Henge Dock w/ 6x USB 3.0 same as stand alone 6x USB 3.0 HUB?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by zettabyte, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. zettabyte macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    If you haven't seen the Henge Dock, it's worth a look. I was just about to order one, but then looked closely and had realized that I'd have to take off my clear case on my rMBP every time I dock it as the computer would need to sit in a tray that's built into the dock.

    So then it got me thinking....Despite the awesome looking dock with great connectivity options (and yes I know some of you will comment on the hefty price tag, but it's not an issue for everyone), I was thinking about whether if...

    I should just get another USB 3.0 HUB for the right USB slot on my rMBP instead? However, though it may seem rhetorical and obvious, would the performance of the six USB 3.0's on the dock be the same as a stand alone USB 3.0 HUB that's plugged into my right USB slot?

    The six USB 3.0 slots on the dock is obviously powered and so is my Anker USB 3.0 HUB that I have connected on the left slot of my computer at the moment. I need more USB 3.0 slots desperately and I need those slots to be able to perform at its peak...

    Issues with my current USB 3.0 'powered' stand alone HUB connected to my left USB slot:

    1. If I put my Logitech MX Master Doggle into the HUB, the mouse skips like a sand blasted old school CD in a crappy CD Player on a bubby road. It just sucks. Terrible. I HAVE TO plug it in directly into one of the two USB lots on the computer directly. (Note: Yes, I know the MX Master is Bluetooth, but I'm 'by choice,' on 10.8.5 and the mouse bluetooth seems to only be supported on 10.10+. = Sucks.)

    2. If I connect my phone to the USB HUB....forget it....no go. The phone has to be plugged in directly to one of the main USB slots on the computer.

    3. My external CD/DVD burner will only work if connected to the computers main USB slot.

    The list goes on....

    Therefore, the golden question is whether the USB 3.0 slots (all six of them) on the Henge Dock will give me the same issues as my stand alone HUB's or not? After all the dock is connecting into the only two USB slots on the computer then splitting 3 by 3....but then it is also connecting into the thunderbolt slots etc....so is there such a thing where the thunderbolt units on the dock allow for the 6 USB 3.0 slots to work more like native ports due to the alleviation of any bottle necking? Sounds crazy, but I'm very curious....

    Because if there's no magic sauce to the USB slots on the dock working better/faster than a USB 3.0 HUB, then the dock is complete rubbish.

    I'm extremely curious how the insides look on the dock to see how everything integrates together....well IF that is even happening...
  2. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I would say your only definitive answer would be to contact the manufacturer and ask them how the ports are set up.

    Thinking logically about it, you're probably right that 3 are connected to one of the USB ports and the other 3 are connected to the other. However, their pictures are pretty limited and you can't get a feel for how the connections are set up.

    Yes, the Thunderbolt ports can be used to provide data connections for USB hubs, look at the Thunderbolt Display from Apple.
  3. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Indeed. I have sent them an email after posting this so I'll make sure to post their reply here. It should be interesting....

    Currently on my rMBP:

    Left Side:
    • Thunderbolt Port #1 = Monitor

    • Thunderbolt Port #2 = An adapter that offers both USB 3.0+Ethernet slots, which I use for either my NAS transfers or my phone.

    • USB Port #1 = Connected to a 'powered' 7-Port USB 3.0 HUB, which is limited to what it can do.
      1. Power for my AMP.
      2. Power for my second AMP.
      3. External HD for Time Machine
      4. External HD used as a Scratch Disk.
      5. 256GB PNY Flash Drive that's always in and out.
      6. Useless...If I plug in another External HD or anything for that matter, it freezes up my computer.
      7. Useless...Open rectangle to collect dust particles from the air because it can't do anything else.
    Right Side:

    • USB #2 = Logitech MX Master USB Doggle. This Doggle doesn't work plugged into the USB Hub.

