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MacRumors
Feb 14, 2013, 02:22 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/02/14/belkin-finally-taking-pre-orders-for-thunderbolt-express-dock/)


Belkin is taking pre-orders (http://www.belkin.com/us/p/F4U055tt) for its $299 Thunderbolt Express Dock and is telling buyers that it should begin shipping next week.
http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/02/NewImage1.pngThe Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock is an easy, powerful way to take advantage of Thunderbolt technology. The Thunderbolt Express Dock lets you use a single connection to create high-speed, reliable transfers between your laptop and up to eight other devices, including FireWire, Ethernet, USB, and daisy chaining multiple Thunderbolt devices.

- 1 Thunderbolt port
- 1 FireWire 800 port
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
- 3 USB 3.0 ports (max 2.5Gbps transfer rate)
- 1 3.5mm-out port
- 1 3.5mm-in portBelkin first showed off its Thunderbolt Express Dock back in September of 2011 (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/13/belkin-shows-off-upcoming-thunderbolt-express-dock/), promising 3 USB ports, an outbound Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining, a FireWire 800 port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

In January 2012, an HDMI port and a 3.5mm audio out plug were added to the dock (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/09/ces-2012-belkin-thunderbolt-express-dock-to-launch-in-september-at-299/) which was priced at $300. In June 2012, Belkin added USB 3.0, an audio in port, and eSATA while bumping the price to $400.

At CES last month, Belkin removed the eSATA port (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/01/07/ces-2013-belkin-drops-esata-support-for-upcoming-thunderbolt-express-dock-cuts-price-back-to-299/) and dropped the price back down to $299.

Now, close to a year-and-a-half after it was first announced, the Thunderbolt Express Dock (http://www.belkin.com/us/p/F4U055tt) is here. Matrox has a similar dock with slightly different ports that launched in December (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/12/matrox-launches-ds1-thunderbolt-docking-station-for-249/) for $249.

Article Link: Belkin Finally Taking Pre-Orders for Thunderbolt Express Dock (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/02/14/belkin-finally-taking-pre-orders-for-thunderbolt-express-dock/)



mus0r
Feb 14, 2013, 02:30 PM
Still too much money.

troop231
Feb 14, 2013, 02:31 PM
Great, now just lower the price! :D

charlieegan3
Feb 14, 2013, 02:32 PM
I've said it before and ill say it again: this is just to expensive.

keysofanxiety
Feb 14, 2013, 02:43 PM
The ports on this could probably be useful for if you've only got a MacBook Air or something. But then if you really need the ports, you'd have spent an extra $300 on a MacBook Pro in the first place.

Yeah, just repeating what everybody else said, really. Too much cash. :(

CJK
Feb 14, 2013, 02:44 PM
#1 - it's way too expensive for what it is
#2 - it's made by Belkin

Pass.

oneMadRssn
Feb 14, 2013, 02:45 PM
I would consider buying it at $50, and I would consider asking for it if my employer were to pay for it at $100, but it boggles my mind that they would sell a single one of these at $300.

Crzyrio
Feb 14, 2013, 02:46 PM
I would much prefer this baby ---> http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php

...If they ever release it. I have always wanted a dock like that for my macbook

Imac Sam
Feb 14, 2013, 02:49 PM
I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter. Then I would be golden with my Mid-2011 Imac.

Jimmy James
Feb 14, 2013, 02:49 PM
Connection ports for my Mac or an iPad mini. Easy choice!

curmudgeon32
Feb 14, 2013, 02:51 PM
The only scenario this makes sense for is someone who travels with a laptop and then brings it home and plugs it into an external monitor and hard drives and a bunch of other stuff and who is willing to spend a bunch of money to only have to plug in a single cable.

But hell, in that scenario, you're spending $350 (once you factor in buying a Thunderbolt cable) and you could just plop down another $150 and have a mac mini sitting there connected to all that stuff.

inlinevolvo
Feb 14, 2013, 02:54 PM
Hey, I would be willing to buy this. I have some monopoly cash under one of these sofas!

Jovian9
Feb 14, 2013, 02:55 PM
For this price I'd want it to have a built in hard drive as well to help me make use of the Thunderbolt technology other than plugging other stuff in. Way too expensive IMO

DJJAZZYJET
Feb 14, 2013, 03:01 PM
I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter. Then I would be golden with my Mid-2011 Imac.

yes please

iPusch
Feb 14, 2013, 03:05 PM
I feel like I have two dumb Thunderbolt ports in my Mac which will be never in use, they are just there, getting dusty^^ Hope they won't stop supporting them, otherwise it'd be even more stupid to have ports which do no even exist :D oh boy, stupid ports :cool:

Glassed Silver
Feb 14, 2013, 03:05 PM
Everytime a company releases an overpriced (read: any) Thunderbolt accessory a kitten dies...

I heard cats are an endangered species now...

Glassed Silver:mac

nilk
Feb 14, 2013, 03:22 PM
Belkin's dock is the first of the Thunderbolt accessories that appears to be a complete docking solution. The Matrox DS1 doesn't support resolutions beyond 1920x1200, lacks Firewire, and doesn't have a Thunderbolt passthrough. Apple's own Thunderbolt Display doesn't have an audio out port and only has USB 2.0.

