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JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Hello everyone.

After much consideration I finally came to the conclusion that I'll probably buy the 13" macbook pro, as I'm in urgent need of replacing my computer and I want to invest in the future (ARM) rather than getting an Intel machine.
That said I'm not familiar with the whole thunderbolt thing, specifically how the signal can be split into multiple ones.

Instead of asking 100 questions, I'll detail below what I need to get attached to the M1, so that you can suggest me the best option (I have a high budget for the dock/dongle).

The computer will have this set-up 99% of its use:

  • 99% of the time plugged in
  • 99% of the time attached to a BENQ PD2700U 4K 60hz 10-bit display (Display Port-HDMI)
  • 99% of the time connected via ethernet
  • External USB-C Audio Interface (Focusrite Scarlett Solo)
  • External SSDs (swapped one at a time) with USB 3.1 500mb/ps speed
As long as I can plug in all these things, I don't mind having all the 2 ports occupied, but it's important that the computer has access to the power at all times.

Thank you very much.
 
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CSBBody

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2020
54
38
Pretty much exact set up as myself, i have been through a ton of hubs and none worked as i wanted.

Recently bit the bullet and got the Caldigit TS3+

as it has its on (very large) power supply, it handles :

- dell 3818 connected via thunderbolt
- 2 x External portable 2TB HDD
- 1 x Scandisk 512gb SSD
- 1 x Focusrite 2i2 audio interface
- 1 x USB-C QDOS hub with wireless charger for my iPhone.
- 1 x Ethernet port

All this is a one cable solution to my MBA M1 and works on my 16” MBP as well, just the same on both.

in 3 days now it hasn’t skipped a beat, my laptop stays in clamshell mode, wakes from sleep via the keyboard or my watch. All HDD stay connected, the hubs not a chance after connecting 2 HDD and they all crashed.

I have read reports of some having issues, so far i have encountered nothing wrong yet.

Good luck
 

bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
Oh, the external hub ... the dongle/dock and MacOS - the bane of so many users lives.
I have tried so many and have been issued so many at various companies I work at.
Some people have no problems, whilst others with the *exact* same spec MacBook *and* dongle have no end of woes.
I've seen some which overheat to such an extent, they are hot to the touch.
Then there's others which need some special combination of drivers installed by magic unicorns in order to support two monitors.

My work Laptop worked great with the work issued Dell Dock, until one day, it didn't.
Just stopped working - nothing could be done to fix it - because I updated to a point release of MacOS Mojave and clearly, Dell hadn't bothered to provide updated drivers ... maybe. Or perhaps it was gremlins. All the extensions have loaded fine, MacOS reports it as active and available - but nope, ethernet and display no longer working.

One of the biggest support questions for IT at work is related to docks and Macs.
 

kave

macrumors 6502
Oct 31, 2012
421
193
Sweden
If you dont want problems, try to get a display that connects directly to USB-C, it will save you much small hassle. All docks I have tried sometimes have problems starting up the display. I have been through all generations of 15” and now the 16”. I just tried it again with a thunderbolt dell dock, Twelve south dock, and a third one. Sometimes the display just wont see the computers signal. When directly connected it just works. You can then connect USB stuff to the display like hard drives and cams etc.
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Curious, why not get the Mac mini for this usage?

I contemplated the purchase of a mac mini quite a lot...
The thing is that I still need to work with 2 displays (it's almost impossible to work with After Effects with just one display), and purchasing a second display for the mac mini would make it cost pretty much like a macbook pro.

I will surely move to more powerful apple silicon systems but I feel the macbook, even in its entry level state, would be a much better investment as it would keep a certain degree of usefulness even when a new desktop machine (like an m1x/M2 iMac) would come, as I'd have this as a portable machine.
A mac mini, while slightly cheaper, would basically feel like buying something that will have to be replaced soon, and the used market for mac minis is much less florid than macbook pros.
I would love with all my heart to wait for these releases, but my current computer has some serious issues and I'm afraid it might die on me anytime soon

If you dont want problems, try to get a display that connects directly to USB-C, it will save you much small hassle. All docks I have tried sometimes have problems starting up the display. I have been through all generations of 15” and now the 16”. I just tried it again with a thunderbolt dell dock, Twelve south dock, and a third one. Sometimes the display just wont see the computers signal. When directly connected it just works. You can then connect USB stuff to the display like hard drives and cams etc.

I thought about it, but I work with design and the only monitor with 10-bit colour, decent calibration and respectful HDR yet at a decent price I found was the one I want to buy (specifically the BENQ PD 2700U).
Other displays either cost twice as much, or have gamery features (such as high refresh rates) I don't need, while sacrificing colours.
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Pretty much exact set up as myself, i have been through a ton of hubs and none worked as i wanted.

