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Dell's Thunderbolt TB16 Dock Can Work With Linux & Drive Dual 4K Displays

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  • Dell's Thunderbolt TB16 Dock Can Work With Linux & Drive Dual 4K Displays

    Phoronix: Dell's Thunderbolt TB16 Dock Can Work With Linux & Drive Dual 4K Displays

    When it came to settling on the latest-generation Dell XPS 13 as my main production workhorse with Fedora Workstation 28, besides the laptop's own traits like its build quality, specs relative to price, and other factors, another important requirement was the ability to drive two 4K displays when at my desk. The Dell XPS 13 has no issue driving dual 4K screens via the Dell Thunderbolt TB16 dock.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=26667

  • #2
    Note that the TB16 dock AND the laptop both need Thunderbolt firmware updates. The Dell laptop firmware updates are doable under Linux (and are posted to LVFS) but the TB16 firmware update can only be applied from Windows. The Windows TB16 firmware update payload includes new firmware for the Thunderbolt controller, the ASMedia USB hub to fix some bugs in the bandwidth management, and for the Synaptics DisplayPort MST chipset to fix some bugs with monitor hot-plugging.

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    • #3
      Oh, and about the network issues, the Ethernet port on the TB16 is a hot mess: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1460789 . Windows users report similar problems and I believe that Dell has acknowledged this and is trying a few different fixes: https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/1/16/102 . There may be another TB16 firmware update in the near future.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jasondclinton View Post
        Oh, and about the network issues, the Ethernet port on the TB16 is a hot mess: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1460789 . Windows users report similar problems and I believe that Dell has acknowledged this and is trying a few different fixes: https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/1/16/102 . There may be another TB16 firmware update in the near future.
        By "another" you seem to imply that there has been a firmware update in the past. I couldn't find any.

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        • #5
          Hey phoronix, would you mind running a couple tests on your TB16?

          1. Attach a USB 3.0 hard drive (SSD preferably) to TB16 and copy a large file (several gigabytes) from it to your local drive. Then compare the SHA1 checksums.
          2. Copy a large file over SSH (scp) from another machine on the LAN to your laptop using your external gigabit USB adapter attached to TB16.

          I'd be really interested in the results you get.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by agronholm View Post

            By "another" you seem to imply that there has been a firmware update in the past. I couldn't find any.
            https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/commen...r_the/e1sjczx/

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            • #7
              I stand corrected. I hadn't looked for an update for a while. That said, I'd still be really interested in seeing the results for the tests I mentioned above.

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              • #8
                Interesting. I wonder how the display works via Thunderbolt - does it use a passthrough mechanism or some DisplayLink chip? Is there enough bandwidth for 4k?

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                • #9
                  Awesome news, I hoped that Thunderbolt would see good industry adoption and not just in Apple products. It's a tremendously useful interface for laptops and SFF computers.

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                  • #10
                    Dual 4k monitors huh? I bet CoolRetroTerminal looks fantastic on those.

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