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#368488 - 21/03/2017 03:03 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 701
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
...
Dell TB16 ... looks like it's available

...
It has a VGA port confused
Dell TB16


Edited by K447 (21/03/2017 03:04)

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#368489 - 21/03/2017 03:07 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1973
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
..and HDMI, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort. And? You don't have to use all the ports. smile

But I agree in this age for this product, VGA can probably be forgotten. I do have a VGa/DVI Full HD monitor that I'd probably put to use but hopefully HDMI-DVI would cover that.

NB: I found a Youtube showing it still has problems....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE2n-nuxi0E
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368490 - 21/03/2017 03:23 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 701
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
...
NB: I found a Youtube showing it still has problems....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE2n-nuxi0E
New chipset(s) = new drivers?

Might take a while for the driver stability aspects to settle down. Mac and Windows both, quite possibly.

I do not know whether macOS might need additional non-Apple provided drivers to be installed for a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

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#368491 - 21/03/2017 03:27 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: K447]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1973
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
No doubt.

The TB15 had firmware (BIOS) AND driver updates on laptops (XPS13 / XPS15 in particular) as well as firmware and driver updates for the hub itself. They still couldn't get it right so must have been buggy hardware or chipset in the end.

I don't even have one but my XPS 13 occasionally pesters me about new firmware/drivers for the WD15 or TB15 (maybe both)....

I'd be very wary until it's been out for a while. USD300 ain't cheap either.
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368492 - 21/03/2017 03:55 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12148
Loc: Sterling, VA
Apparently the WD15 works with the MacBook...but can't do multiple displays. It sounds like everything else - including charging and USB - works on the MacBook but the display will only clone to the second monitor and not extend the desktop.

I'm not sure if this would be helped by future firmware upgrades. The WD15 does get pretty frequent updates, and often has compatibility issues with newer XPS 13 models.

There's still so much to be sorted out with this stuff. I'm knocking on wood that Everything is working for me so far...
_________________________
Matt

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#368493 - 21/03/2017 10:20 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1392
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: Shonky
Dell WD15 is USB-C and does PD
Dell TB15 could do PD but was plagued with issues.
Dell TB16 (seems to be TB15 replacement) looks like it's available

So I think there's a few around, but only slowly coming through.


If any US based empeggers need a employee friends & family coupon, drop me a note.

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#368494 - 21/03/2017 11:46 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Shonky]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Shonky
VGA can probably be forgotten.


Not for another decade or so. All of those conference rooms with video projection capabilities.. VGA. But yeah, probably just need a separate dongle for those who care; no real need for it in a docking station.

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#368495 - 21/03/2017 12:01 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1973
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Yeah who carries their docking station into the conference room. I did think of that use case smile
_________________________
Christian
#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#368500 - 21/03/2017 18:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12148
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: mlord
Originally Posted By: Shonky
VGA can probably be forgotten.

Not for another decade or so. All of those conference rooms with video projection capabilities.. VGA. But yeah, probably just need a separate dongle for those who care; no real need for it in a docking station.

I have several clients who still need VGA for this reason. Fortunately it's very easy to get dongles to adapt to it. I've set up several XPS 13 users with one of these. VGA and HDMI gets them connectivity in most conference rooms, and they also get ethernet for hotel rooms.
_________________________
Matt

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#371440 - 28/12/2018 02:30 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Apparently the WD15 works with the MacBook...but can't do multiple displays. It sounds like everything else - including charging and USB - works on the MacBook but the display will only clone to the second monitor and not extend the desktop.

I'm not sure if this would be helped by future firmware upgrades. The WD15 does get pretty frequent updates, and often has compatibility issues with newer XPS 13 models. A major bonus of it (for me) is the "power button" on the dock to wake up the XPS 13 when I needed, as normally it will be folded shut on a shelf somewhere for this setup.

There's still so much to be sorted out with this stuff. I'm knocking on wood that Everything is working for me so far...


Today I decided to update from my 2013 2nd gen Dell XPS 13 to the 2017 version, the model 9360 XPS 13 with i7-8550U and one Thunderbolt3/USB-C port. I also ordered the WD15 to go with it, based on reports of the two now working very well together with current Linux distros. A plus of the WD15 for me is the "power button" for waking up the laptop, as I intend for the XPS 13 lid to be closed while docked in this setup.

My dual-monitor situation should be easy for it: a pair of 1920x1200 27" ASUS screens over HDMI. I've got a mini-DP-to-HDMI adapter already from my older XPS 13.

