CalDigit or Belkin Thunderbolt docks: which is more reliable @ same price?

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
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Hi all,

Belkin is running their Thunderbolt Express dock right now @ $199, same price as the CalDigit dock.

I'm very familiar with the features/ports of each. I'd hook either one up to my 2011 Mac mini.

What I'm most concerned about is reliable performance, mainly from the USB ports. I realize the Belkin's USB ports are limited to 2.5Gbps, but I don't have anything that's going to max out those. Do you think that UASP support in the CalDigit will make for reliable connections, and a better overall transfer experience?

I've read dozens of threads here and elsewhere for each dock, but I would appreciate any real-world feedback from actual owners.
 

rodrigoluizb

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2013
46
2
Campinas, SP, Brazil
Hi

Have you read this review about the caldigit?

http://fortysomethinggeek.blogspot.com.br/2013/11/caldigit-thunderbolt-station-docking.html

The USB3 from de dock is slower than the USB3 from the macbook. Personally, i would (and probably will) go for the Caldigit, for one big reason: this dock has a HDMI por AND dual thunderbolt for daisy chain. My iMac has only 1 TB port, and, as i'm using a DVI external monitor, Belkin wouldn't let me a TB port free for daisy chaining.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
916
Hi

Have you read this review about the caldigit?

http://fortysomethinggeek.blogspot.com.br/2013/11/caldigit-thunderbolt-station-docking.html

The USB3 from de dock is slower than the USB3 from the macbook. Personally, i would (and probably will) go for the Caldigit, for one big reason: this dock has a HDMI por AND dual thunderbolt for daisy chain. My iMac has only 1 TB port, and, as i'm using a DVI external monitor, Belkin wouldn't let me a TB port free for daisy chaining.
Yes, I did read that review. Either one is slower from the dock, than the actual computer. I'm just trying to see which one is "least slow".
 

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,135
377
My Caldigit dock is not slower than the computer, or at least anything that I connected through the USB 3.0 on the dock ran at the same speed as the computer's USB ports. The fastest drive I tested was an SSD that ran at 250MB/sec.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
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Link for $199 Belkin dock?

Lowest I found is B&H, $234, w/ free shipping
http://www.belkin.com/us/F4U055-Belkin/p/P-F4U055/

Add to cart, and you'll see the $199.

If you want to save even more, start shopping with a standard belkin.com item, i.e. phone case. Add that to your cart, then use coupon code WELCOME15. Then, go add the Thunderbolt dock. Remove the case/filler, and the 15% off discount will still be applied to the dock, making it $169. With tax for me, it was $183 and free shipping. So, I save $16 going with the Belkin vs. CalDigit. Still trying to decide if it's worth it.
 

propower

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2010
726
117
http://www.belkin.com/us/F4U055-Belkin/p/P-F4U055/

Add to cart, and you'll see the $199.

If you want to save even more, start shopping with a standard belkin.com item, i.e. phone case. Add that to your cart, then use coupon code WELCOME15. Then, go add the Thunderbolt dock. Remove the case/filler, and the 15% off discount will still be applied to the dock, making it $169. With tax for me, it was $183 and free shipping. So, I save $16 going with the Belkin vs. CalDigit. Still trying to decide if it's worth it.
Not working for me - is there a trick?
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
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Not working for me - is there a trick?
Strange, it was working earlier today. I figured it was a short-lived promo.

Well, I think my original question is now moot, because my Belkin order shipped out today, before I had a chance to cancel. Oh well, at $183, I'm not going to complain too much. If it doesn't meet my needs after a year or two, I can give it to my wife, she has a 2012 Air.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
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Well, I might return/refuse the Belkin after all. Looks like they charged me the full $199 + tax, even though the "order confirmation" emails showed the lower price.

The more I think about it, the Caldigit makes more sense at the same $199 price. The Belkin would be fine too, at a few bucks cheaper, but not the exact same price + tax.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
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rats, we just bought a couple at the higher price
Don't get too bummed, yet.

Belkin may be doing stuff a bit shady. They sent me an order confirmation for $169 + tax, sent me a shipping confirmation for $199 + tax, and authorized my card for a totally different amount.

I am trying like hell to cancel the Belkin, but I spent 2 hours (literally) on the phone waiting for their customer service to pick up, to no avail. An email message to them directed me back to their (non-responsive) customer service line. When I check my order status on their site, is says "Payment Failed".

CalDigit, here I come.
 

calaverasgrande

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2010
1,291
161
Brooklyn, New York.
Don't get too bummed, yet.

Belkin may be doing stuff a bit shady. They sent me an order confirmation for $169 + tax, sent me a shipping confirmation for $199 + tax, and authorized my card for a totally different amount.

I am trying like hell to cancel the Belkin, but I spent 2 hours (literally) on the phone waiting for their customer service to pick up, to no avail. An email message to them directed me back to their (non-responsive) customer service line. When I check my order status on their site, is says "Payment Failed".

CalDigit, here I come.
Bought our through B&H.
Not too torn up. It is company money after all, and we blow more than that on catering for the managers meetings.
 

heelsbigc

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2011
73
0
Wilmington, NC
Don't get too bummed, yet.

Belkin may be doing stuff a bit shady. They sent me an order confirmation for $169 + tax, sent me a shipping confirmation for $199 + tax, and authorized my card for a totally different amount.

