Belkin V Caldigit thunderbolt dock

jgbr

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 14, 2007
637
442
So we can finally get our hands (and browsers) on the offerings of caldigit and belkin for thunderbolt docks.

The simple question: which would you choose and why?
 
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happyfrappy

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2007
343
49
Location eh?
I'd take Caldigit dock solution over Belkin, why?

--Belkin was caught with bribed reviews on Amazon/NewEgg a few years back, I think twice before buying any products from them--this led to Amazon/NewEgg allowing customers to display "purchased on Amazon/NewEgg" to balance out the possible outside purchasers.
--Belkin has a mixed track record of product QA/QC, back during the Bondi iMac era they made stackable port replicators which could be stacked on top of their USB hubs... great concept, sloppy quality and their replicators would randomly drop dead for unknown power draw spikes even with wall powered devices(flatbed scanner, etc). Some of their modern USB 2.0 port replicators have suffered similar "stupid" flaws may it be power related or design/chipset flaws. I'd wait for a revision "B" model of the Thunderbolt Dock or wait a few days/weeks to see what type of customer reviews hit the net.
--Product warranty while better than other makers, it can be a life saver but if a model is problematic you could be in for a few RMAs.

Don't take this as an all out Belkin bashing, their cables, 7 port hubs and portable hubs are good, some of the attempts at port replicators have been disasters. I hope Belkin can prove me wrong this time, twice burned I'm not going to risk getting a 3rd headache... if that happened I'd end up quoting Mike Krukow :eek:
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,201
2,923
The simple question: which would you choose and why?
I didn't know that the Caldigit one was shipping - their website says "coming soon".

I guess it depends what is most important to you: Firewire and an extra USB3 (Belkin), or HDMI and a lower price (Caldigit).

Before going for the Caldigit, I'd want to see a review or tech spec that confirmed whether or not having the HDMI port prevents you from connecting a DP monitor or adapter to the second Thunderbolt port. I doubt that you'll be able to use both at the same time (if you can, that would be a great plus).

Personally, having waited this long, I'd wait a bit longer to see how the Sonnet turns out. That's much closer to my idea of what a Thunderbolt dock should be.
 

sbmeyer001

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2013
10
1
Get the Caldigit

I asked Caldigit and they say their USB ports are powered. I read that the Belkin unit does NOT have powered USB ports. So it is the Caldigit for me.
 

LeeM

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2012
603
0
this caldigit hub looks interesting. i have a 2012 non retina, so one thunderbolt out.
could the caldigit allow me to plug in my current external monitor via mini dp, and another monitor via hdmi?
 

thedomus

macrumors newbie
Apr 13, 2007
17
8
Nr.London
I've been using the Belkin for a couple of weeks & all is good.
Fortunately some OS X updates to the Thunderbolt drivers/ firmware in the past two weeks fixed some initial glitches.
As an audio pro the FW800 port is useful for my audio interface & potentially legacy FW HD's with archive data on.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
So we can finally get our hands (and browsers) on the offerings of caldigit and belkin for thunderbolt docks.

The simple question: which would you choose and why?
Well first look at the differences:
  1. Price: Caldigit $199 - Belkin $299
  2. HDMI(Caldigit) or FireWire(Belkin) 800 port
  3. Supported Sytems: Caldigit s all thunderbolt enabled computer. Belikn is listed as compatible with MacBook Airs and Pros only. MacBooks only.
If you don't need the FireWire port, why pay the Belkin tax? Also one of the USB ports on the Caldigit is front facing as is the audio in and out jacks.

Between those 2, I'd lean towards the Caldigit. However the Sonnet unit while more money than either, has features that I'd want and would actually get that when I need a thunderbolt dock.

For those that need an optical drive even if it's for occasional use and the ability to put a HD or SSD inside the Sonnet would mean that I have one box (and power cord) instead of three on my desk.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,201
2,923
What about Sonnet's Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock? I see that it is not shipping until later in the summer but it does potentially offer some good features.
There's also this from Sunix: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/thunderbolt-hdd-blu-ray-dock,15926.html

...big plusses over the Sonnet seem to be SPDIF sound, a blu-ray writer and a hot-swap hard drive. However, those pictures look like CG renders to me, and they're talking about Q4... I also suspect that the eSATA on the Sonnet could open up new possibilities if you want more external storage.

Except it's so damn uglyyyyyyy.....
I'd say the Sunix is uglierer by a mile.

At least the Sonnet is fairly minimalist (maybe they'll decide to produce a silver/white version with neutral-coloured connectors for Mac users - although its quite nice to be able to see which is the headphone socket.