How's that dock doing for you now, Matt? And which XPS 13 do you actually have (they change yearly). smile

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#371445 - 28/12/2018 15:30 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5617
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: mlord
Today I decided to update from my 2013 2nd gen Dell XPS 13 to the 2017 version, the model 9360 XPS 13


Let us know how that works out. I've been looking at the XPS 13 for a while now, but never quite got to the point where I pulled the trigger.
_________________________
-- roger

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#371446 - 29/12/2018 23:57 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Note that I ordered last year's model, the 9360, because it still has USB 3.0 Type-A ports, as well as a single USB-C/Thunderbolt-3 port. The Thunderbolt port has only 2 PCIe lanes, which means it cannot drive a full 4K monitor attached to the WD15 dock at 60Hz -- but it can do it at 30Hz. It can also instead drive a pair of WUXGA (1920x1200) displays at 60Hz, which is our use case here.

The newer model 9370 has no USB Type-A ports, but does have two USB-C/Thunderbolt-3 ports, at least one of which has 4-Lanes, and can use the WD15 to drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz. or a pair of WQXGA (2560x1600) displays at 60Hz, as well as various other lessor combinations.

So, if one can live with lower battery life (the 9370 has a smaller battery) and no USB Type-A ports, then the newer machine is better equipped for high resolution external monitors.

Or if like me, one prioritizes battery life (larger battery in the 9360) and USB Type-A ports, then the older model is worth considering.

USB-C to Type-A adapters and cables are readily available of course, but not as nice as just being able to plug a random USB stick or wireless keyboard dongle directly into the notebook.

Other differences between the two years models are 2X speed interface to the NVME SSD on the newer one, and better heat piping to reduce thermal throttling. The processors are identical, the RAM is the same. The newer one can be had with a higher rez screen than the older one, but I skipped on that kind of thing because it kills battery life. smile


Cheers

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#371449 - 30/12/2018 05:27 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12148
Loc: Sterling, VA
I would have made the same choice of model, Mark. I definitely still need my USB A ports when I'm out and about for work. Adapters are just too cumbersome, especially while standing up. I already dislike using one for ethernet, which is a real pain when I'm standing up in front of network closets and stuff like that.

I have the 9350. It's getting a little stale but still works well actually. According to GMail, I ordered it Nov '15. Since then I've had to replace the battery myself because it started ballooning (!), and about 6 months ago I updated the 120GB M2 SSD to a 500GB Samsung, which both increased storage space and also seems to have made things speedier.

I've been using the WD15 since the beginning and it's definitely gotten better. But my experiences are only under Windows, of course. Still, it seems to get better with every update, and they seem to push updates regularly.

I have, occasionally, seen problems between the WD15 and newer XPS 13 models I set up for my clients. I tend to set up - on average - about 1 of these every 4 months (the specific combination of laptop and dock). Most of the time everything goes smoothly, or at least it does after a massive number of Windows/Dell updates.

Recently, I had two clients call me within days of each other complaining that their systems wouldn't turn on. They couldn't see anything on their monitors, and they'd been pressing the power button on the dock all day long. Finally I instructed them to remove the laptop, open it, and run Windows and Dell updates, then plug back in. That seemed to do it. My guess is that Windows pushed a conflicting update, but Dell fixed it within a few days after a bunch of calls.

Overall, though, the XPS 13 is still my favorite laptop, and pretty much the only computer I ever recommend to any of my clients anymore. The only problem I have these days is that it's getting a little pricey. There were several months there where Micro Center was selling the 9360 with the i5 and 256GB/8GB for $850. That model was going for $1100 on Dell's site. That deal is over now, though, and the 256GB models are still really pricey. But I still recommend it.
_________________________
Matt

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#371450 - 30/12/2018 14:19 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
When I got my current 2nd gen XPS 13, the model L322X, it came equipped with a 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM, and a Core i7-3537U processor for CAD$850+tax. I have never seen that price again here from Dell.

It is still the second quickest machine in the house, bowing only to a newer desktop i7 that's in the main MythTV box. Our other notebooks are all very dated, about 10-11 years old at this point.

I have been using the XPS 13 strictly for travel or other portable situations, and it has been nothing shy of spectacular, even to this day.

But my main "desktop" has been a very old (10yrs?) Dell Precision M6400 "notebook", because of its vast array of I/O ports and nice docking station. However, I'm doing more software builds and things at home now, and really want to cut down time spent waiting for machines.