Belkin's dock has Thunderbolt passthrough, Firewire, USB 3.0, audio ports. I assume you can plug in a DisplayPort display (including higher res ones like 2560x1600 displays) into the Thunderbolt port on this dock, but I'd like to know for sure (Belkin's specs don't say). Assuming it can do that, the only thing more that I'd like to see more in a Thunderbolt dock is the ability to plugin in two non-ThunderBolt displays (maybe one DisplayPort and one HDMI), while still having an a Thunderbolt passthrough.

A lot of people here are going to complain about the price. Sure, I'm not planning to rush out and get this at this price point (my home machines don't have Thunderbolt anyway), but I'm happy to see some more complete solutions appearing. Right now there is no comparable docks as this, so naturally the price will be high. To put the $300 price into perspective, this is in the same ball park of DisplayPort KVMs, the cheapest of which are $300 (and that's ones that support only two devices, more than 2 is really expensive). Not exactly the same thing, but it's the closest thing I can compare it to.

el-John-o
Feb 14, 2013, 03:34 PM
It's a neat convenience product, but it's awfully expensive without adding any real functionality to the machine.

I'm still waiting for a thunderbolt dock that will support multiple monitor out. The DisplayPort technology built in to thunderbolt already supports daisy chaining or hubs for DisplayPort, so it's 100% possible to do, just nobody is doing it yet...

SloanNYC
Feb 14, 2013, 03:37 PM
I'm interested because I am slimming down to using just my Macbook Air which only has 1 Thunderbolt and 2 USB 2.0 ports. For me, $350 extends the capabilities of this laptop to be suitable for another year or so and still allows me to use my Dell monitor for a second, larger screen. eSata would have been great, but FW800 is way better than the USB 2.0 I'm using for a RAID backup system. It might make sense to sell the Air and buy a new laptop instead, but this is cheaper right now, and I think the prices for the Retina Macbook Pros will continue to come down and storage space for SSDs will go up, so I'll wait on that. I think this would be a solid piece of gear for another 3-4 years too with the Thunderbolt pass through and USB 3.0.

FloatingBones
Feb 14, 2013, 03:38 PM
I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter.

Since new Macs have USB 3.0, this sounds like a tough sell for a manufacturer.

You can go with the Sonnet TB to Expresscard/34 box and get a USB 3.0 Expresscard for that. That's clearly a sub-optimal solution, and you'd have to be careful that drivers worked correctly.

I think your only real solution is to upgrade to a current Mac.

nilk
Feb 14, 2013, 03:44 PM
The only scenario this makes sense for is someone who travels with a laptop and then brings it home and plugs it into an external monitor and hard drives and a bunch of other stuff and who is willing to spend a bunch of money to only have to plug in a single cable.

But hell, in that scenario, you're spending $350 (once you factor in buying a Thunderbolt cable) and you could just plop down another $150 and have a mac mini sitting there connected to all that stuff.

When you're spending $3500 on a maxed out 15" rMBP config, and $1200+ on a 30" monitor ($4700 total), $350 is still a lot, but not that huge of a stretch, and a base model Mac Mini just isn't going to cut it, especially if you do most of your work on the rMBP and don't want to worry about managing multiple machines and want a seamless experience.

Let's say you already having the 30" monitor, buying this to add TB capabilities instead of buying a $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display (which lacks audio out and lacks USB 3.0) may actually make sense.

Personally I wouldn't buy at this price point, but I can imagine someone who would, or I can imagine companies buying their developers or other professional employees this.

MagnusVonMagnum
Feb 14, 2013, 04:47 PM
It needs to be priced around half that, IMO to really have any hopes of selling in large quantities and it really should have around 5-6 USB 3.0 ports, IMO, not just three (still can't find a good 7-port hub here that works right and I already have 4-ports built into my Mini and a 7-port USB 2.0 hub on top of that and I'm still running out of ports half the time while my Thunderbolt port is only used for a 2nd monitor and FW goes unused, although both my FW ports get used on my 2008 MBP between a backup drive for it and a FW audio interface).

I could see someone with a 2011 Mac that only has Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 buying this, though since it would give them USB 3.0 and there's really no other way for them to get it (ironically I CAN buy a USB 3.0 card for my 2008 Macbook Pro since it has the Express Card expansion slot in it, although I think it wouldn't quite be full speed, but still better than 2.0).

SvK
Feb 14, 2013, 04:55 PM
I would much prefer this baby ---> http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php

...If they ever release it. I have always wanted a dock like that for my macbook

WOW

pre-ordered.
Desktop replacement now a complete reality with this thing.

thanks so much for sharing,

best,
SvK

el-John-o
Feb 14, 2013, 04:58 PM
I would much prefer this baby ---> http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php

...If they ever release it. I have always wanted a dock like that for my macbook

Those are definitely very cool. I sent them an e-mail a while back and those will only be Retina MBP compatible, but still pretty awesome.

