Creating an workplace around a MBA

zhaf

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2012
19
1
Hey guys I need some help to check if this is possible.
My sister just got a new 2012 11" mba and she want to create an work environment at home around it. What she want to do is to have a monitor as sort of an docking station/central hub for all the stuff she needs. Sounds like the Apple Thunderbolt Display might be just the thing we need right? Except it's crazy expensive in Sweden. It's about 60% more expensive than the DELL U2713HM.

Because the DELL U2713HM is an awesome display she is going to get that and she want to connect an external harddrive (she is going to get the Buffalo MiniStation HD-PATU3 1TB), printer, mouse and keyboard to the monitor and when she connects her mba to the monitor, through the thunderbolt/mini display port, the mba get connect to all those things. Is that possible?

If not, are there any other solutions other than the Apple Thunderbolt Display?
 

184550

Guest
May 8, 2008
1,978
2
Would something like the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock work? It's still in the preorder stages but is supposedly shipping this month.

I don't think she'd be able to run all those peripherals through a standard monitor like the Dell. I think that the Apple TD is the only monitor currently capable of doing what you've described.

EDIT:

Here's the Matrox. Looks like there are a couple of upcoming docking solutions.
 

stchman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2012
671
2
St. Louis, MO
She could hook up a monitor via the Thunderbolt/DisplyPort and a portable hard rive via on of the USB 3.0 ports. The other USB 3.0 port I would get a USB 3.0 hub for attaching several USB devices.

If she wants to print attach a network printer to the router she connects to.

Viola, a workplace around the MBA.
 

Mrbobb

macrumors 601
Aug 27, 2012
4,987
192
If the Apple display gives me a 1-cable solution, am willing to pay$. It would annoys me to no end every time I want to take the laptop with me to have to unhook and rehook multiple cables. But that's just me.
 

stchman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2012
671
2
St. Louis, MO
If the Apple display gives me a 1-cable solution, am willing to pay$. It would annoys me to no end every time I want to take the laptop with me to have to unhook and rehook multiple cables. But that's just me.
With a USB 3.0 hub, you could make it a 2 cable solution.
 

zhaf

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2012
19
1
The Dell monitor have a built in USB3 hub. Won't that work by connecting the thunderbolt cable to it? If not, then, what's the point of having a USB3 hub in a monitor?

She basically want to fiddle with as few cables as possible. She spends a lot of time out in the field so she want a solution that is easy to attach and remove.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
83
Poole, England
The Dell monitor have a built in USB3 hub. Won't that work by connecting the thunderbolt cable to it? If not, then, what's the point of having a USB3 hub in a monitor?

She basically want to fiddle with as few cables as possible. She spends a lot of time out in the field so she want a solution that is easy to attach and remove.
The Dell comes with a USB cable that you connect to one of the MBA's USB ports. That is how you get the monitor's USB hub to work and it's how these monitors work with all computers, regardless of whether they are Macs or Windows PCs. A normal display cable cannot carry data. The monitor does not have Thunderbolt, so even if it's connected to a Thunderbolt port on your MBA, it still only receives the display signal. This means that you would need to connect two cables to the MBA. The easiest way to connect the Dell monitor is to use a mini display port to DVI adapter. (You need the expensive dual link one to drive a 27" 2560x1440 monitor.)

Like this: http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB571Z/A/mini-displayport-to-dual-link-dvi-adapter?fnode=53


Is that clear?
 
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zhaf

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2012
19
1
I see. Ok two cables will have to do then (well technically 3 because... power :p). Lets hope for more monitors with thunderbolt connections in the future

Now a somewhat unrelated question. A single SSD drive in an external enclosure. Will it benefit from thunderbolt or will USB3 be enough?
 

Bendix

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2012
20
0
I see. Ok two cables will have to do then (well technically 3 because... power :p). Lets hope for more monitors with thunderbolt connections in the future

Now a somewhat unrelated question. A single SSD drive in an external enclosure. Will it benefit from thunderbolt or will USB3 be enough?
USB 3 is enough. I'm using s OCZ Vertex 2 in an external enclosur... if I remeber correcly 180mb/s read 150mb/s write, twice as fast as a normal USB 3 HDD.
 

SuperRob

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2011
250
0
One thing to keep in mind when comparing the Thunderbolt display to other monitors is all the extras you get ...

The Thunderbolt display has a Facetime HD camera, sound, a bunch of ports, and can charge your Macbook Air. It also doesn't use up the Thunderbolt port.

That's roughly a couple hundred dollars worth of value in the display that you don't get with other ones. It is, however, still nearly $1000 US.

My recommendation would be to get one refurbished, which can save quite a bit of money, or get a much cheaper monitor. I just got a Dell U2412M for $270 shipped from Dell, and it's outstanding. I use a Monoprice adapter to hook up via DisplayPort, but now I'm using up my one Thunderbolt port.
 
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Abazigal

macrumors G4
Jul 18, 2011
11,772
9,380
Singapore
I personally don't really like the idea of having to constantly plug and unplug so many things on a daily basis. Seems you are just increasing the chance of hardware damage. Also, aren't there cooling issues related with the MBA running in clamshell mode unless your workstation is air-conditioned?

I would personally consider investing in a cheap mac mini (refurbished even), do your work on it, and sync everything via dropbox.