So the new XPS 13 9360 will become the main machine here, and will also take over travel duties from the older model. I figure it should be about 10X quicker (at least) than the Core2duo in the M6400, and the NVME SSD will be about 4-5X the speed. I'm replacing the stock 256GB drive with a 512GB EVO 970 on Day-1.

The question then becomes, what to do with the still very good L322X. Your 9350 is practically brand new by comparison!

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#371456 - 03/01/2019 04:02 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Roger]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Roger
Originally Posted By: mlord
Today I decided to update from my 2013 2nd gen Dell XPS 13 to the 2017 version, the model 9360 XPS 13

Let us know how that works out. I've been looking at the XPS 13 for a while now, but never quite got to the point where I pulled the trigger.


The notebook arrived today. I booted a prepared Ubuntu Mate 18.04 system from a USB3 drive, and everything seemed to be working well. BIOS was out of date, but it has an "update from a USB stick" feature so I used that to install the latest (just over a month old) before doing much else. That ended up updating the BIOS as well as numerous other internal firmwares (eg. the Power Delivery manager chip, etc.).

The BIOS itself has lots of useful looking settings, including a choice of "charging modes" for good battery maintenance. I chose "normally plugged in" for the charging profile here, but "adaptive" might also be good. Dunno. Estimated run time on the battery varies by load of course, but seems to be in the 10-17 hours range with the brand new battery pack.

Next I swapped out the internal 256GB NVMe SSD (about 1000MBytes/sec) for a larger 512GB Samsung EVO 970 (about 1500MBytes/sec in this system), and then cloned my USB3 drive to it. Rebooted from the internal SSD and then sorted out a couple of small issues:

(1) The MATE desktop is now built on Gnome 3 (gtk3), and the GNOME idiots have decided to force all computers to behave like macbooks, treating the Dell's 2-button touchpad as if it had only a single button. It took a bit of research to track that down, but a single line configuration change took care of it:
Code:
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad click-method areas

(2) The "Killer Wifi" card was badly under-performing in throughput. This seems to be a known issue, but with the "fix" deemed unacceptable upstream. I applied it locally though, and now the Wifi is a proper screamer on 802.11ac.
Code:
--- old/drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath10k/htt_tx.c        2019-01-02 21:58:01.585749801 -0500
+++ linux/drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath10k/htt_tx.c      2019-01-02 21:59:05.303016069 -0500
@@ -1466,6 +1466,7 @@ static int ath10k_htt_tx_32(struct ath10
                               sg_items, ARRAY_SIZE(sg_items));
        if (res)
                goto err_unmap_msdu;
+       skb_orphan(msdu);
 
        return 0;
 
@@ -1673,6 +1674,7 @@
                               sg_items, ARRAY_SIZE(sg_items));
        if (res)
                goto err_unmap_msdu;
+       skb_orphan(msdu);
 
        return 0;
 

No problem using a TB3-to-HDMI adapter for my external monitor, and everything else I have plugged in works just fine. I like that there's a keyboard toggle (Fn-ESC) for swapping the F1-F12 keys with their "media" key counterparts (Logitech, are you listening??).

The SD-Card reader supports the latest very fast cards. The best I have at hand is a 64GB EVO Plus, and Linux reads from it at about 82MBytes/sec. Some people use these as bootable SSDs for alternative operating systems.

That's Linux pretty much all sorted. This machine has never booted any other O/S since it left the factory, and probably never will either! smile The WD15 dock is still in transit somewhere. I'll post again once that arrives here.

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#371457 - 03/01/2019 06:40 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
One unexpected quirk, no real fault of the new notebook:

Linux uses 259 as the MAJOR device number for the new NVMe drive. That value is too large for the 8-bit dev/rdev fields used by really old 32-bit binaries on Linux, so the stat(2) syscall fails with -EOVERFLOW. This breaks my ancient copy of Wordperfect For Linux (don't ask).

So I ended up hacking an exception for Wordperfect into my custom kernel. Could probably fix it more neatly with an LD_PRELOAD library of some kind. Later.

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#371459 - 03/01/2019 09:15 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5617
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: mlord
Linux uses 259 as the MAJOR device number for the new NVMe drive.