These obviously won't appeal to people who just want USB3, but given the price overhead of any Thunderbolt enclosure with daisy-chain socket, plus a TB cable, I think it makes sense to have a dock that includes the kitchen sink.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
Except it's so damn uglyyyyyyy.....
It's not ugly. And when you consider that for some people it will be a Thunderbolt dock, external hard drive and optical drive, it's down right pretty compared to having 3 devices and cables on your desk.

There's also this from Sunix: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/thunderbolt-hdd-blu-ray-dock,15926.html

...big plusses over the Sonnet seem to be SPDIF sound, a blu-ray writer and a hot-swap hard drive. However, those pictures look like CG renders to me, and they're talking about Q4... I also suspect that the eSATA on the Sonnet could open up new possibilities if you want more external storage.
...
Also if there is no FireWire that will be a deal breaker for some people.
 

MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,251
141
Canada

khollister

macrumors 6502a
Feb 1, 2003
512
20
Orlando, FL
I have the Belkin and it s working fine, The USB ports are definitely powered. The problem with the Belkin is that the USB3 ports are only half-speed; 2.5Gbps instead of 5Gbps. This is a show stopper if you plan to connect USB3 RAID solutions or SATA III SSD's. If you are just using single or 2-drive HDD peripherals, it doesn't really matter.

The Caldigit is $100 cheaper, has 5Gbps USB ports according to Caldigit and trades the FW800 ports for an HDMI port. It seems a little unclear at this point what the HDMI ports can do simultaneously with a MDP display on the TB port (if it works at all in that case). I believe it may be an alternative port to connect a display, but you are still limited to a single display per TB channel.

Assuming you don't need FW, the Caldigit seems a better and cheaper solution, assuming it works as advertised.
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,780
251
Troutdale, OR
Of course, if you are willing to end the thunderbolt chain, an apple thunderbolt to FireWire adapter could be added after the caldiget hub as well.

I preordered, mostly to add USB 3 support to my USB 2 2011 iMac.
 

covertash

macrumors member
Dec 26, 2012
94
1
this will never get released , the company scraps projects all the time.

i emailed them and they had no idea when it will be released , just that i can add my name to the list when its released they will email me.
That's a shame. This looked like a really good solution for what it claims to offer.
 

MacModMachine

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2009
2,251
141
Canada
I have the Belkin and it s working fine, The USB ports are definitely powered. The problem with the Belkin is that the USB3 ports are only half-speed; 2.5Gbps instead of 5Gbps. This is a show stopper if you plan to connect USB3 RAID solutions or SATA III SSD's. If you are just using single or 2-drive HDD peripherals, it doesn't really matter.

The Caldigit is $100 cheaper, has 5Gbps USB ports according to Caldigit and trades the FW800 ports for an HDMI port. It seems a little unclear at this point what the HDMI ports can do simultaneously with a MDP display on the TB port (if it works at all in that case). I believe it may be an alternative port to connect a display, but you are still limited to a single display per TB channel.

Assuming you don't need FW, the Caldigit seems a better and cheaper solution, assuming it works as advertised.
to answer the video question.

this dock can run TWO DISPLAYS(one hdmi + 1 thunderbolt) at a time, a very key feature.

its right in the FAQ

http://www.caldigit.com/thunderboltstation/faq.asp
 

jameskachan

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2008
54
12
Toronto, Canada
won't work with dvi and HDMI monitor...

I thought I had seen some back and forth on that somewhere, but that seems to answer it pretty definitively.
It can take one thunderbolt display (like apple's display) AND a HDMI or a DVI with a mini display port adaptor, but NOT both. So, unless one of your monitors is the Apple Thunderbolt one, you can't have two monitors.

I was soooooooooooooooooooo bummed when I read this.

http://www.caldigit.com/thunderboltstation/faq.asp


HDMI

1.What specification of HDMI does the Thunderbolt Station use?
HDMI 1.4.

2.Can I use an HDMI to DVI cable/adapter?
Yes, you can use an HDMI to DVI cable/adapter to connect to a DVI monitor.

3.Can I use multiple monitors with my Thunderbolt Station?
Yes, the Thunderbolt Station can support two monitors if one of them is an Apple Thunderbolt Display. You cannot use a monitor with a mini display port to DVI/VGA/HDMI adapter while using the HDMI port on the device for a multiple display configuration because only the first display that is detected will function.

For example
1. Thunderbolt Monitor and HDMI Monitor - Yes
2. Mini-Display Port Monitor and HDMI Monitor - No
3. Mini-display port adapter to DVI Monitor and HDMI monitor - No
4. Thunderbolt Display and HDMI adapter to DVI Monitor - Yes