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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 14, 2017
Background: Recently switched over from an iMac to a 16" MBP M1max as the main computer, now researching solutions for having all peripherals behind one cable when used on the desktop. Would be fine doing charging from the Magsafe, so charging from the connection cable is not a must. Will be running a 5k display on the desktop (not 100% sure yet which one), MBP will have its display open as well. Don't have anything speedier than what USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 can deliver (max 1000MB/s), do have several spinning drives for TimeMachine, archives etc and a bunch of USB peripherals from a DAC to a mic to a mouse transmitter. Don't have any need for Ethernet, additional display ports, audio connections or card reader in the dock. Also don't want to pay extra for future proofing (will switch to another solution if e.g. need to connect multiple desktop displays or faster TB-class storage).

Question: Given the above, is there any benefit of having a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 dock that connects the display plus everything else, instead of a USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) dock hooked up to e.g. a Apple Studio Display? From the pure max transfer speed POV I guess not, but I'm not quite sure would the TB-based solutions provide better throughput when several of the plugged-in devices are transferring data simultaneously (e.g. TimeMachine backup running to a USB drive, backing up both the Macbook and another USB drive, while I'm reading large video files from the 1000MB/s USB-C SSD)? If so, would there be a difference between TB3 vs TB4?
Last edited:


macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2014
If you have a lot of peripherals attached, which it sounds like you do, Thunderbolt comes with the advantage the fact that it’s technically a PCI Express interface. This gives the device (and connected peripherals through the devices TB controller) direct memory access, resulting in lower CPU usage. The USB dock is moving data through a controller and relying on processor cycles to move information around.

That being said, I don’t think it’s a difference you’ll notice in normal use unless you access/use several peripherals at once and/or use the hub to transfer data between drives or devices.
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