    I have 3 other External HD's that I need to be able to plug in without worrying about taking a hit on performance. Even if I were to buy a USB 3.0 HUB for the right side where the Doggle is plugged in, it wouldn't be practical for me because the Doggle only works in the Primary USB port.

    On the other hand, I wonder if a Thunderbolt USB HUB (with it being faster) would do the trick in allowing me to use the Doggle and other USB connections that doesn't play nicely in my current USB HUB plugged into the USB port.

  4. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    Have you tried a different USB 3.0 hub? Sounds like the one you have is no good based on the way it behaves.
  5. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Hey there,

    Yes I've tried my other HUB's from my iMac and they all seem to have major bottle neck issue. I'm aware that it has its limits, but for something simple as a Doggle of my mouse to not work is a downer.

    I'm waiting for a response back from the dock company, Henge Dock to see what they have to say about their 6 USB 3.0 Ports....
  6. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    You have a wireless mouse correct? I heard or read somewhere that USB 3 devices interfere with the frequency that some bluetooth and wireless devices run at (keyboards/mice). Is there a way you can move the drives around your workflow such that the wireless dongle is not located near a USB hard drive? It seems that when you plug it into the computer it "just works" but maybe that's because its 1) closer to your actual mouse and 2) farther away from the USB drives.

    I had the exact same problem with a flaky wireless Logitech mouse until I got a USB extension cable and moved the dongle closer to my mouse and farther away from my external USB drives.

    Another thing to consider: when you plug in your mouse dongle (which I believe is likely to be USB 2.0), you "configure" the USB hub to act in USB 2.0 mode. That is, because your mouse is plugged into the hub, the hub runs at USB 2.0 speeds. When you plug in a few USB 3.0 drives, they are actually running at USB 2.0 speeds and that would be a major bottleneck regarding read/write performance.

    Here's what I did: I went bluetooth. You cannot however due to the OS you are running. I can see why you are asking about the Henge dock, since you could effectively use one USB port for the mouse and the Thunderbolt ports to act as a USB hub regarding your USB drives.

    When contacting Henge, ask about whether the USB ports change to 2.0 mode when you connect a 2.0 device to it. In my experience, all USB 3.0 hubs run at 2.0 mode IF the first item it detects is a USB 2.0 device. I have no idea how to configure a USB hub to detect only 3.0 devices first.

    Good luck, and let us know what you think of the Henge dock.
  7. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Plugging a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 hub DOES NOT make every device connected to the hub perform at USB 2.0 speed.
  8. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Well, specifically from Apple's web site:
    which states:

    "What happens if I plug in a USB 2 device into the USB 3 port first?
    If you plug in a USB 2 hub first, all devices connected or "daisy-chained" to that hub will operate up to the maximum transfer rate of USB 2 speed (480 Mbps)."

    Therefore what I stated earlier is true - that plugging a USB 2.0 into a USB 3.0 hub may change the overall speed of ALL devices plugged in.

    However I investigated a few USB 3.0 hubs and some do in fact auto detect the correct USB speed individually by port, meaning that a 2.0 device in a 3.0 hub doesn't change all the ports to 2.0 speed. DLink has such a hub. There are many others I found out.

    Specifically I emailed OWC regarding whether a 2.0 device in their thunderbolt dock would change all devices to 2.0 speed, and they replied that their dock specifically auto detects the device speed when its plugged in. They specifically stated that a USB 2.0 device wouldn't affect the USB 3.0 speed of other devices.
  9. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Thanks for the response. I've tried to move the HUB closer to the mouse with just the doggle in it, however, it is still very jumpy.

    I've emailed Hedge and their response was comical at best:

    "Hi there, I was actually able to get the answer much faster than I thought I would! Essentially, there are two powered USB 3 Hubs within the docking station. We've been testing teh docking station in-house for many months, and although we cannot est your exact set up, based off the information you've given us, it is more than likely that the docking station will solve your problem. So you can toss the hub! Let me know if you have any further questions, I would be happy to help you. Best ~Alana"

    My email to them is very very long, but basically I was very detailed and extremely black and white about my situation so there is absolutely zero confusion what so ever. I even asked them to reply with a definite and detailed answer or to not respond at all. LOL ...

