MacBook Air "dock" type solution?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by eTip, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. eTip macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I just ordered an 11" MBA and have a few questions. This isn't my first Mac but it's far newer & faster than anything else I have in my house and I am sure that for 95% of what I do, it will be more than fine as is. I say this with confidence because I currently use my IPad for 95% of what I do (I connect remotely to my MacMini or PC for tasks that the iPad is not sufficient for) and only occasionally feel the need to sit at my desk and make use of my 20" monitor.

    For those occasions, I would rather use the MBA and was wondering if there is an easy solution that would allow me to make use of my LCD, mouse and full size keyboard. As I see it now, I would have to connect them all separately - and if I am going to be there for a period of time, would also have to drag the AC adapter in there & plug it in. Not a huge deal - but probably not worth the hassle. If I only had one thing to plug in (i.e. a dock) that would be ideal - even if it meant buying a 2nd power adapter. I know Apple doesn't make a dock and I am aware that Thunderbolt Display would accomplish what I want but I can't justify the cost for the limited use it would get. There must be others in similar situations and I am curious what solutions may be out there.
     
  2. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #2
    I don't think that there are any yet, but I cannot wait for their to be third party docks for thunderbolt!
     
  3. eTip, Sep 11, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011

    eTip thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Ditto!

    EDIT: Well, there's this, bit it's only for the 13"' and is a bit pricey:

    http://www.BookEndzDocks.com/Curren...kEndz_Docking_Station_for_13_MacBook_Air.html

    I dont even have the thing yet and I am shopping for acessories. Why is it that all of my new toys need toys of their own?
     
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    #4
    That dock appears to only dock MiniDisplayPort - not Thunderbolt. It wouldn't transfer the extra Thunderbolt capabilities, just the MDP display.
     
  5. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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  6. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    #6
    Here you go. A little pricey, but comes with a killer 27" display built in. :D
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC914LL/A

    (yes, I know the OP mentioned the Thunderbolt display. I suspect (hope?) it will be just a matter of time before a non-display breakout box is available)

    An alternative is to use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse; the Apple versions may work for you or not -- I'm very happy using the apple wireless keyboard and wireless trackpad when my MBA13 is plugged into my 24" monitor via HDMI<>minidisplayport. They work well in "clamshell" mode if I want to close the lid and just work from the monitor.

    I only really have to plug in the power and video cables so it's easy enough. Granted, I don't really need hardwired ethernet and don't connect to external drives often.
     
  7. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #7
    I'm going to sell my 17" MacBook Pro for that display when I go off to college. It looks really nice, and I really want it, but I just have no need or room for it right now.
     
  8. eTip thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
  9. eTip thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    just spotted the Bluetooth suggestion in your post -- not a bad idea. I actually have the apple BT keyboard already.
     
  10. LordVic macrumors 68040

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    #10
    the new Thunderbolt Display apple has is basically a docking station 2 plug solution.

    put it on desk. plug in Thunderbolt. plug in power. Done.

    On the Thunderbolt display you have USB ports for your keyboard / mouse / other peripherals.
     
  11. eTip, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011

    eTip thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Wow, how did you come up with a such an original and innovative solution? So glad you came along to point us in the right direction. And it make perfect sense for me to to spend nearly the same amount on a display (that I will only use on occasion) as I did for the Air.
     
  12. LordVic macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Instead of dripping your post with blatant sarcasm, maybe you should realize that there are no real options that are available for what you're describing for cheap, outside of this.

    No matter what other option that is currently availble, you will have to go through the hassle of dragging your power brick over (or buy 2, 1 for each spot). You will have to buy the Thunderbolt / mac mini display port adapters for your monitor, and plug in your usb devices.

    the only option to avoid the USB devices is bluetooth, which if you don't have already, will cost you to buy anyways.

    There are a few devices I've seen in development that hopefully will act as the "all in one docking station". But they're still not out. Thunderbolt port is a fairly "new" technology.

    I know i'm looking forward to the Docking station that i've seen that allows for PCI-E cards to be used externally. But the cost of such is rumoured to be almost as much as a 2nd air!
     
