OWC Thunderbolt Dock impressions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jayducharme, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. jayducharme macrumors 68040

    jayducharme

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    #1
    I received mine today. Even though the manual states that a Thunderbolt cable is needed, OWC included one in the box. The setup was really simple. The cord to the power brick could be a bit longer; the brick hangs off the side of my small computer desk when it should at least reach the floor.

    The power and activity lights are curiously positioned underneath the dock. My desk is glossy, so I can see their reflection. But it seems an odd placement choice. If you have a dark or matte-finish desk, you probably won't see them.

    I started off by plugging all my peripherals in through the dock. That included my speaker system. When I power up or power down my Mac Pro, the speakers now emit a loud thump, which doesn't occur if the speakers are plugged directly into the Mac Pro. I really like how the dock provides an analog audio input.

    The HDMI output on the dock exhibits considerable banding. I wasn't too happy with that and reverted back to the Mac Pro's HDMI output.

    Other than that, everything else seems to work well. I appreciate the high-power USB outputs, and their location. The dock is low-profile and unobtrusive. Its construction is plasticky and lightweight.

    Overall, I'm happy with the purchase, and the price was reasonable (at least for the pre-orders). I'll be putting it through its paces in the coming weeks, and I'll see how it holds up then.
     
  2. thebro20 macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2014
  3. underattack macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #3
    Has anybody tried it with a laptop? I am in particular interested in how well the switch from wired to wireless network works. Right now, I am using a USB3 hub with built in ethernet port, and the switch is painful.
     
  4. hensavage macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2014
    #4
    Looks awesome, hadn't seen it until now- definitely looking into it.

    Keep us updated with how it holds up.

    Henry
     
  5. fanchee macrumors 6502a

    fanchee

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  6. jayducharme thread starter macrumors 68040

    jayducharme

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    #6
    I think that was only for the early pre-orders (the "discount price").

    ----------

    I did find one glitch today. I was eager to try out the audio input, since my Mac Pro has none. I hooked in my analog tape deck and attempted to record with Logic. But the audio was massively distorted, as if it were being overdriven, and there appeared to be no way to adjust it. So I recorded the audio with my iPad instead (through an iO Dock), and it came out fine. The distortion was definitely not from the tape deck. I'm waiting to hear back from OWC on what it might be. I could understand if it was solely a microphone jack. But OWC advertises it as a mic/line jack.
     
  7. underattack macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #7
    I got mine on Friday evening. I ordered it in November for my 13" MacBook Retina. It came without extra thunderbolt cable, just the one I ordered :(.

    Since it is used with a laptop, "hot plugging" was really important, and so far, it works much better then the USB+Thunderbolt mix I had before.

    With the old setup, the USB Ethernet port wouldn't work on its own. It required a couple of plugin/plugout exercises. The Thunderbolt ethernet port works great. I setup my DHCP server to give it the same IP address as my WiFi card, and the transition is seamless.

    I am using an LG screen on the thunderbolt output and it works great (3440x1440), including audio. The HDMI output goes via an HDMI-DVI converter to an older 24" Dell display (1920x1200), and I don't see any problems. If anything, it works better then the thunderbolt->DVI adapter I used earlier (an old Apple one with USB power..).

    BTW: I found this neat trick to "eject all drives" with a key stroke. Works well for me, and it is helpful to eject drives properly before disconnecting the dock.

    http://www.cnet.com/news/how-to-set-up-an-eject-all-hot-key-in-os-x/

    I modified the script they are using a bit

    for b in /Volumes/*; do
    if ! echo $b | grep 'Macintosh HD'; then
    diskutil eject $b
    sleep 1
    diskutil umountDisk $b
    fi
    done
     
  8. thebro20 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    #8

    using your script and the other one provided i keep encountering an error. It'll eject one of my drives, but not the other. I just get a window saying it encounters an error. any thoughts as to why or how to fix it?
     
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #9
    I used to use the Jettison app to eject all external drives on sleeping and before unplugging them. It automatically unmounts drives on sleep (or upon command) and then mounts them on return/wake.

    They offer a free demo to verify it works with your disks.
     
  10. unfrostedpoptar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #10
    Just got mine and hooked it up today. 2013 15" rMBP / 10.10.1. USB works fine, including charging iPhone 6+, as does Ethernet. I've been running the HDMI output of the rMBP into a Marantz receiver and then to a Sony 4k TV. 4k @ 30Hz has worked fine and looks good through the dock. However, I can't get multi-channel sound to work over HDMI which worked fine without the dock.

    The receiver shows up as an output device and the Audio-MIDI app shows it's an 8-channel output set up as 7.1 surround. However, I only get sound out of the left and right channels. The dock says it supports HDMI 1.4b. HDMI has supported 8-channel audio since version 1.0 so it should definitely work.

