Matrox Launches DS1 Thunderbolt Docking Station for $249

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Apr 12, 2001
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For over a year, third-party manufacturers have been showing off prototypes and making announcements regarding Thunderbolt docking stations, accessories that would allow users to connect a variety of peripherals to a hub that would then connect to their Mac with a single Thunderbolt cable. Apple offers such functionality as part of its $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display, but many users have been looking for similar hub functionality that does not require also purchasing a large display.

Matrox is one of the manufacturers that has been working on a Thunderbolt docking stations, having announced its $249 DS1 hub back in June. At the time, the product was scheduled to launch in September of this year, but the company later pushed back the launch to December as it decided to roll out separate models for DVI and HDMI monitor compatibility.

Matrox will be announcing tomorrow that the DS1 docking station is now available for sale in the Americas at a price of $249, with worldwide availability set for next month. The DS1 contains a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in/out jacks and either an HDMI or DVI port on the rear of the device, with a combination USB 3.0/2.0 port and the Thunderbolt port for connection to the user's machine on the front.

We chatted a bit with product manager Charles Amyot about the development of DS1, in particular asking why it has taken over a year and a half to bring a Thunderbolt docking station to market. The issue is not unique to Matrox, as Belkin and other manufacturers have also been working to launch their products but have yet to begin shipping.

Amyot noted that there were a number of hurdles that needed to be overcome throughout the development process, due in large part to Thunderbolt being a new standard with little in the way of support available yet. Matrox worked closely with both Apple and Intel on the development of the DS1, but ensuring a good user experience with proper drivers and other features of the device turned out to be a time-consuming process. Amyot also noted that Matrox is the first company to deliver USB 3.0 connectivity over Thunderbolt, a step that required a significant amount of work.

Thunderbolt remains in its infancy, and many users have been frustrated with what feels like a slow pace of adoption. Until recently, Thunderbolt accessories have primarily been limited to expensive professional devices such as RAID storage arrays and PCI Expansion expansion chassis. Only in recent months have consumer-level products begun integrating Thunderbolt on a widespread basis, but even then many of them such as hard drives can only make maximum use of Thunderbolt when equipped with expensive solid-state storage.

Regardless, as Apple continues to slim down its Macs and eliminate such features as Ethernet ports, docking stations like the DS1 that offer a single-cable connection for a variety of peripherals are likely to become increasingly popular with users seeking simple expansion solutions.

Article Link: Matrox Launches DS1 Thunderbolt Docking Station for $249
 

92jlee

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2009
277
0
Cardiff, Wales, UK
What is the point in this product?

All macs (apart from air) have built in LAN, USB, display out and in/out audio.. Whats the point? If you need more USB plugs get one of those splitters/extentions etc..
 

DTF

macrumors member
Sep 23, 2010
48
2
Basically I just replicated my ports on my MacBook Pro for $249; and downgraded my USB ports to 2.0. I don't see this selling much.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,034
893
Canada
From the photos, it looks like the design is excellent. It seems to be anodized aluminium with the same surface finish as my unibody Mac mini.

However, the price is high for my taste and I can't understand why there's only two USB ports in the back. For this price I would have expected at least one FireWire 800 port and six USB 3.0 ports in the back plus one USB 3.0 port in the front. The fact that you also need to choose between DVI and HDMI is a bit weird IMHO.
 

wikus

macrumors 68000
Jun 1, 2011
1,795
2
Planet earth.
How many years has it been since Thunderbolt was announced and launched?

These prices are outrageous. Thunderbolt is a total failure.
 

NutsNGum

macrumors 68030
Jul 30, 2010
2,849
323
Glasgow, Scotland
What is the point in this product?

All macs (apart from air) have built in LAN, USB, display out and in/out audio.. Whats the point? If you need more USB plugs get one of those splitters/extentions etc..
No ethernet on the Retina MacBooks. But there is a £20 converter, which I'd still buy over this.
 

applesith

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
2,659
1,070
Manhattan
Thunderbolt is too expensive to compete with USB 3. Yes it's faster, but who can afford to by all the cables and devices for it?
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,322
4,778
Canada
Hhhhmmmm ... USB3.. unfortunately its expensive just for USB3 compatibility.