My only concern is, it appears to be three miniDP ports with no thunderbolt capability. That means no thunderbolt passthrough, and also, perhaps no compatibility with the Thunderbolt displays? It'd work with the Cinema display, but perhaps not thunderbolt...

SvK
Feb 14, 2013, 05:26 PM
Those are definitely very cool. I sent them an e-mail a while back and those will only be Retina MBP compatible, but still pretty awesome.

My only concern is, it appears to be three miniDP ports with no thunderbolt capability. That means no thunderbolt passthrough, and also, perhaps no compatibility with the Thunderbolt displays? It'd work with the Cinema display, but perhaps not thunderbolt...

Good news...they ARE making a thunderbolt equpped one for an extra 60$....sent a n email and got instant reply!

Thunderbolt on the back......I can't wait!

I have 2 27's and a Plasma for the movie im scoring too. Also a Thunderbolt UAD audio interface and the PEGA tower for all my external SSDs...

bye, bye MAcPro


kinda cool!


best,
SvK

fourthtunz
Feb 14, 2013, 05:43 PM
I've just sold my mac pro and now just have my mac book pro and
one of these docks are going to get my money!
If you've got a lot of stuff to plug in and you want to be mobile this makes more sense than having two MacBooks!

gnurf
Feb 14, 2013, 05:47 PM
Since new Macs have USB 3.0, this sounds like a tough sell for a manufacturer.


My 11 or so USB devices won't fit. At least two are going to need USB3 speeds too (big audio interface, external drive) to make me happy. The rest could work with USB2 hubs, but why settle for less when USB3 is the new standard? ;)

So yes, people exist who would buy pure USB3 hubs over TB.

Fatalbert
Feb 14, 2013, 06:55 PM
Why are all these TB adaptors/docks so expensive??! I hope these useless TB ports on the new Macs finally pay off later. FireWire is much more useful ATM.

kk1ro
Feb 14, 2013, 07:01 PM
I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter. Then I would be golden with my Mid-2011 Imac.

Exactly. It surprises me how no one is working on one...
That and an SSD is all I need to make my late-2011 MBP last a couple more years.

Mr. Retrofire
Feb 14, 2013, 07:39 PM
Why are all these TB adaptors/docks so expensive??!
They use older Thunderbolt controllers, which means they need a lot of external components (other ICs). More components = higher costs. And the market is pretty small.

Zoboomafoo
Feb 14, 2013, 07:57 PM
I would consider buying it at $50, and I would consider asking for it if my employer were to pay for it at $100, but it boggles my mind that they would sell a single one of these at $300.

You know it's too expensive when you'd feel bad asking your employer to buy one FOR YOU....

iCaleb
Feb 14, 2013, 07:57 PM
Why is the usb 3.0 speed so bad on this dock?

eagandale4114
Feb 15, 2013, 01:25 AM
I would much prefer this baby ---> http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php

...If they ever release it. I have always wanted a dock like that for my macbook

What does it use to connect to the mac?

aberhow
Feb 15, 2013, 02:51 AM
Early April Fools'!!!

Vidivici
Feb 15, 2013, 03:19 AM
Why is the usb 3.0 speed so bad on this dock?

Bad ? It's 2.5Gbps , or over 300MB/s , no hard drive in the world will notice this.
Unless you start with expensive Raid 0 devices or top line SSD's

Normal external drives do not top 150-160MB/s

freediverx
Feb 15, 2013, 06:58 AM
Is it even aluminum, or is that silver-painted plastic?
This should cost $50 tops.

dma550
Feb 15, 2013, 08:05 AM
Is it even aluminum, or is that silver-painted plastic?
This should cost $50 tops.

I think it has more going on inside, if you break out the individual component costs, like the ethernet $50, the USB, etc.

Personally I would give up the FW for esata.

Now, when I look at Henge's solution, I see it as something more for not too much more money.

curmudgeon32
Feb 15, 2013, 09:45 AM
Let's say you already having the 30" monitor, buying this to add TB capabilities instead of buying a $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display (which lacks audio out and lacks USB 3.0) may actually make sense.
True, true. There's also monitor spanning, which a lot of people might want to do with their laptop+external setup.

theluggage
Feb 15, 2013, 11:40 AM
It's a neat convenience product, but it's awfully expensive without adding any real functionality to the machine.

rMBPs and Airs don't have Ethernet or Firewire - this provides it.
2011 MBPs don't have USB3 - this provides it.

If you already have Ethernet, Firewire or USB3, this doubles up your interfaces... note, this provides extra interfaces not to be confused with other 'port replicator' docks.

OK, so having two Ethernet interfaces isn't an obvious plus but you could, for example, turn your Mac Mini server into a firewall/router for your cable modem.

Having said that - yeah, its a bit much for a Belkin. Bring back the eSATA, throw in a thunderbolt cable, include a MagSafe PSU in the box and stick it all in a nice lump of Jony-Ive-esque machined aluminium and I'll take one.


I'm still waiting for a thunderbolt dock that will support multiple monitor out.

As I understand it, you only get 1 display per Thunderbolt controller - either built in (as per the Apple Thunderbolt Display) or connected to the TB through port.

el-John-o
Feb 15, 2013, 03:36 PM
rMBPs and Airs don't have Ethernet or Firewire - this provides it.
2011 MBPs don't have USB3 - this provides it.