    I just talked to OWC tech support. The tech was helpful but couldn't find any info that specifically mentioned this. He's forwarding me to higher level support but they're gone for the day :( I was hoping someone here might have some info about this. Half the reason for the dock was using my rMBP to play multi-channel music so if it doesn't work I'll have to return it. Hope it doesn't come to that.

    FYI, I can see some banding in the video output, but I don't think it's worse than using the Mac's HDMI output. Looking at this image:
    http://1zelda.com/tv/pics/gray_test.jpg. I also haven't calibrated my TV yet although I did run a Spyder4 cal on it.

    Thanks,

    David
     
  11. unfrostedpoptar macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2010
    #11
    Also - a couple of times that I've undocked/docked, the Mac totally froze up and wouldn't respond to anything but a hard reset. Anyone else have issues docking and undocking?

    David
     
  12. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #12
    That may be a OS 10.10 issue.
     
  13. thebro20 macrumors regular

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    Sep 7, 2014
    #13
    I actually just experienced this today. Glad im not the only one, I thought I did something
     
  14. rockinrocker macrumors 65816

    rockinrocker

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    Aug 21, 2006
    #14


    I pre-ordered mine and didn't get an extra cable either.
    Sounds like you got lucky!
     
  15. mwchris macrumors regular

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #15
    OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock

    I received mine a few days ago, with only the TB cord I paid for.

    My setup includes a Late 2013 15'' rMBP running OS X 10.10.2, 24" Acer P241W display, various USB 3 devices, Altec Lansing 2.1 speaker set.

    Dock seems to work fine with the exception of a few things noted below.

    1. Monitor fails to wake from sleep while connected to TB Dock. I've tried plugging and unplugging, power cycling, etc. No luck. The only thing that works is to restart the computer.

    2. Audio emits a popping noise while computer is sleeping. Very loud an audible.

    Quite honestly, these two things are deal breakers. If I have to restart my machine every time to get my display to work that defeats the purpose. I have contacted support and they said the audio popping is a known issue with Thunderbolt. Wish I would have known that. I know i can turn off the speakers, but I shouldn't have to. Support also said that waking the display is a known TB Display issue, but I am not using a TB display although an argument can be made that since it is connected via a TB dock it is. So, I don't know.

    At this point I am going to wait a week or so and see if things improve, or perhaps Apple puts out an update. Otherwise this thing is going back.

    I hope others on here can provide some feedback or suggestions. As I love the idea, but it has to work!

    Lastly, for the person trying to capture audio with the Dock. It may be an issue with the dock. It appears that the speaker input is set to LINE level. I wonder if the Mic input is set to MIC which might be causing your noise?


    I did notice the Cal Digit device can accept software updates. In talking with OWC, they said there device can not.....
     
  16. ColdCase, Feb 7, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #16

    Common problems with some docks and a deal breaker for me too.

    I have had zero problems with the StarTech TB2DOCK4KDHC (connected to an early 2014 rMBP15). This is a $250 dock at some retailers like Provantage and includes a TB2 cable and three flavors of power cables.

    I used the previous generation Startech TB1 dock, but the audio popped on sleep/wake on that version, I think it was based on caldigit components. I don't see another brand similar to the StarTech 2TB model. There is nothing Apple can do about the audio pop as its a dock audio circuit thing. Display port sleep/wake originally worked fine, Apple broke it on one of the 10.9 versions but seemed to fix it in 10.9.4 or 10.9.5. Sleep wake seems to be tricky on a Mac.

    The old startech performed better when it was second in a TB chain. I have a TB disk enclosure as first in line. Dunno about the StarTech TB2 version.
     
  17. azcoyote macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #17
    I just received my OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock yesterday. I have a late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina, a Dell UP3214Q 60Hz 4K monitor, Dell UP2410 monitor, three USB 3.0 drives and Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speakers. I finally have the Thunderbolt Dock working great with both monitors, speakers, Ethernet and USB 3.0 drives, but I did run into an issue initially getting the Thunderbolt Dock set up. I could not get a video signal on either monitor with the Dell 4K monitor connected to the dock's DisplayPort and the 2nd Dell to the dock's HDMI out. If I disconnected the monitor connected to the HDMI port and rebooted the MacBook, the 4K monitor would work. As soon as I tried connecting the 2nd monitor to the HDMI on the dock, they'd go dark. Apparently the dock won't support dual monitors if the one connected to the DisplayPort is 4K. I was able to get around the issue by connecting the 2nd monitor directly to the HDMI output on the MacBook. Problem solved. I did email tech support anyway to get an answer why I can't run both monitors from the dock.

