For business
PRIMETIME DEALS: 60% off Select Products. Discount applied at checkout.

Targus DOCK221 Thunderbolt™ 3 8K Docking Station with 85W Power Delivery Application Note

March 30, 20 - Posted in: 2020, Tech Talk by Kevin Quinn, Thee DocKtor
Targus DOCK221 Thunderbolt™ 3 8K Docking Station with 85W Power Delivery Application Note

Targus released the DOCK221 Thunderbolt™ 3 8K Docking Station with 85W Power Delivery superseding the Targus DOCK220.  While Thunderbolt and other USB-C® Alternate Modes are not universal (cannot be converted to USB Standard-A) the DOCK221 will perform best with Windows, macOS, and Linux Thunderbolt host platforms.  In addition, the DOCK221 will function with most USB-C Alternate Mode host platforms including those utilizing the Windows, Android (including DeX), iPad Pro, ThinPro, and other Operating Systems with USB-C Alternate Mode support.

At the time of this writing, functionality with Chrombooks, i.e. ChromeOS version 80.0.3987.158, was limited and graphics did not render.  The DOCK221 is not recommended for Chromebooks at this time.

The following Application Note explains the interoperability, functionality and performance users can expected when using the DOCK221 in various modes.  It also contains comparisons to other Targus docking stations and recommended configurations.


DOCK221 Ports 
Additional Features 
Power Delivery 
Video Performance 
Comparison to the DOCK220 
Comparison to the DOCK430 
Comparison to the DOCK190 
Recommended MacBook (no DisplayPort MST) Configuration 
Recommended Windows PC (with DisplayPort MST) Configuration 
Recommended USB-C Hot-Desking / Hoteling Configuration 
Known Issues 

DOCK221 Ports 

dock221 portsThe DOCK221 has two DisplayPort++ (DP) ports for display monitor connection(s).  These ports support up to applicable DP1.4a HBR3, HDR, MST, and DSC DisplayPort options to 8K resolution.  See the table below.

The DOCK221 has a downstream facing Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining, for a display monitor connection, or for other USB-C Alternate Mode devices i.e. a storage device.  The port can provide up to 5VDC @ 3A downstream facing power.

As with all of Targus docking stations the DOCK221 has a 1Gbp Ethernet RJ45 port supporting secure wire-speed LAN/WAN connectivity.  This Ethernet port supports PXE, WOL, and many other Ethernet features not often found in universal docking stations. 

It also has five USB 3.2 Gen 1 (aka USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 5Gbps) Type-A downstream facing ports.  The one on the front supports high power BC1.2 charging (5VDC @ 1.5W) for phones/tablets/etc. The other Type-A ports provide up to 5VDC @ 900mA and can power many USB Standard-A devices.

A USB 3.2 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed+ 10Gbps) Type-C downstream facing port with 5VDC @ 900mA power delivery is also on the front.  You can plug a flash drive or other peripheral into this port for 10Gbps USB performance.  You can even plug a Targus Universal Docking Station, i.e. the DOCK570, for even more display monitors, assuming your host graphics can drive them.

The DOCK221 has a 3.5mm combo in/stereo out audio port on the front for headphones, a microphone, or other combo audio device.

An SD 4.0 card reader slot is also on the front of the device.  Manu use this slot to keep important external storage available for the hosts being connected.

Additional Features 

The DOCK221 has the preverbal lock slot and also previsions for mounting via the Targus ACX003GLZ VESA mounting bracket.
A detachable/replaceable 0.8M passive 40 Gbps 5A Thunderbolt 3 Type-C cable comes with the DOCK221 for a serviceable connection between the upstream facing Thunderbolt 3 port and the host device. Use only the included Targus Thunderbolt 3 cable for connecting to host devices. Contact Targus for spares or replacement options.

The DOCK221 also comes with its own full range AC input power supply for the DOCK221 power and the host power delivery.

The DOCK221 power button is used to toggle the DOCK221 power ON/OFF.  Some host devices will wake from sleep upon toggling the power button OFF/ON.  Host implementations supporting power button operation vary.