If you already have Ethernet, Firewire or USB3, this doubles up your interfaces... note, this provides extra interfaces not to be confused with other 'port replicator' docks.

OK, so having two Ethernet interfaces isn't an obvious plus but you could, for example, turn your Mac Mini server into a firewall/router for your cable modem.

Having said that - yeah, its a bit much for a Belkin. Bring back the eSATA, throw in a thunderbolt cable, include a MagSafe PSU in the box and stick it all in a nice lump of Jony-Ive-esque machined aluminium and I'll take one.



As I understand it, you only get 1 display per Thunderbolt controller - either built in (as per the Apple Thunderbolt Display) or connected to the TB through port.

That's true, it does add functionality for certain models.

Anyway, for the thunderbolt; a thunderbolt port contains DisplayPort 1.2 technology. That's why I'm able to use any old miniDP connector or monitor with that port. DisplayPort 1.2 supports daisy chaining or hubs, i.e., multiple monitors on one port. That doesn't mean Apple hasn't done something to make that not work, BUT, the DisplayPort portion of thunderbolt SHOULD, in theory, allow it to happen.

There is already a dock available for pre-order that has THREE miniDP ports on the back of it. They are not thunderbolt, but miniDP. Now, the rMBP has two thunderbolt ports, so it could be using both, but that means at least one of them has to be using the DisplayPort Daisy Chaining or Hub feature. Unfortunately, it's a rMBP only dock (it's a physical dock, not one that just plugs in with a cable) I'd like to see one similar to the belkin dock, but the DisplayPort hub capabilities. Even if not, if someone would FINALLY come out with a DisplayPort Hub, I'd be happy with that too. Some companies have hubs that will stretch a display or use software, but so far NOBODY is building a DP 1.2 compliant hub that supports native multiple monitors through one port. Perhaps there aren't many folks like me who want to use multiple external monitors with their notebook I guess.

Another option for me is to get a thunderbolt display (talk about pricey) which does support daisy chaining to a miniDP display. But, that's another huge expense when I already have two displays, and won't work with my Windows machine. The goal here, is to be able to use either my windows machine OR my mac on both of my displays (27" Cinema and another 23" display)

theluggage
Feb 15, 2013, 04:34 PM
Now, the rMBP has two thunderbolt ports, so it could be using both, but that means at least one of them has to be using the DisplayPort Daisy Chaining or Hub feature.


Maybe - but download the photo gallery for the "Henge" dock and look at the top and back views and compare those with pictures of the rMBP from the Apple website: you can clearly see where the dock connects to the rMBP. The three connections on the left would be 2xTB/DisplayPort and a USB3. The two on the right would be a second USB3 port and... HDMI. Yet there's no HDMI on the dock.

So the dock could be using HDMI to get the third signal - which is what other demos of three monitors on the rMBP (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/20/retina-macbook-pro-can-run-three-external-displays-simultaneously/) have done.


Another option for me is to get a thunderbolt display (talk about pricey) which does support daisy chaining to a miniDP display.

Unfortunately, its been widely reported (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/16/apple-thunderbolt-display-with-multiple-monitors/) that it doesn't - unless you chain another thunderbolt peripheral from the Thunderbolt display and chain the DisplayPort device from that.

As I said - each TB controller extracts 1 display signal and one PCIe bus lane. The TB monitor uses the display signal to drive its screen - to get another display signal you need a second TB controller.

ZipZap
Feb 15, 2013, 05:28 PM
useless without 3 TB ports

Chaszmyr
Feb 15, 2013, 05:30 PM
Doesn't look available to order to me... It still says they can notify me when it's available.

stevejolly
Feb 15, 2013, 06:33 PM
I'm surprised that there haven't been more loud whines about Belkin's elimination of an HDMI port. It isn't even mentioned in MacRumors's earlier story about Belkin's dropping the eSATA port from its dock. Just kinda slipped away into the dusk...

I'd pay some good money ($300+, easy) to be able to add a second big display to my 2012 MacBook Pro (I already have a nice 27" Samsung using up my one TB port) without popping for an Apple Thunderbolt Display. My MBP is NOT an rMBP, which brings up Apple's decision to not include two TBolt ports or a dedicated HDMI port on the mid-2012 15" MBP; but I digress.

Belkin is leaving a lot of $$$ on the table by not providing for a second external display. FCP users and graphics semi-pros like me could get much more mileage out of our MBP's with an HDMI port in addition to the TB out (and thus two BIG displays) along with the other dock goodies. eSATA I don't miss -- HDMI, I do! And please note my dying breath: "We are NOT going to buy non-upgradable rMBP's!" (Why am I turning blue?)

The current Belkin configuration won't help us any -- obviously, the dock, as now configured, just moves the existing limitation (and problem) one TB cable's length away. Whine, whiiine, whiiiiiiine...!

el-John-o
Feb 15, 2013, 11:13 PM
Maybe - but download the photo gallery for the "Henge" dock and look at the top and back views and compare those with pictures of the rMBP from the Apple website: you can clearly see where the dock connects to the rMBP. The three connections on the left would be 2xTB/DisplayPort and a USB3. The two on the right would be a second USB3 port and... HDMI. Yet there's no HDMI on the dock.

