CalDigit Thunderbolt Station


maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,860
30,383
Boston
You're only getting one thunderbolt port (after using the other one to connect to your computer). Unless you need a device provides USB, HDMI, I'd say its not worth the money
 

omvs

macrumors 6502
May 15, 2011
478
10
I use it as a docking station at work, and works for me.

+ USB port supplies enough power for my backup hard drive -- unlike my USB 3.0 hub which did not
+ HDMI port supports v1.4 so I can drive my 4k display with it
+ Ethernet/Audio out work fine

o Haven't test the audio in.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2011
1,929
128
Florida
I got one to use mainly as a port replicator so I don't have to connect everything to my MBP. I run in clamshell mode with a 23" ACD. With the CalDigit I only have the thunderbolt cable and power cable to connect. A lot easier to hookup and disconnect. In addition to the display I have a full sized keyboard, speakers, and Ethernet.

In terms of performance, I connected a portable drive that I had been using with USB 2 but it supports USB 3. I ran disk speed tests in both modes and it was 4x faster connected with USB 3.

It does what I purchased it for.
 

Ryan1524

macrumors 68000
Apr 9, 2003
1,643
226
Canada GTA
I'm debating between this or the Belkin dock.

$300 for a dock seems steep, but there's no denying the convenience factor.

The only other somewhat interesting option is a Cinema Display. It also has a bunch of ports.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
I'm debating between this or the Belkin dock.

$300 for a dock seems steep, but there's no denying the convenience factor.

The only other somewhat interesting option is a Cinema Display. It also has a bunch of ports.
The USB3 ports on the Belkin one are stuck at 2.5Gb/s, while the ones on the Caldigit have the full 5Gb/s speed.

My Belkin was one of the sour grape units, because it failed within 2 months after purchase. I got my money refunded and used it to buy a Caldigit instead.
 

baummer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2005
950
27
Southern California
The USB3 ports on the Belkin one are stuck at 2.5Gb/s, while the ones on the Caldigit have the full 5Gb/s speed.

My Belkin was one of the sour grape units, because it failed within 2 months after purchase. I got my money refunded and used it to buy a Caldigit instead.
Can you plug in an external monitor to the Caldigit? Here's what I'd like to do:

Keyboard --> Caldigit
Mouse --> Caldigit
PC speakers --> Caldigit
External Monitor via HDMI or HDMI/DVI adapter --> Caldigit
Ethernet --> Caldigit
cMBP --> Caldigit

Is this possible? It would be great to eliminate the need to plug all of those into my cMBP.
 

jedolley

macrumors 68000
Sep 18, 2009
1,779
6
Can you plug in an external monitor to the Caldigit? Here's what I'd like to do:

Keyboard --> Caldigit
Mouse --> Caldigit
PC speakers --> Caldigit
External Monitor via HDMI or HDMI/DVI adapter --> Caldigit
Ethernet --> Caldigit
cMBP --> Caldigit

Is this possible? It would be great to eliminate the need to plug all of those into my cMBP.
Yes. I currently have a 32" TV plugged into the Caldigit via HDMI along with my wireless mouse (USB), wireless headset (audio port), external HDD (USB), and of course my rMBP (Thunderbolt).

Since the TV is connected via HDMI I use the TV speakers for my audio as well unless i'm using the headset.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
230
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Can you plug in an external monitor to the Caldigit? Here's what I'd like to do:

Keyboard --> Caldigit
Mouse --> Caldigit
PC speakers --> Caldigit
External Monitor via HDMI or HDMI/DVI adapter --> Caldigit
Ethernet --> Caldigit
cMBP --> Caldigit

Is this possible? It would be great to eliminate the need to plug all of those into my cMBP.
Yes you can, but the tip of the Thunderbolt cable (the rectangle bulge at the ends) may get a little uncomfortably hot.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
383
.nl
There is a chip in the connector of any Thunderbolt cable. They get warm as does the CalDigit Thunderboltstation but this is no problem at all. Kinda nice in winter when you get cold hands :D

Anyway, this device is more of a combination of what Belkin and Matrox offer (it has the 2 Thunderbolt ports and HDMI) but it is priced below those two docks (or simply put: it is the cheapest TB dock at the moment!). It works as advertised. Very solid and stable device to use. No flickering or strange issues when using the HDMI, gigabit network card works fine and reliable and no issues with usb when using a hub (I'm using the hub in my display).
 

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,009
191
You're only getting one thunderbolt port (after using the other one to connect to your computer). Unless you need a device provides USB, HDMI, I'd say its not worth the money
What device is out there that gives you two thunderbolt outs? Haven't seen any.

If you don't need USB/HDMI, why would you buy this dock? It's main purpose is to give you the USB and the HDMI. It's like saying, unless you want to do some driving, this car isn't worth the money.

I ordered this dock because I need more USB ports on my rMBP and USB hubs are cheap useless junks.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
383
.nl
The CalDigit and Belkin docks do. Well, they are actually both in and out. It doesn't matter which one of the two ports you use to hookup to your Mac and which one you use to hookup to a monitor (or something else that uses thunderbolt).
 

iBug2

macrumors 601
Jun 12, 2005
4,009
191
The CalDigit and Belkin docks do. Well, they are actually both in and out. It doesn't matter which one of the two ports you use to hookup to your Mac and which one you use to hookup to a monitor (or something else that uses thunderbolt).
Yes they provide two TB ports, one used as in, the other as out. Nothing has 3 ports, as in 1 in and 2 outs. So why was this criticized over something nothing else has?
 
