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CES 2013: Belkin Drops eSATA Support for Upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock, Cuts Price Back to $299

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Way back in September 2011, Belkin quietly showed off a prototype of its Thunderbolt Express Dock, a desktop docking station offering users a broad array of connectivity options through a single Thunderbolt cable. By CES 2012, the product had evolved in design and received a September 2012 launch date with a $299 price tag.

By June of last year, Belkin had decided to add USB 3.0 and eSATA capabilities, at the cost of $100 price increase to $399.99. But as the September launch window came and went, Belkin pushed back the launch date to the first quarter of 2013.

With CES 2013 now underway, Belkin has officially announced further changes to the Thunderbolt Express Dock, removing eSATA compatibility and dropping the price back to $299.99. Belkin is still quoting a "Q1 2013" launch, and Belkin representatives have told us that it should be closer to the early part of the quarter.
- Instant access to up to 8 desktop devices with one cable
- Cable-clutter-free design for a cleaner workstation
- 3 USB 3.0 ports
- 1 FireWire 800 port
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
- 1 3.5mm-out port
- 1 3.5mm-in port
- 2 Thunderbolt ports (1 upstream, 1 downstream for daisy-chaining up to 5 additional Thunderbolt devices)
Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock can be compared to the DS1 from Matrox, which launched last month for $249. For an additional $50 compared to the DS1, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock offers three USB 3.0 ports as opposed to a single USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports on the DS1.

Perhaps more importantly for some users, the Belkin dock also includes two Thunderbolt ports, allowing the device to support Thunderbolt passthrough for peripherals further down the chain. Matrox's DS1 offers only a single Thunderbolt port, meaning that it must be placed at the end of a chain.

Article Link: CES 2013: Belkin Drops eSATA Support for Upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock, Cuts Price Back to $299
 

basesloaded190

macrumors 68030
Oct 16, 2007
2,693
5
Wisconsin
This is probably the best design and array of ports out of all the iterations this thing has seen. $300 is tempting, but still expensive.
 
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cambox

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2010
256
35
omnipresent
They almost got it right but without eSATA its a no go for most professional users who use eSATA as we all have that pretty much.
 
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akm3

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2007
2,252
279
I can't believe this has been so hard for manufacturers. Tbolt is going to be dead if they can't even get these basic devices out. (If it isn't dead already)

How did Apple have the Tbolt display out so quickly by comparison??
 
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dannyp1996

macrumors member
Apr 15, 2011
63
0
United Kingdom
How did Apple have the Tbolt display out so quickly by comparison??

It's simple: Apple had a big incentive to invest in Thunderbolt early on. After all they did ship the first machines with the interface. It's just a big shame that other manufacturers aren't as motivated!
 
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Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,988
638
In my imagination
They almost got it right but without eSATA its a no go for most professional users who use eSATA as we all have that pretty much.

Nice price, but without the eSATA it really makes it moot for some.

It's really a shame they couldn't keep the price at $299 and include eSATA. At this point they should've just put 8 USB 3.0 ports, GigE, and two TBolt ports on it and called it a day.
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
They almost got it right but without eSATA its a no go for most professional users who use eSATA as we all have that pretty much.

Professionals that already use Macs are quite unlikely to have eSATA equipped devices because Macs have never had native eSATA ports. FireWire 800 is far more likely because it's been integrated into Macs for so long.

If you want a cheap eSATA solution, buying the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter along with an eSATA to SATA cable (electrically the same, just a slightly different connector) should work. Will cost you around $150, which already includes the TB cable (note: I haven't tried this but in theory there is nothing that prevents it from working).
 
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Blomkvist

macrumors member
Jan 8, 2012
67
0
North Carolina
So I'm not a power user/professional by any stretch...and I simply don't "get it". Is this device to be used as a docking station for a Macbook? If so, how do you configure your workspace? I went to the Belkin site and was surprised to see that the only photos they display are of various angles of the dock itself, but none showing anyone using it in a workstation config. The idea seems sound, but I am picturing the need for some sort of stand or shelf for the dock/Macbook to sit out of the way of keyboard and display.

How do others envision using this?
 
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Drag'nGT

macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2008
1,753
28
I just want a $50 thunderbolt enclosure. You can't make a product/accessory popular with ridiculous pricing this far after it's launch.
 
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Schranke

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
951
978
Copenhagen, Denmark
Love the changes. do not need eSata, do need 100$ extra in my pocket.
Have been waiting what seams forever for this.
Now i just want the release date. have to many usb things and only 2 usb hubs.
Have 2 Thunderbolt ports but no thunderbolt things.
Now i get to use 1 and and get my firewire port back.
 
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Trik

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2011
349
966
Washington, DC
So I'm not a power user/professional by any stretch...and I simply don't "get it". Is this device to be used as a docking station for a Macbook? If so, how do you configure your workspace? I went to the Belkin site and was surprised to see that the only photos they display are of various angles of the dock itself, but none showing anyone using it in a workstation config. The idea seems sound, but I am picturing the need for some sort of stand or shelf for the dock/Macbook to sit out of the way of keyboard and display.

How do others envision using this?

