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MacRumors
Apr 30, 2013, 07:01 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/30/belkin-officially-begins-shipping-thunderbolt-express-dock/)


More than a year and a half after it showed off its first concept (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/13/belkin-shows-off-upcoming-thunderbolt-express-dock/) for a Thunderbolt docking station, Belkin today officially began shipping (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130430005788/en/Belkin-Announces-Availability-Thunderbolt(TM)-Express-Dock) its Thunderbolt Express Dock (http://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F4U055). The $299.99 dock offers users a single-cable connection for a docking station supporting a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports, audio in/out, and Thunderbolt passthrough.Designed to be an easy and powerful way to increase productivity and take advantage of Thunderbolt technology, Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock allows creative professionals the ability to edit films in full HD 1080p, and transfer volumes of data in seconds at bidirectional 10Gbps channels. That is up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and up to 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. The Thunderbolt Express Dock uses a single high-speed connection to create ultrafast data transfers between your laptop and up to eight other devices, including FireWire, Ethernet, USB, and enables users to daisy-chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock has had a lengthy history, going through various (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/09/ces-2012-belkin-thunderbolt-express-dock-to-launch-in-september-at-299/) design (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/05/belkin-upgrades-thunderbolt-express-dock-with-usb-3-0-and-esata-bumps-price-to-399-99/) and pricing (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/01/07/ces-2013-belkin-drops-esata-support-for-upcoming-thunderbolt-express-dock-cuts-price-back-to-299/) changes before settling on the current feature set. Belkin began taking pre-orders (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/02/14/belkin-finally-taking-pre-orders-for-thunderbolt-express-dock/) in mid-February, saying that the dock would begin shipping the following week, but the company ended up pushing back the launch of the dock until today.

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Belkin representatives declined to offer details on the reasons for the last-minute delay, noting only that the company sought to "ensure that the product's new features and interface would deliver the best possible experience for users."

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/02/NewImage1.png
With a delayed release date for its Thunderbolt Express Dock, Belkin is not the first company to bring a Thunderbolt docking station to market, with Matrox having launched its DS1 dock (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/12/12/matrox-launches-ds1-thunderbolt-docking-station-for-249/) back in December. CalDigit has announced (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/09/caldigit-thunderbolt-station-adds-to-growing-ranks-of-thunderbolt-docks/) its own similar solution launching sometime this summer, and Sonnet has announced an even more expansive dock (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/03/sonnet-announces-thunderbolt-dock-with-internal-drive-bay-and-blu-ray-drive/) incorporating both an optical drive and an integrated hard drive.

Other solutions such as the ZenDock on Kickstarter (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/09/zendock-tries-to-solve-age-old-macbook-docking-problem/) are bypassing the expensive and time-consuming implementation of single-cable Thunderbolt connections, instead opting to extend the existing port sets on the MacBook Pro and Retina MacBook Pro through an adapter to a docking station.

Article Link: Belkin Officially Begins Shipping Thunderbolt Express Dock (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/30/belkin-officially-begins-shipping-thunderbolt-express-dock/)



guycarmeli
Apr 30, 2013, 07:07 AM
That is just too expensive for a docking station

fhall1
Apr 30, 2013, 07:31 AM
$300.....that's insane.

d0vr
Apr 30, 2013, 07:33 AM
Way overpriced and under-ported. A couple of USB3 and an Ethernet? Big whoop.

rmwebs
Apr 30, 2013, 07:35 AM
The Henge Horizontal Dock is a way better deal for the rMBP.

The Belkin one would have been good if it had 2 Thunderbolt out ports (note that in the pic, one of those two ports has to plug into your mac), HDMI (or preferably Mini Display Port IN ADDITION to 2 thunderbolts) and at least 6 USB 3.0 ports. Seriously, who the hell only has a couple of USB 3.0 things to plug in these days.

skippymac
Apr 30, 2013, 07:46 AM
Every time there's a story about any thunderbolt accessory, someone posts saying it would be better with another thunderbolt port.

I was under the impression that having more than one thunderbolt port (for daisy chaining) would basically require an entire motherboard (very expensive).

Could someone tell me if I've got this right or if dock manufacturers are in fact just lazy?

Santabean2000
Apr 30, 2013, 07:47 AM
Expensive for what it is, but this is the sort of thing I want. Get me a nice, cheap IPS monitor, strap this to the back and then I'm good to go.

Apple's display is just too expensive.

Smigit
Apr 30, 2013, 07:48 AM
Way overpriced and under-ported. A couple of USB3 and an Ethernet? Big whoop.

I agree. It would have made more sense had it hit the market before Apple started shipping USB 3.0 systems. As a 2011 MBP owner, I'd benefit from USB via Thunderbolt, but I also feel that at that price my money is better spent going towards a new system.

Pianoblack3
Apr 30, 2013, 07:49 AM
Way overpriced and under-ported. A couple of USB3 and an Ethernet? Big whoop.

Plus 2 Thunderbolt ports and a FireWire 800, did you miss them?

Stetrain
Apr 30, 2013, 07:55 AM
Every time there's a story about any thunderbolt accessory, someone posts saying it would be better with another thunderbolt port.

I was under the impression that having more than one thunderbolt port (for daisy chaining) would basically require an entire motherboard (very expensive).

Could someone tell me if I've got this right or if dock manufacturers are in fact just lazy?

I think you're correct. A "Thunderbolt Splitter" just isn't really possible.

The way to attach more than one device to a Thunderbolt port is to daisy chain them. As the chips get cheaper we will seek ore and more devices that support daisy chaining.

macaddict06
Apr 30, 2013, 07:57 AM
Plus 2 Thunderbolt ports and a FireWire 800, did you miss them?

Actually, it's only one TB port. One is TB in, the other TB out.

Great idea, but not impressive for 300 bones - and this coming from an avid Mac user who is used to paying a price premium.

Lancer
Apr 30, 2013, 08:01 AM
For that price I'd want 7 USB3 ports and a built in DVD or BD burner!

Bear
Apr 30, 2013, 08:07 AM
Comparing it to the other Thunderbolt docking solutions:

The Matrox has only one Thunderbolt port thus ending your Thunderbolt chain andapparently only one of the USB ports is 3.0.
The CalDigit only has 2 USB 3.0 prorts but at leats it has 2 Thunderbolt ports.
The Sonnet while being the most expensive has the ost ports. 4 USB 3.0, 2 eSata ports, etc. It also has the option for an internal optical drive and an option for an internal hard drive.
For those that want the optical drive, the Sonnet is a very good deal, it means one less device on the desktop and therefore less cabling.

For that price I'd want 7 USB3 ports and a built in DVD or BD burner!Look at the Sonnet, although that only has 4 USB ports, at least it has the optical drive and a couple of eSata ports.

repoman27
Apr 30, 2013, 08:07 AM
Every time there's a story about any thunderbolt accessory, someone posts saying it would be better with another thunderbolt port.

I was under the impression that having more than one thunderbolt port (for daisy chaining) would basically require an entire motherboard (very expensive).

Could someone tell me if I've got this right or if dock manufacturers are in fact just lazy?

To date, Thunderbolt controllers have only come in 1-port or 2-port flavors. To create a device with more than 2 ports (or more than one display output) would require the use of multiple 2-port controllers. These controllers cost the manufacturer about $30 apiece, and quite a few additional components are still required at this point, so using 2 of them would increase the retail price of the device by about $140.

Edit: Incidentally, discrete USB 3.0 host controllers are only available in 2 or 4-port flavors at this point, and there are many issues with the very limited selection of hub chips. That is why there are only 3 USB 3.0 ports on this dock. One port is used internally for a USB audio device, and adding more would have required either a hub or an additional host controller.

skippymac
Apr 30, 2013, 08:09 AM
I think you're correct. A "Thunderbolt Splitter" just isn't really possible.

The way to attach more than one device to a Thunderbolt port is to daisy chain them. As the chips get cheaper we will seek ore and more devices that support daisy chaining.

It seems a shame that there are so many "end of chain" devices available at the moment, which could probably easily be daisy chained (HDDs etc). All that will happen is people will buy them because they're cheaper and then lose out in the long run because they have too many end devices to use at once.

ikir
Apr 30, 2013, 08:14 AM
Very interesting PRO solution, probably i will get one if Apple didn't update ThunderBolt display soon.

3 USB3, FireWire 800, Ethernet, Audio and other Thunderbolt are perfect for me...

For me it is new ThunderBolt Display if they didn't cost a fortune, otherwise i will buy a good 26" inch lcd plus this.

----------

Way overpriced and under-ported. A couple of USB3 and an Ethernet? Big whoop.

Plus Thunderbolt, FireWire 800, audio... don't be so blind.

iDemiurge
Apr 30, 2013, 08:25 AM
Soon also in stock:

North Korean Unicorn

:D

calisurfboy
Apr 30, 2013, 08:37 AM
If apple would update the 27" Thunderbolt display with USB 3 I would rather spend the extra money into a new monitor. =/

If it also had audio out I'd be happy as a clam.

rmwebs
Apr 30, 2013, 08:39 AM
I think you're correct. A "Thunderbolt Splitter" just isn't really possible.

The way to attach more than one device to a Thunderbolt port is to daisy chain them. As the chips get cheaper we will seek ore and more devices that support daisy chaining.