Recently bit the bullet and got the Caldigit TS3+

as it has its on (very large) power supply, it handles :

- dell 3818 connected via thunderbolt
- 2 x External portable 2TB HDD
- 1 x Scandisk 512gb SSD
- 1 x Focusrite 2i2 audio interface
- 1 x USB-C QDOS hub with wireless charger for my iPhone.
- 1 x Ethernet port

All this is a one cable solution to my MBA M1 and works on my 16” MBP as well, just the same on both.

in 3 days now it hasn’t skipped a beat, my laptop stays in clamshell mode, wakes from sleep via the keyboard or my watch. All HDD stay connected, the hubs not a chance after connecting 2 HDD and they all crashed.

I have read reports of some having issues, so far i have encountered nothing wrong yet.

Good luck
Well, it seems to cost a lot, but at least it's good to know there's a solution.
I don't mind having an externally powered unit, as long as I can do some decent cable management.
 
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JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Anyway that's the reason I'm quite angry at apple.
Fantastic thing to reveal these M1 entry level machines, but they could have at least release a model with 4 thunderbolt ports...
I mean...come on...
 

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
890
235
If you dont want problems, try to get a display that connects directly to USB-C, it will save you much small hassle. All docks I have tried sometimes have problems starting up the display. I have been through all generations of 15” and now the 16”. I just tried it again with a thunderbolt dell dock, Twelve south dock, and a third one. Sometimes the display just wont see the computers signal. When directly connected it just works. You can then connect USB stuff to the display like hard drives and cams etc.

Hi Kave,

I’m coming to that conclusion as well.



I’ll have to check if your suggestion above works for my setup!

Just to confirm I read the above right:

1. A USB-C connection, from the macbook, to the Display Port connection on the Monitor

2. This connnection will provide?:
2.1. Display
2.2. Sound
2.3. And... USB hub connections on the Monitor?



That would be fab if thats possible!
I don’t get the macbook until 16th Dec. I’ll try my ipad today! ?


Regards
Martin
 

gpat

macrumors 65816
Mar 1, 2011
1,134
1,689
Italy
Anyway that's the reason I'm quite angry at apple.
Fantastic thing to reveal these M1 entry level machines, but they could have at least release a model with 4 thunderbolt ports...
I mean...come on...
If you are not in an urgent need, just wait until they're available. It's that simple.
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
If you are not in an urgent need, just wait until they're available. It's that simple.
I can wait max until march (ant it would already be a risk), and I'm almost completely sure apple won't release new M1x orr M2 chips by then.
Rumors speak of a june release, at the earliest.
 

bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
Curious, why not get the Mac mini for this usage?
Me too!

If it's going to be spending 99% of the time on a desk, just get a desktop computer - the Mac mini M1.
I'm super happy with mine - base model - love it.
As it has a separate power connector, you have the two thunderbolts free from the outset.
Plus, there's 2 USB-A ports which are perfect for many peripherals.
 

TrueBlou

Contributor
Sep 16, 2014
4,508
3,499
Scotland
I’ve just ordered the Wavlink UTD01, seems like a decent enough TB dock for the money. Mind you, I won’t be able to test it with an M1 until at least Christmas morning, when I get my new Air :(
 

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
890
235
Hi Kave,

I’m coming to that conclusion as well.



I’ll have to check if your suggestion above works for my setup!

Just to confirm I read the above right:

1. A USB-C connection, from the macbook, to the Display Port connection on the Monitor

2. This connnection will provide?:
2.1. Display
2.2. Sound
2.3. And... USB hub connections on the Monitor?



That would be fab if thats possible!
I don’t get the macbook until 16th Dec. I’ll try my ipad today! ?


Regards
Martin

Hi All,

I have just tried this with the IPAD, and it doesn’t work. Shame ?

Oh well, will continue to look for a good quality simplest one possible, providing:
1. A USB-C connection, from the macbook / Windows work laptop.
2. A Display Port connection on the Monitor
3. A USB Connection to the USB Hub on the monitor



Regards
Martin
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Me too!