It does that for the "Samsung SSD 960 EVO 250GB" in my desktop (also md0p1, for some reason):

Code:
$ ls -l /dev | grep '^[bc]' | sort -nk5,5
...
brw-rw----   1 root disk      253,   2 Oct 17 19:02 dm-2
brw-rw----   1 root disk      259,   0 Oct 17 19:02 nvme0n1
brw-rw----   1 root disk      259,   1 Oct 17 19:02 nvme0n1p1
brw-rw----   1 root disk      259,   2 Oct 17 19:02 md0p1


The major thing that I'm concerned about with Linux on a laptop is: does it resume from sleep reliably? That's where Linux has historically fallen short. I'm using Mint 18.3 w/Cinnamon, incidentally.
_________________________
-- roger

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#371460 - 03/01/2019 13:41 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Thus far, 100% resume from sleep. I haven't really had issues with that functionality since we got the last crop of machines (the M6400s) way back. And my older XPS 13 has been stellar in that regard. Hibernation (suspend-to-disk) is also very good.

This is probably more a function of modern kernels than hardware. My wife has had the M6400 for 8-9 years as well, but with a 3.4.xx kernel, and was having the odd (1/50?) resume failure with it. Me, with much more bleeding edge kernels, nary an issue.

With the new 9360, everything has "just worked" without tweaks, though the wifi is certainly 110% improved after the mod above. I do notice a plethora of ath10K driver changes are now queued up for the 4.21 kernel (running 4.20.0 here).

Oh, and I'm using Compiz as my window manager, spinning cubes and smart window placement and all of that. Rock solid on Ubuntu Mate 18.04. Much better than in earlier releases.

A very nice thing with the XPS 13, is that it is almost entirely Intel stuff, which is extremely well supported for Linux. And Dell themselves configure and sell it with Ubuntu pre-installed, though typically only for the most expensive all-tricked-out variant!

The only thing that I might like that's not great on Linux are the DisplayLink adapters. I have a USB2 one here, and it is indeed plug and play on the new system, but horribly slow. Not just for itself, either: it manages to cripple the entire system. That device uses a reverse-engineered clean-room driver with zero help from the manufacturer. DisplayLink themselves now have a binary blob driver for their various USB3 variants, which are reputed to work on Ubuntu 16.04 and later, but I don't have any devices with those chipsets in them.

I think the (Thunderbolt USB-C) WD15 dock is somewhere in the blizzard out there now. It might even arrive today, otherwise likely on Friday.

Cheers


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#371461 - 03/01/2019 13:45 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Just testing hibernation/resume here, midway through typing this message. There, back again now. The hibernation part was shockingly quick (NVMe drive..). On resume, after the usual 4-5 second wait 15-second wait for the BIOS, it came back up again quite quickly, with the mouse cursor right where I'd left it in the middle of typing this message.


Edited by mlord (04/01/2019 05:38)

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#371462 - 03/01/2019 17:23 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3162
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: mlord
Thus far, 100% resume from sleep. I haven't really had issues with that functionality since we got the last crop of machines (the M6400s) way back. And my older XPS 13 has been stellar in that regard. Hibernation (suspend-to-disk) is also very good.

This is probably more a function of modern kernels than hardware.

I'll second this. I'm running Debian testing on an ancient Dell Latitude from the Windows XP era. It was rescued from the recycle bin at work for use as a theatre prop, and it turned out to still function. Amusingly, it's just as fast as the Samsung Chromebooks my kids got for Christmas last year, though the battery life is roughly 40min, and the screen is rather lackluster in comparison. smile But I use it almost daily for light-duty graphic design, surfing, and ssh/terminal access. Not a single issue with suspend/resume.

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#371463 - 03/01/2019 18:00 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
The newer model 9370 has no USB Type-A ports, but does have two USB-C/Thunderbolt-3 ports, at least one of which has 4-Lanes, and can use the WD15 to drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz. or a pair of WQXGA (2560x1600) displays at 60Hz


I'm not so sure on that anymore -- the WD15 "manual" claims it can do the above with a 4-lane connection, but everything else from Dell says No!

So.. best not to rely upon it.

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#371464 - 03/01/2019 21:19 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Roger]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4153
Loc: Cambridge, England
Originally Posted By: Roger
The major thing that I'm concerned about with Linux on a laptop is: does it resume from sleep reliably? That's where Linux has historically fallen short.


FWIW, my Lenovo X270 with Kubuntu 18.04 fails to resume from sleep maybe one time in 50. Kernel is 4.15.0-ubuntu43, x86-64. "Hybrid suspend" is configured, but it's plugged into the mains when this happens, so it's still in suspend-to-RAM. Nothing else external is plugged-in at the time.

Peter

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#371465 - 04/01/2019 02:57 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Today I more deliberately put the new laptop through various suspend/resume "trouble" scenarios, and it behaved flawlessly.