Thunderbolts already 2 years old and number of devices that are out there that aren't end-of-chain hard drives could probably be counted on one hand. The prices havent dropped, the license fee set by Apple & Intel is still extremely high.

They have pretty much already killed it. It's Firewire all over again - better, but so poorly supported and expensive that nobody bothers.

JAT
Apr 30, 2013, 08:48 AM
Expensive for what it is, but this is the sort of thing I want. Get me a nice, cheap IPS monitor, strap this to the back and then I'm good to go.

Apple's display is just too expensive.


For me it is new ThunderBolt Display if they didn't cost a fortune, otherwise i will buy a good 26" inch lcd plus this.

You realize that displays comparable to Apple's are over $600 easily, if not even more expensive than Apple's. So, that plus $300 for a TB dock is basically the same as just buying an ACD, pricewise.

repoman27
Apr 30, 2013, 08:51 AM
Don't forget, $40 cable* required (*not included).

To be fair though, this dock does include:

2-port Thunderbolt controller
Gigabit Ethernet controller
FireWire 800 host controller
4-port USB 3.0 host controller
USB audio device
components necessary to enable Multi-Mode DisplayPort 1.1a output
power supply

This is also the first device, AFAIK, that allows you to add USB 3.0 to your 2011 Mac without ending the Thunderbolt chain.

If you want to pick on the provided port selection, there should be a second FireWire 800 port (because the controller used likely supports more than one port), the headphone and microphone ports should be on the front and digital/analog audio line-in/out should be on the back (I know Belkin was going for all the ports on the back and then the little cable channel underneath to route cables going forward, but it's kinda silly). And a UHS-I SDXC card reader could have been included for not much additional cost using one of Broadcom's integrated GbE solutions.

rmwebs
Apr 30, 2013, 08:52 AM
You realize that displays comparable to Apple's are over $600 easily, if not even more expensive than Apple's. So, that plus $300 for a TB dock is basically the same as just buying an ACD, pricewise.

$600 for the display if you buy it from someone like Dell.

However the same display can be imported (guaranteed 100% pixel perfect- something Dell nor Apple will do) for around $300.

----------

Don't forget, $40 cable* required (*not included).

To be fair though, this dock does include:

2-port Thunderbolt controller
Gigabit Ethernet controller
FireWire 800 host controller
4-port USB 3.0 host controller
USB audio device
components necessary to enable Multi-Mode DisplayPort 1.1a output
power supply

This is also the first device, AFAIK, that allows you to add USB 3.0 to your 2011 Mac without ending the Thunderbolt chain.

If you want to pick on the provided port selection, there should be a second FireWire 800 port (because the controller used likely supports more than one port), the headphone and microphone ports should be on the front and digital/analog audio line-in/out should be on the back (I know Belkin was going for all the ports on the back and then the little cable channel underneath to route cables going forward, but it's kinda silly). And a UHS-I SDXC card reader could have been included for not much additional cost using one of Broadcom's integrated GbE solutions.

Saying it has a 2-port thunderbolt controller is a bit misleading. It has 1 usable thunderbolt port. The other will be plugged into your Mac.

I'd maybe pick one up if they had thrown a couple of eSata ports on it, but its not worth it for the price. The henge rMBP dock is out soon with any luck, and whilst it comes with (optional) thunderbolt pass through, it also offers 3 MiniDisplayPort video out ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports, 1x Firewire 800, 1x Gig Ethernet, SD card and left/right audio outputs. For $249 ($349 with passthrough) its a way better option IMO.

Jimmy James
Apr 30, 2013, 09:05 AM
Yay. Ports for the price if a cheap Windows pc.

How much for a USB hub to expand the 2 they give you here?

Simplicated
Apr 30, 2013, 09:05 AM
Do the USB 3.0 ports work with Macs that don't come with USB 3.0?

dove
Apr 30, 2013, 09:09 AM
The Henge Horizontal Dock is a way better deal for the rMBP.

The Belkin one would have been good if it had 2 Thunderbolt out ports (note that in the pic, one of those two ports has to plug into your mac), HDMI (or preferably Mini Display Port IN ADDITION to 2 thunderbolts) and at least 6 USB 3.0 ports. Seriously, who the hell only has a couple of USB 3.0 things to plug in these days.

I have zero.

If I were to buy a dock (I won't because they're too expensive) it would be for hooking up my monitor (MDP), keyboard, mouse, and speakers. I guess I might also want to add an HDD at some pointóbut I wouldn't need it to be particularly fast.

repoman27
Apr 30, 2013, 09:11 AM
Thunderbolts already 2 years old and number of devices that are out there that aren't end-of-chain hard drives could probably be counted on one hand. The prices havent dropped, the license fee set by Apple & Intel is still extremely high.

They have pretty much already killed it. It's Firewire all over again - better, but so poorly supported and expensive that nobody bothers.

You could count them all, if you have at least 77 fingers on one hand.

Apple does not charge a licensing fee to third parties developing Thunderbolt devices. Intel does indeed license Thunderbolt technology, however, I have yet to see any direct evidence that an onerous licensing fee is involved.

Many people who had needs that were not met by USB used FireWire despite it costing more. You'll note that this dock includes a FireWire port. When given a cheaper alternative, most people choose the less expensive one. When there are no acceptable alternatives, they pony up the cash. Thunderbolt will fill the niches that USB cannot, just as FireWire and ExpressCard did before.

Rossatron
Apr 30, 2013, 09:18 AM
$300 and they don't give you a TB to connect the dock to your mac - just a power adaptor? :confused: a bit mean to my opinion

iSayuSay
Apr 30, 2013, 09:25 AM
You realize that displays comparable to Apple's are over $600 easily, if not even more expensive than Apple's. So, that plus $300 for a TB dock is basically the same as just buying an ACD, pricewise.

Thunderbolt Display is a gimped version of the good old ACD. For the same $999 now you can only plug computer with Thunderbolt source.

Get something similar like Dell Ultrasharp 27" for $700, then get this Thunderbolt hub for $300 and yes you also ended $1000. BUT, that's a big but .. you get a fully functional display which have multiple inputs, real switches/buttons for settings and flexibility. You can use it for Mac and PC/any video sources at the same time.

Much more versatile and clean than Apple Thunderbolt Display, no? :D

bedifferent
Apr 30, 2013, 09:32 AM
Designed to be an easy and powerful way to increase productivity and take advantage of Thunderbolt technology, Belkinís Thunderbolt Express Dock allows creative professionals* the ability to edit films in full HD 1080p, and transfer volumes of data in seconds at bidirectional 10Gbps channels.

*Not compatible with current gen (2010) Mac Pro's.

the irony

GizmoDVD
Apr 30, 2013, 09:34 AM
Awesome if this was early 2012.

In 2013, this is too expensive. Pass.

Bear
Apr 30, 2013, 09:35 AM
Do the USB 3.0 ports work with Macs that don't come with USB 3.0?Yes, you just need to be running the recommend version of OS X

$300 and they don't give you a TB to connect the dock to your mac - just a power adaptor? :confused: a bit mean to my opinionYou mean a TB Cable? It's a way they can charge less for the product. And then you can buy a cable of the length you need. some will only need 1 half meter cable, some may need a 1 or 2 meter cable.

haravikk
Apr 30, 2013, 09:43 AM
Definitely agreed on it being too expensive; the panel with the ports has a lot of under-utilised space that just seems wasted, I can't believe they couldn't squeeze in at least double the number of USB ports.

The layout of the ports is also surprisingly messy for such a high-priced product; they're not aligned in any way and the symbols indicating what each port is are positioned very inconsistently.

While I'm sure the electronics do the job you expect of them (which is the main thing) it just doesn't seem to justify such a high price tag in overall quality or what it offers. While I understand that even 10gbps can be eaten up quickly, it's unlikely that anyone will be fully utilising every port on such a hub, so it makes sense to provide extra ports so you can attach your fleet of USB devices and maybe one or two other things and still get the most out of it.

As it stands I'm not sure there's much to recommend it over getting two or three more tightly focused hubs to meet your needs more fully via other ports.

calderone
Apr 30, 2013, 09:53 AM
*snip*
As it stands I'm not sure there's much to recommend it over getting two or three more tightly focused hubs to meet your needs more fully via other ports.

Because everyone wants two or three hubs...

My take is that those complaining would barely even utilize this dock completely, they just want more. Everyone wants more these days, doesn't matter if they need it. Just more more more.

roar08
Apr 30, 2013, 09:55 AM
Belkin shipping? That explains the pig I saw fly by this morning...

bedifferent
Apr 30, 2013, 09:59 AM
Because everyone wants two or three hubs...

My take is that those complaining would barely even utilize this dock completely, they just want more. Everyone wants more these days, doesn't matter if they need it. Just more more more.

It's the American way ;)
Supersize me!

and this is the consequence

theluggage
Apr 30, 2013, 10:02 AM
Look at the Sonnet, although that only has 4 USB ports, at least it has the optical drive and a couple of eSata ports.

...plus space for an internal, user-fitted SATA HD, and the eSATA ports will let you add additional storage with fast & relatively cheap eSATA enclosures, so those USB3 ports are going to go further.

I think the Sonnet gives by far the best bangs per buck - assuming it actually makes it to market with the current spec. Only daft thing is the lack of BD-RW option and/or a 'fit your own optical drive' option.


*Not compatible with current gen (2010) Mac Pro's.

