Current state of Mac docking stations – guide
I began searching for [Mac docks a while ago](https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/eqsbbe/looking_for_usbc_dock_with_2xhdmidp_which_doest/) and discovered it’s a huge rabbit hole. On top of that there’s plenty of misinformation around different forums, including Apple Support.
After days of research I came up with this is, sort of a guide / market research, in order to find a good dock for a Mac which:
1. Has 2+ video outputs
2. Charges the computer
3. Fully works with macOS
TL;DR: there **isn’t** any.
## Show me the list!
I compiled the following list after extensive googling and reviews reading. I wasn’t able to find any more products which support 2+ video outputs, which was the main search criterion for me:
| Model | Video Out | Video Tech | Charging | 1Gb RJ45 | USB-A | USB-C | Other ports | Remarks | Price |
|————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– |——————————————— |———— |————- |———- |————— |———— |———————————– |———————————————————— |——- |
| [Kensington SD2400T](https://www.kensington.com/p/products/connectivity/universal-laptop-docking-stations/sd2400t-thunderbolt-3-40gbps-dual-4k-nano-dock-with-135w-adapter-winmac/) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | 85W | Yes | 3 (3.0) | 1 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $280 |
| [Kensington SD4500](https://www.kensington.com/p/products/connectivity/universal-docking-stations/sd4500-usb-c-5gbps-dual-4k-docking-station-dp-hdmi-windowschromemac/) | 2x DP 4K@30Hz | MST** | No | Yes | 3 | 1 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $100 |
| [Kensington SD4000](https://www.kensington.com/p/sd4000-5gbps-usb-3.0-single-4k-docking-station-dphdmidvi-i-windows/) | 2K DVI-I, 2K HDMI or DP | DL* | No | Yes | 3 | 0 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $200 |
| [Belkin TB 3 Dock Mini HD](https://www.belkin.com/us/p/p-f4u098/) | 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | No | Yes | 2+2 (3.0/2.0) | 0 | — | Bus-powered | $140 |
| [Belkin TB 3 Dock Plus](https://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F4U109/) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | 60W | Yes | 3 (3.0) | 2 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $250 |
| [Belkin TB 3 Dock Core](https://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F4U110/) | HDMI 4K@60Hz, DP 4K@60HZ | TB-3 DP | 60W | Yes | 2 (3.0) | 0 | — | “Coming in 2020”, PSU not included | $170 |
| [Dell D6000](https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-universal-dock-d6000/apd/452-bcyt/pc-accessories) | 2x DP 4K@30Hz, 1x HDMI 4K@30Hz | DL* | 65W | Yes | 4 (3.0) | 1 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $210 |
| [VisionTek VT5000](https://www.visiontek.com/vt5000-dual-4k-thunderbolt-3-dock.html) | 2x DP 4K, 1x HDMI 4K, 1x VGA 1200p (pick 2) | MST** | 87W | Yes | 2 (3.0) | 0 | — | — | $300 |
| [VisionTek VT4500](https://www.visiontek.com/vt4500-dual-4k-usb-dock-with-power-delivery.html) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz, 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz (pick 2) | DL* | 40W | Yes | 4 (3.0) | 2 | — | — | $220 |
| [VisionTek VT200](https://www.visiontek.com/visiontek-vt200.html) | DP, HDMI, VGA (4K only w/1 screen) | TB-3 DP | See remarks | No | 2 (3.0) | 2 (1 w/PD) | — | PSU not included, charging not supported on upstream port | $80 |
| [StarTech TB3DKM2HD](https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/Laptop-docking-stations/mini-thunderbolt-3-dock~TB3DKM2HD) | 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | No | Yes | 1+1 (3.0/2.0) | 0 | — | Bus-powered | $170 |
| [StarTech TB3DK2DPPD](https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/Laptop-docking-stations/thunderbolt-3-docking-station~TB3DK2DPPD) | 1x DP 4K, 1x TB3 passthrough | TB-3 DP*** | 85W | Yes | 2 | 1 | 3.5mm Audio | — | $350 |
| [CalDigit TB 3 mini](https://www.caldigit.com/mini-dock/) | 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | No | Yes | 1+1 (3.0/2.0) | 0 | — | Bus-powered | $130 |
| [CalDigit Pro Dock](https://www.caldigit.com/usb-c-pro-dock/) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz | TB-3 DP | 85W | Yes | 3 (3.2) | 1 | SD reader (UHS-II), 3.5mm Audio | Backward-compatible with USB-C | $200 |
| [CalDigit TS3+](https://www.caldigit.com/ts3-plus/) | 1x DP 4K@60Hz, 1x TB-3 (see remarks) | TB-3 DP | 87W | Yes | 4 (3.1) | 3 (1 w/TB) | 1x TB-out, 3.5mm Audio, SPDIF Out | [Supports passive TB3->DP/HDMI cables](https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/fb1isa/current_state_of_mac_docking_stations_guide/fj1xtbj/) | $250 |
| [Wavlink UG69PD1](https://www.wavlink.com/en_us/product/WL-UG69PD1.html) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz, 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz (pick 2) | DL* | 60W | Yes | 4x (3.0) | 2 | 3.5mm Audio | — | ~$160 |