Suspending on AC power while "docked" to a USB hub with peripherals plus an external monitor via USB-C (displayport), then undocking and resuming on battery with nothing attached. And then the inverse.

All good.

I even tried out Linus's current git tree (pre linux kernel 4.21), which it also survived. The Linux battery reporting continues to suggest run times mostly between 14 and 18 hours while surfing over wifi -- I do keep the screen brightness down at night, which helps.

The real dock (WD15) might be here tomorrow, after the carrier today gave their infamous "Mechanical delay" excuse that comes any time we have a snowfall. smile

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#371467 - 04/01/2019 18:31 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
The WD15 arrived. With already up-to-date firmware installed within, so I didn't need to fuss with a Win10-from-USB setup to update that. All other system firmware is Linux or BIOS update-able. The included (130W here) power brick is just a standard Dell laptop brick with the big fat "white" DC tip.

It works. Just plugged it in, and it worked. Plugged in monitors, and they worked. Selected HDMI audio output in Pulse, and my videos play sound through the speakers of the first monitor (HDMI).

Power button on the dock works to wake the system (and probably also to power it on from completely off).

One minor complaint: No "on/off" LED on the dock, so it is not obvious if the system is starting up or not after pressing that button. Instead I wait a few seconds for the monitors to come out of standby before I know it's alive.

Unplugged the USB-C cable while watching a video, and the desktop/video reverted to the 9360's built-in screen, and it all continued to play.

So.. passes all tests thus far without me having to do anything special.

EDIT: Another quirk just noticed: when plugging the USB-C dock cable into the 9360, the notebook always wakes up. Despite the BIOS setting for "wake on AC power connect" being turned off.


Edited by mlord (04/01/2019 20:44)

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#371468 - 04/01/2019 18:40 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
Originally Posted By: mlord
The newer model 9370 has no USB Type-A ports, but does have two USB-C/Thunderbolt-3 ports, at least one of which has 4-Lanes, and can use the WD15 to drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz. or a pair of WQXGA (2560x1600) displays at 60Hz
I'm not so sure on that anymore -- the WD15 "manual" claims it can do the above with a 4-lane connection, but everything else from Dell says No!

Somebody with a 9370 is going to have to just try it. Linux reports thusly:
Code:
$ lspci -tv
-[0000:00]-+-00.0  Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v6/7th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers
           +-02.0  Intel Corporation UHD Graphics 620
           +-04.0  Intel Corporation Skylake Processor Thermal Subsystem
           +-14.0  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP USB 3.0 xHCI Controller
           +-14.2  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP Thermal subsystem
           +-15.0  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP Serial IO I2C Controller #0
           +-15.1  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP Serial IO I2C Controller #1
           +-16.0  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP CSME HECI #1
           +-1c.0-[01-39]----00.0-[02-39]--+-00.0-[03]--
           |                               +-01.0-[04-38]--
           |                               \-02.0-[39]----00.0  Intel Corporation DSL6340 USB 3.1 Controller [Alpine Ridge]
           +-1c.4-[3a]----00.0  Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter
           +-1c.5-[3b]----00.0  Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTS525A PCI Express Card Reader
           +-1d.0-[3c]----00.0  Samsung Electronics Co Ltd Device a808
           +-1f.0  Intel Corporation Device 9d4e
           +-1f.2  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PMC
           +-1f.3  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP HD Audio
           \-1f.4  Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP SMBus

pci 0000:01:00.0: 15.752 Gb/s available PCIe bandwidth, limited by  8  GT/s x2 link at 0000:00:1c.0 (capable of 31.504 Gb/s with 8 GT/s x4 link)
pci 0000:39:00.0:  8.000 Gb/s available PCIe bandwidth, limited by 2.5 GT/s x4 link at 0000:02:02.0 (capable of 31.504 Gb/s with 8 GT/s x4 link)

The first "limited" line (above) is for the dock as a whole.

EDIT: The second "limited" line is regarding the [s]USB3 hub ThunderBolt USB3 host controller within the dock, used for the USB3 Type-A ports as well as the integrated USB-ethernet adapter. The presence of a ThunderBolt USB host controller there is strong evidence that this is actually a ThunderBird3 dock.[/s]

EDIT3: Ah.. This could actually all be referring to stuff inside the 9360 itself, not the dock. I just did an experiment: unplug the dock, and notice all of the ThunderBolt devices vanish. Then, plug in a USB hub to the USB-C port on the notebook, and .. presto! All of the ThunderBolt devices, including the USB 3.1 host controller reappear.