Not needed by current Mac Pros, which have lots of ports & internal expansion.

bedifferent
Apr 30, 2013, 10:04 AM
Not needed by current Mac Pros, which have lots of ports & internal expansion.

Oh, I didn't realize the Mac Pro had Thunderbolt (or USB 3.0, 'though I have that with a CalDigit PCIe). However Thunderbolt can't be added with a PCIe card. Every Apple Mac product, from MacBook Pro's to the Mac Mini has Thunderbolt, but not the - dated - $2499+ Mac Pro. That is ironic.

Bear
Apr 30, 2013, 10:06 AM
...
As it stands I'm not sure there's much to recommend it over getting two or three more tightly focused hubs to meet your needs more fully via other ports.Less desktop clutter fewer power outlets needed.

...
My take is that those complaining would barely even utilize this dock completely, they just want more. Everyone wants more these days, doesn't matter if they need it. Just more more more.I think the main problem is the number of USB ports. As I said earlier, the Sonnet looks the most useful to me in order to reduce desktop clutter. 4 USB ports plus an optical drive as well as the option of a hard drive in it.

Simplicated
Apr 30, 2013, 10:19 AM
Because everyone wants two or three hubs...

My take is that those complaining would barely even utilize this dock completely, they just want more. Everyone wants more these days, doesn't matter if they need it. Just more more more.

It reminds me of a company that starts with S...

kingtj
Apr 30, 2013, 10:31 AM
Except this statement is false, because those imported Asian IPS monitors at the $300 price point have garbage electronics in them. Sure ,you get the same high-quality IPS panel itself inside one, but mark my words .... You'll have problems with it refusing to power on in probably not much more than about 1 year of use, thanks to the cheap power supply board in it, and you'll find the on-screen controls lacking in most cases, too. They cut corners everywhere else just so they could sell you something with the nice panel in it.


$600 for the display if you buy it from someone like Dell.

However the same display can be imported (guaranteed 100% pixel perfect- something Dell nor Apple will do) for around $300.

repoman27
Apr 30, 2013, 10:33 AM
$600 for the display if you buy it from someone like Dell.

However the same display can be imported (guaranteed 100% pixel perfect- something Dell nor Apple will do) for around $300.

Actually, the $350 Korean displays are based on the same LG panels as Apple and Dell's displays, but they use the reject panels that Apple and Dell refused. They also lack a fair amount of hardware that the more expensive displays include. This makes them great for gaming and over-clocking, but not quite as good for professional color work.

Saying it has a 2-port thunderbolt controller is a bit misleading. It has 1 usable thunderbolt port. The other will be plugged into your Mac.

I'd maybe pick one up if they had thrown a couple of eSata ports on it, but its not worth it for the price. The henge rMBP dock is out soon with any luck, and whilst it comes with (optional) thunderbolt pass through, it also offers 3 MiniDisplayPort video out ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports, 1x Firewire 800, 1x Gig Ethernet, SD card and left/right audio outputs. For $249 ($349 with passthrough) its a way better option IMO.

It isn't misleading at all. To be even more specific, it contains a 4-channel, Intel DSL3510L, or possibly even one of the newer DSL4510 controllers. I think most reasonable people understand that single port devices are chain enders, and dual-port devices allow further daisy chaining or display output. Both ports are 100% usable.

The Henge dock you're looking at most likely contains:

2x VIA Labs VL812 4-port USB 3.0 hub controllers
DisplayLink DL-3900 dual head USB 3.0 display adapter with 6-channel audio and GbE MAC
Intel DSL2210 single channel (PCIe only) Thunderbolt controller or possibly a DSL3310 dual-channel (single port) controller for the MBA models
FireWire 800 host controller
USB SD card reader

Which actually works out to being a way more compromised system for the money. It only works with the specific model of MBA* or MBPR that it is designed for. Two of the DP ports output a compressed signal fed from a single USB 3.0 port along with the Ethernet and 3 of the USB 3.0 ports. Thunderbolt passthrough is not possible without paying an extra $100 for a 2-port Thunderbolt controller. It blocks all of the ports on your Mac, and the provided USB card reader is most likely not as fast/capable as the UHS-I SDXC reader that comes built-in. The power situation is not clearly illustrated, but I imagine relies on using the adapter that came with your MacBook or buying an additional Apple power adapter.

edit: eSATA is a far less appropriate consumer device interface and mostly pointless now that we have SuperSpeed USB.

*I am also relatively certain that these docks will only work with 2012 MBAs, and are not capable of adding USB 3.0 to a system that does not ship with native chipset support. The feature set and system requirements for the MBA version were not explicitly stated however.

TimeSquareDesi
Apr 30, 2013, 10:35 AM
$300 for the dock
$40 for the cable to conncet it because it doesn't come with one.

total: $340 (before shipping/tax)

I recall the dock on my old HP had more functionality (6 USB ports, IIRC) and cost me maybe $119. ~$135-$140 after shipping + tax.

So yeah, this is overpriced like everyone is saying. Grossly overpriced.

It's funny because I went to the Apple store and told them I wanted a dock for ethernet and their response was like "everyone uses wifi now, why would you want to use a cable?!?!?!" well, i like transferring files in 30 minutes and not a day like it takes over wifi!

but i digress.

calderone
Apr 30, 2013, 10:45 AM
$300 for the dock
$40 for the cable to conncet it because it doesn't come with one.

total: $340 (before shipping/tax)

I recall the dock on my old HP had more functionality (6 USB ports, IIRC) and cost me maybe $119. ~$135-$140 after shipping + tax.

So yeah, this is overpriced like everyone is saying. Grossly overpriced.

It's funny because I went to the Apple store and told them I wanted a dock for ethernet and their response was like "everyone uses wifi now, why would you want to use a cable?!?!?!" well, i like transferring files in 30 minutes and not a day like it takes over wifi!

but i digress.

Based on what? Do you know how much it cost to make? And this coming from someone who finds it necessary to list the price of their computer in their signature.

The correct statement is likely: "For me, the value to price ratio is too high."

Otterblue
Apr 30, 2013, 11:11 AM
What I want is a reasonably priced thunderbolt to USB 3 adapter not a $300 dock.

Greggae512
Apr 30, 2013, 11:29 AM
So with this dock can I run my Minidisplay port LCD at the end of the chain off that second TB port?

dyn
Apr 30, 2013, 11:32 AM
Based on what? Do you know how much it cost to make? And this coming from someone who finds it necessary to list the price of their computer in their signature.

If you had read his post you'd know what he is basing it on and he is right in that regard. It doesn't matter how much it really costs because the product has to have a reasonable price tag. If it doesn't then people won't buy it and the maker won't sell it. Products that don't sell (very well) are the most expensive products. Not to us consumers but to the manufacturer. HP had a similar situation with the tablet from Palm. They ended up dropping the price to 99 dollars and that caused people to rush to the stores. It was damage control. Belkin and others have to be very cautious about this because they might make the same mistake as HP did.


The correct statement is likely: "For me, the value to price ratio is too high."
That applies to everything but that's not what this is about. It's about pricing your product correctly in order to get it to sell. Docks are expensive, Thunderbolt docks are about twice as expensive as the normal docks. That needs explaining. It would have been a different story if it were only $50 higher. I personally think they shouldn't be going past the $199~220 because this price range is explainable.

fortysomegeek
Apr 30, 2013, 11:49 AM
It isn't misleading at all. To be even more specific, it contains a 4-channel, Intel DSL3510L, or possibly even one of the newer DSL4510 controllers. I think most reasonable people understand that single port devices are chain enders, and dual-port devices allow further daisy chaining or display output. Both ports are 100% usable.

The Henge dock you're looking at most likely contains:

2x VIA Labs VL812 4-port USB 3.0 hub controllers
DisplayLink DL-3900 dual head USB 3.0 display adapter with 6-channel audio and GbE MAC
Intel DSL2210 single channel (PCIe only) Thunderbolt controller or possibly a DSL3310 dual-channel (single port) controller for the MBA models
FireWire 800 host controller
USB SD card reader

Which actually works out to being a way more compromised system for the money.

edit: eSATA is a far less appropriate consumer device interface and mostly pointless now that we have SuperSpeed USB.




I jury-rigged a 4 port USB hub with the same via USB 3.0 controller chipset along with an ASIX gigabit ethernet and a DisplayLink DL-3900 HDMI adapter. I had all the parts lying around and was contemplating buying one of those USB 3.0 laptop docking stations (using DisplayLink) that sells for $150-200 (namely Targus, Kensington, Lenovo). I also threw in a USB 3.0 eSATA newertech to the mix. At least with my set-up, I would know before hand if it would work or not.

In theory, it works. My set-up is a rats-ness of wires and clutter. The DisplayLink outputting 1080p (1920x1080) was garbage. It lagged so bad, it wasn't even funny. USB gigabit and eSATA was just fine. In fact, eSATA via USB 3.0 worked better than native eSATA on my PC laptop.

I think I am gonna go with the Caldigit Thunderbolt dock. It has everything I need. It will be about the same price as a USB 3.0 dock and perform better. PCIe vs USB 3.0
It doesn't use DisplayLink for video which is what I want. Gigabit will probably be more reliable (disconnects). And if I want eSATA, I'll use my $20 USB3.0-eSATA dongle I already have. It will be much, much cleaner.