A white LED illuminates when the DOCK221 is powered and toggled ON.  An LED illuminates purple when a Power Delivery contract is established between the DOCK221 and a Host device.

At the time of this writing the Targus Docking Station Utilities have not been validated with the DOCK221. Targus WiFi AutoSwitch and MAC Address Clone are planned for both Windows and macOS platforms.

Power Delivery

The DOCK221 Power Delivery is implemented to the applicable PD3.0 specifications supporting PD3.0/PD2.0 power contracts at 5VDC (phones), 9VDC (Apple), 15VDC (many Dell, HP, and Lenovo) and 20VDC (MacBook and higher performance PC) up to 85W. It does not support a 12VDC (some older HP) power requirement.

20VDC @ 4.25A (85WDC) is more than adequate for most host devices. If connected to a device that wants more than 85W the DOCK221 will contract at the maximum power contract the host device requests up to 85W.
For example, if connected to a PD2.0 host like a Dell Precision that can request up to 130W, the DOCK221 and Precision will contract at 65WDC (20VDC @ 3.25A). The devices will contract at the maximum contract the host device supports.

For example, if connected to PD3.0 host like the 2019 MBP 16” that can request up to 94W, the DOCK221 and Macbook will contract at 85W (20VDC @ 4.25A). The devices will contract at the maximum contract the DOCK221 supports.
Windows users may see an optional Billboard that can be ignored or turned off.

Video Performance 

The DOCK221 is great for applications requiring uncompressed or near loss-less video rendering. It can be configured to support a single 8K or dual external 4K UHD monitor displays.

Video features and performance depend on the host graphics capabilities with the Titan Ridge connection manager, host connection topology, the monitor(s) capabilities, and the monitor(s) connection including the cable(s) thereof. The following table shows the maximum resolution and timing available in various configurations.

video performance

Comparison to the DOCK220

The DOCK221 uses the latest Intel Thunderbolt chipset, code named Titan Ridge and is implemented to be compatible with both Thunderbolt and other Alt. Mode host platforms. The DOCK220 was implemented with the Alpine Ridge chipset and required connection to a Thunderbolt 3 host.

The DOCK221 utilized an MST switch to provide dual video from its dual DP ports. The DOCK220 did not support MST this way.

Comparison to the DOCK430

comparison to the dock430

The DOCK221 uses a Thunderbolt 3 connection to the host, compatible with Alt. Mode hosts. When connected to a Thunderbolt 3 host the Thunderbolt tunnel can support the equivalent of two-streams of four-lanes each of DisplayPort data.

The DOCK430 uses a USB-C Multi-Function DisplayPort Alternate Mode connection to the host. When connected to either a USB-C Alternate Mode or Thunderbolt 3 host it has not more than two-lanes of DisplayPort data.

Comparison to the DOCK190

comparison to the dock 190

The DOCK221 requires a Thunderbolt 3 host connection for maximum performance and functionality. It can also be connected to a USB-C Alternate Mode host port for limited performance and functionality. With either of the connections many high-resolution video performance configurations are possible without the need for aggressive compression. The DisplayLink software is not required for the DOCK221.

The DOCK190 is a Universal Docking Station compatible with Thunderbolt, other USB-C Alternate Modes, and even USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps SuperSpeed) host connections in USB-C or USB Standard-A. It utilizes the DisplayLink adaptive compression technology for video and data over USB. The DOCK190 supports Power Delivery to 100WDC and its power can be converted to legacy/barrel type host power in Standard-A host platform connection situations. This includes supporting Windows PC, Ubuntu PC, Macbooks, Chromebooks, and Android host platforms with only USB Standard-A/B connector ports. The DisplayLink software is required for the DOCK190.


While the DOCK221 is compatible with just about every Type-C technology, the only mode that the DOCK221 does not function with is regular USB 3.2. It cannot be converted to work with a USB Type-A/B ports containing only USB protocol, use a Universal Docking Stations like the Targus DOCK190 for that.