    I did try waking up the MacBook from sleep. No issue there. Both monitors came back on. Getting the Dell UP3214Q 4K to wake up from sleep has been an issue in the past when I had it connected directly to the DisplayPort on the MacBook. I would frequently have to turn the monitor power off and on to get it to display video signal after waking up my MacBook. I'll have to wait and see if this continues to be an issue now that I have it connected to the Thunderbolt dock.
     
  18. azcoyote, Feb 8, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015

    azcoyote macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2009
    #18
    I tried to wakeup my MacBook last night after it had been in sleep mode for several hours and ran into the issue described in a prior post. I couldn't get either monitor to wake up. The MacBook's own display wouldn't come on either, so I had to do a hard reset. However I did some Googling and found a solution in this thread at the Apple forum, https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6625408 See the reply from user Shores403

    What's happening is when any late model Mac is connected to AC power, it goes into a deeper "safe sleep" mode after 4 hours if there's no activity from wireless/Ethernet/USB devices. It's waking up from safe sleep that's causing issues with Thunderbolt. You can disable safe sleep by bringing up Terminal and entering the following two commands:

    sudo pmset -a autopoweroffdelay 86400

    sudo pmset -a autopoweroff 0

    You'll be asked to enter your password each time you run the sudo pmset command. See Shores403 post in the Apple forum link for additional details.

    This fix seems to be working for me. I changed those two settings last night and put my MacBook to sleep. A little while ago I hit the spacebar on the keyboard to wake up. Both monitors came on. I may end up using a little more electricity with safe sleep disabled, but at least I won't have to do a hard reset every time I attempt to wake up.

    Update: Put MacBook in sleep mode and left it for another 6 hours. No problem waking up. Disabling safe sleep did the trick!
     
  19. mwchris, Feb 8, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015

    mwchris macrumors regular

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    Kentucky
    #19
    That is interesting that some docks have the popping noise problem and some do not. Seems to be strange behavior. I think I might be able to tolerate turning the speakers on and off, but not the display issue. Alas, the StarTech dock really doesn't offer the I/O I desire. The OWC dock has exactly what I want at this point, but it still may not work.

    I am hesitant to try this "fix" as I am concerned about the long term affects on the machine and battery life. Sometimes I go several days without using the machine, which will ultimately result in me still having to restart to get the monitor working if I understand correctly? I want to be able to leave tabs/projects open so I can come back to them when I feel like it. Not have to skirt around a poorly functioning project that may result in losing information.

    Thanks for the "fix" but I am still skeptical . . . more information is needed before I make that move.
     
  20. adversus macrumors regular

    adversus

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    Portland, OR
    #20
    Just got mine setup and I'm having an issue with HDMI.

    I'm pushing video out of the dock to an Asus PB278 display and it refuses to display on both screens at the same time. It just cycles every 5-10 seconds like it detects the display, goes blank, my Asus says No HDMI signal and my windows gather on the rMBP screen.

    Then the cycle repeats.

    Works fine if I use the rMBP connection. This is seriously pissing me off as it was the primary reason I opted for this dock (so I didn't have cords coming off both sides of my rMBP.
     
  21. mwchris macrumors regular

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    Kentucky
    #21
    Do you have any other devices sending signal to the Asus monitor? With mine when I tried HDMI out of the TB Dock to my Acer monitor it would never take as long as another device was sending something to the monitor. Once I disconnected the second input going to the monitor it worked fine. Just a thought.
     
  22. adversus macrumors regular

    adversus

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    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    I do. I use my 27" as my primary monitor for my Mac Pro as well. So it was connected via a Dual-Link DVI.

    Having to disconnect the other source is really not an option. I'm going to put in a ticket with OWC tomorrow and see what they say.
     
  23. diggy33 macrumors 6502

    diggy33

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #23
    Got mine in the other day, and its great to have 5 USB 3.0 onboard, but my monitor is failing to come on after waking my Mac from sleep. This has happened both with my 13" and 15" retina machines. Never had a problem with the Caldigit Thunderbolt that I was using. Looks like I'll be going back to that set up
     
  24. mwchris macrumors regular

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    Apr 12, 2008
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    Kentucky
    #24
    Returning Mine

    Well, my issue could not be resolved, so mine is going back. I think I'm going to try the Belkin one as it has the next closest I/o configuration I would want, but it is a bit more expensive. Good luck!
     
  25. ColdCase, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Make sure you pick it up at a place with a liberal return policy, the Belkin unit does not work as well as the OWC unit in most applications... but there are many that have had decent results :(

    I'm curious what about the Belkin gives you the IO you want? There are docks with4 USB ports that work well.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1831181
     

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