Also, a word about those via USB hubs. I have four different ones. They all kill the UASP (USB attach scsi) kext when you connect a drive to them. If your machine has native USB 3.0, it is better to connect directly to the machine itself.

rocknblogger
Apr 30, 2013, 11:53 AM
Because everyone wants two or three hubs...

My take is that those complaining would barely even utilize this dock completely, they just want more. Everyone wants more these days, doesn't matter if they need it. Just more more more.

I have to agree with this sentiment. I for one would use all the ports with the possible exception of audio in/out. The way I see it this dock gives you (in total) 3 Thunderbolt ports (there's still 1 available on the rMBP) and 5 USB 3.0 (2 still available on the rMBP) plus all the other ports.

So lets look at the price if you break it down to adapters vs this dock:

Ethernet + FireWire + MiniDisplay = $87. This is just for the adapters.
eSATA - I can only find hubs at around $180 LaCie
USB 3.0 hub 7 port $49

EDIT: I priced the LaCie hub because I specifically was looking at TB to eSATA
For a total of $316.

Granted you get a total of 8 USB 3.0 ports, 2 eSATA and 2 Thunderbolt (again for a total of 3).

When you break it down this way it seems that his dock is not as overpriced as a lot of people here make it out to be.

calderone
Apr 30, 2013, 12:01 PM
If you had read his post you'd know what he is basing it on and he is right in that regard. It doesn't matter how much it really costs because the product has to have a reasonable price tag. If it doesn't then people won't buy it and the maker won't sell it. Products that don't sell (very well) are the most expensive products. Not to us consumers but to the manufacturer. HP had a similar situation with the tablet from Palm. They ended up dropping the price to 99 dollars and that caused people to rush to the stores. It was damage control. Belkin and others have to be very cautious about this because they might make the same mistake as HP did.


That applies to everything but that's not what this is about. It's about pricing your product correctly in order to get it to sell. Docks are expensive, Thunderbolt docks are about twice as expensive as the normal docks. That needs explaining. It would have been a different story if it were only $50 higher. I personally think they shouldn't be going past the $199~220 because this price range is explainable.

"Reasonable is subjective." Some people will gladly pay for this product because it adds the appropriate amount of value for the price. It seems to me, the complainers want it but don't want to pony up the cash.

Pricing is very much dependent on how much it costs to make this thing. We don't really have that answer, but pricing it at a loss would be foolish. Some things just can't be done cheaply and this may be one of them (for now). Costs may come down over time, bringing the price down (duh).

The point I was making, if you had read my post, is that the price the end consumer wants to pay is not the only consideration when making a product. It seems most peoples understanding of economics is based purely on what they want to pay for a product, which is pretty foolish.

Gasu E.
Apr 30, 2013, 12:11 PM
The Henge Horizontal Dock is a way better deal for the rMBP.

The Belkin one would have been good if it had 2 Thunderbolt out ports (note that in the pic, one of those two ports has to plug into your mac), HDMI (or preferably Mini Display Port IN ADDITION to 2 thunderbolts) and at least 6 USB 3.0 ports. Seriously, who the hell only has a couple of USB 3.0 things to plug in these days.

Henge looks good, but what do you do when the next MBP you buy has a slightly different form factor?

fortysomegeek
Apr 30, 2013, 12:17 PM
eSATA - I can only find hubs at around $180 LaCie

EDIT: I priced the LaCie hub because I specifically was looking at TB to eSATA
For a total of $316.



They (Belkin) took the eSATA out of this final model.
So subtract your $180.

Also, why get a Thunderbolt-eSATA when USB 3.0-eSATA performs just as well.
You are not gonna top 250 MB/sec with eSATA unless it is one of those weird eSATA cards with SATA III controllers and your RAID box has one of those exotic SATA III inputs. 90% of the eSATA enclosures/RAIDs still do SATA I/II ar 3.0 Gbp/s. I benched a lot of eSATA enclosures and good luck getting over 200 MB/sec which USB 3.0 supports.

Also, I don't think the LaCie does port multiplication so I dont see the advantage in that eSATA hub whatsoever. A

USB 3.0 eSATA dongle is $20.

rocknblogger
Apr 30, 2013, 12:58 PM
They (Belkin) took the eSATA out of this final model.
So subtract your $180.

Also, why get a Thunderbolt-eSATA when USB 3.0-eSATA performs just as well.
You are not gonna top 250 MB/sec with eSATA unless it is one of those weird eSATA cards with SATA III controllers and your RAID box has one of those exotic SATA III inputs. 90% of the eSATA enclosures/RAIDs still do SATA I/II ar 3.0 Gbp/s. I benched a lot of eSATA enclosures and good luck getting over 200 MB/sec which USB 3.0 supports.

Also, I don't think the LaCie does port multiplication so I dont see the advantage in that eSATA hub whatsoever. A

USB 3.0 eSATA dongle is $20.
I believe the LaCie is SATA III and you can daisy chain both, eSATA and Thunderbolt so it still adds versatility.

I didn't however realize that Belkin removed the eSATA port. With that in mind then maybe this is a bit overpriced. But you still have to take design and convenience into account. I don't like clutter on my desk and I really dislike a bunch of cables running all over the place.

I guess it comes down to how much value one places on the all in one convenience. I'm pretty sure that I will more than likely buy one of these. I may look at the Sonnet but that one is even more expensive and I'm not crazy about the design.

The eSATA thing is a bummer:(

fortysomegeek
Apr 30, 2013, 01:12 PM
I guess it comes down to how much value one places on the all in one convenience. I'm pretty sure that I will more than likely buy one of these. I may look at the Sonnet but that one is even more expensive and I'm not crazy about the design.

The eSATA thing is a bummer:(


I agree with you on the clutter. That is why I am getting a CalDigit model. It has the right mix of ports I need and $100 cheaper.

rmwebs
Apr 30, 2013, 01:13 PM
Henge looks good, but what do you do when the next MBP you buy has a slightly different form factor?

Sell the dock and get a new one. If you're buying a new MBP every year, you can afford to take a hit on the dock if you really need it.

theluggage
Apr 30, 2013, 01:30 PM
Oh, I didn't realize the Mac Pro had Thunderbolt (or USB 3.0, 'though I have that with a CalDigit PCIe). However Thunderbolt can't be added with a PCIe card. Every Apple Mac product, from MacBook Pro's to the Mac Mini has Thunderbolt, but not the - dated - $2499+ Mac Pro. That is ironic.

Why do you want Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro?

The point of TB on a laptop/small-form-factor/all-in-one is that it gives you some of the expandability of a full-size PC.

The Mac Pro already has the expandability of a full-size PC.

As you say - want USB3? - drop in a relatively cheap USB3 PCIe card. Want xtra storage? There are 3 HD bays & you can easily add an eSATA card.

Red Fuji
Apr 30, 2013, 01:42 PM
NO SD CARD READER; what a waste of desk space and a power jack ! and $$$

carestudio
Apr 30, 2013, 01:46 PM
I pretty much settled on Caldigit's Thunderbolt station and put myself in the waiting list. But nice to see Belkin finally ships the products though cheaper could be better :)

CaptHenryMorgan
Apr 30, 2013, 02:25 PM
Ordered

MLMcMillion
Apr 30, 2013, 03:34 PM
Henge looks good, but what do you do when the next MBP you buy has a slightly different form factor?

You wait almost a year and hope they get an update out in time. Those guys aren't exactly speedy about getting products out.

InuNacho
Apr 30, 2013, 04:29 PM
I think you're correct. A "Thunderbolt Splitter" just isn't really possible.

The way to attach more than one device to a Thunderbolt port is to daisy chain them. As the chips get cheaper we will seek ore and more devices that support daisy chaining.

I had asked almost a year and a half ago for a "Thunderbolt Splitter" to run a Blackmagic Intensity and a MDP monitor at the same time. In the end I gave up and just bought an 09 Pro.

dyn
Apr 30, 2013, 04:49 PM
[QUOTE=calderone;17212137
The point I was making, if you had read my post, is that the price the end consumer wants to pay is not the only consideration when making a product. It seems most peoples understanding of economics is based purely on what they want to pay for a product, which is pretty foolish.[/QUOTE]
I know what you are trying to say but my point was that it was only 1 part of the story just like what the complainers were aiming at. A product needs to be priced in such a way it actually sells without costing the manufacturer/seller money. They need to make some profit (too much profit can lead to problems as well since you have to pay taxes; in some situations the amount of tax puts you into debt).

The other very important thing I wanted to point out: people have little to no understanding of the product itself. They don't know the technology in it. In some cases that's what the manufacturer wants. Apple is a good example of that: they just want you to use their products and not worry about the technical aspect. This also leads to little understanding of pricing. Thunderbolt devices are 10 Gbit devices. If you know how much other 10Gbit technology costs you'd know Thunderbolt is actually cheap. In this case they compare it to other docks that have been there for years now. Those docks costs less. Instead of whining about these people complaining about the much higher costs it's better to start explaining them why the costs are higher. Make them understand.

The foolish part comes from people who know the economics but do not understand how customers think and what their knowledge is. Pricing is explainable but manufacturers, economics, etc. hardly explain it. You can't expect people to know everything about the product (which is reflected in many laws of many countries). People who have knowledge also have the responsibility of sharing that knowledge!