It certainly needs a banana for scale, but I believe this device is rather small. I envision it sitting on the corner of my desk and permanently connected to my monitor, external HD, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc, and I only need to plug in one Thunderbolt cable when I sit down at my desk as opposed to potentially 5 or 6 cables every time I get up / sit down.
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
So I'm not a power user/professional by any stretch...and I simply don't "get it". Is this device to be used as a docking station for a Macbook? If so, how do you configure your workspace? I went to the Belkin site and was surprised to see that the only photos they display are of various angles of the dock itself, but none showing anyone using it in a workstation config. The idea seems sound, but I am picturing the need for some sort of stand or shelf for the dock/Macbook to sit out of the way of keyboard and display.

How do others envision using this?

The idea is that you can have a variety of devices (for example external USB 3.0 hard drives, wired LAN, speakers, etc.) connected to the Belkin dock and all you need to do is to connect one Thunderbolt cable to your Mac and all the devices will be usable. No need to connect all separately, which can be useful if you use a laptop as a desktop.
 
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canucksfan88

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2007
560
63
does this mean I can dual display out hooking up an adapter to both thunderbolt ports?
 
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zyr123

macrumors 6502
May 31, 2009
478
47
mazel tov....

now another year till this is released just before thunderbolt gen 2 in announced.
 
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el-John-o

macrumors 65816
Nov 29, 2010
1,362
508
Missouri
Thunderbolt is not dead. When apple introduced USB on the iMac before anyone else was using USB, people said it was stupid, there should be more of the 'older' ports, and it'll never take off. Give it some time.

It already IS popular in the professional market for external high speed data storage (as in, having external storage, including SSD's, as fast as internal storage).

I'm looking forward to the docks, though I hope they drop in price. It's probably a pipe dream, but I'd love to see a dock with dual mini displayport connectors (isn't it true that thunderbolt is capable of carrying two mini DP connections anyway and that's why the MBP works with two thunderbolt displays?). I have an Apple cinema display which, of course, doesn't support daisy chaining I also have some non Apple displays. I'd love to be able to use my ACD and my 23" LG monitor I have on my desk without needing to rely on less optimum USB video or network based solutions. I don't think it'll happen, but it WOULD be cool. If that Belkin dock had the two thunderbolt ports and an extra miniDP port (so one TB upstream, one TB downstream, and one miniDP running off of thunderbolt) I think I'd buy it at that price point. Then I could just plug my Macbook in with one plug, and light up both displays and interact with all of my devices. Of course, a Thunderbolt display will do that too (since DP can be at the end of a TB chain and work), but that's more expensive than a Belkin dock of course! It also means my Windows machines won't be able to use my second desktop display, if my second display was a TB display, as aside from ONE motherboard, a PC doesn't work with a TB display!
 
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viggen61

macrumors 6502
Jul 24, 2002
432
6
New Jersey
The idea is that you can have a variety of devices (for example external USB 3.0 hard drives, wired LAN, speakers, etc.) connected to the Belkin dock and all you need to do is to connect one Thunderbolt cable to your Mac and all the devices will be usable. No need to connect all separately, which can be useful if you use a laptop as a desktop.

I certainly can appreciate that, but is it really worth $300 to do that? Maybe to some, but I'm having a hard time seeing it, especially if one already has a 2012 Mac that has USB3.

I have an rMBP, and two USB3 ports are already there, so at a minimum I could buy the TB-FW and TB-Gigabit adapters plus an iMic, for under $100... Toss in a 4 port USB3 hub, and I'm still at half the price of this thing, though I have all my TB ports full.

Even if you have a Mac that has TB but not USB3, you're likely still going to need a USB3 hub...

At this late date, I'd rather save the $300 and put it toward a revised TB Display that will have USB3.

:apple::apple:
 
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iRCL

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2011
284
0
It's simple: Apple had a big incentive to invest in Thunderbolt early on. After all they did ship the first machines with the interface. It's just a big shame that other manufacturers aren't as motivated!

And according to a huge amount of reviews on Apple.com, that display has a ton of problems. I looked at getting an external display (ultimately did not end up purchasing) and I had made up my mind that the Thunderbolt display was an absolute "DO NOT BUY" compared to just the older cinema display

----------

I certainly can appreciate that, but is it really worth $300 to do that? Maybe to some, but I'm having a hard time seeing it, especially if one already has a 2012 Mac that has USB3.

I have an rMBP, and two USB3 ports are already there, so at a minimum I could buy the TB-FW and TB-Gigabit adapters plus an iMic, for under $100... Toss in a 4 port USB3 hub, and I'm still at half the price of this thing, though I have all my TB ports full.

Even if you have a Mac that has TB but not USB3, you're likely still going to need a USB3 hub...

At this late date, I'd rather save the $300 and put it toward a revised TB Display that will have USB3.

:apple::apple:

The use case is not where you have a 2012 iMac on your desk.
 
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Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,988
638
In my imagination
I certainly can appreciate that, but is it really worth $300 to do that? Maybe to some, but I'm having a hard time seeing it, especially if one already has a 2012 Mac that has USB3.

I have an rMBP, and two USB3 ports are already there, so at a minimum I could buy the TB-FW and TB-Gigabit adapters plus an iMic, for under $100... Toss in a 4 port USB3 hub, and I'm still at half the price of this thing, though I have all my TB ports full.

Even if you have a Mac that has TB but not USB3, you're likely still going to need a USB3 hub...

At this late date, I'd rather save the $300 and put it toward a revised TB Display that will have USB3.

:apple::apple:

True, but as Hellhammer says, you can just plug in and unplug one port instead of two or three. You do also get the added benefit of not killing off your TBolt ports.

The device becomes even more convenient if one were working in a tight space, and a TBolt display wasn't an option.
 
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