Peripheral connections for new 15" MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Macinthelou, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Macinthelou macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #1
    I just ordered a new 15" MBP and need some advice as to the best way (i.e. which specific adapters to buy) to make the following connections):

    1) Power adapter
    2) Ethernet connection (I currently have a TB->ethernet adapter)
    3) USB2-external HDD (used for Time Machine)
    4) Dell U2412M display (have DP as well as HDMI cables available)
    5) 2nd Dell U2412M display (have DP as well HDMI cables available)
    6) Need a spare USB ports for iPhone, flash drive, etc...

    Since there are a total of 4 TB3 ports, how can I make this all work?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Looks like there a number of different TB docks out there...any reason to favor one vs another?
     
  3. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    Bergen County, NJ
    #4
  4. leman macrumors G3

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    #5
  5. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #6
    I'd totally disagree with recommendations for the OWC dock for the 15 inch MBP. The OWC dock, unlike several competitors, offers only 60W charging to your Mac. This is fine for 13 inch MBPs, however the 15 inch charges via an 87W Apple charger.

    Other TB3 docks (CalDigit, Elgato, Kensington, Belkin) all offer true 15 inch MBP charging, via 85W. You'll see some people say that they use the OWC with their 15 inch, but I'll ask you the question: would you voluntarily charge your new expensive machine everyday with a 60W Mac charger, for example? Me neither, and I can't imagine this doesn't have some impact to the longevity of the battery.

    So my recommendation for you is either the CalDigit or Elgato. I've done a lot of research and these two seem to the best overall. Based on these forums alone it seems the Elgato is the most popular, so maybe that's your best bet.
     
  6. polbit macrumors 6502

    polbit

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    South Carolina
    #7
    Charging at 60W vs 87W has no negative impact on battery whatsoever. In fact, in general the slower you charge, the better it is for the long-term life of your battery. Just like you can use the iPad and iPhone chargers interchangeably, you can use 13" and 15" chargers interchangeably.

    Having said that, if you have a high, sustained load use case scenario, and your 15" will draw more than 60W, then it's not the best solution, although you CAN can plug your original Apple charger, as the MBP will automatically switch to the strongest power source.
     
  7. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    #8
    Sorry, but I'm going to assume anyone who's purchasing a Thunderbolt 3 dock falls into the category of 'sustained load use case'. Making a purchasing decision under another presumption is silly considering the price of the dock and the laptop.

    That being said, in every-day usage, if you were to use a charging capacity lower than 85W, your battery would charge, discharge, and charge again more frequently. That is a fact. This would inevitably lead to increased battery charge cycles versus someone who used a full-power solution. This would lead to decreased longevity.

    Apple includes an 87W charger in the box for a reason. To lead off your reply with "the slower you charge, the better it is for long-term life of your battery" is ignorant considering we're talking about what Apple includes in the box. And the whole point of buying one of these docks is to get away from any more cables, why would you spend $300 to still plug in your Apple charger?
     
  8. Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #9
    Aside from the 60W vs 87W charging issue, if I eventually want to connect two 4K displays, is there any reason to favor OWC vs Elgato? Which ports (TB vs DP vs USB) would be optimal for connecting the two displays?
     
  9. polbit macrumors 6502

    polbit

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    Sep 18, 2002
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    South Carolina
    #10
    Despite your language, I'm going to try explaining this a little more clearly, perhaps for others more open to learning:

    A lithium-ion battery's worst enemies are time and heat.

    Time degrades the battery naturally as well as via repeated charge cycles. Cycles are defined as a full charge and discharge of a battery - if you charge your battery for 15 minutes, use it, and charge it again, that is not a cycle. In addition, lithium ion batteries do not like to be charged to 100% all the time. In fact, a good rule is 40-80% if you want to prolong battery life. You can Google it for more details.

    Heat increases capacity loss and degrades battery. With higher charging comes higher heat. This is a necessary trade-off in many cases as we want our devices charged fast, but it is a trade-off nonetheless. In case of the MBP 15, the power usage envelope is such that at HIGH AND SUSTAINED loads a 60W charger is not enough to maintain or charge the battery. This is NOT a typical use however, as most use cases are well below 60W.

    The beauty of modern batteries and intelligent chargers is that we have access to many options - car chargers, portable battery pack chargers, wall chargers, you name it. USB-C PD (power delivery) is a great new standard, and allows something like my G-Drive external HD charge my MBP, although only at 45W max.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 30, 2017 ---
    It really depends on what ports you need. OWC has some extras like SD card reader, 2 extra USB 3.1, optical audio, and Firewire, but it only has a mini display port, not full size. The one thing I'm not sure is if their implementation of the mini display port includes 4K@60Hz, or is it just 30Hz...
     
  10. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    USA
    #11

    Here's a snippet for you since you're open to learning, via Apple.com

    "You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used (discharged) an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity — but not necessarily all from one charge. For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle"

    https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/
     
  11. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    Bergen County, NJ
    #12
    The OWC TB3 dock supports full 4K60Hz from either the mini-DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 port. Or both at the same time.
     
  12. polbit macrumors 6502

    polbit

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    Sep 18, 2002
    Location:
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    #13
    Great, thank you for confirming what I've said! If you charge for 15 minutes, use it, charge it again, use it, and so on, the cycle only counts as full when you end up using 100% of the capacity. It does not matter how many times you charge it. This was in response to your statement:

    That being said, in every-day usage, if you were to use a charging capacity lower than 85W, your battery would charge, discharge, and charge again more frequently. That is a fact. This would inevitably lead to increased battery charge cycles versus someone who used a full-power solution.
     
  13. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

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    USA
    #14
    If you re-read what I quoted from Apple, you are misunderstanding.