To the people complaining about the amount of usb ports...let's not forget that by using Thunderbolt you can still use the usb ports on the Mac itself. You don't get 3 usb ports, you get three additional usb ports. The only port on the Mac that is taken up is the Thunderbolt port that connects the dock.

Stetrain
Apr 30, 2013, 05:00 PM
I had asked almost a year and a half ago for a "Thunderbolt Splitter" to run a Blackmagic Intensity and a MDP monitor at the same time. In the end I gave up and just bought an 09 Pro.

What would be possible is a device which has two Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining in addition to a Mini-Displayport (non-Thunderbolt) video output.

I don't know though if there's enough of a market for such a device, especially now that the retina MBPs and the iMacs come with two Thunderbolt ports.

tmanto02
Apr 30, 2013, 06:13 PM
All I want is a simple Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter similar to Apples gigabit Ethernet and fw800 adapters so I can have at least 1 USB 3.0 port on my 2011 Mac Mini!

tmanto02
Apr 30, 2013, 07:47 PM
According to the Belkin website it's USB 3.0 ports only run at half the regular speed of USB 3.0!!!! WTF!

One cable output provides instant access to 8 ports
1 Gigabit Ethernet port
1 FireWire 800 port
1 Thunderbolt port
1 3.5mm Headphone Output Jack
1 3.5mm Audio Input Jack
3 USB 3.0 ports*
Daisy-chaining ability of up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices
Includes Cable-management channel.
* USB 3.0 ports data transfer at 2.5Gbps max

fortysomegeek
Apr 30, 2013, 08:08 PM
All I want is a simple Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 adapter similar to Apples gigabit Ethernet and fw800 adapters so I can have at least 1 USB 3.0 port on my 2011 Mac Mini!

You can probably do that with a $130 Thunderbolt > Expresscard > expresscard to USB 3.0 card

Expresscard-Thunderbolt Adapter:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=860811&Q=&is=REG&A=details

Expresscard to USB 3:
http://www.amazon.com/GMYLE%C2%AE-ExpressCard-34mm-Adapter-Dual/dp/B0045BLP1S

Santabean2000
Apr 30, 2013, 08:44 PM
You realize that displays comparable to Apple's are over $600 easily, if not even more expensive than Apple's. So, that plus $300 for a TB dock is basically the same as just buying an ACD, pricewise.

But that's the point - I don't need a 27" display. I've priced up a Dell 16:10 IPS at about $280 + dock should come in at $500 or there abouts.

rocknblogger
Apr 30, 2013, 09:30 PM
I agree with you on the clutter. That is why I am getting a CalDigit model. It has the right mix of ports I need and $100 cheaper.

The one problem with the CalDigit is that it has neither a FireWire nor eSATA.

----------

According to the Belkin website it's USB 3.0 ports only run at half the regular speed of USB 3.0!!!! WTF!

One cable output provides instant access to 8 ports
1 Gigabit Ethernet port
1 FireWire 800 port
1 Thunderbolt port
1 3.5mm Headphone Output Jack
1 3.5mm Audio Input Jack
3 USB 3.0 ports*
Daisy-chaining ability of up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices
Includes Cable-management channel.
* USB 3.0 ports data transfer at 2.5Gbps max

If that's the case, then it's a no go and it is overpriced and fundamentally flawed.

kd5jos
Apr 30, 2013, 10:30 PM
How this seems to have been engineered...

One cable output provides instant access to 8 ports
1 Gigabit Ethernet port
1 FireWire 800 port
1 Thunderbolt port
1 3.5mm Headphone Output Jack
1 3.5mm Audio Input Jack
3 USB 3.0 ports*
Daisy-chaining ability of up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices
Includes Cable-management channel.
* USB 3.0 ports data transfer at 2.5Gbps max

1 Gb Ethernet port at full speed
.8 Gb Firewire port at full speed
3 x 2.5 Gb 3 USB 3 ports, half speed each
9.3 Gb plus 700 Mb for audio use
Total is 10 Gb.

Even if the USB 3 ports could go full speed, two in use would saturate the link. Not stating this is an excuse for a $300 price tag. At least half of the cost of the device seems to be tied up in paying for the connectors.

ArtOfWarfare
Apr 30, 2013, 10:35 PM
I'm looking at the still shot of the YouTube video in the article and... is it just me or is one of the Thunderbolt ports connected to itself through some sort of loop?

bedifferent
Apr 30, 2013, 10:38 PM
Why do you want Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro?

The point of TB on a laptop/small-form-factor/all-in-one is that it gives you some of the expandability of a full-size PC.

The Mac Pro already has the expandability of a full-size PC.

As you say - want USB3? - drop in a relatively cheap USB3 PCIe card. Want xtra storage? There are 3 HD bays & you can easily add an eSATA card.

It's the fastest throughput, would allow for running one bi-directional cable to a workstation for displays, HID's, etc. thus allowing the system to be stored in a ventilated closet/etc. Why not is the important question? You're the first individual I've encountered among many that has raised such points. The Mac Pro lacks current tech hardware. USB 2, SATA II, FireWire 800. "Light Peak" aka "Thunderbolt" was developed ON a Mac Pro. The point is not expandability, put to [eventually] replace FireWire, USB 3.0, etc as the primary connection. Thunderbolt, eventually, will allow for the fastest connections between external devices. Once the market grows, a Mac Pro system would need a few Thunderbolt ports to connect externals as blazing fast speeds. In server conditions, in situations with film editors such as myself, the speed combined with the processor power provided by Mac Pro Xeon systems would blow anything Apple currently has out of the water.

It would also cut down on form factor by replacing FireWire 400/800 and other hardware that Thunderbolt speeds kill.

Imagine:

A form factor the size of the ill fated cube, 2-3 internal SATA III bays, 2-3 PCIe slots, USB 3.0, Xeon or Core i7 processors, RAM, and either an external graphics box or PCIe card. Smaller form, Thunderbolt speeds, bidirectional cable to displays, HID's, and the ability to add external HDD's much easier than FireWire or USB via daisy chaining and faster speeds.

So yes, there are many reasons why Thunderbolt would be beneficial to the Mac Pro. A lot of excellent reasons. Ironic as it was developed with Sony, Intel and Apple on tower systems for professionals due to speed and hardware enhancements. The next Mac Pro will certainly have it and benefit greatly from it. :)

kd5jos
Apr 30, 2013, 10:45 PM
Definitely agreed on it being too expensive; the panel with the ports has a lot of under-utilised space that just seems wasted, I can't believe they couldn't squeeze in at least double the number of USB ports.


Let's do some math...
10Gb-
1Gb for ethernet
____
9Gb-
.8 Gb for Firewire
____
8.2-
.7 Gb for audio
____
7.5 Gb left

6 USB 3 ports = 30 Gbps and you have 7.5 Gbps left

How much are 1.25 Gbps USB 3 ports worth to you? That's what, triple USB 2 speed?

Now, I KNOW you're going to say, "but what if all I use is USB 3.0?"

First, I already own Firewire 800 devices. So that WILL be used.
Second, I'd get this to handle networking for me. The WILL be used.
Third, might as well hook up the speakers and a mike since it's permanently on the desk. That WILL be used.
Last, I have the USB ports. Do I want 6 1.25Gbps USB 3 ports or 3 2.5 Gbps ports? Hmm, I do like the speed, and 2.5 Gbps is faster than most drives I'd attach (1.6Gbps). I don't know, maybe a LITTLE slack is in order? Their math sure SEEMS to add up...

Joseph Farrugia
May 1, 2013, 02:18 AM
Yes, you just need to be running the recommend version of OS X



Not really no; that is an assumption on your part, proven by the fact that Belkin themselves (or was it CalDigit?) have already offered USB3 drivers for their USB3 expansion cards on 2011 (& previous) macs running 10.6.

iSayuSay
May 1, 2013, 03:47 AM
Why do you want Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro?

The point of TB on a laptop/small-form-factor/all-in-one is that it gives you some of the expandability of a full-size PC.

The Mac Pro already has the expandability of a full-size PC.

As you say - want USB3? - drop in a relatively cheap USB3 PCIe card. Want xtra storage? There are 3 HD bays & you can easily add an eSATA card.

What? MacPro is not an Apple product so it can't have the same feature?
What's with the hate here?

SO Apple MacPro is not eligible to use Apple Thunderbolt Display?

theluggage
May 1, 2013, 05:50 AM
Why not is the important question?

Well, for one thing, major USP for the Pro is the ability to fit a range of specialist graphics cards, so they'd need a range of graphics cards that supported Thunderbolt (not sure how that works - I presume that either the thunderbolt controller would have to be on the card, or the card would need an internal DisplayPort output with a flying lead to the TB controller on the motherboard).


It would also cut down on form factor by replacing FireWire 400/800 and other hardware that Thunderbolt speeds kill.


A lot of Mac Pro users will also want those legacy ports - for example, some video shops use 500G external FireWire drives like floppy discs, there are FireWire audio devices.

Secondly, a lot of the form factor is to do with having internal PCIe slots and internal SATA hard drive bays. One thing Thunderbolt doesn't kill is 'proper' PCIe and SATA, and the convenience/neatness of having everything installed inside the PC.


