[Donald Dock][Step 2.2] [SUMMARY/DISCUSSION] Potential product type

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project_donald_dock

#182

if the dock is going to be/have an egpu, it would be even better that the dock can also help v to cool down
a fan or something


#183

Princing is an important aspect. Let’s recap and do a reality check:

For $50-100 you can get a portable hub with USB+DP connection (no Thunderbolt, no power adapter) like this:

For $150-200 you can get a proper middleweight dock with power adapter and lots of ports (still no Thunderbolt) like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Monitor-Adapter-450-AEUO-4W2HW/dp/B01C8PHWQY/

For $250-300 you can (finally!) get a proper Thunderbolt-enabled middleweight dock with power, like these:
https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Thunderbolt-MacBook-charging-Ethernet/dp/B01MZ2ATGK/

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-3GMVT-Thunderbolt-Dock-black/dp/B06XN6XWD7/

https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Port-Thunderbolt-Dock-Space/dp/B01N51P3BB/

We are at $300 and still no speakers nor any other bells and whistles! And of course no eGPU. So the specs that @GR8iTUD is mentioning could be possible but with NO Thunderbolt3 connection. Unless I’m missing a stellar product out there…

Also, for $250-300 you can get a basic eGPU with almost no extra ports (so not a dock at all) like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Node-Lite-Thunderbolt-Pcie-Expansion/dp/B074HGR7QN/
Or even one with some ports and space for an extra SSD drive, like this, but no audio jack nor SD reader:


(Which is really the best features for the price I’ve seen so far, but it’s a bulky thing.)

For $350-550 you can get an eGPU with several ports, but none of them are as full featured in terms of ports as a dock (for example, they lack audio jack, and of course, video output… you’ll want to use a GPU for that anyway). You can see some options here:

And from $550 up you even get an included GPU in the package. But still no audio jack nor SD card reader.

So, considering Eve could achieve a significant price cut somehow, we could be speaking of:

  • $200 for a full-featured middle-sized dock with TB3 and included low-power suply.
  • $200-250 for the same dock with bare eGPU (PCI-e) port. No casing, no high-power supply for the GPU. No GPU incl.
  • $300-350 for a pure eGPU unit with full featured ports including audio, SD, etc. and high-power supply. The video ports would be added by the video card. No GPU incl.
  • $350-400 for a modular design: full featured dock with eGPU support, audio, SD, and video ports ($200-250) + casing/power supply ($150) for the GPU. No GPU incl.

Just guessing here. What do you think?


#184

PErsonally I really dont see the need for, as someone said “Beats Pill type of audio”, for just few reasons. Firstly if we want to have audio, then better not compare anything to somehting that has a Beats logo on it :wink:

The dock can have something to hook it up to stereo system or something but just raising the price because we “want” it to blast music with it…


#185

@eldelacajita Thanks for this wonderful summary. For me looking at these price points I am clearly in for the first one. My main two arguments: a) It is a price point (up to 200 €), I am willing to pay for a dock. (very selfish argument :wink: )
b) I think that this is the option to get also some more orders from businesses that want to equip their staff with docks. If an employee really needs a GPU, my guess is that the standard is to get him/her a desktop PC and the V is a secondary device. So the eGPU modular boxes are limited to a specific section of the consumer market.


#186

Seeing it like @kaum. And according to @eldelacajita 's research, a full featured dock / port extender is something in a price range a business would buy to let an employee use their V at the office. If the price point is higher, a separate PC is more cost efficient as it adds redundancy. An eGPU is not something a business would buy currently.

Personally I would find an eGPU with integrated dock very interesting, but I don’t think it would sell in an amount that it would amortize the development costs.

I would favor a middle-sized dock with all needed ports to let displays and external devices stay connected and just have one cable to connect the V with everything. Being modular would be interesting but the extra costs would need to be quantified.


#187

This is just a personal note, but after looking into prices for a while, I’m almost out of the game here :sweat_smile:

Even $200 seem a lot of money to spend on a peripheral whose only function is… connecting peripherals. It’s 1/4 the price of an i3 V!

I’m thinking I’d rather go with an USB-C portable adapter with USB PD pass-through and live with having to connect both the USB and the audio cable to the V.