    What Apple says is, if you use 75% one day, recharge it to full capacity, then use 25/100% the next day, this will count as one cycle. It never requires the full discharge to count as a cycle, though obviously a full discharge would count.

    Tying this back to the OWC, if you use the MBP 15" under heavy load using the 87W Apple charger or an 85W dock, the battery will never discharge to 99%. If you use the OWC dock in the same scenario, the battery will discharge. Because charging back to 100% will require 1/100th of a cycle, this will over time impact your battery cycle count. And this assumes a machine would only get discharged 1%, it would likely be more significant than that given certain use cases.
     
  14. Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2011
    #15
    One more question about OWC vs Elgato - is one better than the other if I want to hook up 2x 4K displays?
     
  15. sparkie7 macrumors 68020

    sparkie7

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    Oct 17, 2008
    #16
    That Elgato 3 Dock doesn't have a FW800 port like the OWC one does. To me the OWC seems more complete, or am I missing something apart from this full charge issue, is it really an issue with the 15"MBP?
     
  16. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #17
    Are you going to be performing CPU or CPU/GPU intensive work?

    If so, between the power the GPU will use driving two UHDs, combined with heavy CPU/GPU activity for a sustained workload, will the OWC supply enough power to prevent the system from discharging the battery while on AC power?

    I ask because if I used the MagSafe charger for a 13 inch MBP with my 15 MBP, when connected to external displays and performing intensive work the battery would slowly discharge and eventually I would have to stop using the computer intensively so that the battery was not fully depleted (this scenario had the potential to place considerable wear on the battery.)
     
  17. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
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    USA
    #18
    The OWC offers more ports but doesn’t support full speed charging for the 15 inch MBP.

    I’d concur with posters above that if you’re looking to drive multiple 4K displays, definitely get the Elgato (assuming you have a 15 inch). Driving all those displays will cause your GPU to run hot all day long, and you definitely want full speed charging in that scenario.

    I’m currently running 3 displays (MacBook, 27 inch 4K, 24 inch standard display) and my machine does run relatively hot throughout the day. Driving multiple 4K’s would only increase the temp.
     
  18. pixelatedscraps macrumors 6502

    pixelatedscraps

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    Jul 11, 2017
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    Hong Kong
    #19
    I have the OWC (both USB-C and TB3 versions) and love them both. The TB3 is connected to a 2017 MBP while the USB-C goes into the USB-C 3.1 Gen II card on my cMP 5,1. Being able to charge over the same single USB-C cable would be great but it's not a deal breaker. I use all 13 ports (!) on the TB3 dock and have a TB3 port on the MBP dedicated just for power delivery. It still leaves me two free TB3 ports...
     
  19. sparkie7 macrumors 68020

    sparkie7

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    Oct 17, 2008
    #20
    Ok. Then OWC need to sort this out on their next release for those with 2017 MBP 15". I looked at the Caldigit TS3 but no FW800 port (though I can work around with the Apple TB 3 > TB 2 + TB > FW adapter) and has 2x e-Sata ports which I will probably never use, what is with those? Those would be better with USB-C ports instead. I like the vertical form factor of it, but feel the 2x e-Sata ports are a waste. Is there a dock that actually gets it right?
     
  20. killawat macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #21
    I have the Caldigit TS3 lite, works perfectly, would buy again.

    It doesn't charge but honestly I didn't want to wait for the TS3 full docking station (when I bought it) and the USB-C port on the front is infinitely more useful for my purposes than eSATA ports.

    Ok, back to the power discussion. Full Fat 85W power supply is obviously ideal but you don't have to guess at how much power you're using. Download iStat Menu, then look at the "DC In" readings. I personally run around 30 w, I've got a few VMs going but not much in the background. Battery is fully charged. I use an external display connected to the TS3 lite dock, and the internal monitor is closed. I suspect this greatly lowers my overall consumption, but this is how I roll 90% of the time, but sometimes you need that extra juice. Skylake and Kaby are very efficient tho.

    But that said I would always have it with the OEM Apple charger at the rated voltage.
     
  21. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #22
    eSATA is awesome IMO. I get far better real-world performance than USB with single drives, and it seems to use fewer system resources. I really like it with external SSDs as I can enable TRIM. :)
     
  22. sparkie7 macrumors 68020

    sparkie7

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    Oct 17, 2008
    #23
    So you could run it (or the OWC Dock 3) with the Apple charger, but you lose one TB3 port this way..
    --- Post Merged, Sep 19, 2017 ---
    Yeah, I dont have any eSATA drives though. Only FW800 and now a USB-C T5 SSD
     
  23. killawat macrumors 65816

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    Sep 11, 2014
    #24
    In my specific use case I have the 15" w/ 4 ports and the TS3 Lite (which pushes no power. Well; five or so watts). So I was ok with "losing" a TB3 port (which would have been dedicated to charging anyway) to "gain" another USB-C port on the TS3 lite.

    If I had a 13" nTB I would get a 60w product due to the two ports. 4 Ports, you have a little bit more flexibility.
     
  24. Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #25
    OK so I went ahead and ordered the OWC dock...and I currently have 2 Dell U2412 displays that I would like to connect to my new 2017 15" MBP (via the OWC dock)...I already have a DP->mDP adapter so I can use that for one of the monitors...for the 2nd display, I've been using a DVI->HDMI cable to hook up to my 2012 MBP...so do I now need a DVI->TB3 adapter? Or DP->TB3 adapter? I don't know much about these various hook-ups, so some advice would be appreciated...thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Sep 19, 2017 ---
    Maybe this is what I want/need?

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=21607

    A VGA option would be good because there are situations where I will need to connect my computer to a projector that has VGA but not HDMI...
     

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33 August 29, 2017