A form factor the size of the ill fated cube, 2-3 internal SATA III bays, 2-3 PCIe slots, USB 3.0, Xeon or Core i7 processors,


No, that's not the form factor of a Mac Cube - that's the form factor of the TARDIS. I suggest that you get a couple of 2TB 3.5" HDs, a pair of full-length, high-end graphics cards and a ruler and c.f. the dimensions of a Mac Cube. (Don't forget the space for a pair of Xeons and the requisite cooling).



RAM, and either an external graphics box or PCIe card.


...which would have lower bandwidth than an internal 16-lane PCIe bus.


bidirectional cable to displays


...bidirectional cable to the 1 (one) Thunderbolt display currently available, which, while very nice, is really a 'pro-sumer' device c.f. the huge range of specialist graphics pro displays that can connect to a Mac Pro.

Sniping aside - I wouldn't be surprised if the "Mac Mini Pro" concept does emerge - the appeal of Thunderbolt is that it can give small-form-factor systems much (but not all) of the expandability of a full-size PC, and as the power of SFF devices increases, the number of people who actually need a "Mac Pro"-like machine is drastically reducing, so Apple would probably shift far more "Mini Pros" than they would Pros. However, I guarantee a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from current "Pro" customers if they do.

Its not that Thunderbolt wouldn't be useful at all on a Mac Pro - its just not a priority when the Pro already has cheaper/faster ways of achieving the same effect.

Bear
May 1, 2013, 07:34 AM
Yes, you just need to be running the recommend version of OS XNot really no; that is an assumption on your part, proven by the fact that Belkin themselves (or was it CalDigit?) have already offered USB3 drivers for their USB3 expansion cards on 2011 (& previous) macs running 10.6.So if there are drivers, my assumption becomes very valid. Belkin will say what versions of OS X it will work with and if there is an exception, they will note that. However, right now Belkin doesn't give an exception for USB 3.0 support.

carestudio
May 1, 2013, 01:05 PM
So if there are drivers, my assumption becomes very valid. Belkin will say what versions of OS X it will work with and if there is an exception, they will note that. However, right now Belkin doesn't give an exception for USB 3.0 support.

been using caldigit's usb 3.0 cards for years with great success and support from their team is great too. if they can make the driver and support for pcie card, i see no problem to do the same trick on thunderbolt dock. the docking system can provide even better speed according to the comments from the show
http://www.thunderbolt4mac.com/caldigit/thunderbolt-station/index.asp?C=1

Joseph Farrugia
May 1, 2013, 02:30 PM
So if there are drivers, my assumption becomes very valid. Belkin will say what versions of OS X it will work with and if there is an exception, they will note that. However, right now Belkin doesn't give an exception for USB 3.0 support.

Your assumption was "you just need to be running the recommend version of OS X"; it is invalid because you do not need to be running the recommended OS;
even more invalid when you consider your use of the word "just" which misleadingly assumes that that is the only requirement "possible", not just "needed".

I'm replying simply for clarity & better articulation of facts available to us at the moment, please do share if you have more info.

yojo056
May 1, 2013, 02:33 PM
The video said you could connect a router... what router uses thunderbolt?

dyn
May 1, 2013, 02:49 PM
I'm looking at the still shot of the YouTube video in the article and... is it just me or is one of the Thunderbolt ports connected to itself through some sort of loop?
There are 2 TB ports on the backside of the dock. There is also a tunnel that runs from the back to the front. In this tunnel you put the TB cable hooked up to 1 of the two TB ports on the back of the dock and the cable from your power adapter. It's meant for cable management of the two cables you put in the Mac.

The video said you could connect a router... what router uses thunderbolt?
Any that is hooked up to the network port on the dock ;)

anthony11
May 1, 2013, 03:49 PM
Expensive for what it is, but this is the sort of thing I want. Get me a nice, cheap IPS monitor, strap this to the back and then I'm good to go.

Apple's display is just too expensive.

A cheap IPS monitor and this thing velcro'd to the back add up to about the same $.

booksacool1
May 2, 2013, 01:47 AM
This is a cool device for those which don't already have USB 3. But for the rest of us it's going to be torn to shreds by cheap USB 3.0 docking stations. Hell if you don't need video, grab a USB3 hub with ethernet and a USB sound card and you've got most of the functionality for ~$90 (barring firewire & displayport).

It looks the goods though.

iSayuSay
May 2, 2013, 02:02 AM
A cheap IPS monitor and this thing velcro'd to the back add up to about the same $.

But that cheap IPS will have multiple inputs. Glue this Belkin to its back and it also has USB 3.0 ports albeith at half speed while $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display gets you three slow USB ports.

Or if I want something with more dignity. Dell Ultrasharp U2713 is 1440p, has USB 3.0 hub built in. Along with DisplayPort, DVI and HDMI so I can plug in multiple PC/Mac at once. All for $700 with 3 years warranty included.

missbrown
May 2, 2013, 03:30 AM
All the ports an iMac lacks... and shouldn't.

haravikk
May 2, 2013, 05:23 AM
6 USB 3 ports = 30 Gbps and you have 7.5 Gbps left
You're assuming that everyone would be using all the ports on the Thunderbolt hub, and not just using them but fully utilising them at once, which I don't think is a sound assumption to make.

If someone wants to plug six full-speed USB 3 devices then yes, they're going to overload the Thunderbolt bandwidth, but that's their own fault. If I'm just plugging in a mouse, keyboard, maybe a backup drive, scanner, printer etc. then I need the quantity of ports, but I'm unlikely to eat through 10gbps of bandwidth.

Because everyone wants two or three hubs...
Sure, one hub is neater, but one good UBS 3 hub and a good Firewire 800 hub will set you back around a third of the price of this particular all-in-one hub. I understand that Thunderbolt is a small market right now and has complexities, but even accounting that high premium what you get is very limited in how you can realistically use it; if you have more than two Firewire 800 devices then it's no good, if you have more than 3 USB (1, 2 or 3) devices then it's no good, etc., what you get for each interface is pretty restrictive.

For $300 I would have expected a bit more freedom in how I could use it, and more of a polished layout of the ports at the very least.

Santabean2000
May 2, 2013, 08:10 AM
A cheap IPS monitor and this thing velcro'd to the back add up to about the same $.

If you buy a 27" quality one perhaps, but I'm looking at a Dell 24" 16:10

repoman27
May 2, 2013, 12:13 PM
How this seems to have been engineered...

One cable output provides instant access to 8 ports
1 Gigabit Ethernet port
1 FireWire 800 port
1 Thunderbolt port
1 3.5mm Headphone Output Jack
1 3.5mm Audio Input Jack
3 USB 3.0 ports*
Daisy-chaining ability of up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices
Includes Cable-management channel.
* USB 3.0 ports data transfer at 2.5Gbps max

1 Gb Ethernet port at full speed
.8 Gb Firewire port at full speed
3 x 2.5 Gb 3 USB 3 ports, half speed each
9.3 Gb plus 700 Mb for audio use
Total is 10 Gb.

Even if the USB 3 ports could go full speed, two in use would saturate the link. Not stating this is an excuse for a $300 price tag. At least half of the cost of the device seems to be tied up in paying for the connectors.

That's not quite how it works though.

If you ignore the DisplayPort aspect, a Thunderbolt controller acts like a hypothetical Ethernet router with 4 downstream ports operating at 4 Gbit/s and one 10 Gbit/s upstream port. Devices connected to the downstream ports can operate at the full 4 Gbit/s, but may not be able to do so 100% of the time if the uplink is maxed out. In general, you can oversubscribe the hell out of that single uplink, and, with efficient switching, the end user will rarely ever notice.

To explain the analogy in more detail, the Thunderbolt controller in question here has connections for 4 PCIe 2.0 lanes on the back side and 4 Thunderbolt channels (2 per port) on the front side. Internally, the PCIe lanes are connected to a PCIe switch, hooked to a Thunderbolt protocol adapter, connected to a Thunderbolt switch. PCIe 2.0 nominally operates at 5 Gbit/s, however it uses 8b/10b encoding (10 bits are sent for every byte of actual data), which means 4 Gbit/s in reality, whereas Thunderbolt channels actually do provide 10 Gbit/s to the upper layers. Although Thunderbolt ports and cables are dual channel, one of them, at least in Apple's implementations, appears to be reserved for DisplayPort traffic.

I'd wager the Belkin dock uses 3 or 4 single-lane PCIe devices connected to the Thunderbolt controller to provide the bulk of its functionality: one 4-port USB 3.0 host controller (or two 2-port controllers), a single-port FireWire 800 host controller, and a single-port GbE controller. The audio is provided by a USB connected audio device which uses one of the 4 USB ports internally. The FireWire and GbE controllers are pretty straightforward, but the USB solution is worth discussing because of the note about it only operating at 2.5 Gbit/s.

This is a pretty blatant indication that the USB 3.0 controller is only able to connect to the Thunderbolt controller at PCIe Gen 1 speeds. Mind you, all of the discrete USB 3.0 host controllers that have made it into production thus far, regardless of whether they support 1, 2 or 4 ports, only have connections for a single PCIe lane on the back side. Since PCIe 2.0 and USB 3.0 are both 5 Gbit/s with 8b/10b encoding (i.e. 4 Gbit/s) interfaces, this works out quite well and individual ports are not limited. If you're aggressively using more than one port of a multi-port controller, well, YMMV. On some of the early silicon, however, that single PCIe lane was only Gen 1, or 2.5 Gbit/s.