So the dock could be using HDMI to get the third signal - which is what other demos of three monitors on the rMBP (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/20/retina-macbook-pro-can-run-three-external-displays-simultaneously/) have done.


Ohhh, I forgot about the HDMI port. Well that WOULD explain it then. Hmm. Still though, since it's DisplayPort 1.2 compatible, doesn't that mean it HAS to support all DP 1.2 features in order to use the standard? Maybe I'm grasping at straws but I'm really hoping that if DP hubs ever do come out, that they'll be compatible through my Mac's thunderbolt port.


Unfortunately, its been widely reported (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/16/apple-thunderbolt-display-with-multiple-monitors/) that it doesn't - unless you chain another thunderbolt peripheral from the Thunderbolt display and chain the DisplayPort device from that.

As I said - each TB controller extracts 1 display signal and one PCIe bus lane. The TB monitor uses the display signal to drive its screen - to get another display signal you need a second TB controller.

Ah, I recall reading that, that's right. The TB display sure is funky. For example, I've always understood that the video is carried by DisplayPort. I've always seen the diagrams showing something like this;

DisplayPort -->
Thunderbolt
PCI-Express -->

So, one thing I never understood, is why the TB display is not compatible with MiniDP? Even with reduced features. I would own one, except they aren't compatible with DisplayPort or anything BUT thunderbolt. I would be perfectly fine with losing all of the 'dock' features when plugging it in to my desktop PC's graphics card. Then I could use those features with my MBP when it's plugged into it. But I ordered the Cinema Display instead because of it's compatibility with my other machines. Simple cheap adapters will make it work with anything. In my mind, in order for thunderbolt to carry 'video', there'd basically have to be a GPU at the other end (in the display) which there's not.

iFixIt did a teardown and it seems like, from what I understand, the TB display does in fact use miniDP for video, but creates some sort of a 'handshake' with thunderbolt, and requires it (which we already know) to work. But, I just don't understand why Apple decided not to allow a 'legacy' mode where it could work as a Cinema Display?

I dunno. Still crossing my fingers for DP hubs that will work with a MBP, so I don't have to resort to a USB 'video adapter' for my other monitor.

Edit: Re-read it. Actually, the panel itself connects to the logic board via displayport. So it is, in fact, a DisplayPort monitor. But the thunderbolt logic board lacks the ability to 'pass through' displayport signals from a graphics card (like my 7970 in my desktop with miniDP). Too bad!

theluggage
Feb 16, 2013, 05:58 AM
So, one thing I never understood, is why the TB display is not compatible with MiniDP? Even with reduced features. I would own one, except they aren't compatible with DisplayPort or anything BUT thunderbolt.


The thunderbolt chip in the computer takes 2 PCIe 'lanes' from the CPU, 2 DisplayPort outputs from the GPU and encodes them into a single Thunderbolt 'signal'. That signal is incomprehensible to DisplayPort devices.

I think people misunderstand what happens when you plug a MiniDP device into the Thunderbolt socket on your computer. The MiniDP device doesn't take the Thunderbolt signal, ignore the PCIe bits and just use the DisplayPort data. What happens is that the Thunderbolt controller detects that you've connected a legacy device, and switches into MiniDP mode - routing a video signal straight from the GPU into the MiniDP device.

A TB peripheral controller chip can extract one PCIe lane and one video channel from the TB signal. If you daisychain a MiniDP device to the peripheral, the 'thru' port has to morph back into a MiniDP port and output a video signal - but the only video source it has is the video channel extracted by the controller chip. If the peripheral is a disc drive or something that's fine, but if its a display then its already using that signal. Add a second peripheral, with its own TB chip extracting the second video channel, and you can hang a MiniDP device off of that.

As for the ATD using DisplayPort internally - part of the idea of DisplayPort was that it could replace both the external DVI/HDMI connection and the internal LVDS interface previously used to connect display panels.

Having said that, every other high end monitor offers a choice of connections so I don't think there's any just cause or impediment why Apple couldn't produce a display with Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, DVI and/or HDMI inputs or, for that matter, produce 'proper' Thunderbolt-to-DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort adapters rather than recycling the old MiniDP ones.

el-John-o
Feb 16, 2013, 11:12 AM
The thunderbolt chip in the computer takes 2 PCIe 'lanes' from the CPU, 2 DisplayPort outputs from the GPU and encodes them into a single Thunderbolt 'signal'. That signal is incomprehensible to DisplayPort devices.

I think people misunderstand what happens when you plug a MiniDP device into the Thunderbolt socket on your computer. The MiniDP device doesn't take the Thunderbolt signal, ignore the PCIe bits and just use the DisplayPort data. What happens is that the Thunderbolt controller detects that you've connected a legacy device, and switches into MiniDP mode - routing a video signal straight from the GPU into the MiniDP device.