    So what I plan to do is to request a written guarantee that they will refund me 100% including shipping costs if the USB ports on the dock do not work upon arrival for my needs....this shall be interesting...

    I'll keep you posted!

    Thanks again!

  10. zettabyte, Jul 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015

    zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Are there any other docking stations as astonishing as the Hedge Dock?

    I may be over looking some aside to the ones I've come across so far....

  11. zettabyte, Jul 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

    zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015

    Great find. Thanks for the info! I am waiting for Henge to respond back regarding my request about the written guarantee LOL.

    Do you think it's even possible for the Hedge Dock to have it wired where it would utilize the 2x USB 3.0 and 2x Thunderbolt ports on the rMBP to create one huge pipeline for the 6x USB 3.0 HUB + Thunderbolt slots on the Hedge Dock to share?

    Sounds crazy I know, but....In my mind...if they already make Thunderbolt adapters for XYZ....then I don't see how this couldn't be possible. Although the Thunderbolt ports are much faster than the USB 3.0 ports, I'm under the assumption that this is where sharing the Thunderbolt's "pipeline" comes into play to provide a TRUE 6x USB 3.0 capable slots on the Hedge Dock.

    If the Henge Dock does indeed just take the 1x USB 3.0 on the left side of the rMBP and splits it to the 3x on the left side of the Hedge Dock than I'm just going to look for another powered HUB instead, though I would love a docking station.....

    [I'm so close to just getting the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock for the left USB 3.0 slot and moving the existing USB 3.0 HUB I have now to the right side......hhmmm....decisions, decisions....I'll wait until Hedge Dock replies.]
  12. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    I got a detailed email from OWC as I outlined above. OWC says their USB ports are auto detect and determine individual USB speed based on the specific device. That is, the USB ports on the OWC dock do NOT run at 2.0 speed just because you use a 2.0 device. This is good news, and unusual, as a lot of USB hubs (not all) DO in fact run at 2.0 speed if you use a 2.0 device.

    In my opinion, I do not think the Henge dock (or any dock) will use separate USB 3.0 ports. I would guess, and its only a guess, that you are right, and it splits the 6 USB ports 3 x 3. I do not think it uses Thunderbolt as a pipeline bridge - that is, I do not think it "converts" the USB data into Thunderbolt data - it just passes it though. So if you overloaded a USB hub with data access, you would also overload the Henge USB ports with the same data access. You would probably see the exact same performance from a pair of USB hubs compared to the Henge USB ports. This is only my guess however.

    I really don't think the Henge vs. USB hub is the problem for you though. I have heard problems with USB mice that are connected to USB 3.0 controllers. I even think Logitech recommends you not to do that.

    I have not had any problem connecting my phone to a powered USB 3.0 hub. In fact I never even thought about it until you mentioned that you're having issues with it. I've had two USB 3.0 drives AND my iPhone plugged into my generic Staples USB 3.0 powered hub and never noticed any problem.

    I really think the problem you're having is the USB hub itself. I haven't used a Anker Hub but I have used their cables and they are great. Are you sure the hub is being powered by an external power supply?

    It seems, from your original post, that all your problems are solved if you plug things directly into the laptop. Thus, I can only deduce that the problem is the USB hub. So I understand your desire to find a more elegant solution. However, unless Henge replies with a detailed response, I'm not sure if changing your USB hub out for a $300 Henge dock will fix your specific issue. Its a lot of money to "try" out.

    If the issue is an incompatibility with the specific items you're using then the Henge dock probably won't solve that. If its an issue with supplying USB power then it might. If it's a total USB bandwidth problem, then the Henge dock probably won't solve the problem (because I do not think it "converts" USB data to the Thunderbolt; it just passes it though).