Unless Belkin got one hell of a deal on some chips that have been lying around for a couple years, it would really surprise me if they didn't use a more modern 2 or 4-port solution. My money was on the xHCI 1.0 compliant Fresco Logic FL1100, which I believe is supported natively under Mac OS X 10.8.2 and later, and made an appearance on an ODM Thunderbolt docking solution from Pegatron at Computex last June.

We'll have to wait for a teardown, but either the USB 3.0 host controller is at fault here, or there's an issue with a PCIe switch not being able to negotiate a Gen 2 link on the port it's connected to. Both the GbE and FireWire controllers are likely Gen 1 devices, since that's more than enough bandwidth for them. I wonder if the Thunderbolt controller's integrated PCIe switch can't handle different rates on each of its ports.

HenryAZ
May 2, 2013, 04:21 PM
Your assumption was "you just need to be running the recommend version of OS X"; it is invalid because you do not need to be running the recommended OS;
even more invalid when you consider your use of the word "just" which misleadingly assumes that that is the only requirement "possible", not just "needed".

I'm replying simply for clarity & better articulation of facts available to us at the moment, please do share if you have more info.

I have been considering either the CalDigit or Sonnet dock, and noticed both of them (and the Matrox) specify OS X 10.8.x. And yes, it was CalDigit who put out drivers for USB 3.0 for their ExpressCard, for 10.6.x and 10.7.x. I have one of those cards.

I emailed both Sonnet and CalDigit with a query on this (but not Belkin, so this may not be true for the Belkin). I mentioned I was running 10.7.5. Both replies said the same thing. Here is CalDigit's.

"Dear customer,

The Thunderbolt stations is using the OS built-in drivers, which the OSX
10.8 holds some of the required drivers for the Thunderbolt station.

If these drivers become available on the 10.7.6, then the thunderbolt
station will be available for the OSX 10.7 as well.

Best regards,

CalDigit - Support"

toke lahti
May 4, 2013, 10:49 AM
A USB 3.0 eSATA dongle is $20.
If you'd care about the health of your storage, can you monitor S.M.A.R.T. with that dongle?

If they handle usb4 specs well (like they didn't with usb3, which caused "the blu-ray effect"), it will be interesting when Apple ditches TB. After all Apple has been the company, who wants the most to reduce the amount of ports.
Surely they won't keep TB as long as FW, but will we see TB dongles connecting the 2015 MBP's usb4 port?

(Yep, usb4 won't be as hi-tec than TB, but when 99,9% users won't notice that and simple hub with 4-8 ports that covers all normal uses will be less than $50...)

heelsbigc
May 4, 2013, 11:35 PM
Got it set up last night. Ethernet, minidisplayport to tv via adapter, two external USB 3 drives connected to the dock via thunderbolt cable to mb air 11".

Surfed and streamed for several hours last night everyrhings great and all of sudden no Internet connection. I unplugged my thunderbolt cable from the air and voila, it works.

So tonight after work I plug in to the dock about 8 and everything's perfect until about ten after midnight when the Internet connection goes away again. I unplug and replug the Ethernet cable, no change. I unplug and replug the thunderbolt cable to the air and the Internet connection is back.

Everything else seems fine. I have access to the external drives and the the picture is getting to the tv fine. There just seems to be something weird going on with the Ethernet connection.

I really hope it's just a fluke but I'm a little worried.

repoman27
May 5, 2013, 09:29 PM
If you'd care about the health of your storage, can you monitor S.M.A.R.T. with that dongle?

Unlikely, but who cares? A device based on a decent SATA 6Gb/s to USB 3.0 bridge chip that supports UASP trumps eSATA on pretty much every other metric.

If they handle usb4 specs well (like they didn't with usb3, which caused "the blu-ray effect"), it will be interesting when Apple ditches TB. After all Apple has been the company, who wants the most to reduce the amount of ports.
Surely they won't keep TB as long as FW, but will we see TB dongles connecting the 2015 MBP's usb4 port?

(Yep, usb4 won't be as hi-tec than TB, but when 99,9% users won't notice that and simple hub with 4-8 ports that covers all normal uses will be less than $50...)

USB 4.0 is not on any sort of near-term horizon. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group recently announced a specification update to add a 10Gbps SuperSpeed USB capability to the USB 3.0 Specification. According to this document (http://www.usb.org/developers/USB-Futures.pdf), the 1.0 draft of this update will be available in the Q3 2013 timeframe, which is actually well ahead of what was initially announced. The other good news is that in addition to the nominal bitrate doubling, a more efficient encoding scheme will be used. A lot may happen between now and 2015, but it would be a miracle if Intel releases an updated xHCI spec and a chipset that integrates 10 Gbit/s SuperSpeed USB by then. This makes it highly unlikely that we'll see a Mac with this capability by 2015.

For historical perspective:

USB 1.1 spec released Q3 1998, integrated by Intel Q2 1999
USB 2.0 spec released Q2 2000, integrated by Intel Q2 2002
USB 3.0 spec released Q4 2008, xHCI 1.0 released Q2 2010, integrated by Intel Q2 2012
USB 3.0 update released Q3 2013, integrated by Intel...

Granted, the xHCI was designed to be eXtensible, so this update may take less time to roll out, but all the stars would have to align for Apple to ship a product including it just two years from now. However, in the first half of 2014, Intel will be ramping production of Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt controllers, which will provide a full 20 Gbit/s, full-duplex link and DisplayPort 1.2 with HBR2 and MST capabilities. USB 3.0 crushes Thunderbolt on price/performance for most consumer applications, however, Thunderbolt can do things that USB simply cannot. As long as USB is not a true digital display interface, and DisplayPort is still relevant, Apple will most likely include a DP port, and it might as well also be a Thunderbolt port.

You should know by now, Apple strives to cater to the 1%.

Got it set up last night. Ethernet, minidisplayport to tv via adapter, two external USB 3 drives connected to the dock via thunderbolt cable to mb air 11".

Surfed and streamed for several hours last night everyrhings great and all of sudden no Internet connection. I unplugged my thunderbolt cable from the air and voila, it works.

So tonight after work I plug in to the dock about 8 and everything's perfect until about ten after midnight when the Internet connection goes away again. I unplug and replug the Ethernet cable, no change. I unplug and replug the thunderbolt cable to the air and the Internet connection is back.

Everything else seems fine. I have access to the external drives and the the picture is getting to the tv fine. There just seems to be something weird going on with the Ethernet connection.

I really hope it's just a fluke but I'm a little worried.

Hmmm... That's not good. Was it a wake from sleep issue, or did the Ethernet connection just crap out as you were using the MBA?

heelsbigc
May 6, 2013, 12:30 AM
****. Happened again tonight.

Okay, I left the air plugged in today all day while I was at work. It was asleep for ~16 hours. Everything is working and connected properly at 7pm when I get home, woohoo.

So I surf off and on for a few hours with no problems, then go down stairs around 11:45pm to do some laundry and have a snack. When I return to the computer around 1am, it wakes up and I get picture on the tv but there's a disk not ejected properly message. I can't comunicate with either external disk (one doesn't show up at all, the other shows but I can't open it), and I have no internet connection. I unplugged the thunderbolt cable from the air, re-plugged and everything comes back.



Hmmm... That's not good. Was it a wake from sleep issue, or did the Ethernet connection just crap out as you were using the MBA?

Friday night it crapped out right in the middle of streaming a video right at midnight

Saturday night it crapped out while I was streaming the ppv fight right at midnight

Tonight it woke from sleep messed up. But whatever went wrong, went wrong between 11:45pm and 1am.


What the **** is that all about? At midnight three nights in a row the dock stops functioning properly? How the hell can that be?

heelsbigc
May 6, 2013, 01:18 AM
And it just happened again. Just the internet going away. Unplugged and replugged the thunderbolt cable and it comes back. I guess this thing's going back to Belkin. Crap.

Just happened again. I lost internet and comunication with the external drives.

This time I left everything plugged in and re-started the mba. After reboot, everything works again.

carestudio
May 6, 2013, 01:19 PM
And it just happened again. Just the internet going away. Unplugged and replugged the thunderbolt cable and it comes back. I guess this thing's going back to Belkin. Crap.

Just happened again. I lost internet and comunication with the external drives.

This time I left everything plugged in and re-started the mba. After reboot, everything works again.


could it be overheating dock?

dyn
May 6, 2013, 01:49 PM
Interesting. What does the log in Console say? Maybe you'll find something interesting there.

heelsbigc
May 6, 2013, 04:13 PM
Interesting. What does the log in Console say? Maybe you'll find something interesting there.

Opened it but I don't really know what I'm looking for/at. Around the time it went out last night 2amish theres:

2:03am mdworker: unable to talk to lsboxd

2:03am kernel: sandbox: sandboxd (588) deny mach-lookup com.apple.coresymbolicationd

2:03 sandboxd ([587]) mdworker (587) deny mach-lookup com.apple.ls.boxd

2:04am kernel: ethernet (applebcm5701ethernet):link down on en4 (offline)


Apparently It went down overnight as well I woke to still another disk ejection error and one of the disks not showing up.

dyn
May 6, 2013, 04:20 PM
The sandbox messages can be ignored for this issue, that's something else. I think the best is to focus on the network card. The last line you pasted is worth looking into. Try searching for "ethernet" and "thunderbolt".

heelsbigc
May 7, 2013, 02:43 PM
More than 24 hours now with no additional problems:confused:

repoman27
May 7, 2013, 06:25 PM
And it just happened again. Just the internet going away. Unplugged and replugged the thunderbolt cable and it comes back. I guess this thing's going back to Belkin. Crap.

