If you're in the market for a docking station to expand the number of ports available on your laptop, Sabrent is looking to draw some attention to itself with the launch of the Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD Docking Station. While it doesn't embrace the newer Thunderbolt 4 standard, Sabrent's latest dock has a few tricks up its sleeve that could make it a compelling option for productivity warriors.
For starters, the docking station is loaded with a plethora of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps), three USB-A (3.2 and 3.0) and one USB-C (3.0). There's also a Gigabit Ethernet port, DisplayPort 1.4 and a full-size SD reader (UHS-II). With its included power supply and two-foot Thunderbolt 3 cable, the docking station can supply up to 96 watts to a connected laptop. The complete list of specs can be found below:
- 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports with a bandwidth of up to 40Gbps.
- 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A ports supporting up to 10Gbps.
- 1 x USB 3.2 Type-C supports up to 10Gbps.
- 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A supports up to 5Gbps and BC1.2 5V@2.4A for cell phones.
- 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 for 8K @ 30Hz, 5K @ 30Hz (HDR, HDCP2.2, Adaptive Sync).
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port.
- 1 x Front access 3.5mm audio output.
- 1 x Front access 3.5mm microphone input.
- 1 x SD (UHS-II) card reader with transfer speeds up to 270MB/s.
What makes the docking station interesting – and quite different from competing solutions – is its inclusion of two NVMe SSD slots. That's right, there's onboard SSD storage, so you could use it to store video projects, your games library or even serve as a Time Machine backup on a Mac.
Sabrent offers the docking station in four storage options: 2TB, 4B, 8TB and 16TB. In the case of the flagship 16TB model, dual 8TB SSDs are used t. According to Sabrent, these are PCIe 3.0-based SSDs, so you won't be looking at blazing 7,000 MBps sequential reads and writes like the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Instead, the internal SSDs are only capable of speeds of up to 1,500 MBps. That should be fast for most external-use storage solutions, and it's definitely faster than an external HDD.
However, the added internal SSDs mean that the Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD Docking Station doesn't come cheap. The entry-level 2TB SKU costs $500, while the 4TB SKU rings in at $650. The 8TB SKU will set you back $1,300, while the capacious 16TB SKU comes with a staggering $2,900 price tag. For comparison, the newly launched, 18-port Caldigit TS4 Thunderbolt 4 Dock costs $350 (granted, it doesn't have internal storage).
The Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD Docking Station is compatible with both Windows and macOS devices and is now available to purchase.
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Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.
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