If it's going to be spending 99% of the time on a desk, just get a desktop computer - the Mac mini M1.
I'm super happy with mine - base model - love it.
As it has a separate power connector, you have the two thunderbolts free from the outset.
Plus, there's 2 USB-A ports which are perfect for many peripherals.
Does the HDMI in the mac mini support 10-bit 4k 60HZ?
 

bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
Does the HDMI in the mac mini support 10-bit 4k 60HZ?
Yeah - looks that way - https://support.apple.com/kb/SP823?locale=en_GB

> One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0

I don't have a 4K monitor myself, but I've seen others who have had no problems at all.
It's driving my 32" (2560 x 1440) benQ PD3200Q absolutely perfectly. Not a hitch. Smooth as butter.
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Yeah - looks that way - https://support.apple.com/kb/SP823?locale=en_GB

> One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
I think I found the best way to act.
Right now I have a general budget of 3600 Euros, but I'm in need of a computer ASAP.
With 1000 euros I can get a 16GB M1 Mac Mini to be used until the new 14" or 16" macbook pros are announced.
During these 6 months I could easily earn an other 1500 euros to be able to come back to a 4K budget for a well decked macbook pro (M1x or M2)...
Maybe I could even sell this mac mini at 50%.

I think this is the best solution.

Now I'd only need a thunderbolt to HDMI 2.0 adapter, as I'd put 2 displays on the mac mini

What do you think of this approach?
 
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bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
For the record, in terms of having enough ports, I've got:
Two external drives - one on a thunderbolt port and one on a USB-A port.
I've then got the HDMI to the display.
The other USB-A port is connecting to my small USB-3 hub which is also a 'switcher'. This has has my audio interface, a midi keyboard, a midi drum pad, my wireless keyboard receiver (I hate Mac keyboards/mice), a USB-C phone charger cable and then the back of my hub has two switcher ports that connect to two USB-B ports in my monitor so I can keyboard/monitor switch between my Mac and my gaming PC.

I still have a thunderbolt port free on the Mac mini after all that.

Sure, it's a mess of cables, but I can tidy all that up.
I'll be looking at a decent multi-drive enclosure for my external drives at some point, just shopping around to find something good, which will then free up another port.

So far, all good - haven't missed my Mac Pro 5.1 yet at all! - apart from the easy storage options, but then, I knew that going in to this purchase.
 

bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
I think I found the best way to act.
Right now I have a general budget of 3600 Euros, but I'm in need of a computer ASAP.
With 1000 euros I can get a 16GB M1 Mac Mini to be used until the new 14" or 16" macbook pros are announced.
During these 6 months I could easily earn an other 1500 euros to be able to come back to a 4K budget for a well decked macbook pro (M1x or M2)...
Maybe I could even sell this mac mini at 50%.

I think this is the best solution.

Now I'd only need a thunderbolt to HDMI 2.0 adapter, as I'd put 2 displays on the mac mini

What do you think of this approach?
Sounds good!

If you keep that Mac mini in absolutely pristine condition, along with the box, there's a good chance you'll get up to 70% resale - newer Macs tend to hold their price for well over a year.

That's pretty much my plan - keep the Mac mini for 12 months or so, see what else comes on the market.

Just make sure you do due diligence on the apps you absolutely need.
I've found no problems yet, but as this is primarily my "creative" computer, I've got Logic Pro X and the affinity graphics apps installed, both of which have native apple silicon binaries.

Rosetta 2 has good support, but your mileage may vary.
I'm a developer by career and this will *not* be used as a dev box just yet - I have my Intel work macBook for that.

Also, whatever route you go down, if you have an existing Intel Mac, there are some recommending rather than just migrating everything automatically, do a fresh install and migrate manually - that gives you a chance to do a good spring clean and can prevent potential problems.

One more thing, if you want to save some money, do research on whether the 16GB vs the 8GB is something you really need - it may be better to look at more storage instead.

From all reports I've read, the internals of this Mac are so awesome, 16GB is really only recommended for *very* heavy usage - high end video production etc.

Put it this way, the internal SSD has insane speeds - up to 3200mb/s.
This mini is like 3x faster than my Mac Pro 5.1 with 64gb of ram!
Ok, maybe not 3x faster, but it sure feels that way.
The single core benchmark absolutely *wipes* the floor of my old Mac and the multi-core benchmark is ... just amazing.
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
Sounds good!

If you keep that Mac mini in absolutely pristine condition, along with the box, there's a good chance you'll get up to 70% resale - newer Macs tend to hold their price for well over a year.

That's pretty much my plan - keep the Mac mini for 12 months or so, see what else comes on the market.

Just make sure you do due diligence on the apps you absolutely need.
I've found no problems yet, but as this is primarily my "creative" computer, I've got Logic Pro X and the affinity graphics apps installed, both of which have native apple silicon binaries.

Rosetta 2 has good support, but your mileage may vary.
I'm a developer by career and this will *not* be used as a dev box just yet - I have my Intel work macBook for that.

