'14 MacBook Pro (TB2) to USB-C Hub

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bgro, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. bgro macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Hi All,

    I have a '14 MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt 2 port. I just setup a home office for work and got an Thinkpad which came with a USB-C dock. I hooked up all my peripherals to the dock and now would like to swap between my Thinkpad and MacBook. The ThinkPad obviously has a USB-C port but is there any way to hook up my older MacBook to the USB-C dock?

    Seems like apple only makes a TB3 --> TB2 adapter which I think is the opposite of what I need?
     
  2. chekie, Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019

    chekie macrumors member

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    #2
    Actually Apple's TB3 -> TB2 adapter works both ways.

    If you have a male to male TB2 cable, connect one end to you laptop, the other end to the female TB2 part of the adapter. You can then connect the male TB3 part to your USB-C dock.

    Disclaimer: I didn't try it myself. I saw someone did it with a TB3 dock. :)

    -----
    Edit: Seems like it will certainly work according to description on Apple's webpage:

    As a bidirectional adapter, it can also connect new Thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port and macOS Sierra.
     
  3. bgro thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Hmmm this is encouraging news, I will give it a try thank you. Guess if it doesn’t work then I’m going windows full time. Thank you!
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

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    #4
    Is this a USB C hub or Thunderbolt 3 hub? One does not equal another. A Thunderbolt 3 hub would use a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter. A USB C hub would use one of your USB 3.0 ports. So, USB A to C.

    Does the Dock support video? If it does and is USB C. It would have to have it's own built in GPU. Usually a really weak one is built in. Which is normal with USB docks. While Thunderbolt 3 docks will do video passthrough.

    Does the dock say it is Mac compatible? It will likely need drivers. Which may or may not be available for macOS.
     
  5. bgro thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Thanks for this additional info. The dock I have is definitely a USB-C dock, a Lenovo branded one. I believe it’s Mac compatible because I know people with newer macs with a USBC/TB3 port are using them successfully from my search.


    In terms of supporting video I have two displays hooked up (standard not 4K) and they work fine with the Thinkpad.
    Going to try out the Apple adapter if it works great if not then I guess goodbye Mac for now
     
  6. pshufd macrumors 6502

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  7. treekram, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019

    treekram macrumors 68000

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    #7
    Assuming this is a Thunderbolt 3 dock (and Lenovo does make those) - if you have data-only peripherals, then it should work. But the Apple Thunderbolt 3->2 adapter does not send the multiplexed DisplayPort signal so if you are connecting displays to the dock, you need to check the specs of the dock and the type of displays you're connecting carefully because some of the most useful Thunderbolt 3 dock functionality relating to displays relies on this multiplexed DisplayPort signal. And actually, as it relates to video, a lot of the TB3 docks use functionality that is new to TB3.
     
  8. bgro thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    See below
    --- Post Merged, Apr 15, 2019 ---
    This is definitely the Lenovo USB-C dock as opposed to the TB3 dock they make.

    Unhappy to report that the Apple adapter didn’t work, not just the monitors but nothing connected to the dock functions with the MacBook.

    Unfortunately, I’m not willing to get a new MacBook at the price point considering all the issues I’ve read with the keyboards and the obnoxious pricing for the 16GB RAM upgrades. The The Thinkpad i got seems good enough for my everyday use, unfortunately doesn’t tie into the Apple ecosystem at all but maybe this is my first step out.

    Guess I could’ve got the TB3 dock but work bought me my setup for home and not sure I really have a use for TB3 since I basically just use dual monitors (normal HD), a DI box for my musical instruments, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and external hardrive.
     
  9. ntlman macrumors member

    ntlman

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    #9
    I've been debating whether to buy a refurbished 2015 MBP for the same reasons why you're not getting a new MacBook. I am also looking to mainly power home audio recording, with similar setup to yours (minus the Bluetooth keyboard).

    Question: Is your 2014 MBP still serving your studio needs, and do you foresee it being able to do so for at least 4 more years?
    Your answer is gonna help me make my choice. I'm hoping when the new MBP design comes out this year, either (1) it drives the 2015 MBP price down even further; and/or (2) could offer a design worth shelling out for.

    Thanks!
     
  10. pshufd macrumors 6502

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    #10
    If you're looking for more power but are willing to sacrifice portability, the iMac 27 may be the way to go. I'm looking at this option too.
     
  11. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #11
    In your situation, a Thunderbolt 3 dock doesn't make sense unless you have a Thunderbolt 3 device. There are cheaper ways of connecting USB devices. USB-C non-Thunderbolt docks which have video outputs also use the multiplexed DisplayPort signal which is supplied via the MBP USB-C ports but not earlier USB-A ports so you can't use the video outputs on those docks if they're connected to a 2014 MBP.
     
  12. bgro thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    It’s serving my studio needs but I’m by no means a power user. Basically just run logic and some plugins (mainly Helix Native), and 8-10 tracks on a song. Not sure if it’ll last 4 more years, only has 8GB RAM but seeing my needs now. Might even try using Reaper with my Thinkpad.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 15, 2019 ---
    At this point, not even sure a new Mac is the answer but point taken.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 15, 2019 ---
    I think that makes sense but wouldn’t at least the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse work? The MacBook didn’t even seem to recognize the dock and peripherals (or maybe it was the opposite the dock didn’t recognize the Mac)
     
  13. ntlman macrumors member

    ntlman

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    #13
    Thanks for responding and your follow up post. I am planning on running the same level setup as you (logic express, a few plug ins but nothing major, no more than a dozen tracks a song). I also do some audio editing, and mostly just use Handbrake and iTunes. So this is a tough one.
     
  14. bgro thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Do you need portability? If not go with a Mac Mini or iMac
     
  15. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #15
    USB devices should work. How was the Bluetooth keyboard/mouse connected to the dock? If the MBP can't see a USB external drive, then maybe the cable between the MBP and the Apple TB3->TB2 adapter wasn't correct. Or maybe the dock would only recognize TB3, not TB2.
     

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