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Lenovo Staff
Lenovo Staff
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-23-2015
Location: US
Views: 848
Message 1 of 14

Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

Hello Everyone,


Lenovo’s Workstation customers are very active in the forum community and we would like to reach out to you for feedback on an upcoming Thunderbolt Mobile Workstation Docking solution. We value our customer’s feedback and would love to hear from you!

As you can imagine, Thunderbolt docking stations require quite a bit of power and Lenovo is considering two power delivery options.


Option A) Would be a single and very large power supply/brick.  This would supply power to both the Thunderbolt dock and the mobile workstation system.  The potential downside would be the large physical size of this power supply and higher cost/price.


Option B) Is a dual power supply/brick design that would leverage your existing workstation power supply and a standard ThinkPad power supply (both connected to the dock itself).  Advantages are lower cost/price and smaller power bricks, but could be troublesome for users that travel with their system who would have to disconnect and carry the system brick (or purchase an additional one) 


Which would you prefer and why?  Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Broadband 3G
Posts: 484
Registered: ‎10-03-2011
Location: CA
Views: 811
Message 2 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted


I'd much prefer option A) with a single power cable from the dock to the power outlet. And a single cable going from the dock to the laptop.


Does Thunderbolt Dock require more power than existing Workstation dock, which works with the normal 230W power supply?


If it does, to address costs issue, Lenovo could provide 2 versions of the Workstation dock, one with standard 230W (good for most mobile workstations) and another with 300W, larger/heavier/more expensive (for the most powerful workstations with top-of-the-range GPUs and CPUs). 




Token Ring
Posts: 265
Registered: ‎02-19-2015
Location: US
Views: 768
Message 3 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

If Option B) requires (as I think I understood) two power bricks, I would much prefer Option A). Speaking as someone who operates in a place that doesn't have nearly enough outlets, fewer cords that plug into the wall are greatly desired (even if the brick is bigger). Another option would be to make the power cords piggyback off the same plug at the wall (like
Also, each power brick would have to be enough to power the base in case the traveler accidentally left one of the bricks behind.

Would heat be an issue with the larger brick (less surface area than two smaller bricks)?

If, however, only one wall plug were needed (via piggyback, or built-in splitter), and either brick would power the basic workstation dock, than Option B) would do for those times when the user doesn't need the extra Thunderbolt ports.

However, don't take this to mean that I would ever be happy with what Apple has done in replacing the power cord with a Thunderbolt 3 cord. I wouldn't. I need all the ports I can get, and giving up the use of a data port to charge my laptop would be vastly annoying--more so than the average user might think. (the same goes for giving up a USB port to only power headphones, but that's another story.
-----------IBM T40: XP PRO SP3, 14.1" 4:3 display, 512MB DDR RAM, 40GB HDD, ThinkLight, DVD.
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Posts: 62
Registered: ‎07-17-2013
Location: US
Views: 766
Message 4 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

I would go for a dual modual design. Let's say you have Cleint which use the Thunderbolt feature frequently but not always. So If not in use  he can remove one of the Bricks to preserve Power and and Weight. (even though if you dont  use the Brick to the full potential, It still Transforms and regulates, to heat is a factor here.) A modular design also prevent future complains that Lenovo keeps making the Power Supply Bricks bigger and bigger......Just imagine..... The new P90 now with a Power Brick of the size of a Car Battery to support dual Pascal 24 GB GPU........of course with redundend inner Core. 


So dual brick modul......maybe even interlockable with 2 Plugs and a 2 to one Adapter...(yes I am serious, lack of Outlets in some Offices)

Bit Torrent
Posts: 638
Registered: ‎10-21-2011
Location: DE
Views: 741
Message 5 of 14

Betreff: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

Definitely option A) for me. Having a single power supply is more convinient, even this power supply is very big.

Lenovo Staff
Lenovo Staff
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎07-23-2015
Location: US
Views: 739
Message 6 of 14

Betreff: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

Thank you for the feedback, please keep it coming!  There are certainly pros and cons of both solutions and I expected a healthy debate.

Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 3,391
Registered: ‎12-01-2007
Location: US
Views: 737
Message 7 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted



My preference is for Option A.  I rarely move the location of any dock and typically have the power supply located in an inconvenient location (between desk and a wall, cable management tray on underside of desk, etc.) so having one power supply that plugs in and remains in place for the duration of use is preferred.


I think the slight increase in cost would be more than offset by the fact that the dock will be used not just for the lifetime of the computer it was bought with, but possibly with its successor, meaning that the cost will be amortized across a longer time period.


For what it is worth, I also prefer the "traditional-style" docks where the computer "snaps in to" or is otherwise cradled by the dock versus the "dongle-style" docks which connect via a cable.  I realize that (1) you didn't ask about this; and (2) the trend right now is towards dongles which can be recycled across multiple models, but wanted to provide some feedback as well for future planning.




Aryeh Goretsky


I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

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Posts: 107
Registered: ‎02-01-2016
Location: US
Views: 727
Message 8 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

I like Option A) I don't care about price. For me convenience is more important. This option probably can help my device last longer. This option  allow me to leave the original charger at second location and power my device at home or work with only dock adaptor.  However I have P50 and I am not sure how this option can work with my device. unless the dock can provide another powerout socket/cable to power the P50 ( something like HP Th3 dock)


I don't like Option B) but I understand for some users this might be better option. Maybe you can provide two adaptor options for dock. First option would be big adaptor that can be used alone. and second option will be smaller adaptor that should be used with Thinkpad adaptor. This way as user I have both option A and B.


Whatever you are doing please make sure the dock have TH3 out. Some device like mine only have one TH3 port and buying a TH3 device without TH3 out is not a option for me.


Here is my dream TH3 dock; A eGPU with internal Sata socket for storage and TH3 out port and few USB3/USBC ports. Some thing like Mantiz
but with  TH3 out!.


Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-01-2017
Location: US
Views: 711
Message 9 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

What I'd really like would be a standard PC power cable in the dock, with the transformer built into the dock.


If we can't have that I'd like Option A with a single big brick.


In my mind the purpose of the dock is to simplify and reduce the number of connections. I won't want my users to plug/unplug more than 1 thing if at all possible.


-Greg C



Posts: 307
Registered: ‎11-13-2010
Location: US
Views: 666
Message 10 of 14

Re: Future of Thunderbolt Docking: Feedback Wanted

Can you have both options integrated, technically? A) & B) in one. If the input power is higher than certain threshold, then the dock will power the computer from the TB interface. If the power is less than certain threshold, then the input power of the dock only drives the USB, Display and other ports. The user can plugin the power brick if the dock cannot give enough power to the computer. Even the default brick came with the computer was in use, the power from the dock won't break the computer. It should be for sure that both power adaptors--connected to the computer directly and connected to the dock--have the same interface and standard and exchangeable. 


This makes it possible for a user to think about how to optimize their power brick combinations. For example, if a P5x user will travel a lot, then purchase two 90W adapters, or 90W+130W adaptors. I have heard from people, a 90W adaptor can give enough power for P50 to sustain the battery level without dropping or dropping too fast so that the battery can last about a whole day. When he/she is in the office environment, two adaptors can be used at the same time to give the full power to the mobile workstation. This is essentially option B) but with more choices for users to choose the best power supplies for their usage habit. If the user stay in the office for most of time, then he can use the same 170-230W power brick to connect to the dock and then solely use the dock to power the computer, which is essentially option A) for this case. 


If Lenovo engineers cannot combine A) and B) together, then I would like option B) more than A). Given the fact that normal users like me would rarely travel with a dock, and the dock will stay still in my working office, I wouldn't worry about the weight of having two adaptors and so on. 


Anyway, my complain about the Thinkpad docking station is that they are toooooo expensive in my opinion. If cheap, docking station would be my top accessary to purchase. Currently, I have purchased an option-B like USB 3.0 dock for my P50. Hopefully, this will be changed soon.

TPs own: X31 (2003), X61T, X200T, Tablet 2, P50 (2016); Win XP-10, Ubuntu8.04-16.04.

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