Also, whatever route you go down, if you have an existing Intel Mac, there are some recommending rather than just migrating everything automatically, do a fresh install and migrate manually - that gives you a chance to do a good spring clean and can prevent potential problems.
I use After Effects, which unfortunately isn't weel optimized for M1s, but it will eventually be.
Regardless the UNOPTIMIZED Cinebench benchmark is currently 3 times as fast as my current machine, so I'm still going to have a better time.
The only thing I'd go backwards with is the ram, going from 32 to 16GB, but my ram is very slow DDR3 and this ram is at least much more modern; I'll just have to adapt to use a bit less caching.
Anyway for me a mac is not just work; I have an iphone and I'm fully committed to the apple ecosystem, I use notes, calendar, reminders, facetime, imessage and so on, but my machine is old and only supports High Sierra...can't wait to move to Big Sur.
 

kave

macrumors 6502
Oct 31, 2012
421
193
Sweden
Hi Kave,

I’m coming to that conclusion as well.



I’ll have to check if your suggestion above works for my setup!

Just to confirm I read the above right:

1. A USB-C connection, from the macbook, to the Display Port connection on the Monitor

2. This connnection will provide?:
2.1. Display
2.2. Sound
2.3. And... USB hub connections on the Monitor?



That would be fab if thats possible!
I don’t get the macbook until 16th Dec. I’ll try my ipad today! ?


Regards
Martin
No, what you want is a display that is USB-C, then it will charge your Mac as well. For example I am always selling and using the Dell U2719DC. A USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort or dock is not as stable in my experience.
A Display that is sold 2020 that does not have USB-C feels very urmodern to me. If you don't absolutely must have 4k I would skip that as well and wait for more affordable 5k displays. The 4k is a compromise to me.
 

bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
I use After Effects, which unfortunately isn't weel optimized for M1s, but it will eventually be.
Regardless the UNOPTIMIZED Cinebench benchmark is currently 3 times as fast as my current machine, so I'm still going to have a better time.
The only thing I'd go backwards with is the ram, going from 32 to 16GB, but my ram is very slow DDR3 and this ram is at least much more modern; I'll just have to adapt to use a bit less caching.
Anyway for me a mac is not just work; I have an iphone and I'm fully committed to the apple ecosystem, I use notes, calendar, reminders, facetime, imessage and so on, but my machine is old and only supports High Sierra...can't wait to move to Big Sur.
I'd say, again, do some research on the RAM - I've noticed no slowdowns yet.
Currently got a Logic Pro song open, got Affinity Photo with 30 files open, browser, Spotify, slack - the mini has barely noticed it. Everything still super snappy.
I guess it depends whether you can afford that 16GB AND 512GB SSD space.
That's the only thing I slightly regret, but I was on a budget, so I got the 256GB model.

To my mind, the SSD space is way more important than RAM on this little beauty.

Then again, this is a useful post - https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/23/m1-macbook-pro-ram-differences/

So, unless you are exporting 8k video or intend to in the future, there's not much point in going for 16gb of ram!
 

JippaLippa

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2013
777
734
I'd say, again, do some research on the RAM - I've noticed no slowdowns yet.
Currently got a Logic Pro song open, got Affinity Photo with 30 files open, browser, Spotify, slack - the mini has barely noticed it. Everything still super snappy.
I guess it depends whether you can afford that 16GB AND 512GB SSD space.
That's the only thing I slightly regret, but I was on a budget, so I got the 256GB model.

To my mind, the SSD space is way more important than RAM on this little beauty.

Then again, this is a useful post - https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/23/m1-macbook-pro-ram-differences/

So, unless you are exporting 8k video or intend to in the future, there's not much point in going for 16gb of ram!
I normally use 32Gb of ram...16 GB would already be a downgrade.
No way I'm going 8GB
 
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bb_mac

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2005
52
26
I normally use 32Gb of ram...16 GB would already be a downgrade.
No way I'm going 8GB
But this isn't the same. The 8GB you are thinking about is on entirely different architecture.
The rules no longer apply to Apple Silicon in the same way as they did.

Everything I've read - and that's a lot - before buying - have stressed just how powerful the base 8gb model is and that 16gb only really comes into play when you are *seriously* and I mean *seriously* stressing the machine.


EDIT: I just opened 23 Logic Pro instances with different songs - some of them have 16 tracks, tons of fx, gigabytes of audio. If I had tried that on my old Intel Mac with 32gb, the machine would've died.
The Mac mini with 8gb didn't even break a sweat - nothing. The fan didn't even go on.
 
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torncanvas

macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2006
121
73
It’s not that simple, unfortunately. Some rules apply, some don’t. There are threads from users scattered on the forum here that make that clear.

Some AV folks get by just fine. On the other hand, a web developer who usually has 32GB posted their issues and it was clear they simply needed more RAM.
 
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