A TB peripheral controller chip can extract one PCIe lane and one video channel from the TB signal. If you daisychain a MiniDP device to the peripheral, the 'thru' port has to morph back into a MiniDP port and output a video signal - but the only video source it has is the video channel extracted by the controller chip. If the peripheral is a disc drive or something that's fine, but if its a display then its already using that signal. Add a second peripheral, with its own TB chip extracting the second video channel, and you can hang a MiniDP device off of that.

As for the ATD using DisplayPort internally - part of the idea of DisplayPort was that it could replace both the external DVI/HDMI connection and the internal LVDS interface previously used to connect display panels.

Having said that, every other high end monitor offers a choice of connections so I don't think there's any just cause or impediment why Apple couldn't produce a display with Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, DVI and/or HDMI inputs or, for that matter, produce 'proper' Thunderbolt-to-DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort adapters rather than recycling the old MiniDP ones.

Right and that makes sense, but I just feel like (futily, I know that's not Apple's way) being that the LG display inside the monitor is in fact a DP enabled display, some sort of a passthrough is more than possible. Then they wouldn't have to maintain two lines. A DisplayPort passthrough capability would work with the Mac Pro as well.

I don't so much mind the lack of multiple connections because miniDP is easily adaptable and compatible with just about anything. But the thunderbolt display having legacy backwards compatibility is more than possible. Oh well, pointless rant I guess. Apple doesn't hang on to old technologies, they only support technologies in the acendency. All for that. But, sometimes, when they are 99.9999% the way there to backwards compatibility (Such as already having the technology build in), it seems sort of silly.

deconstruct60
Feb 16, 2013, 05:25 PM
That's true, it does add functionality for certain models.

Anyway, for the thunderbolt; a thunderbolt port contains DisplayPort 1.2 technology.

No it doesn't. Thunderbolt carries the previous versions of both protocols. PCI-e v2.0 ( not v3.0) and DisplayPort 1.1 (not 1.2 ). It is focused on moving more legacy/mature protoctols, not stuff on the bleeding edge.

It mimics 1.2 in that can get up to two streams out of a port, but it isn't 1.2 protocol.





----------

The thunderbolt chip in the computer takes 2 PCIe 'lanes' from the CPU, 2 DisplayPort outputs from the GPU and encodes them into a single Thunderbolt 'signal'.

It is actually four PCI-e v2.0 lanes.

And it is up to 2 DisplayPort outputs. Some TB controllers only have one and some of the smallest ones don't have any DisplayPort inputs. The last primarily oriented toward dongle use (e.g., TB -> FW , TB -> Ethernet ) which end the chain anyway.

el-John-o
Feb 16, 2013, 05:59 PM
No it doesn't. Thunderbolt carries the previous versions of both protocols. PCI-e v2.0 ( not v3.0) and DisplayPort 1.1 (not 1.2 ). It is focused on moving more legacy/mature protoctols, not stuff on the bleeding edge.

It mimics 1.2 in that can get up to two streams out of a port, but it isn't 1.2 protocol.




Oh okay. I just remember seeing VESA using some of the DP 1.2 hubs (that have yet to exist in the outside world) with a MBP, and saying that thunderbolt-equipped Apple notebooks would be 'compatible' with these hubs. I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean it's 1.2, but at least that it would support those two signals coming out of the hub.

beez1717
Feb 17, 2013, 02:05 AM
All I'd care about is a simple thunderbolt to eSATA converter since my external disk has that technology in it. Would make it a whole lot faster than firewire 800!

LeandrodaFL
Feb 17, 2013, 11:09 AM
Ist better for this price to buy another MacMini? conect them with Thunderbolt and you got more ports and more storage

Make that belkin dock $50 and I will get one

gnasher729
Feb 17, 2013, 02:32 PM
I assume you can plug in a DisplayPort display (including higher res ones like 2560x1600 displays) into the Thunderbolt port on this dock, but I'd like to know for sure (Belkin's specs don't say).

If it was me building this, and you could plug in a DisplayPort display, then I would make sure it is mentioned in the specs. If a DisplayPort display didn't work then I wouldn't mention it. You should assume that it isn't supported. If I'm wrong and it is supported then you still shouldn't buy from a company that is too stupid to put essential information into their specs.

mpainesyd
Feb 17, 2013, 10:24 PM
Hold out for the mythical Sunix TB dock
http://www.sunix.com.tw/cc/en/e-DM/2012_COMPUTEX-banner/sunix_thunderbolt_dock%20.html

The Apple TB to Firewire adpater is very limited. I expect the Belkin has similar limitations such as not powering peripherals.

Vidivici
Feb 18, 2013, 05:16 AM
All I'd care about is a simple thunderbolt to eSATA converter since my external disk has that technology in it. Would make it a whole lot faster than firewire 800!

Well there is one esata hub on the market, but it will cost ya

http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10574

ZipZap
Feb 18, 2013, 08:38 AM
Ist better for this price to buy another MacMini? conect them with Thunderbolt and you got more ports and more storage

Make that belkin dock $50 and I will get one

How would that work?
How do you get the mini to act as a passthrough?

deconstruct60
Feb 18, 2013, 09:56 AM
How would that work?
How do you get the mini to act as a passthrough?

You could get to the disk in the "other" mini but that's about it.