Just happened again. I lost internet and comunication with the external drives.

This time I left everything plugged in and re-started the mba. After reboot, everything works again.

That sucks. If I had to hazard a guess, the Ethernet problem may be related to a failure while renewing the DHCP lease for the controller in the dock. If setting a static IP for it eliminates the issue, that would be a good bet. Obviously it should just work though.

The drive issue seems like typical USB 3.0 controller/hub failure to enter/exit U3 power state gracefully. I assume you're running Mac OS X 10.8.3 with all relevant EFI/SMC/firmware updates installed?

More than 24 hours now with no additional problems:confused:

Glad to hear there are no additional problems, but the original ones sound annoying enough.

heelsbigc
May 7, 2013, 07:01 PM
I'm on 10.8.3 and everything else is up to date.

I've sent an as yet unanswered email to belkin support to see what they make of it.

As of right now, its still working properly.

carestudio
May 8, 2013, 01:55 PM
That sucks. If I had to hazard a guess, the Ethernet problem may be related to a failure while renewing the DHCP lease for the controller in the dock. If setting a static IP for it eliminates the issue, that would be a good bet. Obviously it should just work though.

The drive issue seems like typical USB 3.0 controller/hub failure to enter/exit U3 power state gracefully. I assume you're running Mac OS X 10.8.3 with all relevant EFI/SMC/firmware updates installed?



Glad to hear there are no additional problems, but the original ones sound annoying enough.

It should not be related to DHCP since he mentioned that after replugging Thunderbolt cable, everything worked fine. That means it must be something wrong with the dock itself, perhaps the ethernet controller or thunderbolt controller or his own computer?

sco
May 8, 2013, 05:34 PM
It should not be related to DHCP since he mentioned that after replugging Thunderbolt cable, everything worked fine. That means it must be something wrong with the dock itself, perhaps the ethernet controller or thunderbolt controller or his own computer?

Thunderbolt cable could be an issue too.

Waiting for mine from bhphotovideo... Availability is at 1 june after being at 19 August. Will probably be available locally here before it ships from BH.

carestudio
May 8, 2013, 06:34 PM
when it was down, what do you have on the network pref? does it show connected or red dot?

heelsbigc
May 8, 2013, 09:05 PM
when it was down, what do you have on the network pref? does it show connected or red dot?

It showed a red dot.

It worked flawlessly all day monday and tuesday.

I just got home from work and plugged in. So far no response from Belkin.

----------

Thunderbolt cable could be an issue too.

I've thought about that. If the issues persist, I will try another thunderbolt cable and see.


Ok, after an hour of use plugged in, internet connection went out, video still works, drives still connected. I've restarted the mba and things are working again.

heelsbigc
May 9, 2013, 12:12 PM
Still no response from Belkin. Just went ahead and processed a return authorization.

tarnar
May 9, 2013, 01:03 PM
Got one of these yesterday for work. A few of my observations:

It won't power an external Apple USB Superdrive but it will power the two external hard drives I have hanging off it.

I have a native DisplayPort monitor plugged into the Belkin and the monitor's USB hub is also plugged in, going out to my keyboard/mouse.

Very nice having just one cable now. Except for the complaints about not properly unmounting my drives, unplugging and re-plugging seem to work fine.

The boss, who has a Cinema Display, is doing his best to avoid showing envy.

I didn't test the Ethernet but I'm going to test it today/overnight having read this thread. If it doesn't work then I'll need to return it, I have to be able to recommend *some* dock for new hardware purchases ... ports on Macs are becoming an endangered species.

toke lahti
May 11, 2013, 07:22 AM
Unlikely, but who cares? A device based on a decent SATA 6Gb/s to USB 3.0 bridge chip that supports UASP trumps eSATA on pretty much every other metric.
As long as storage has sata interface, eSata will be more "native" than anything else.
USB 4.0 is not on any sort of near-term horizon. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group recently announced a specification update to add a 10Gbps SuperSpeed USB capability to the USB 3.0 Specification. According to this document (http://www.usb.org/developers/USB-Futures.pdf), the 1.0 draft of this update will be available in the Q3 2013 timeframe, which is actually well ahead of what was initially announced. The other good news is that in addition to the nominal bitrate doubling, a more efficient encoding scheme will be used. A lot may happen between now and 2015, but it would be a miracle if Intel releases an updated xHCI spec and a chipset that integrates 10 Gbit/s SuperSpeed USB by then. This makes it highly unlikely that we'll see a Mac with this capability by 2015.

For historical perspective:

USB 1.1 spec released Q3 1998, integrated by Intel Q2 1999
USB 2.0 spec released Q2 2000, integrated by Intel Q2 2002
USB 3.0 spec released Q4 2008, xHCI 1.0 released Q2 2010, integrated by Intel Q2 2012
USB 3.0 update released Q3 2013, integrated by Intel...

Granted, the xHCI was designed to be eXtensible, so this update may take less time to roll out, but all the stars would have to align for Apple to ship a product including it just two years from now. However, in the first half of 2014, Intel will be ramping production of Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt controllers, which will provide a full 20 Gbit/s, full-duplex link and DisplayPort 1.2 with HBR2 and MST capabilities. USB 3.0 crushes Thunderbolt on price/performance for most consumer applications, however, Thunderbolt can do things that USB simply cannot. As long as USB is not a true digital display interface, and DisplayPort is still relevant, Apple will most likely include a DP port, and it might as well also be a Thunderbolt port.

You should know by now, Apple strives to cater to the 1%.
Okay, they just changed usb4 to be called usb3.5 (etc.), but it doesn't change the thing that usb will be good enough for 99% of everything (you do know what Displaylink is, right?) and only 0,1% will be willing to pay ever increasing price gap for TB.

New DP spec includes daisy chaining of displays, so I'd guess that if Apple will keep some other port than usb in their products, it will be DP. They will save a lot of money with that.

I just can't come up with any reason why faster usb arriving sooner would not make TB devices even more useless and therefore even more expensive.

TB will have same fate than infiniband. Technically really nice, but not included in mainstream products that also Apple's products have been trying to be recent years.

opinio
May 18, 2013, 07:09 PM
Considering the USB 3.0 runs at half speed (2500), has anyone bought this and done some comparisions with full USB 3.0 to see if it bottlenecks with say RAID 0 on 7200 drives? I just wonder if the USB 3.0 is up to scratch when it is pushed.

magbarn
May 20, 2013, 10:56 AM
Awesome if this was early 2012.

In 2013, this is too expensive. Pass.

About the same price to dump my 2011 MBA 13 on fleabay and just get a 2012 model to get the requisite USB 3.0 ports for transferring my D800 Raw files which were just too painful at USB 2.0 speeds.

VincentLeclerc
May 21, 2013, 01:36 AM
Expensive, what it is, but this is the kind of thing I want. Make me a nice, cheap IPS display, the back of the strap, and then I'm good to go.

sbmeyer001
May 26, 2013, 08:48 AM
I have read that the USB ports lack power, so good luck plugging in a portable drive. There is another dock coming out for $100 less and powered USB ports. This one is a waste of money.

John Kotches
Jun 1, 2013, 10:15 PM
I have read that the USB ports lack power, so good luck plugging in a portable drive. There is another dock coming out for $100 less and powered USB ports. This one is a waste of money.

You may have read that, but it isn't factual. I had 3 bus powered drives plugged in simultaneously with no issues whatsoever.

jrm27
Jul 16, 2013, 12:18 AM
Has anyone tried plugging a USB hub into this? I'd like to have access to a few more USB ports than 3... maybe a total of 5 or 6 at most and wouldnt mind using another hub plugged into the back. I've got a lot of USB peripherals to work with. I'd be okay getting some slower speeds out of the hub if it will still work. Anyone done this?

John Kotches
Jul 16, 2013, 09:22 AM
Has anyone tried plugging a USB hub into this? I'd like to have access to a few more USB ports than 3... maybe a total of 5 or 6 at most and wouldnt mind using another hub plugged into the back. I've got a lot of USB peripherals to work with. I'd be okay getting some slower speeds out of the hub if it will still work. Anyone done this?


I have the dock because my mac mini is a 2011 model that has Thunderbolt but not USB3. So for me, it was a way to get USB3 (and the other extras) without buying a new mac mini. If that's the case for you, you might want to consider a USB2 hub for your USB2 peripherals plugging into a USB2 port on the system.

Otherwise there's no reason that the hub wouldn't work from a technical standpoint, but I have not tried this myself.

jrm27
Jul 16, 2013, 10:54 AM
I have the dock because my mac mini is a 2011 model that has Thunderbolt but not USB3. So for me, it was a way to get USB3 (and the other extras) without buying a new mac mini. If that's the case for you, you might want to consider a USB2 hub for your USB2 peripherals plugging into a USB2 port on the system.

Otherwise there's no reason that the hub wouldn't work from a technical standpoint, but I have not tried this myself.

Well, my USB ports are broken (they shorted out and Apple says I need to replace the entire Logic Board... outside of warranty). So, the Belkin hub seems to be my best option at the moment to restore USB functionality.