Last edited:

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
383
.nl
Currently there are 3 types of Thunderbolt docks:
1. Belkin/Sonnet: 2 TB ports
2. Matrox: 1 TB port, HDMI (or DVI)
3. CalDigit: 2TB ports + HDMI

That means that with Belkin/Sonnet and Matrox it is almost certain there will be no Thunderbolt port left because most people will use the second TB port to hook up a display.

This is not necessarily the case with the CalDigit dock. If you can hook up the display via HDMI or single link DVI (you can use a HDMI-DVI cable for this) then the CalDigit one will provide you with a free TB port. So only 1 of the 2 will be used. However, if you can only use DisplayPort or require dual link DVI you have the same problem as the other docks. The only advantage of the CalDigit in that scenario will be its lower price and the amount of USB3 ports that actually does 5Gbps and supports UASP.

We need a 4th kind of dock that is identical to the CalDigit but with mini DisplayPort instead of HDMI. That way you can use whatever connection you want for the display (HDMI, single link DVI, dual link DVI, DisplayPort). That would definitely free up the second TB port which you can use for something else (preferably something that is daisychainable).

If you do not need to hook up a display then the above clearly doesn't apply (you'd buy one for the NIC and USB3 then I suppose, of course without losing the TB port).
 

noisycats

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
771
857
The 'ham. Alabama.
Happy user for about 3 weeks. It allows me to attach an external monitor to my 2011 iMac and keep a TB port free (for eventual poor man SSD upgrade) and gives me USB3 performance for my other externals.

Natively, my iMac has only 1 TB port and is all USB2.
 

StressedSnowCat

macrumors member
Jul 23, 2013
47
0
Does anyone know if it is possible to boot from a Hard Drive Connected to the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station's front USB 3 port? My mac doesn't have USB 3.
 

dyn

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2009
2,708
383
.nl
It also won't recognize any keyboards attached to the dock upon boot which is annoying when you have to type your Filevault 2 password. After boot it all works fine. Since I don't reboot my MBA that often I stick with manually switching the keyboard to one of the USB ports on the MBA. I think this is due to not having the proper driver for the USB3 in the EFI. Read something about that elsewhere but forgot where :(
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 14, 2007
1,569
3,620
SF, CA
I got the Cal Digit thunderbolt station for Christmas. Works just as advertised. Very happy with the usb speeds. Makes a real nice docking station for my MACBook Pro when I have it hooked up at my desk.
No issues with my external keyboard, wacom tablet and Dell U2410.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 14, 2007
1,569
3,620
SF, CA
In how many days caldigit ships this dock? I'm gonna spend a few days in NY and i'm afraid i won't be able to receive it in time.
I received mine 1 week after ordering. I ordered on Sunday they shipped on Thursday and I received it on Monday.
 

rev.b

macrumors regular
May 1, 2009
232
0
Portugal
I just received my Caldigit Thunderbolt Station today.
Yes it is expensive. But comparable products are even more expensive.

It works flawlessly. I use my Macbook often as a desktop, on a rain design stand, doing dual monitor with a 27" Dell U2711, and by just connecting ONE cable, I instantly got:

- Video signal to the 27" via thunderbolt/display port
- Gigabit ethernet
- External Speakers
- All my usb devices, connected by 2 hubs (the one on the external monitor included), including external DVD-RW, 2 external HDD's, Printer and scanner
- I still have one thunderbolt port and 2 USB 3.0 ports free in the rMBP

It looks great under my rMBP, on the lower part of the RD stand. All the cable clutter goes by the hole in the back part of it.

Everything just works, and as I said, with only one physical cable connection to the rMBP. Very, very convenient.
It would be even more impressive with my previous '11 MBP, as adding USB 3.0 would be a major upgrade.

Thunderbolt is amazing, my only regret is that it is rather expensive, and this is delaying its implementation.
 

carestudio

macrumors 6502
Aug 6, 2008
455
56
I just received my Caldigit Thunderbolt Station today.
Yes it is expensive. But comparable products are even more expensive.

It works flawlessly. I use my Macbook often as a desktop, on a rain design stand, doing dual monitor with a 27" Dell U2711, and by just connecting ONE cable, I instantly got:

- Video signal to the 27" via thunderbolt/display port
- Gigabit ethernet
- External Speakers
- All my usb devices, connected by 2 hubs (the one on the external monitor included), including external DVD-RW, 2 external HDD's, Printer and scanner
- I still have one thunderbolt port and 2 USB 3.0 ports free in the rMBP

It looks great under my rMBP, on the lower part of the RD stand. All the cable clutter goes by the hole in the back part of it.

Everything just works, and as I said, with only one physical cable connection to the rMBP. Very, very convenient.
It would be even more impressive with my previous '11 MBP, as adding USB 3.0 would be a major upgrade.

Thunderbolt is amazing, my only regret is that it is rather expensive, and this is delaying its implementation.
Great! I have several of Caldigit Thunderbolt stations too, been using them for a couple months from now. Absolutely Love them! And it is a very affordable way to upgrade my old Macs to the USB3-grade Macs plus an HDMI connection and gigabit Ethernet and audio.