Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock full review
If you’re stuck with just a couple of Thunderbolt 3 ports on your laptop, then adding 10 other ports is going to make your laptop a lot more device connectible, and that’s exactly what the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock offers.
A dock or docking station can turn a laptop into a hard-core desktop setup – one you can connect to and disconnect from with just cable.
Add external displays, wired Internet access, hard drives, memory cards and other storage devices in moments. And take it away as a portable device just as easily.
The Corsair TBT100 boasts 10 ports that should cover most of a laptop user’s needs in terms of setting up in a desktop environment.
- 85W PD charging
- HDMI 2.0 port (4K at 60Hz)
- One Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) port to host
- Two USB-A (5Gbps) ports
- Two USB-C (10Gbps) ports
- SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Front-facing 3.5mm Audio In & Out combo port
- 100W power supply
The inclusion of two HDMI ports is appreciated, as many docks use DisplayPort, which isn’t found on all monitors. And some require you to add the second display via USB-C, which then requires a separate adapter.
It can run two 4K displays at the full 60Hz, so high enough quality for gaming and broadcast sports and action content – as you’d expect from a company known for its gaming products.
The TBT100 can deliver up to 30W of power to the USB ports, with the remaining available power delivered to the host system. The minimum power delivered to the host is 45W and the maximum is 85W.
There’s a handy On/Off button ta the front of the dock, which means you don’t have to pull the plug to stop your laptop being charged all the time when you don’t need it, which should aid long-term battery life.
The SD Card reader is UHS-II so top speed, unlike some docks that have slower SD readers.
SD cards aren’t just for cameras. Adding a card is an inexpensive way of adding super-portable storage to your laptop. You can pick up a decent-quality 256GB SD card for under £50/$50. See our roundup of the best SD cards.
The design is slim and good looking in an aluminium case for better heat dissipation, and includes a Kensington security slot at the back.
It works with both Macs and Windows laptops, although some Windows laptops can connect only one stream to the T3 controller, and rely on MST (DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport) to support multiple displays on that single port. This requires an MST splitter inside the dock, and the TBT100 doesn’t support MST. On such laptops, TBT100 will only be able to light up one display.
Thankfully for Mac users, everything works just fine out of the box – but a macOS menubar Corsair utility can open new features, such as enabling iPad charging, as well as support for the Apple SuperDrive and Apple Keyboard. Using it you can eject all the drives connected to the Thunderbolt dock, so that you can safely unplug it.
Like most Thunderbolt 3 docks it won’t work with USB-C laptops. Some T3 docks boasting the Titan Ridge chipset, such as the Caldigit USB-C Pro Dock and Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro, do support both T3 and USB-C laptops.
A T3 laptop can use a USB-C dock, but loses its speed advantage. The main benefit of a dedicated Thunderbolt 3 dock is the 40Gbps bandwidth, compared to USB-C’s 5- or 10Gbps data-transfer speeds.
Corsair does include USB-C ports on the dock, and these are higher-spec 10Gbps Gen. 2 ports rather than 5Gbps.
The two USB-A ports for older connections are rated at 5Gbps.
Compared to other Thunderbolt 3 docks, we did find the TBT100 on the expensive side, but you are getting top-end ports for your money.
The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a well-made docking station for Thunderbolt 3 laptops with top-of-the-range ports in terms of speed.
Some docks offer more ports, such as five USB-A or extra T3 connections, but we think there are enough ports here for most users.