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

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project_donald_dock

#122

+1 and: The V is special because of its number of ports. Now different people want a dock to take with for connecting things they can connect directly to the V… weird…


#123

Projectors in office use have a really small lifespan due undisciplined users … i have not seen a projector in office use already for some time that would be so old as only depending on VGA. HDMI would be included as standard in mainstream projectors for i guess 5 years now. I bet with you that the HW that gets changed the often in office use due to failures are projectors (excluding parts like HDDs, ac adapters)… I mean office category laptops tend to not anymore include VGA for some time now too.
I rather have 1 more port i may be using in the future due to upgrades of the setup - like more usb-c etc. than something for retro compatibility i may never use again. Besides, majority wants to use the dock stationary, how many of those may still have a need at home for VGA?


#124

The problem with VGA is mostly not the projector, it is the cable in the wall which mostly does not get upgraded when it still works when the beamer gets upgraded…


#125

First: Great Work, I think you analysed and understood everyone well and the 5 proposals make absolute sense.

For me, there are only 2 interesting options though:

First is Featherweight, for walking around university and to connect any beamer to it.
In this case VGA is very important to me, because it’s still used sometimes.

Second one is middle weight 1.
I don’t like the idea of a fixed angle, but a connector for 2 monitors at home with an amp is a great idea.

eGPU isn’t interesting for me at all.

Thanks, and keep up the good work!


#126

Yeah, the only things most people would miss on the go is VGA/HDMI output + Ethernet. That could make for a featherweight dongle like this Dell adapter or any other similar one. And I’m not sure Eve should make one of those, as they are already available. It would be cool to have an Eve branded one, but not really necessary.


#127

image
average sized hands next to Dell TB3 Dock

This is Dell’s TB3 dock. It has a separate power brick, but the trade is that it occupies less space on the desk. While being a close call, is still not impossible to carry with you.

specs from their site:
Supports 3 displays
Two USB 2.0 ports
Three USB 3.0 ports
Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port
Speaker output (rear)
Combo audio (front)
Gigabit Ethernet
Kensington Lock Slot
7.4 mm DC-IN Power Input

**It seems many people seem to want to have the power delivery housed directly in the brick itself. **

However the are some things to consider:

Charger in Donald’s housing:

  • Extra space requirements in the housing
    This space could be used e.g. for battery bank. (note that if you need to transport Donald between home and office, you can have the power brick in both places)

  • The charger’s size and capacity is limited.
    This means that middleweight Donald’s charger could not power up an eGPU enclosure, while it could take care of V’s charging (and perhaps a phone).

  • from portability POV: if you need the power delivery, you’re anyways carrying roughly the same amount of bulk; charger in the housing means you’ll save a bit space, but you still need to carry the charger cable if you go mobile.

  • If you have the charger as a separate brick, you’ll be able make the table more clutter-free, but need to carry a little bit more bulk with you (not weight-wise, but spacial volume-wise) when you take the dock with you.

  • Cooling may be required in the housing
    This would mean that the fanless V will not be accompanied with silent accessories, and you still mind end up hearing fan noise (needs to be technically confirmed).

Charger as a separate brick:

  • Less space required in Donald’s housing, but a tad bit more bulk when added up, since the brick needs its own case.
    This means your desk will be less cluttered (brick on the floor), but you’ll be carrying around a bit more stuff if you want to move around.

  • Seems the charging capacity could be less limited (dictated by the size of the dock)

A lot of this is also depending on what level of charging capacity people wish for the dock - what wattage is enough. This would therefore seem to also be a key question.

What do you think?


#128

Cannot one negate this performance loss for the eGPU by putting the eGPU first, and chaining the dock behind it?

Fully agree. Seems calling featherweight “dock” is misleading, as it is rather a travel adapter.

It seems reasonable to assume that since no scope (limitation of spec) has been issued, there is a big field of different needs discussing about the specs at this point.

It would also then seem to be key to understand whether most of the people voting for the eGPU function rather “only want an eGPU” and “would not get the dock if eve provided an eGPU”.

If there is roughly an 27-30% of people who would like to have an eGPU, and the rest who want a dock, doing a combination of these two seems not serve either of these groups well.

Rather, if most people voting for the eGPU really most only want the eGPU, it would seem that they would be better served with an eGPU.

Naturally the others who don’t need an eGPU on the other hand, would consider the eGPU dock an unreasonable catering for their needs.

Your thoughts?