  13. minnus, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011

    minnus macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I know that Kingston makes some USB docks that act as a USB Hub with limited video pass-through capabilities.

    For instance: http://www.amazon.com/Kensington-Un...NSNK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1315842694&sr=8-7

    A review has indicated that it works with Snow Leopard.

    This way, if you purchase the spare adapter and this dock, its effective the 'thunderbolt' solution, except instead of 1 thunderbolt + 1 magsafe, its 1 usb + separate magsafe adapter.

    Do note that it is much slower - you can't expect the response time of a direct connection with a monitor.
     
  14. eTip thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    And maybe you should actually bother to read the content of the thread (or at least the OP) rather than just posting....

    Yes, I would be willing to buy a 2nd power adapter - in fact I probably will regardless. And yes, I know I would need a display port adapter (we're still not really getting close to the price of the Thunderbolt display). No, with a dock I would not need to plug in my devices. They would be plugged into ....the dock.

    Yep, that's been discussed in this thread as well. Still not approaching the cost of the display.

    Yes, we have been discussing those here in this thread. Thanks for pointing out that Thunderbolt is fairly "new" technology though. Oops. Was that sarcastic?


    Alright maybe I have been a little hard on ya and maybe you were just trying to help. It's morning. I am grumpy. Can I get away with leaving my sarcastic responses above and semi-apologizing in the same post? If not, I take back the semi-apology. ;-)

    And I would add that if money were no object and I if I didn't do the majority of my computing from the couch.....I would be all over the Thunderbolt Display. But, as it stands- it just doesn't make sense to spend that kind of cash on something that would get such little use. And after all, I already have an LCD that is more than sufficient.

    ----------

    Yeah, I noticed a few similar devices (usb based docks) with mixed reviews but hadn't come across this one yet so thanks. It may suffice for my needs.
     
  15. roncron macrumors member

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    #15
    I don't have a solution to eTip's exact problem, but here's something that might help some folks here.

    Kensington makes a USB hub with a built-in ethernet port for under $30:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kensington-USB-Mini-Dock-Ethernet/dp/B0029F1XNW/

    I keep my printer, an external drive, and a Logitech unifying receiver plugged in to its 3 USB ports, and an ethernet cable plugged in to it, too.

    The Logitech unifying receiver is a single, tiny USB receiver that works with up to 6 compatible Logitech devices; I use it with the K750 solar-powered keyboard and a Logitech wireless mouse.

    Separately, I have a minidisplayport to DVI adapter for my external display.

    So, when I want to work at my desk, I have to plug my MBA into two things, which isn't as convenient as plugging it into one. But it's much better than plugging in 4 or 5 things, and the setup I described was relatively inexpensive.

    And anyone considering Apple's USB ethernet adapter should consider the Kensington one instead. The Apple adapter works great, but will take up one of your two precious USB ports. The Kensington one costs the same or less than the Apple one, it works really really well, and gives you 3 USB ports (but takes up one, so you'll have four available USB ports - still not bad).
     
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #16
    At IDF, Belkin announced a Thunderbolt Express Dock with 3 USB, Firewire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet ports. No pricing or availability yet, but it could be a useful option for the MacBook Air when it comes out. There is an article on DailyTech about it.
     
  17. komoornik macrumors regular

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  18. reputationZed macrumors 65816

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  19. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Does this Belkin dock allow an external monitor to be hooked up via either DVI or HDMI?
     
  20. flipshot macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    They would have to write Drivers for it as Apple don't support it. So it is probably not worth their while.
     
  21. komoornik macrumors regular

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    #22
    I think I saw there a TB port, so it should be mini displayport also?

    Hmm, you're probably right.

    But there is Ivy Bridge coming and Apple will most likely add USB 3.0 support.

    Maybe we can get our TB USB 3.0 hub then.
     
  22. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    #23
    Would it power the unit as well? Or would it still need to be plugged in separately?
     
  23. komoornik macrumors regular

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    #24
    How the hell do you wanna power a Macbook with Thunderbolt port?
     
  24. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

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    #25
    I guess it doesn't work. I was thinking of my old Dell docking station which handled everything -- power, monitor, usb ports, ethernet -- everything. It was really very convenient (and easy).
     

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