C or USB-A "regular USB" connection plus DisplayLink software installed on the system, and DisplayLink software is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  Technically you could use the D6000 with non-Dell systems.  But "compatible" doesn't mean "optimal" by any stretch of the imagination.

(Incidentally, the WD19TB would work with non-Dell systems too, and even non-Thunderbolt systems, although at reduced functionality.  However, with non-Dell systems and even certain Dell systems that aren't "officially" compatible, some of the bonus features of the dock don't work, such as using the Power button on the dock to control the system power state.  But the XPS 13 7390 is officially compatible with the WD19TB, so you'll be able to use that -- which actually isn't possible on the D6000.  It only has a Sleep/Wake button, not a full Power button that works even from shutdown.)


27366

Good to know. I looked at the specs for my P2418D monitors (2560x1440 resolution at 60 Hz). The input connectors are HDMI and DisplayPort, as well as a USB 3.0 upstream port. Dell supplies a DP cable and a USB 3.0 upstream cable, as well as a power cable. Is it safe to assume that I don’t need any new cables to attach the monitors to a Dell WD19TB docking station and have the monitors work? Thanks so much for your help. I feel as though I’m getting much better answers than I’ve gotten in months. 

27354

@KSteck  Thanks for the kind words, even though I'm sorry to hear that you've been stuck for months.  If you only want video output to the displays, just connect each display to one of the DisplayPort outputs on the dock and you're done.  If you want to be able to use the USB ports built into either or both of the displays, then connect a USB 3.0 cable from the "upstream" port on the display to one of the USB 3.0 ports on the dock.  If you don't care about using the USB ports on one or both of the displays, you can skip using that cable in order to keep the dock's USB 3.0 ports free for other purposes.  Good luck!


27346

Thanks for the suggestions. I have other peripherals that need to be connected to the laptop, such as a scanner and speakers. So, I think a docking station makes the most sense. I’ll check out the WD19TB. Appreciate your help!

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Interestingly, the WD19TB docking station doesn’t show up anymore on the Dell web site. Do you have any idea whether another brand of a Thunderbolt docking station will work with the Dell XPS 7390? Or, are Dell computers really finicky about only being compatible with other Dell equipment? Thanks. Nothing has been easy with this Dell system. 

27330

@KSteck  Not sure what region you're in, but the Dell US store link to the WD19TB is here.  But if you want to look at third party options, yes other Thunderbolt 3 docks should be fine.  CalDigit has some popular options, namely the TS3+ and the USB-C Pro Dock, the latter of which despite the name will take advantage of Thunderbolt 3 capabilities if the attached system supports it.

However, be aware that with third party options, you won't have a Power button on the dock that can be used to control your system, including powering it up from shutdown with the lid closed, if that type of thing would be useful to you.  There isn't an industry standard for that yet, so that functionality requires the dock and system to support each other, i.e. Dell docks and Dell systems.  And the WD19TB is one of the few Thunderbolt docks currently on the market that supports DisplayPort 1.4 rather than the more common 1.2, and it's also backward compatible with non-Thunderbolt systems.  Admittedly neither of those things matters for the XPS 13 7390 since it only supports DP 1.2 and does support Thunderbolt, but the WD19TB might be a better choice from a futureproofing and broader compatibility standpoint perspective.  (For comparison, neither of the CalDigit docks I mentioned support DP 1.4, and the TS3+ requires TB3 and won't work at all with non-Thunderbolt systems.  The USB-C Pro Dock is backward compatible with USB-C systems at reduced functionality, but you wouldn't be able to run dual QHD displays in that case.  The only way to do that with a non-Thunderbolt system would be with a system and dock that both supported DisplayPort 1.4 over USB-C.)

But if you want to look at third party options and are only concerned about getting the most out of your current system, you'd just want to look for Thunderbolt 3 support, support for running up to dual 4K 60 Hz displays (which indicates that the dock can tap into dual GPU interfaces when available over TB3, which the XPS 13 systems can provide), and support for providing at least 45W of power, which is what the XPS 13 is designed for.  Both of the CalDigit docks I mentioned meet those requirements, although with the TS3+ you'd have to get a USB-C to DisplayPort cable to connect one of your displays, since it only has one DisplayPort output and one USB-C output that supports video rather than dual DisplayPort outputs.


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@jphughanI'm hoping you can help.  I purchased a Dell XPS 13 7390 in December 2019.  The Dell rep recommended getting the D6000 dock, but I didn't want a universal dock.  After much research (mostly trying to find the correct compatible dock), I purchased the Dell Business Thunderbolt Dock - TB16 with 180W Adapter in March 2020. It seemed okay, at first, but the past few months, I noticed that my laptop gets overheated and dies after being plugged into the dock for a while.  The dock is plugged into a surge protector power strip, along with other equipment. 

Today, when I opened the lid of my computer, the screen was lit dark gray, the laptop was hot, the fan was running, but I couldn't reboot or shutdown.  When I closed the lid, the screen stayed lit dark gray and the fan continued running. I unplugged it from the dock, no change.  I had to wait until the laptop cooled down before it would boot up again - which took quite a while.

I powered down the dock, but when I tried to power it up again, the power light would flash, it would make a quick "whoosh" sound, then go dark.  Now, the dock won't even turn on.  This is an expensive piece of equipment to just go dead like this in such a short time, and I'm not sure if it has done damage to the my laptop.  This was supposed to be "the" compatible dock for this laptop.  What can be done to resolve this issue?  Thank you...

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