Docking Solution for Mac & Windows?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MacPro2014, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. MacPro2014 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    #1
    Okay, so lately I have been running into a slight issue/inconvenience. I have a Mac Pro (Cylinder) and power two monitors off of it. However, I also have a MacBook Pro and Surface Pro 4 that I sometimes use depending on the task. Thus, I am looking for a solution that allows me to easily plug in my Surface or MacBook and use one or two of my monitors. Currently I have to unplug the monitors and devices from my Mac Pro and into the device I want to use. Is there a device/dock that allows me to leave my hard drives, speakers, and my Mac Pro connected and have ports that I could plug into from my mobile device (i.e. similar to an HDMI switcher but for Mini-Display/Thunderbolt ports) I looked at the Belkin Thunderbolt dock but the Surface doesn't utilize thunderbolt. Can anyone recommend a solution or anything similar?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #2
    My monitors have two, sometimes three inputs. I connect my rMBP to the display port and my OTA tuner to one of the HDMIs and my MacPro to the other HDMI.. and then use the monitor's input selector to switch between sources. I dunno if other monitors work like my LG, but the devices don't even know the monitor is switched to another input. It is pretty much seamless. If you don't like that approach, there are several inexpensive HDMI switchers out there. Dunno about display port.

    One of my inexpensive monitors has an input priority, it always switches to the priority input when active.
     
  3. MacPro2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    #3
    Thanks for the tip. I nearly forgot that I can get an HDMI to display port adapter since my monitor has 3 inputs. That takes care of the visual aspect. I really don't like disconnecting my hard drives or speakers when I need to use it for my mobile units. It would have been an easy fix if the Surface 4 had thunderbolt. The Belkin and Elgato docks have drivers for both OS systems.
     
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #4
    If you want to share drives, put them on the network. Sharing drives on a local bus can be done, but its a lot of $$$ for enterprise storage systems. A USB switch could be used if you would rather switch than pull cables. There are also audio switches, but you can't plug in multiple TB computers to a dock and make connections.

    Not sure I understand why you think a TB dock will solve you plug/unplug issues with drives and audio, maybe I mis-understand. There would be one cable, but you still can't connect more than one computer to the dock at a time (well you can physically but it may not work the way you want). TB is a daisy chain, with source destination connections, one computer with multiple slave devices. The docks are just another device on the TB chain, not hubs like USB. They have two TB ports for daisy chain purposes. Unlike USB docks, you won't find one with more than two ports.

    There is at least one TB dock (Sonnet) that includes a utility to unmount all drives connected to it, convenient when you have a bunch of drives and need to pull the cable.
     
  5. MacPro2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for the additional tips. The reason I thought of a TB Dock is because I would like to use the same hardware (i.e. drives, audio,etc) on different devices. I would simply pop out the single cable connecting to the computer I want to use at that time. In other words...the hard drives, speakers, etc. would always be connected to the dock. If I need to use my MacBook Pro I would just plug that in temporary. If I needed to switch over the Surface it would connect into that instead. The only system I would want to leave with at least one monitor connected is the Mac Pro. BUT your original tip actually solved the monitor part.

    If I get a TB dock I could always use it in my intended way...it just wouldn't work with the Surface. It is pretty cumbersome to remove the monitor cable (until I get the adapter), hard drive, audio, and optical drive (whenever I need it) to connect to my other systems. I also have to use a USB hub since the surface is capped on USB ports. So eventually I have a desk full of wires and a Mac Pro with only a power cable plugged in.
     
  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #6
    Yes, A TB dock would work fine for you, I just wasn't sure if you were trying to connect all the computers to all the devices at once. :) You should unmount all the drives (or shut down or put the computer to sleep) before disconnecting the TB cable.
     
  7. MacPro2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for all of your advice! I can only hope that Microsoft eventually adds Thunderbolt hardware to their next gen systems.
     

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