Elgato Thunderbolt Dock - initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by dmccloud, May 29, 2014.

  1. dmccloud macrumors 6502a

    dmccloud

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    #1
    Finally found one of these docks at the local Apple Store on Monday and picked it up for my rMBP. I connected my USB 3.0 external drives to the dock instead of the machine itself, and there is no dropoff in throughput between the machine's USB 3.0 ports and the docks USB 3.0 ports. I haven't tried running external monitors yet, but the dock is capable of running one Thunderbolt and one HDMI display simultaneously.

    Unlike some of the other docks on the market, the Elgato dock does come with a thunderbolt cable (a short one, but that's better than nothing), and is a powered hub, so you can charge your iPhone/iPad off the dock in a decent amount of time. Since the dock also has two thunderbolt ports (one of which is used to connect to the computer itself), you basically gain three USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI port, and additional audio connections for headphones/mics without losing any ports. The dock itself has a good, solid build quality - the aluminum casing is solid like the MBA/MBP lineup, and the design compliments the Mac lineup very well.

    To me, the biggest advantage of the dock is being able to leave my external drives (1 for iTunes/iPhoto/Aperture content, 1 for Time Machine) connected at all times without using all available USB ports, and that I just unplug one cable instead of 2-3 when heading out of the house with the laptop. The dock is a little pricey compared to other models (MSRP $229.99), but it does include the thunderbolt cable when others do not. Elgato also has a Thunderbolt Dock utility for both Mac and Windows that allows you to manage some of the dock's advanced features as needed.

    All in all, I think this dock is a good investment for owners of MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros that want a little more flexibility in connecting peripherals without sacrificing performance or portability.

    (I'll add some photos when I get home this afternoon - currently waiting for a meeting to begin.)
     
  2. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #2

    your going to be surprised when you find out it cant run 2 displays at a time.
     
  3. dmccloud thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dmccloud

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    #3
    It actually can. I have run a HDMI and Thunderbolt display at once. The Elgato support site actually lists which combinations work.

    Elgato - Thunderbolt Dock FAQ
     
  4. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    #4

    And if you want to run two regular monitors it will not work.

    Thunderbolt display provides its own display signal.
     
  5. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    Canada
    #5
    all the docks do , it will not run 2 displays with hdmi + thunderbolt converter....very misleading.
     
  6. Dunners macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2014
    #6
    Has anyone attempted attaching two regular displays via,

    - mini-display port (using spare thunderbolt on dock)
    - USB3.0

    It would seem that as soon as you plug anything into the HDMI socket it takes priority, so perhaps the above might work?
     
  7. dmccloud thread starter macrumors 6502a

    dmccloud

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    #7
    Not misleading at all - using HDMI w/ a TB converter isn't the same as a native Thunderbolt display. Thunderbolt has autonegotiation capabilities that HDMI lacks, even if connected to such a converter.
     
  8. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #8
    Not misleading, misunderstanding. Thunderbolt converters do not exist ;) What you mean are mini-DisplayPort adapters.

    The HDMI interface on these docks should be considered mini-DisplayPort-HDMI adapters. Any adapter will take up 1 DisplayPort stream which is also the maximum amount any Thunderbolt device is able to use (DisplayPort gets encapsulated in Thunderbolt). You need to hook up another Thunderbolt device in order to use more DisplayPort streams. This can be another dock, the Apple Thunderbolt Display, the Thunderbolt display from LG or a Thunderbolt device with a daisychain option that you can use to hook up a mini-DisplayPort adapter.

    As said earlier, Elgato lists what will work and what won't work in their FAQ. That is definitely not misleading nor misunderstanding. This is exactly what any other manufacturer should do. CalDigit does the same thing with their Thunderbolt dock. If you do some research you'll either find this information or someone will point it out in a review.
     
  9. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    i dont really need a lesson on it to be aunest , i am quite aware on how the inner workings are.

    elgato has changed there website since , they listed it as did caldigit at one point as using 2 displays with no catch.
     
  10. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #10
    As far as I know CalDigit has never done any such thing. They posted from the beginning that you need a Thunderbolt display as the second display if the first one is hooked up to the hdmi port. Don't know if Elgato did something similar.

    All in all your statement that it is misleading simply is incorrect. You probably misunderstood something like most people do or are very disappointed you can't use 2 non-Thunderbolt displays easily. That still doesn't mean the manufacturer is misleading people. Saying that they do is defamation.
     

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