Apple's general Target Disk Mode article:
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH3838

Macworld article
http://www.macworld.com/article/1160887/targetdiskmodethunderbolt.html

You can similarly get to the display in another TB device in a TB-to-TB connection.

but can't really do multiple functions.

jamesryanbell
Feb 18, 2013, 04:49 PM
$99 would be questionable.

Canubis
Feb 19, 2013, 02:20 PM
Double that price and you get the cheapest Mac available. Being a student - and considered getting edu discounts from Apple but not from Belkin - a brand new Mac mini would be just around $500.

For that price I'd rather choose another stand-alone Mac instead of a docking solution for my portable. Of course, that may not be valid for everybody. But that price point really makes it a niche-product, unfortunately. :(

Greg Priestley
Feb 21, 2013, 06:37 PM
No longer available for Pre-Order - now its asking to register to be notified when it's available.
http://www.belkin.com/us/F4U055/p/P-F4U055#

Suspect the original pre-order was a mistake and that this is still a mythical product that they've promised for over 12 months.

SapperProducts
Feb 23, 2013, 03:29 PM
Hi Guys, anyone has heard of the MacDock (http://bit.ly/MacDockKs) It is a great alternative to the expensive (Belkin and Matrox)*Thunderbolt docking stations, as it looks better and sells at less than half their price.

Check it out on Kickstarter!! Cheers guys! (http://bit.ly/MacDockKs)

theluggage
Feb 24, 2013, 06:06 AM
Suspect the original pre-order was a mistake...

Or it was a toe-in-the-water to gauge 'real' demand.

They're missing an opportunity, since one of their USPs is adding USB3 to 2011 Macs - but if they delay too long the more deep-pocketed potential customers will be replacing their machines with 2013 models.

Hi Guys, anyone has heard of the MacDock (http://bit.ly/MacDockKs) It is a great alternative to the expensive (Belkin and Matrox)*Thunderbolt docking stations

That looks neat.

Its worth noting that what you have is a port replicator/USB hub, whereas a Thunderbolt dock adds new Gigabit Ethernet, USB3 and Firewire controllers 'directly' to the PCIe bus - adding these facilities if your Mac doesn't already have them and avoiding the bottleneck/CPU load of doing them via USB. That goes some way to justifying the extra cost of the Thunderbolt "docks".

However, your solution will probably fill the need for a lot of users, so best of luck.

On practical note, my concern would be whether either the connector or the cable restricts access to the Firewire, Ethernet and remaining USB sockets. The first two aren't replicated by the dock, and you'd want the latter for memory sticks etc. The advantage in having a double connector rather than two regular ones is marginal, and goes away if it makes any other connections more of a fiddle.

Also, as I have a 2011 MacBook Pro, this would effectively disable the only Thunderbolt port - so you couldn't go on to add a TB disc drive.

winglet69
Mar 12, 2013, 08:13 AM
When you're spending $3500 on a maxed out 15" rMBP config, and $1200+ on a 30" monitor ($4700 total), $350 is still a lot, but not that huge of a stretch, and a base model Mac Mini just isn't going to cut it, especially if you do most of your work on the rMBP and don't want to worry about managing multiple machines and want a seamless experience.

Let's say you already having the 30" monitor, buying this to add TB capabilities instead of buying a $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display (which lacks audio out and lacks USB 3.0) may actually make sense.

Personally I wouldn't buy at this price point, but I can imagine someone who would, or I can imagine companies buying their developers or other professional employees this.

Yep, this exactly describes me. I work as an airline pilot, do a lot of paid photography on the side, about to pick up a new MB Pro retina to replace my 2010 MB Pro (which replaced my 2006 MB Pro, which replaced my 12" PB, which replaced my 13" Wallstreet G3...get the picture?) to use with my NEC editing monitor. No way a base-model Mini even compares to a loaded 15" MB Pro for what I use it for, not to mention then having to maintain another machine, sync files etc etc. (I just finished getting rid of my Mini as a HTPC, not getting another one!) The laptop travels with me, then plugs into a whole host of peripherals back home. To be able to set up by plugging in one cable - priceless. Added bonus, I prefer the speed and stability of ethernet for the work I do (shooting tethered in another room) so I can take a 10% "discount" right off the top for not having to buy a $29 TB-to-ethernet adapter...

I realize my situation isn't typical but cost isn't the object, time and convenience are. I'm sure there will eventually be cheaper competitor products but for now I'd just be happy if they'd actually start shipping it! :mad:

But the whining about price is so boringly predictable. Don't like the price, don't buy it. Or get a better job.

interessiert
Mar 12, 2013, 11:47 AM
You can go with the Sonnet TB to Expresscard/34 box and get a USB 3.0 Expresscard for that. That's clearly a sub-optimal solution, and you'd have to be careful that drivers worked correctly.

I think your only real solution is to upgrade to a current Mac.