I am trying like hell to cancel the Belkin, but I spent 2 hours (literally) on the phone waiting for their customer service to pick up, to no avail. An email message to them directed me back to their (non-responsive) customer service line. When I check my order status on their site, is says "Payment Failed".

CalDigit, here I come.
Belkin has the worst customer service I've ever encountered. Terrible.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,088
4
Sol III - Terra
Don't get too bummed, yet.

Belkin may be doing stuff a bit shady. They sent me an order confirmation for $169 + tax, sent me a shipping confirmation for $199 + tax, and authorized my card for a totally different amount.

I am trying like hell to cancel the Belkin, but I spent 2 hours (literally) on the phone waiting for their customer service to pick up, to no avail. An email message to them directed me back to their (non-responsive) customer service line. When I check my order status on their site, is says "Payment Failed".

CalDigit, here I come.
You might want to give it a day ot 2 before ordering, you never know if Belkin may go through. And if it goes through and has a charge higher than what you expected and can't get through to Belkin, I'm sure your credit card company will help you.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
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Belkin has the worst customer service I've ever encountered. Terrible.
Uugh. Definitely a poor experience regarding this transaction.

You might want to give it a day ot 2 before ordering, you never know if Belkin may go through. And if it goes through and has a charge higher than what you expected and can't get through to Belkin, I'm sure your credit card company will help you.
Belkin came through, all right. After trying to cancel (<24 hours after initial order) with no luck reaching them via phone or email/chat support, I got a tracking notification a few days later. Note, the box didn't actually move anywhere, just UPS tracking assigned. This whole time I've been trying to reach Belkin to cancel. Order status on their site say "payment failed". Dunno why. Finally the box started moving through UPS, and I did reach Belkin, who instructed me to refuse the shipment. Fine.

Crazy part is that my emailed order confirmation (all including tax) was for $183. Card charged $191 (already posted to acct), and order status on their site shows $215 for an order total.

Too much of a hassle, I've ordered a CalDigit and am looking forward to it.
 

rboy505

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2012
98
20
Thing about the Belkin is that even though it says provides USB bus power there are a lot of reports from people for whom it is not powering devices. Also issues where when you plug into a second port a drive already mounted will dismount, sometimes damaging the directory and requiring a trip to Disk Utility.

Haven't heard of any issues with the CalDigit except the it's not a quiet unit when Thunderbolt is plugged in. You CalDigit users finding that to be so, or is this an isolated case?
 

noodle654

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2005
2,066
19
Never Ender
Just bought the Caldigit today, really excited for it. Wish it had more USB 3, FW800, and another TB port, but for now it will work no problem. Plan on hooking up a monitor to HDMI and using a USB 3 DVI converter for my other display. Might even buy another TB dock when Caldigit updates it!
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
916
Thing about the Belkin is that even though it says provides USB bus power there are a lot of reports from people for whom it is not powering devices. Also issues where when you plug into a second port a drive already mounted will dismount, sometimes damaging the directory and requiring a trip to Disk Utility.

Haven't heard of any issues with the CalDigit except the it's not a quiet unit when Thunderbolt is plugged in. You CalDigit users finding that to be so, or is this an isolated case?
I don't think it has a fan?

Just bought the Caldigit today, really excited for it. Wish it had more USB 3, FW800, and another TB port, but for now it will work no problem. Plan on hooking up a monitor to HDMI and using a USB 3 DVI converter for my other display. Might even buy another TB dock when Caldigit updates it!
Cool. Mine shipped (took a week), and should arrive by the weekend.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 20, 2011
2,096
916
Got the CalDigit, and I'm really liking it. Speed is great from the USB 3.0 ports, and it was plug-n-play of course. Breathes new life into my 2011 Mac mini!

Note: I verified that the CalDigit USB ports do not support the 2A output required for charging iPads, etc. I think I read they were working on a firmware update to support this, but currently-shipping models do not support.
 

rboy505

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2012
98
20
I don't think it has a fan?
Some early users have reported a high pitched whine when the Thunderbolt cable is plugged in. Might be a first off the line thing.

The Caldigit is definitely looking like the most best choice for standard use.
 

sjackson

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2014
37
2
Some early users have reported a high pitched whine when the Thunderbolt cable is plugged in. Might be a first off the line thing.

The Caldigit is definitely looking like the most best choice for standard use.
I have the opposite. Whines with the cable out but once the Thunderbolt cable is plugged in (or even touched off the aluminium case of the MBA, the noise stops).

I was very impressed with the Caldigit but unfortunately mine has thrown up some issues. Support are great and they are swapping it out for me.
 

rboy505

macrumors member
Mar 28, 2012
98
20
I have the opposite. Whines with the cable out but once the Thunderbolt cable is plugged in (or even touched off the aluminium case of the MBA, the noise stops).
Doh, I went back and checked where I saw that and I had it backwards. Comments were as yours.
 

pjny

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2010
747
133
caldigit is rock solid. and their customer support is second to none. had an issue with an owc usb 3 raid drive that i had mainly used firewire 800 to connect to usb 2 only laptop. when i got their tbolt dock the usb 3 connection to owc raid drive wasn't working properly. caldigit went above and beyond helping me try to figure issue out. turns out it was owc issue and a newer version of the owc raid drive solved the issue not just with plugging into caldigit but with other usb 3 laptops.
 
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