| [OWC TB 3 Dock](https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/docks/owc-thunderbolt-3-dock) | 1x mDP 4K@60Hz, 1x TB3 passthrough | TB-3 DP*** | 85W | Yes | 5 | 1 | 1x TB-out, 3.5mm Audio, SPDIF Out | — | $300 |
| [Targus QVHD](https://us.targus.com/products/usb-c-universal-quad-hd-docking-station-dock520usz) | 4x HDMI (4x FHD@60Hz or 2x 2K@50Hz) | DL* | No | Yes | 4 | 1 | — | — | $280 |
| [Targus DV4K](https://us.targus.com/products/usb-c-universal-dv4k-docking-station-with-power-dock180usz) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz, 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz (pick 2) | DL* | 60W | Yes | 4 | 1 | — | — | $250 |
| [Lenovo ThinkPad TB 3 G2](https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/accessories-and-monitors/home-office/Thunderbolt-Dock-Gen-2-US/p/40AN0135US) | 2x DP 4K@60Hz, 2x HDMI 4K@60Hz (pick 2) | MST** | Yes | Yes | 5 | 1 (w/TB) | 3.5mm Audio | No charging power specified | $290 |
**Remarks:** `*` DL: See “Appendix A”; `**` MST: See “Appendix B”; `***`: Dock supports dual display as long as one display is a native Thunderbolt-3 screen
## BUT WHAT DO I PICK?!
Pretty much ~~**the only** choice~~ **the only two choices** priced in an accessible range are the *CalDigit Pro Dock* & **CalDigit TS3+**. CalDigit is a company which is rather known in a pro-space and [Apple actually carries couple of their products](https://www.apple.com/search/caldigit) in their stores, but…….
…**I bought CalDigit Pro Dock. It’s a clusterfuck**.
Yes, ~~THE ONLY choice~~ THE ONE OF TWO choices on the market doesn’t work as expected. It’s a solid choice, when it works it’s amazing. However, it requires cables connection/disconnection almost every time laptop goes to sleep. Sometimes after sleep or after connecting the cable only one display works… or none.
**I contacted CalDigit** about that and the behavior “fit the use case of several other users”, and they’re *”currently aiding Apple in investigating and we estimate that they will come out with a fix for this in a* ***matter of months****”* (emphasis mine).
*/The curtain goes down, the show is over./*
**Edit:** According to the manufacturer it’s not the problem with their dock but with macOS and affects other docks from multiple manufactures and even **screens directly connected** to the computer. Choosing TS3+ may be better (yet [they didn’t state that *directly*](https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/fb1isa/current_state_of_mac_docking_stations_guide/fj1yl9r/) but [people report it works](https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/fb1isa/current_state_of_mac_docking_stations_guide/fj20ite/)).
#### Appendix A – what’s wrong with DisplayLink?
For those uninitiated DisplayLink is a white-label technology offering display (and other peripherals) streaming via USB 2/3. The technology uses a pripriatery technology and requires pretty invasive drivers.
The issue is these drivers [are hacky](https://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/1916602-macos-catalina-10-15-screen-recording-permission), which means they [break often](https://www.displaylink.org/forum/showthread.php?t=66797) on many OSs, and are [full of unsolved issues](https://www.displaylink.org/forum/showthread.php?t=66765). On top of that [the company sometimes takes MONTHS to fix issues](https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/8c8ue3/psa_dont_buy_displaylinkbased_usb_screens_for_mac/) rendering the hardware **completely non-operational**.
#### Appendix B – what’s wrong with ~~MST~~ macOS?
The MST is an abbreviation from “Multi-Stream Transport”. In short the technology allows for independent channels of video in a single Thunderbolt stream ([see more technical description](https://www.caldigit.com/can-ts3-and-ts3-plus-support-displayport-multi-stream-transport-mst-feature/)). MST is used to connect a single 4K+ display OR multiple displays.
macOS (10.15.3) **does not** fully support MST This is a problem [known for years](https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7920410) and [reported by many](https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/354534/macbook-with-lenovo-c-dock-duplicates-image-on-external-monitors/354537#354537).
**Under macOS MST can be used to:**
– Connect a *single* titled display
– Connect multiple displays in **mirroring** mode
As of now only Windows & Linux fully support MST.
#### Appendix C – why not USB-C but (expensive) Thunderbolt 3?!
USB-C is a wonderful and complex … standard for a connector. Besides being a normal USB bus which we know for years it can be can be ***switched*** to so-called “alternative mode”. As of today two of the modes which are often used by display dongles are *single* DisplayPort stream OR a *single* HDMI stream.
This means it’s impossible to create a true dual-display dock without technology like DisplayLink.