    Keep us posted I'd love to hear what Henge has to say.
  13. zettabyte, Jul 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

    zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Hey there,

    I think you're right and was thinking the same as for whether the USB 3.0 used the Thunderbolt as a pipeline bridge. That would be nice though wouldn't it? Darn... I have a strong feeling that the Hedge Dock is just a USB 3.0 3x split using one of the the 1x USB 3.0 port on Mac. This has me strongly looking toward the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock as it looks very promising with great reviews.

    Before writing this, I've done some speed tests on my current USB 3.0 powered HUB just to make sure all 7 ports were working okay. I took my 128GB Flash Stick and ran a test using Disk Speed Test. Here are the results:

    With the 128GB Flash directly plugged into the left USB 3.0 port:
    Write: 70 MB/s
    Read: 180 MB/s

    With the 128GB Flash plugged into the HUB connected to the rMBP: [Ports 1 through 7, averaged...]
    Write: 68MB/s
    Read: 178MB/s

    The HUB looks to be good, however, I did order another one after digging deep into finding one that works best with our Macs. Apparently, the HooToo 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB, is praised to be the best of the best for our Macs as it's been put through varies tests including the big one....USB Doggle for mouses....from what verified owners have stated, this is the only USB HUB to work without any hiccups. Interesting I know.... we shall see as I'm eager for it to arrive so that I can see for myself....I'll keep you posted.

    By the way, what version of OS are you running? I'm debating if I should wait for the next release or to bump up to Yosemite. The reason I'm still on 10.8.5 is because it has been flawless compared to my iMac and computers at work which are all on Yosemite and to me, something still doesn't seem right. There's just something missing and feels a lot heavier loaded with things that I don't need. I don't know...hmmm...

    I have yet to hear back from Henge. The moment I do I'll let you know...

  14. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    I run 10.9.5 on my hackintosh which is my production machine in my recording studio and 10.0.4 on my 2012 Macbook Air. I keep the Air updated with whatever the latest software is and use that as my daily computer. I keep the hack at 10.9.5 because it took 3 months to get it stable and I don't want to change it in the middle of my project. In the fall I am going to get a new Macbook Air or Pro and make it my desktop replacement, retiring the hack to backup status. Hence my interest in a nice Mac docking system.
  15. zettabyte, Jul 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

    zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Nice! Being that I'm on 10.8.5, I would have to jump up to 10.10 in order for me to be able to use the Bluetooth 4.0 for the Logitech MX Master Mouse. I'm really hoping the next release will be much more cleaner and lighter than 10.10.

    10.8 and 10.9 are by far the most stable and bug free IMO. I've tried 10.10 on my iMac and didn't like it for reasons other than aesthetics. It was no where near as smooth and fluid as 10.8 or 10.9. I'm running 10.9 on my iMac, but stayed on 10.8 on my rMBP because it just ran so well with ZERO issues. To avoid going through all the setting up and making it perfect again, I've just stayed put.

    That OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is looking real nice right now, though I would love to have the Hedge Dock.....still no word from them.

    If I were to get the OWC here's what I'm thinking:

    Thunderbolt Port #1 on the rMBP:
    [This is where I would connect the OWC HUB for;]
    • Samsung 4K Monitor

    • This will give me (TRUE) 3x USB 3.0 Ports with accessibility. (The ports on my rMBP are Thunderbolt 1 good for 10Gbps so although it's not 20Gbps TB2 Speeds, there should be plenty of room in the pipeline to accommodate 3x External Hard Drives plugged into there.)
    • Ethernet Plug? Could...but...

    Thunderbolt Port #2 on the rMBP:
    [I have this thing about always keeping the Ethernet connector isolated as possible on it's own...]