Sorry, we tried it out, but wasn't functioning... (Sonnet - they write it in little letters, that the Express Card USB 3.0 is not compatible to this socket)

So we wait and wait and wait... - Why? It is adequate for all elder iMacs and MBAirs without USB 3.0 if they have Thunderbolt - from this view a reasonable priced ugrade to keep them up-to-date ;)
BUT:
Meanwhile we doubt it will come to market - what could be the next change in specifications? - o.k. the last two made sense :)

nep61
Mar 12, 2013, 12:12 PM
I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter. Then I would be golden with my Mid-2011 Imac.

Perhaps even a THUNDERBOLT --->> multiple FW800 ports.
I'm using 4 G-Tech drives connected via FW800 for Video Editing.
I'd hate to see those drives go to waste... with no way to connect, except via USB 2.0 on those drives... and that isn't going to cut it... edit pun intended ;)

barkmonster
Mar 12, 2013, 01:22 PM
This product combined with the firewire 800 to thunderbolt cable means that a few software upgrades and any current Mac from the Macbook Air to the iMac works 100% with all my peripherals and audio stuff, including the recording drive.

The idea that in years to come I just need an inexpensive firewire drive, any Mac laptop in the range, headphones and the annoying copy protection dongles that are common these days is excellent. Mobile sequencing anywhere and all my stuff all hooked up with one cable when I get home. It's going to be the same for a lot of people, even high end systems like Pro Tools HD have thunderbolt systems out now too so it can only get better.

jameskatt
Mar 24, 2013, 08:31 PM
I wish this was available. I would buy it in a heartbeat.

----------

I would just like to see a simple Thunderbolt --->> USB 3.0 adapter. Then I would be golden with my Mid-2011 Imac.

You would need:
2 Thunderbolt ports - so you can add a 2nd monitor to your setup
3 USB 3.0 ports at least. Unfortunately, USB 3.0 hubs are extremely flakey and do not always work.

Thus, you already have something close to the Belkin Thunderbolt Dock.

mmomega
Mar 24, 2013, 11:02 PM
My main problem is that the USB 3 is only 2.5Gb/s and not 5Gb/s. Yeah it's better than USB 2 but c'mon, the hub is expensive enough, they could have definitely put full speed USB 3 in.

ZipZap
Mar 26, 2013, 04:34 AM
This company clearly has no idea what consumers want. Are you surprised?

ics55
Mar 27, 2013, 05:11 PM
I preordered one of these, and Belkin has been unable to deliver it. Today, I got a laptop stand in the mail with an apology letter, saying they will let me know when the Dock will actually ship, but no date.

robzr
Mar 27, 2013, 05:57 PM
All I'd care about is a simple thunderbolt to eSATA converter since my external disk has that technology in it. Would make it a whole lot faster than firewire 800!

Totally, and in a better form factor than the Lacie eSATA adapter that requires external power.

A USB 3 dongle like the gig-e and 1394b thunderbolt dongles would be great as well, add me to the list of people wishing that was available...

Rob

tekboi
Mar 29, 2013, 02:49 AM
$300???
'
Does it come w/ a lifetime warranty?

LotusLord
Mar 29, 2013, 01:58 PM
There isn't any good reason why it's selling for that price. My HP docking station has 6 USB 2 ports (it's a 2010 model, the 2012 model has 4 USB 3 and 2 USB 2), eSata, 2 DVI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 VGA, ethernet and a slot for an extra drive, plus a serial port and a parallel port. It sells for less than 200.

Crimson Hikari
Apr 2, 2013, 03:48 PM
I just want a small Thunderbolt dock with a few USB 3.0 ports, that supports daisy-chaining. If it could split the outgoing signal to an external monitor in two directions for multiple monitor functionality (even if it treats it at one really big monitor), all the better.

At the moment my Thunderbolt port only gets used as a glorified mini-displayport, and I would love to actually make full use of it.

pcboy
Apr 15, 2013, 02:04 AM
I preordered one of these, and Belkin has been unable to deliver it. Today, I got a laptop stand in the mail with an apology letter, saying they will let me know when the Dock will actually ship, but no date.

I will give them a little bit more time. Me, in the per-order list too. Been waiting....

sco
Apr 15, 2013, 02:53 AM
It's currently listed as available May 13 on bhphotovideo.com after being initially listed as 20th April then going to May 20th then back to the 13th. Hoping my order's not too far down the list.

dBeats
Apr 15, 2013, 07:41 AM
WOW

pre-ordered.
Desktop replacement now a complete reality with this thing.

thanks so much for sharing,

best,
SvK

Did you ever receive it? I still see the website won't let people order it and it has been months since pre-order started!


EDIT: Nevermind, I just read the latest posts. Ironically, posted just today. Looks like we all have Thunderbolt docking on the brain!

Chippy99
Apr 23, 2013, 09:52 AM
(deleted because I misread an earlier post)

davisadm
Apr 27, 2013, 01:35 PM
Besides being too expensive, this thing has been delayed again and again. Makes me wonder what is going on. I have no confidence that it will actually be reliable, if it ever comes out

It's currently listed as available May 13 on bhphotovideo.com after being initially listed as 20th April then going to May 20th then back to the 13th. Hoping my order's not too far down the list.

It now shows May 25.

sco
Apr 27, 2013, 06:29 PM
It now shows May 25.

Grrr :(... That's changed in the last 24 hours... Thanks :)