StarTech chassis is a solid expansion option for Mac laptops despite some video limitations

StarTech’s $316.99 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis with DisplayPort is a useful turnkey solution for those wanting to beef up the expansion options on their Mac laptop (or, okay, Windows laptops), though its video options are slightly limited. The chassis lets you add your choice of external PCI Express (PCIe) card to a laptop.

The Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis with DisplayPort can handle a variety of PCIe expansion cards, such as a PCIe USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 and USB-C, SSD, network, eSATA, FireWire or video capture cards. It sports a dedicated port for connecting a DisplayPort monitor. You can attach a second extended monitor display via the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port.

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However, it doesn’t support video cards and doesn’t provide full power delivery. 5K support can only be achieved using a Thunderbolt 3 5K monitor. DisplayPort 5K monitors won’t work with StarTech’s chassis.

A 4K-capable display is required to achieve 4K x 2K resolution (4K is also known as 4K x 2K). Certain monitors may be limited to 4K at 30Hz when connecting through DisplayPort. These monitors include the following models: Dell P2715Q, Viewsonic VX2475Smhl-4K, Philips 288P6LJEB, LG 31MU97C-B, Asus PB287Q (these models will need to be set to 4K at 30Hz).

Also, the Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis with DisplayPort provides 15W of power, resulting in a slow charge to some laptops, such as a MacBook Pro.

On a brighter note, the Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis with DisplayPort supports Thunderbolt 3 daisy chaining. You can daisy chain up to six devices. The chassis — which measures 3.2 x 11 inches and weighs 6.9 pounds — should last a long time as it’s made of durable aluminum and steel and packs an internal cooling fan to keep things running, well, cool.

The Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis with DisplayPort expansion chassis is available for purchase individually, or bundled with one of a variety of StarTech.com PCIe cards. The bundles available include 10 Gigabit networking, USB 3.1, FireWire, and m.2 SSD connections. The chassis is backed by a two-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★