One of the Alternate Modes (i.e. Thunderbolt or DisplayPort) must be present for the DOCK221 Upstream Facing Type-C connection. The DOCK221 has been validated with the current releases of the following:

• Windows 10 PC with Alternate Mode (DP, MFDP, Thunderbolt) Type-C Port
• macOS latest releases of Mojave, Catalina and BigSur, the latter recommended
• Linux platforms supporting Type-C Alternate Mode technologies and Power Delivery (various)
• Android platforms supporting Type-C Alternate Modes
• Various Embedded and Thin Client OS including HP ThinPro platforms supporting Alternate Modes

For proper secure operation and performance, it is recommended and often required that the upstream device host be updated per the manufacturer. This may include BIOS updates, firmware updates, driver updates, Thunderbolt software updates, graphics updates, USB host controller updates, monitor driver updates, OS updates, and other updates. Please refer to the host device manufacturers web support sites for these updates.

There are no firmware updates to the DOCK221 currently available or planned. Contact Targus to understand if a DOCK221 firmware update is available. If so, it will also be posted on the Targus support site.

Recommended Macbook (no DisplayPort MST) Configuration 

thunderbolt logoLate model MacBook utilize the Thunderbolt tunnel to support the equivalent of two-streams of four-lanes each of DisplayPort data. They do not support utilizing DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) for daisy chaining DisplayPort data with capable display monitors. These late model MacBook do support Thunderbolt daisy chaining for multiple monitors.

It is necessary to use the DOCK221 downstream facing Thunderbolt port for a second external monitor display rendering. In this configuration utilize either one of the DOCK221 downstream facing DP ports for the first external display monitor up to and use the downstream facing Thunderbolt port for the second display monitor up to. A USB-C Alt. Mode cable adapter for HDMI or DP is supplied separately to support this configuration. Targus recommends either the ACA969GL USB-C to HDMI Adaptor or the ACA968 USB-C to DisplayPort Adaptor.

This configuration is also recommended for Windows PC with a Thunderbolt host connection to the DOCK221. However, it does not support dual external monitors when connecting the DOCK221 to Windows PC USB-C Alternate Mode host port.

This configuration is recommended for predominantly Thunderbolt host connections.

Recommended Windows PC (with DisplayPort MST) Configuration

displayport logo

Late model Windows PC with USB-C Alt. Mode host ports support MST. Here it is possible to connect both external monitor displays to each of the DOCK221 downstream facing DP++ ports. However, it does not support dual extended monitors when connecting the DOCK221 to a Windows PC Thunderbolt host port.

This configuration is recommended for predominantly USB Type-C Alternate Mode PC host connections.

Recommended USB-C Hot-Desking / Hoteling Configuration

Because the DOCK221 was designed to support both DisplayPort MST and downstream Thunderbolt daisy chaining, but not simultaneously, it is only possible to support a dual external display monitor rendering in environments with only USB-C hosts (no USB 3.1 Type-C or Standard-A).

In hot desking scenario the DOCK220 can be setup for a Thunderbolt host with the understanding that connecting to an Alt. Mode host will enable rendering on only one external display monitor. Alternatively, DOCK221 can be setup for a PC with the understanding that when connecting to a Thunderbolt host only one external monitor will render graphics.

In environments with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Alt. Mode hosts it is recommended to connect a single monitor to either of the DOCK221 downstream facing DP++ ports. The downstream facing Thunderbolt 3 port can be used for a compatible Thunderbolt 3 storage device or any other compatible device including USB devices.

Known Issues 

Targus has observed intermittent video sync issues when connecting with 2019 MBP 16” and DisplayPort display monitors.

Some devices including USB-C video cable adapters do not enumerate consistently when connected to the DOCK221 downstream facing port and then connecting the DOCK221 to a MacBook host.


Contact your Targus DocKtor to discuss your application(s) and the best Targus Docking Station for them.


Contact your Targus Representative for more information, pricing, and availability


Discover Targus / 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 / 2022 / 2023 / 2024 / Airport / Business / Case Study / Docks / Industrial Design / iPad Cases / Laptop Backpacks / Lifestyle / Tech / Tech Talk / Technology / Tips and Tricks / Travel