Review Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock Dual USB-C Gen 2 Ports Tested


hey everybody its la inside bin and we’re taking a look today at a new Thunderbolt dock from El Gato this is their Thunderbolt 3 Pro dock now we’ve looked at a lot of docks here on the channel that all seemed to perform about the same but this one is a little bit different in that it has two high-speed gen two USB type-c ports here on the back that they say are connected up via separate controllers and this dock might actually let us really make use of the bandwidth we have available on thunderbolt and that will be the focus of what we’re going to look at here with this dock now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that El Gato sent this to the channel free of charge however nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving it before it gets uploaded and all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own so let’s get to it now and see what this dock is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware it’s made out of metal here on the outer casing although the front and back are plastic because this is a device with pro in the name it means you’ll be paying more versus non-pro versions of it so this costs three hundred and forty nine dollars as you see it al gato makes another one that doesn’t have the faster USB ports on the back that runs for about two hundred and seventy dollars and what I recommend you do when you’re out searching for a thunderbolt dock is to look at what ports you need and then find the dock that has them because what I’ve seen is that many manufacturers

make different choices as to what they put on these things and they all generally perform about the same so it’s really a matter of what ports you are in need of now in this one on the front we have two USB 3.0 ports we have a headphone microphone jack here for audio and two card readers a micro SD and a full-size SD card reader that’s nice to have on the desk and then on the back we have the other stuff including a Gigabit Ethernet jack here a headphone jack but no audio in one note on audio quality with these docks is that they sound ok but I found that my MacBooks headphone jack always sounds better than what’s on these docks so just keep that in mind if you are looking to hook up some really nice speakers to the mix here next to the audio are the two USB C port we’ll be spending some time within a minute and then you have to Thunderbolt ports here this one connects to your computer now when you plug this cable into the dock and into your computer in addition to getting all of the ports that are on the dock available to you it will also provide power now this stock will provide up to 85 watts of power to your laptop if you’re a laptop requires more than that the battery might not charge you might see some performance degradation or you might see a warning on screen telling you to use the included power adapter that your laptop came with and it’s really going to vary based on the manufacturer 85 watts though is enough for a MacBook Pro 15 so if you do have a MacBook you shouldn’t have any problems with these things I’ve been using a dock on my macbook upstairs for quite some time and have

been really liking this single cable convenience here you get out of these things now there is another Thunderbolt port right here so you could plug in another Thunderbolt device into this it kind of works like a daisy chain you can also plug in a display adapter so if you wanted to use an HDMI display for example you could plug a display adapter into that other Thunderbolt port just know that these two USB ports do not support display out so it’s only going to be the second Thunderbolt port there and then you can have a second display going through the DisplayPort port that is right over here and you can run to 4k 60 Hertz display simultaneously we tested it it works you can also run a single 5k display out of the dock but again whatever your computer supports is what the dock will support so I have found in the past that some computers can’t support two 4k 60 Hertz displays and you only get one so again check your manufacturers documentation before you fire everything up so that is the port overview let’s plug this in and take a look at how fast those USB seaports really are okay so we’re ready to go now let’s plug in the dock and get everything going so we’re just going to pop it into my Thunderbolt 3 port on the side of the computer here you can hear the computer made a little ding to indicate that it was charging and now what we’re going to do is take a look at these little Envy enclosures I’ve got here inside each of these is an nvme solid-state drive both of these enclosures are USB type-c Gen 2 enclosures I also have the proper Gen 2 cables attached as well and both of these enclosures get maxed out by the drives that are inside of it now this first one we’re testing is the faster of the two this drive was getting about 920 megabytes per second on both the

reads and the rights when I had it directly connected to the macbook here a little bit earlier so now we’re going to run the same test through the dock and we’re seeing about a 300 megabyte per second performance hit just going through the dock and using that USB C port this is still better than what you would get over the slower Gen 1 USB C connection but we are definitely seeing a performance hit here of about 200 mega 2 or 300 megabytes or so in both directions so again that was the faster of the two I’m going to eject this disk now real quick and plug in the other one which is a little slower but I do think we’ll probably see the exact same score with this one just because we are maxing out the dock here now what I’m looking for when we’re done with this test is to see whether or not we’ll get the aggregate that’s the total essentially of both drives when I have both of those ports in use because they did tell me these are separate controllers so we shouldn’t see them sharing the bandwidth when we are going to run that second test and here you can see we’re getting about the same performance here so about 545 Meg’s in the right direction and 735 in the reads and we should see hopefully something larger than these numbers when we set up a little scary raid array so let’s do that now all right so now we’ve got both drives connected up to the dock with their own USB type-c ports and now we’re going to switch over to the Apple Disk Utility and build ourselves a little scary raid array here with the raid assistant you can do something similar to this in Windows as well and what it’s going to do is it’s going to aggregate the storage and performance of both of these drives in

something a raid0 striped array I don’t recommend this for mission-critical work but if you want to get a lot of performance in the total storage space of two drives this is the best way to do it now one drive is slightly larger than the other so what we’re going to end up with here is a raid array of 480 Giga bytes given that the smallest drive is 240 gigs so you can see here that’s what it’s creating for us and we’ll call this raid and we’ll click Next here and format this and this is going to erase both drives of course so we’ll give it the permission to do so we’re gonna let this create itself and when it is done we’re going to boot up that disk speed test one more time and see what the performance is looking like all right so the disk speed test is locked and loaded and what we should see here now is a speed of about a gigabyte per second on writes and about the same on reads if these are indeed two USB controllers let’s fire it up here and sure enough it looks like we’re getting the aggregate performance of both USB seaports now of course this would be faster if I had these drives directly connected to my Mac here but again we are powering the mac and running these two drives through those two USB C ports over the Thunderbolt 3 connection so that’s a pretty good starting point here what I want to do now while this is running is I hit that Ethernet port now and see if that has any impact on performance so I’m going to run a little iperf test over to my Mac in the other room and we’ll start that test up here and see if we have any issues with the data rate on the ethernet and not on the ethernet but we did see a little bit of a

reduction here on the speed test so it looks like it is still sharing some bandwidth with its bus overall so let’s stop this test now and see if the writes and reads do better here on the next run and yep sure enough they do so it looks like you’ll see a little bit of a hit there if you use some of the other devices on the dock there must be a common bus all this stuff is going through to interface with Thunderbolt let’s take a look now and hook up a 4k display at 60 Hertz and see if that has any impact on performance all right so we’ve got the 60 Hertz 4k display hooked up here and write speeds appear to be where they were before about a gigabyte per second on rights and we’re doing about 1.3 gigabytes per second on reads so altogether we are getting good performance out of this it doesn’t seem to be impacted by hooking up a display to the DisplayPort port so that’s going to do it for our look at the Thunderbolt 3 Pro dock from El Gato the good news is is that these USB C ports are definitely running on separate controllers they are not sharing the bandwidth but and there’s always a but there is some overhead as we saw that’s not insignificant when you plug in a Gen 2 device into this dock now these little nvme things do not have the full USB C Gen 2 potential but they are running faster by an order of a couple hundred megabytes a second on my Mac here so there’s definitely a bit of a hit but you’ll get the same performance out of both ports simultaneously all the other things that we tested on the dock work fine so if you are looking for a dock that has a little more bandwidth available for your USB C devices and the card reader and some of the other things that you can do with this dock then it’s definitely going to deliver the performance just bear in mind there is some of that USB C overhead until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters Chris Allegretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht a new zoo very in Kalyan Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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