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Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: February 19, 2024 08:20PM
The idea is to provide connectivity to:

2x 4k 60 herz monitors

USB-C 3.2 gen 2 hub for two NVME SSDs in gen 2 enclosures- mostly used for backup, so speed isn't crucial...

A usb 3.0 hub

A keyboard.

Ideally, I'd like something that has two HDMI ports. I don't quite track how USB-C works with Display Ports to provide a video signal; it looks like sometimes it works via compression, which I'd prefer to avoid. But if a dock has, say, 4 Tbolt ports, I guess I could connect them to the monitors with out compression, using a USB-C to HDMI cable?

Also, it kind of looks like all the docks suck, just differently. Anybody have one that either (a) has been rock solid, or (b) been solid enough, and are more affordable?

Thanks, all!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2024 09:14PM by anonymouse1.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: February 19, 2024 08:32PM
What computer are you connecting to it?

A base M1/M2/M3 chip will not natively support multiple external displays. A Pro/Max/Ultra will support multiple displays.

(There is a software solution, but it's notoriously unreliable.)

"Also, it kind of looks like all the ports suck..." No. Thunderbolt over USB-C is pretty great.



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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: February 19, 2024 09:13PM
It’s connecting to an M3 Pro.

And that was a typo-should have said “looks like all the _docks_ suck. Fixing the original now.
Quote
Tiangou
What computer are you connecting to it?

A base M1/M2/M3 chip will not natively support multiple external displays. A Pro/Max/Ultra will support multiple displays.

(There is a software solution, but it's notoriously unreliable.)

"Also, it kind of looks like all the ports suck..." No. Thunderbolt over USB-C is pretty great.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: clay
Date: February 19, 2024 09:58PM
this one has been rock-solid for me with two computers:
[www.amazon.com]

M1 mini base model and M2 Pro mini.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: February 19, 2024 10:05PM
Quote
anonymouse1
It’s connecting to an M3 Pro.

And that was a typo-should have said “looks like all the _docks_ suck. Fixing the original now.

Some docks are awesome!
[www.amazon.com]

Some docks are subtly awesome:
[www.amazon.com]

Some docks simply do the job admirably.
[www.amazon.com]

...And you don't really need two HDMI ports. If the dock supports multiple displays and has Thunderbolt out, just use a USB-C/HDMI cable where necessary. (Need actual Thunderbolt ports, not just USB-C.)

...

Edit: If you want to charge a "Pro" laptop off of it, look for 90w or more of charging power on the dock.







Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2024 10:10PM by Tiangou.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: pqrst
Date: February 19, 2024 10:40PM
OWC the sponsor who runs macresource has a great TB 3 dock. Give it a look
[eshop.macsales.com]
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: February 20, 2024 12:09AM
I think you should get either the 14 or 11 port OWC hubs



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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 20, 2024 06:55AM
Anonymouse,

Connections to the Thunderbolt ports on my iMac, my wife's Intel MBPr, my brother's Studio and M series machines have proven rock solid. USB-C, as a connector, is great.

The concern I have with what you're looking for is power delivery. You need to make sure any hub or dock you purchase can provide enough juice to run the SSDs. I wouldn't bring this up if they were standard drives with external power supplies. Bus-powered? That's a different matter entirely. I've found bus-powered drives (SSD or platter) work more reliably when connected directly to the Mac.

I'd look at your intended configuration differently. Get a hub/dock with enough ports to handle the displays and make sure it also provides enough USB ports to make the hub unnecessary.

If your machine has enough Thunderbolt ports on it, connect the hub/dock to one port. Connect the bus-powered SSDs to the other ports.

I took a quick look and the machines with M3 Pro chips all seem to have at least three Thunderbolt ports. So, I'm pretty sure the above is workable. This assumes I didn't miss something when looking at machines with an M3 Pro chip.

FWIW, there is no perfect Thunderbolt hub/dock. Each has its pros and cons.

I have the OWC Thunderbolt Hub connected to my 2019 iMac 5K 27". It works for me since I didn't need the extra "stuff" provided by other docks. It's been rock solid. However, I don't use it with bus-powered devices like external SSDs. Flash drives, yes. Connecting an iphone 111 Pro or 14 Pro or iPod Nano or iPad Mini, yes. If I needed to connect an external display (or two), it'd connect to the hub. External SSDs are always connected directly to the iMac.

Robert
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 21, 2024 06:34AM
If I need to get a TBolt dock, I want it to have four T3 or T4 ports, not three.

The cost of a dock always feels a little to a lot pricey to me for a net gain of two T ports.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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One of our ports is missing!
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 21, 2024 06:55AM
About this dock...



AMZ says:

4 x Thunderbolt 4 40Gb/s Ports...

I only see three T4 ports.

Is there a mistake in the product description or is there another port I don't see, or see as a T4 port.

By T4 ports, I'm referring to the USB-C interface ports denoted as T-Bolt ports by the lightning bolt.


I never did get the 'bolt of thunder' reference of the word thunderbolt.






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 21, 2024 08:00AM
RAM,

There is another Thunderbolt port on one of the sides. You see it in the 4th picture. You can also see it in a pic directly on Caldigit's site:

[www.caldigit.com]

It's more expensive than OWC's similar device but it is Thunderbolt 4 and has more USB A ports on it. That actually makes it dollar for dollar, better value overall than OWC's Thunderbolt Hub.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2024 01:52PM by Robert M.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: datbeme
Date: February 21, 2024 09:54AM
I own the OWC 11-port (which I find more useful than the 14-port based on the ports). Goes on sale from time to time for $199. Planned on getting the $400 Cal Digit TS4 but figured I'd start with this at half the price, and if I bump into any limitations, my wife could use it.

[eshop.macsales.com]

So similar to the smaller CalDigit with a few other ports (including Gig ethernet) that you may or may not need.

The OWC 14-port technically only gives you 1 useable TB port because the other one is connected to your computer. The 11-port gives you 3 useable TB4 ports in addition to the one you plug into on the front of the unit.
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Re: Recommendations for a Thunderbolt 3 dock?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: February 21, 2024 01:30PM
I see it, thank you, Robert!






I am that Masked Man.

All you can do, is all you can do.

There’s trouble — it's time to play the sound of my people.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
Options:  Reply • Quote
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