So.. still no idea what is actually inside the WD15 itself.


Edited by mlord (04/01/2019 22:17)

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#371469 - 04/01/2019 20:40 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
From what I see in lspci, the WD15 appears to be a true 4-lane Thunderbolt dock along with 4-lanes of DisplayPort 1.2. Which is what the user manual suggests it is, contrary to everything else I have seen written about it. On the XPS 9360, it is limited by the "half bandwidth" USB-C port, but on a more capable box (eg. 9370) one might reasonably expect it to do even better. TBD.

I did find this very nice explanation of how a USB-C connector's bandwidth can be divided up among USB2, USB3, DP, and PCIe:

https://www.dell.com/community/Laptops-G...ock/m-p/5153006

EDIT: The USB-C cable of the WD15 has a proprietary "docking connector" at the dock end. I wonder if this cable is the source of limitation/confusion, and perhaps the dock itself is capable of more if it had a different cable plugged in?

Yeah, that must be it. In the user manual, it talks about capabilities with a "universal cable" versus a "USB Type-C" cable. So perhaps Dell only equips it with a restrictive form of "USB Type-C" cable rather than the "universal cable" that could do full ThunderBolt. I wonder if there's a replacement part number somewhere for that "universal cable" ?

But then, they might also restrict things within the dock firmware as well I suppose.


Edited by mlord (04/01/2019 21:05)

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#371470 - 05/01/2019 01:46 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
The WD15 arrived ... Just plugged it in, and it worked. Plugged in monitors, and they worked. Selected HDMI audio output in Pulse, and my videos play sound through the speakers of the first monitor (HDMI).

Found a couple of glitches: first use of audio after resume (or poweron?) glitches (buzzes, pops) for a few seconds and then stabilizes.

The other glitch happens sometimes when unreasonably rapidly unplugging/replugging the USB-C cable: the bottom 120 pixel rows of my 1920x1200 external monitor got all whacky until I disconnect/reconnect it (just a push button on the HDMI switch does it without need to actually grab the cable ends). Hasn't happened in "normal" use thus far.

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#371471 - 05/01/2019 14:39 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Mmmm.. The WD15 contains a Realtek r8153 USB-ethernet chip. Bah!

Performance of those chips is fine, nice and quick. The problem is, as I determined a couple of years ago, under heavy load they contribute to system data corruption.

And sure enough.. google shows me lots of reports of issues with that chip in the TB16 docks. There is a workaround in linux-4.20 to disable "rx aggregation" on the chip in an attempt to work around the issue. The Realtek people are placing the blame on the XHCI USB3 controller used by the dock.

But funny.. I had a completely different USB host controller when I saw the problem, and lots of other reports have surfaced and been ignored over the years with the r815x controllers used on a variety of hardware.

The issues all began when the Linux driver was modified (back in kernel 3.16) to trust hardware rx checksums from the chip, rather than always doing a software checksum.

Well.. despite reports to the contrary, I have already seen one of the symptoms of the issue now in my WD15 dock, and this happens despite the driver mis-detecting it as a TB16 and thus having enabled the workaround already.

So.. I'm hacking my kernel driver to force software checksums in the r8152.c driver, just because once in a billion packet data corruption isn't fun. frown

Sure, you can do at runtime with an ethtool command, but by then it might already be too late.

Cheers

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#371472 - 05/01/2019 15:13 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: mlord]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 701
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
... I'm hacking my kernel driver to force software checksums in the r8152.c driver, just because once in a billion packet data corruption isn't fun. frown

...
How can it be that in 2019 networked data integrity is not a given?

That known hardware/chip problems require low level driver modifications by the end user?

I suffered, along with untold millions, through the early decades, especially with Windows and the endless updates, drivers and patches. Three decades along, this sort of issue should be history already.

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#371473 - 06/01/2019 03:59 Re: USB-C and two or three monitors [Re: Dignan]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14105
Loc: Canada
Two full days with the WD15 dock here now, and things are very stable. I haven't needed to tweak anything new today, and suspend/resume, and plug/unplug, "just work", as they should. Happy I got this dock for the power button on it alone. Too bad they didn't choose ASIX for the ethernet chip, but (with safeguards) the Realtek chip is fine.

The XPS 13 9360 notebook is excellent, with phenomenal battery life on the version I got (i7-8550U, FHD, 8GB RAM, no touchscreen).

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