    • StarTech Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet w/ USB 3.0 Adapter (~$80.) It seems to work pretty well and I like it because it gives me another USB 3.0 slot. There are many happy Mac users and here's a little of what their description says:

    "Leveraging the 10Gbps bandwidth of your Thunderbolt port gives you reliable 1Gbps Ethernet and 5Gbps USB 3.0 connectivity, while enabling you to use both to their full capacity. To maximize efficiency, the Thunderbolt adapter separates traffic from each interface into its own dedicated 5Gbps PCI Express lane, effectively avoiding bottlenecks when both ports are in use"

    So I figured that I'll use the Thunderbolt Port #2 for this Adapter and maybe use that extra USB 3.0 port lightly for a flash stick or something.

    This set up just on the LEFT side of the rMBP alone will give me (5) TRUE USB 3.0 slots:

    • 3x from the OWC HUB.
    • 1x from the Ethernet / USB 3.0 Adapter
    • 1x from the USB 3.0 port on the computer.

    Not bad eh? Hmmm.....

    Then on the RIGHT side of the computer, I can plug in the HooToo 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB and if all goes well I can stick the Logitech mouse doggle into the HUB and have 6x free USB 3.0 slots for lighter use:

    Port 1: To power my AMP #1
    Port 2: To power my AMP #2
    Port 3: To charge my Logitech Keyboard when needed.
    Port 4: OPEN
    Port 5: OPEN
    Port 6: OPEN
    Port 7: Logitech USB Doggle

    This whole set up with the OWC HUB + StarTech Adapter + HooToo HUB is roughly ~$350 that will provide me 5x USB 3.0 ports with no bottle neck.

    Purely from an USB 3.0 availability stand point, the set up above is far superior in that:

    Hedge Dock:
    3x USB 3.0 HUB connected into the Macs left USB slot + 3x USB 3.0 HUB connected into the Macs right USB slot.
    All 6 ports bottle necked to that one USB 3.0 slot
    Same thing as getting two HUB's with 3 USB 3.0 ports for $10 each.

    I think I've just talked myself into it LOL....but darn that Henge Docks is just so sleek! Only if...only if....it provided true USB 3.0 speeds sharing the Thunderbolt pipeline....
  16. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015

    How interesting...so out of the blue while sitting at my desk, I took the Logitech USB Doggle out of the right USB 3.0 slot of the computer and put it in the [StarTech Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet w/ USB 3.0 Adapter] that I have plugged in and what do you know....the mouse works like a charm.

    Now I'm even more optimistic on the Logitech Doggle working in the HUB of the [HooToo 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB].

    I can't believe I've overlooked trying to place the doggle in the StarTech adapter...the most common things we often over look right? Yikes....

    Now I have a freed up USB 3.0 slot on the right side of the computer for the [HooToo 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB] that I'm about to order right about....NOW! I'm game...

    Next is the OWC Thunderbolt 2 HUB....
  17. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015

    Here is Henge Docks response:

    "Hi there, You will receive full bandwidth from four of the USB ports. There is full bandwidth from the three on the left side of the computer connected through Thunderbolt and only one of the right side connected through USB 3.0. So essentially to answer your question they make one big pipeline that is shared bandwidth.

    Our company policy is that we will fully refund your order including shipping costs up to 30 days if you are not fully satisfied with the performance of the dock or anything else. Per our Returns & Exchanges page on our website, the cost to return the unit to our warehouse is covered by the individual purchaser."
  18. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Well that is good news then. The Henge dock actually uses the Thunderbolt pipeline for 4 of the 6 USB ports.
  19. zettabyte, Jul 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

    zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    I'm still letting it sink it...LOL....too good to be true?

    Here's the picture of the Henge Dock.

    Updated Response from Henge:

    "Hi, I apologize for causing any confusion! To expand on what I was saying, three of the USB ports are powered by Thunderbolt. These will provide full USB 3.0 speeds and there will be one fully functional Thunderbolt port on the dock, the other two display ports will be Mini Display Port and HDMI.