My 2011 Macbook feels crippled with just USB2.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,113
1,319
5045 feet above sea level
i want to be able to daisy chain so it needs (what I would want)

*throughput thunderbolt
*why not just usb 3 at this point? 3-4 ports would be great
*ethernet is nice
*dual video out would be great
*audio in out is nice
 

Camali

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2011
3
0
Don't forget Belkin has removed the eSATA connection, plus the USB 3.0 ports are limited to 2.5gbps and not the full 5gbps USB 3.0 delivers - WITH NO price change. For that I can just replace my 17" Macbook Pro with a Mac mini! for slight a little more.
 

willcapellaro

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2011
345
6
How many years has it been since Thunderbolt was announced and launched?

These prices are outrageous. Thunderbolt is a total failure.
Which is a failure - the port or the standard? People use the port all the time. The protocol just hasn't caught on yet, but it's not like there are unused ports just wasting board and device space.
 

Arcady

macrumors 6502
May 24, 2002
402
24
Lexington, KY
This is a fail.

There needs to be a FireWire 800 port. There needs to be USB 3 on the back (or on all ports.) There really needs to be a Thunderbolt passthru port. I have an Apple LED Cinema Display that uses Mini DisplayPort, so I can't even hook up this thing without a passthru port.

And why are they putting the lone Thunderbolt port on the front? For a device that is supposed to eliminate cable clutter, I don't think they understand that I don't want a cable running out the front of the thing and across my desk.
 

willcapellaro

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2011
345
6
No ethernet on the Retina MacBooks. But there is a £20 converter, which I'd still buy over this.
Yeah, it would kill me to have to choose between screen real estate and connecting to a landed network. Thunderbolt Display is an expensive solution to this problem.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,447
1,662
192.168.1.1
Why separate models for HDMI and DVI when a simple adapter plug would do the trick. Why no mini Display Port? Why only two USB ports on the back when adding more - if only via an internal hub - would have made this product much more useful. Why only one USB 3.0 port? And why, in god's name, is the Thunderbolt port on the front of the unit?
 

AppliedMicro

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2008
603
42
1x USB3.0 Nice to have. Esp. for a fast yet inexpensive external HD.
2x USB: completely adequate for HID, scanners, printers and the like.

But single-link DVI-D (1920 x 1200 @ 60 fps maximum resolution)? :(

Pass.
 

SeattleMoose

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2009
1,830
1,440
Der Wald
Another TB Miss

No FW 400/FW 800 for backward compatibility? There are a TON of FW peripherals out there. No sale here....another TB disappointment. When is TB gonna actually go mainstream? Geez, it has been years now since it was introduced....:(
 

phoenixsan

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2012
1,342
2
Good news, indeed.....!

More and more Thunderbolt consumer peripherals can speed up adoption of the standard and maybe drive down the prices.

Hubs can be handy/helpful in a variety of situations, I know for experience:)


:):apple:
 

wikus

macrumors 68000
Jun 1, 2011
1,795
2
Planet earth.
Which is a failure - the port or the standard? People use the port all the time. The protocol just hasn't caught on yet, but it's not like there are unused ports just wasting board and device space.
The technology behind thunderbolt is fine. Its Apple being stupid again, just like with Firewire and just like with all their other overpriced proprietary crap and how they executed the implementation of it.

2 years in, and I've still yet to see ONE SINGLE thunderbolt product on a store shelf.
 

Xenomorph

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2008
1,297
521
St. Louis
It looks terrible, but I'd get it right now if my system supported Thunderbolt.

Every day I place my MacBook Pro on my desk at work and plug in the mouse, the monitor, Ethernet cable, other USB accessories, etc.

Wearing out an Ethernet port is serious business. They have to replace the entire motherboard for that.