#129

What I’d like to see in the dock:

  • power delivery
  • daisy chaining thunderbolt 3 of course
  • full sized SD card reader
  • at least 2 monitor connections (prefer DisplayPort over HDMI)
  • at least 2 USB-A 3.1 type connectors (capable of charging devices without the notebook plugged in)
  • at least 2 USB-C 3.1 type connectors (capable of charging devices without the notebook plugged in)
  • 3.5 mm audio jack

form factor … the flatter and slimmer the better

optional:

  • connectivity for Ethernet - must be at least Gigabit
  • connectivity for NVME
  • connectivity for 2.5’’ HDD or SSD

#130

Though we want to bear in mind whatever the % it is just for the active members of the community who are probably not representative of the wider market for Eve.

The dock will be more of a “sell” than the V for this wider population and thus may or may not be commercially viable.

With a GPU an even smaller market at the present time if it is matched to the V rather than across devices from whichever company.


#131

Yes indeed. I can see why people would like to get an eGPU from Eve. It, however, as you pointed out as well, needs to be commercially feasible, because if it is not and Eve would (theoretically speaking) do it “as a favor”, it would then mean that those losses would needed to be offset by charging other customers of other products (like V and its accessories more), which does not seem to be fair of course.

On the other hand, the eGPU as a product is more lucrative if it also offers docking functionality.

Sadly, the eGPU included makes it cost-prohibitive for people geared more towards a TB3 dock…

It so seems a question of “eGPU first” vs. “Dock first” approach.


#132

While this is sort of true, we really have no way to measure those who aren’t part of the community, its speculation (sometimes informed, sometimes not). The whole idea of doing community development is that the users decide what the product will be like, and the members of eve.community are really the only way we have do that. So at some point we need to be realistic and use the data we have, rather than speculating.

That being said, I do agree that Eve devices should appeal to more than just the members of the community in order to be financially feasible. So I’m not really disagreeing with you, just adding an asterisk if you will.


#133

Gosh, this thread is both interesting and exhausting. I have been reading everything and I still can’t decide myself for a specific format/size.

So… I just made a kind of personal (so probably biased) summary of the arguments so far, and I’m sharing it in case it helps.

TL;DR:

There is no easy choice here, but considering the opinions, looks like we have three paths.
We could choose:

a) one or two very specific (not compromised) devices, to choose among feather, middle and super, being the middle the most probable winner.
b) a compromise (light-middle)
c) a “pluggable” or fully modular design (with many possibilities but unclear feasibility)

Maybe we should include these combinations (and not only the proposed form factors) in the next poll.

So, looking at the different options:

Feather (dongle-like)

  • Feather could effectively expand the V’s own ports on the go. As @Eriol_Ancalagon, @Skimaster and others noted, the V already has enough USB ports for travel use. But the V lacks HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/SD, which could be useful. Feather would fit most of those, but probably not all of them.
  • Feather would be best in terms of mobility. People who travel prefer this, usually combined with the super.
  • Dual Monitor and Power Delivery (USB-PD pass through) could be possible?
  • As @Brendon_Leenheer, @mlivesey, @Skimaster, @Spence and some others said, there are a lot of similar devices already available, so it is a fair question to ask if Eve really wants to create another one.

Light (hub-like)

  • It would fit almost all the ports the V is lacking (HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/SD/audio), like the example @Alexander_Halbarth shows.
  • This wouldn’t be an optimal solution for anything, but with good design it could become a good compromise between feather, light and middle.
  • I totally like the USB-PD pass through option, but @Alexander_Halbarth’s proposal on a charger-meets-hub design could be also interesting for this light version. Something like the current V charger but with ports, to take it with you instead of the charger.

Middle (dock-like)

  • Benefits are still a bit unclear in the debate. As @iKirin, @happynerd and others said, providing you can get (pass-through) Power Delivery and Dual Monitor in the light (or even the feather), it seems that there is not much to add feature wise from light to middle…
  • …except some kind-of-niche (or unique) bonuses, some extra video ports like DP, and some more USB ports, which could make a difference for a fixed use.
  • Reading comments in favour of this form factor by @wsaenot, @kaum and @Skimaster, it seems to me that choosing the middle is more a matter of design and user experience. Where do I place it? How does it sit on my desk?
    especially with the V having its own kickstand with variable angle.
  • Different positioning options (beyond sitting on top of a desk) would be very interesting to explore. What if we could easily hung it under a desk or behind a monitor?
  • Most people would use it at home/work, so having it designed for that user case in mind would be mandatory over portability… Also, to take it away, you would have to unplug everything, which would be an extra hassle.
  • The B option, while being the only thing I would really call a “dock” in this thread, seems the less flexible one,

Super (box- or bench-like)

  • Not everyone wants an eGPU, so this would be either an additional device, or something you can optionally add to a middle version.
  • Still, everyone who would want an eGPU sees the super as a clear go-to option, no compromises made, except of maybe the size.
  • This would be the most unique dock, as @Smyler316 and others imply in their comments. With still some room for improving price, design and specs, this would be welcome in the market.