    The other three USB ports will be powered by the USB 3.0 from the MackBook. Ultimately, you should be able to plug in four USB devices that can run at 3.0 USB speeds simultaneously. Plugging in more devices will cause the speeds in one of those four USB ports to run at slightly slower speeds based on whatever else you are plugging in."

    Great news! So at least there seems to be truth to the theory, but only for half of the USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the dock. It still has me thinking...going with the set up above with the OWC Thunderbolt 2 adapter + HooToo 7 Port USB 3.0 HUB will give me more USB ports....

    This is a tough decision....
  20. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Just to update this thread, I got a Belkin Thunderbolt Dock (TB1) for $70. I set it up and I'm currently using it as my laptop docking station. It worked without any issues at all.

    It has 3 USB 3.0 ports, FW800, Ethernet and two TB1 ports. It also has mic and speaker ports. I am using one USB port to connect to a 4-port USB 3.0 powered hub. My keyboard/mouse is plugged into the second USB port. The third port is connected to my USB HDD that I use as my primary time machine backup drive. I have a cheap mic plugged in (for FaceTime) and my desktop speakers plugged in. My studio monitors go through my audio interface.

    On the USB hub I have two drives plugged in occasionally and my iPhone plugged in basically all the time. I have not had a single issue at all.

    One TB port is connected to my Macbook Air, the other is connected (via TB-DVI) to my monitor. I have an ethernet cable plugged in and my FW audio interface as well. No issues.

    All of the drives I tried run at about the same speed using BlackMagic Disk Speed Test. That is, they get about 80MB/sec, no matter what port I plugged them into (directly into the Mac, right off the Belkin Dock USB port, or off my USB Hub connected to a Belkin USB port). I used the same drives for each test, and I got repeatable results.

    In my case, the Belkin USB ports all run at the same speed no matter which ones I used.

    I don't feel that using a TB1 dock has any speed limitations in the manner I'm using it. That is, the one or two USB drives plus my audio interface and video output don't seen to have any speed-related issues regarding access over TB1 (as opposed to TB2).

    Hope this helps the OP and any one else looking for information on Thunderbolt Docks.
  21. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Thanks for the update! It's good to know that the Belkin dock works without issues. I take it that you're using a wired keyboard and mouse yes? I wonder how an USB doggle from a Logitech mouse would work in one of the Belkin HUB's USB port. I haven't had any luck with the doggle plugged into any regular powered USB 3.0 HUB's, as it only works directly plugged into the computers USB slot and/or the USB 3.0 slot that's on my Thunderbolt -> Ethernet/USB 3.0 adapter.
  22. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    UPDATE: I've decided to buy the OWC Thunderbolt 2 HUB and I couldn't be more happier. It works like a charm and I love how that it has 5 USB 3.0 slots with two of the ports being able to provide high powered charging ports.

    The Henge Dock is nice, but it's honestly over priced for what it delivers. I could buy two of the OWC Hub's for the cost of one Henge dock.

    Plus, I have a clear plastic case on my MacBook Pro so I would have to take the bottom cover off every time I wanted to dock it. It would become an annoyance.

    Now I have another fun dilemma on what to do with the freed up Thunderbolt port that I have haha....perhaps I'll just buy another OWC HUB?
  23. dsmedic10 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    If I wanted to spend the cash I would have got the OWC dock. As it is, the Belkin dock is less than half the OWC one and does exactly what I need it to do. I would have liked to have an additional few USB ports and the HDMI out would have allowed me to use the Thunderbolt port for something else. But the Belkin was $70 on eBay and it does what I need it to do. Hope the OWC works out, I heard its really nice and works well.

    As for your other TB port you can always drop $1500 on a 2TB SSD RAID array...
  24. zettabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Indeed. I am also looking at the Belkin and may use that on the free port.

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