Still, I’ll really want an eGPU later on, so the only interesting scenario for me here is Eve creating a $200-250 dock with PCI-E connector for a GPU. That would be a lot cheaper than buying a full eGPU unit. Having both a dock and an eGPU for $250+GPU+PSU could be something.

Otherwise, I’ll probably wait until bare TB3 boards are widespread on the market and I can build a TB3 eGPU the same way I could build a PCI-E one right now. As the fox said, “eGPUs are not ripe yet!” :roll_eyes:


#188

Then let’s make a ripe one…


#189

Thanks @eldelacajita! I was wondering if my cost expectations were way off.
No way did I expect to get TB3 and great audio for 199. That would push
Donald to the 250 to 300 price point. I also expected that this would be a
portable with maybe a little discomfort (vs port replicator with no
discomfort fitting in a small bag with a laptop or Eve V.

That l leads me to 2 questions:

Is Donald Dock intended to work with only an Eve computer?

How does Eve provide a universal dock without TB3?


#190

USB-C is a universal standard, theoretically any computer that supports USB-C should support a USB-C dock. Thunderbolt is just a more powerful protocol than USB. The USB-C port is just a different type of connector for the USB protocol. So, much like other USB adaptors, hubs, and docks in the past, as long as it follows the standard it should work on any other device. The same goes for Thunderbolt 3.

Sadly, things aren’t so cut and dry in reality, especially between Mac and Windows. Will Donald Dock work on Macs? That’s a pretty good question. Will it work on any Windows laptop, probably.


#191

this is the scenario for me too, and this kind of a dock appeals to many since you get more functionality compared to just eGPU dock or just a dock


#192

Didn’t Thunderport licensing become a bit more accessible? Maybe the current available devices are either using the costlier version or riding with the costlier versions price? Don’t know the specifics but I would expect TB devices to drop in prices gradually.


#193

Yes, i think the dropped the licensing fee completely


#194

SThanks to @eldelacajita for his summary. I assume this production cycle will take the best part of a year to produce, and as you can see, there are plenty of products out there already, though none that have everything we want.

Right now, full featured Thunderbolt docks seem to be out there for about $300 or a little above, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that combines the port supply and eGPU at all, let alone at a reasonable price. I don’t find $300 to be a reasonable price point for just port replication, either, tbh, but I’m assuming that price will be reduced significantly over the next 12-18 months as more products enter the market.

So my thoughts on the matter:

Forget the dongles and superpowered batteries. The dongles will be cheap and cheerful in the not too distant future, and generally fit the niche of someone travelling and needing an HDMI port to make a presentation, or someone who just wants a small usb/Thunderbolt hub. Within the next two years this’ll be an AmazonBasics product, which you won’t be able to compete against.

Similarly, batteries are batteries. The market is fierce. I already have a battery capable of a full charge of the V over USB-PD, which cost me 50€, and I suspect that one with a couple of simple ports, maybe an HDMI will be available soon for not much more.

These are markets where the margin is small and there is little to differentiate.

Where I see possibilities:

  • eGPU is a niche market, it one where eve could make a name for itself, especially if it makes a product that is independent of the V and can cope with several different interfaces (not just TB3). This would imply we need a super enclosure. Naturally this would also include a standard bevy of ports so it’s an all-in-one dock plus eGPU.
  • a modular system, with a separatable port extender and an eGPU component. This could be an awesome idea, or turn into a jack of all trades, master of none situation. With our community, I think we could manage to go more for the awesome side of things.
  • some sort of wireless dock. Forgetting the eGPU for a moment, a wireless dock that would just extend my ports when I’m in my office without needing to plug in and include audio and video as well as some sort of wireless USB that could include a webcam for streaming would be all kinds of awesome. Not needing to be tethered is in the spirit of the V, and is also a niche other users could fit into. Technologies are out there for all this wireless streaming stuff, but nobody has yet to my knowledge pushed it all together in one product, let alone made it affordable. For this, I’m willing to go for any form factor.

People are talking about speakers above. The sort of user who wants an eGPU is not the sort of user who wants a tinny speaker in a dock, and the V’s speakers are pretty good already. That being said, I think we’d be missing a beat if the Donald Dock didn’t offer 5.1 surround connectors.