So…

The question remains: Which options would we choose among those? Or… could we come up with combinations that don’t have many compromises? Here is my guess on it:

Scenario 1: Choosing between well-defined formats, no compromises made

Tough decision, but there are already some hints:

  • feather is popular but already existing, so a bit expendable
  • middle is seems to be most popular option, fitting most people here - probable winner: (1)
  • super is a bit less popular but with more innovative/attractive potential

I think the voting poll has to be carefully designed: Multiple choice (voting for all devices I would use) vs. single choince (voting for the one device I would tell Eve to put their bet on).

Scenario 2: Making a single hub/dock with compromises but wider range of use

The probable combination would be feather + light + middle --> light.
As some of you already said, looking for compromises may not be the best option… or could actually end up working well. Not really sure. My opinion is that middle doesn’t add a lot over light and feather, so they could probably be merged. The question is: would that really appeal to anyone?

Maybe we should add this as an option in the poll: not only light, but an explicit one-fits-all light.

Scenario 3: Going for a modular design

There would be different options here:

Feather + Light (= Middle)
Middle + Super
Feather + Middle + Super (full modularity)

As I said above, assuming it is possible at all, we would need at least three modules to achieve full modularity without duplicating ports. But… this is probably not going to happen. :disappointed_relieved:

Middle + super has some potential, though. I would really like to explore this one. Either considering an eGPU module where you could plug a dock module, or making the GPU “pluggable” on a dock base. Or even adding case-less or under-the table designs to the mix.


Phew. That’s all for now.

I probably got overexcited here :man_facepalming: :rofl:


#134

What is the advantage, compared to a charge through port?

I think it has already explained that this implies adding a dac and an amp as well

Why optional? would you rather use a USB dongle instead?

Are you thinking in terms of internal or external storage?


#135

Thank you for your great summary @eldelacajita

You do not need an extra charger since it is included
You do not have two things to carry.
If you take it with you you could safe travel adapters, since a two Barrel plug is rather cheap to get.

I would opt for the same as the V charger plus the Power the dock itself will need (but that should not be much)
That should not need any active cooling and should work in a nice and quiet package.

I think excluding the psu from an egpu case could be hard, because a gpu needs multiple voltages and more Power than USB-PD can deliver, or am I wrong with this? That would mean you would need some Power supply in the egpu Part anyways


#136

True, provided that we are talking about a feather/lightweight travel dock. In which case I would be all in favour; with two docks like that (one for home, one for office/travel) you would not even need a bog-standard charger.


#137

If you want to have a stationary dock, not including a charger is no option either in my opinion.
You could outsource the AC/DC and supply it with Standard 20V DC, but then you would still need the USB-PD technology to change voltages on the inside which would probably still be rather big.

If you outsource the whole PD and use the one provided with your V. it could be (on a home dock) that you attach some power hungry devices and you exceed the power the charger can provide, that means the V would not charge properly anymore. So you would need another stronger power supply for your dock.

If you want to use your existing Power supply you loose the one plug everything works experience, since you would need to untangle your Power supply and attach it all the time.


#138

It looks like I have to go back to the v specifications, because I cannot remember the wattage of the charger :flushed:


#139

It seems to me that there’s a good deal of people who want the portability of the lightweight hub, even though the stats show most people wanted a stationary dock. As I read through the thread, I gotta say I really like @Mike option: A modular design that has a stationary dock (power, dual moniters, etc) with a lightweight hub that detaches and moves with the V. I would say though that the lightweight hub could be purchased separately and if someone wants the stationary dock it’s purchased all together as the lightweight hub would be the way the V would attach.

As far as eGPU is concerned, I think it just increases the price too far. I game on my desktop and I would think that those who need the gpu for work would do that work with the power of a desktop. But I’m no expert in that department.

Personally, I want the middleweight dock as a stationary place to put my V after I get home from a long day at work so it can charge on my clutter free desk.


#140

What if you have 2 chargers, like many of the buyers?

Sincere thanks for reading through - putting in the effort - and subsequently adding more value (such as this) to not only the idea, but the whole thread!


#141

I assume that right now USB PD chargers are still pretty rare, since some new phones still come with Micro USB…
But if I had to choose paying a little bit more for the dock with included charger, than for both seperated, I would go for the included version for mobility and reducing the number of things on my table.