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Hands-On: OWC's 'DEC' Adds an SD Card Slot, Ethernet, and USB Type-A Ports to the MacBook Pro

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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With the release of the 2016 MacBook Pro, there were a slew complaints over the compromising thinness and the removal of ports. For professionals who rely on the MacBook Pro, this latest iteration fell short of expectations. The outcry was so loud, in fact, that Apple slashed prices on its USB-C adapters, a move rarely seen from the company.

This is the DEC from Other World Computing. It's a new dock for the 2016 MacBook Pro that's designed to return some of the missing features Apple removed. It's unique in the way that it connects to the computer and the functionality it brings.


The DEC attaches to the bottom of the MacBook Pro by replacing the screws that hold on the bottom plate. This method won't void your warranty, but it will allow for the dock to be securely attached at all times.

At first glance the DEC looks comically large, but in person the size and weight are more than manageable. OWC claims that when attached to a 2016 MacBook Pro, the DEC will be as thin as the 2012 MacBook Pro. Weight didn't seem to be an issue, but this is an unfinished prototype that doesn't have all the hardware in place.

When considering the functionality of the dock, the size and weight compromises may be worth it. The DEC connects to the MacBook Pro over Thunderbolt 3 and will bring USB Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD Card Slot, and up to 4TB of storage. Additional features are also being considered, such as an expanded battery pack.

The models shown here are still in prototype phase, but OWC assured us the final models will be available within months. The DEC will come in both Silver and Space Gray, and at release it will be available for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Pricing is not yet available, but OWC expects it to be priced lower than the BTO 2TB storage upgrade available from Apple.

Article Link: Hands-On: OWC's 'DEC' Adds an SD Card Slot, Ethernet, and USB Type-A Ports to the MacBook Pro
 

usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
1,447
1,506
Whoa, it screws onto the bottom. I was hoping it was this instead of some dumb method of hooks and clasps.

This is such an interesting idea. With this ridiculous thing I might finally replace my MBP late 2011...although I really hate the new keyboard.

The only other obvious addition would be a battery and a massive SSD raid for video people. That alone might pay for the development costs.
 

SgtPepper12

macrumors 6502a
Feb 1, 2011
676
606
Germany
Neat idea, even though I would never consider something like that. Problems I see:
  • Lousy built quality and/or poor design makes this look like exactly what it is: A hacky, desperate add-on.
  • No HDMI, why the hell?
  • What about exhaust? If I remember correctly, the new rMBPs still have exhaust slits on the bottom
  • Probably not as easy as I'd like to think (mainly because of patent issues), but MagSafe would have been really neat.
 

Borin

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2016
102
184
Somewhere over the rainbow.
Reminds me of the old IBM ThinkPads that used to have docking stations so you could have a few more ports and a disc drive.

 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,816
3,400
Considering it's more than doubling the size, additional features (4TB HDD, USB-A ports, Ethernet, SD) are disappointing.

At the very least, it needs to be modular, so that it can accommodate SSD instead of HDD as well as battery. And frankly, I think more than doubling the size is far less convenient than simply buying legacy USB to USB-C cables, Ethernet to USB-C cable, and SD to USB-C adapter. Or carrying a hub that attaches to the port.
 
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le_steve

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2016
2
9
All that clunk for just 3 usb ports, Sd Reader, Ethernet port and an Storage ?

Couldn't they add at least extra battery, microSD, and HDMI with all that surface Area ?

Also there is no way this thing is gonna cost less than $199.00 maybe even $999.00 for the 4TB storage version (If its SSD)
 
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BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
2,124
632
What's with the straight out USB-C cable? You would've thought they would've created an angled or even flush cable. Better yet, they should've found a way to require you to remove the bottom aluminum panel and connect it internally.
 
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DrumApple

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2009
536
1,381
I cringe every time I see a new one of these "everything that's missing" monstrosity attachable accessories like this and that Hyperdrive thing. This is just pathetic already... Can't believe Apple let it get to this point.

Look at Lenovo's latest gen X1 Carbon announced at CES 2017, THAT'S how you do ports.
 
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