Anyway, just my 50 cents…


#195

I would probably choose between the lightweight and the middle one. I’d like to mention I believe this product should be versatile and portable.

What I would want to have:

  • HDMI
  • VGA (In Portugal most places still use VGA)
  • 2 USB-A ports
  • Ethernet
  • SD card slot
  • 2 USB-C (non-thunderbolt!!)
  • 2 Audio jack (so two people can listen at the same time)

Optional features:

  • Maybe USB PD (if not expensive/doesn’t create much bulk)
  • Maybe Dual monitors (not sure what is needed to get this to work - only ports?)
  • Built-in amplifier (if not too expensive)
  • Built-in battery (if not too expensive and bulky)
  • Kensington security slot

(You may have noticed I stressed the ‘if not too expensive’ part as I want the dock to be affordable (unlike the Surface dock for example)

Features I don’t want:

  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Daisy chaining (Thunderbolt 3)
  • Built-in storage
  • Reserved M.2 NVMe slot
  • Built-in speaker (The speakers in the V shouldn’t be bad enough to warrant another speaker)
  • Holding notebook (You have the kickstand to hold)
  • Switches (I don’t see the point on having this)
  • eGPU

This brings me to my next point. Why I don’t want neither a thunderbolt port nor egpu. Firstly I envision this dock connecting the V using the charging USB-C (so you have a thunderbolt 3 port there you can use). Then, the thunderbolt port is expensive on its own and the only reason it its power could be used to boils down to eGPU.

Why not eGPU? As you probably know it is quite a niche market. And take the example of the Razer Core: it is expensive and huge. Do you really want to add to an eGPU dock more features? It will make the product more niche and at the same time much more expensive. I don’t see even much awareness for what you get with eGPUs (outside the tech enthusiasts). I don’t want to be creating a product that is the intersection of the tech enthusiasts that like to be portable, are gamers, want eGPUs, and have the money to pay. Eve will sell no docks outside the community (which a large part probably won’t even want the eGPU). Remember: you can make it very special and high-tech but that doesn’t mean people will buy it.

A modular system system would add bulk and would be more expensive so that’s also an idea I don’t particularly like.

Having done this post, I feel the lightweight is the version that would best suit me. It is portable and has the features I think would make for a killer dock!


#196

Killer? What? This is already available and has nothing special (except 2 audio jacks…)


#197

But with Virtual Reality it could become a big thing soon… AFAIK with a eGPU you can make existing old or existing new but weak hardware ready for Windows AR which is provided by Fall Creators Update… Please correct me if I’m wrong!!!


#198

That example is good but more expensive than what I was looking for… And I think Eve can do it cheaper. You could also add the optional features to make it stand out a little more :wink:

And about the eGPU, the V’s CPU doesn’t fulfill the minimum requirements for Windows Mixed Reality. I also don’t think WMR will have a big impact on the VR market (you already have similarly capable headsets on the market).


#199

I was thinking… before voting on a poll, I’d really want to see those price estimates be properly done by someone from Eve. These prices are based on the existing (and probably overpriced) market. Maybe Eve could check availability and prices for TB3 controllers and other components, and make a closer estimate?

@Xinjie would it make sense extend a bit this discussion phase to take that factor into account, before jumping into the poll?


#200

V’s i7Y processor and maybe even the i5Y seems to fulfill the requirements for WMR if connected to a eGPU… Minimum i57200U dual core with activated Intel Hyperthreading Tech… The requirements are a bit unclear here…
And we have to think that this VR/MR/AR readiness could be a scenario to keep Intel and Microsoft onboard!!!


#201

It does not fulfill the minimum requirements. As you said, the minimum for the CPU is Intel Core i5 7200U (7th generation mobile), dual core with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology enabled (or better).

The V has a Intel Core i7 7Y75. Hence it is another, different set of processors from the U line. In addition to that, the Y line does not have Intel’s Hyper-Threading Technology.

Only if Microsoft lowered the minimum requirements would the V’s CPU suffice (or we could try to convince that with TDP-up the V could handle perhaps or with some optimisation with help from Microsoft could be there?).