Questions about TB2 dock

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by triple-tap, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. triple-tap macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    #1
    Hello all,

    I asked a related question before, but I want to be more specific on this one:

    I am considering purchasing a TB2 dock in order to use my 2015 rMBP 13" dual-core i5 / 256gb laptop as my main office machine. My firm currently has a Dell Optiplex in my office, and I hate using it. This is my temporary solution until I am given a technology stipend in a few years.

    I am looking at either the OWC TB2 dock or the CalDigit TB2 dock.

    I may be using an external USB SSD for backing up files. I will be connecting up to 2 external monitors (1080p or 1440p at max. No 4K stuff right now). I will also be using the dock for a ScanSnap ix500, ethernet, and the occasional charging of my iPhone. I'll also connect to the network printer... somehow.

    1) does anyone have any recommendations on which of these two docks is more reliable/higher quality/etc.???

    2) is there any downside to using my laptop everyday as a desktop solution? Will the battery life suffer due to being plugged in all the time?

    3) will the use of 2 external displays burn up the GPU or whatever runs so hot?

    4) is there any danger to keep the lip closed (aka clamshell mode) daily for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week?

    Thank you all for the help.
     
  2. BeatCrazy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #2
    1) I have the original CalDigit TB dock. It is of high quality and very reliable. The TB2 version seems even more robust and the price is the same I paid for mine 2 years back. I would get it again.
    2) Probably not. Once every few weeks or so you might want to unplug it and let the battery run very low, then charge it again.
    3) Dunno. Obviously 2 displays puts more stress on a GPU, but it would be hard to predict if that will actually shorten its life. Probably not.
    4) No.
     
  3. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    #3
    Glad to hear a positive response on the CalDigit dock. It is definitely more aesthetically pleasing to me than the OWC because I prefer the smaller footprint.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #4
    FYI, you should peruse this Macworld post from earlier this week. We have a CalDigit dock in the office, and it's solid, but we don't attach displays to it - only storage. TB's limitation of DisplayPort at version 1.1a is just too laggy for our usage on 1440p & 1600p displays; DP or mDP>DP cables only here, with as much throughput available.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/292...to-your-mac-laptop-has-never-been-easier.html

    I'm not authorizing any more dock purchases until the next-gen interfaces are available; we're OK with a bit of cable-swapping for now, and all of our displays have USB 3 SS hubs built-in.

    I can offer that we use our rMBPs in clamshell mode, but with the lid slightly ajar so that the internal display is disabled and to facilitate better ventilation. We have one mid-2012 rMBP that's been hooked up to a power supply 95% of the time, and it still lasts hours and hours when it is on battery power alone. We also use small fans or a small air purifier with air directed at the Mac/PC to keep our laptops cooler.
     
  5. ColdCase, Nov 13, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #5
    You may want to check out these threads:

    A complete list of Thunderbolt docks

    Echo 15 Thunderbolt 2 Dock update


    1) does anyone have any recommendations on which of these two docks is more reliable/higher quality/etc.???

    Personally I think the startech docks are better performers and have been more reliable (fewer quirks). If you also want/need a optical drive and a place to put two SSDs, the Sonnet Echo 15 dock makes sense. Its been a solid performer. SSDs on the TB bus are much more responsive and reliable than on USB, where its a wild west in storage support. USB is probably better for low utilization portable storage, however. Optical drive on the TB bus also performs much better.

    2) is there any downside to using my laptop everyday as a desktop solution? Will the battery life suffer due to being plugged in all the time?

    I've been using laptops as my desktop for 5+ years without issue. You can get better CPU and GPU performance in a desktop, but the high end rMBP is no slouch

    3) will the use of 2 external displays burn up the GPU or whatever runs so hot?

    The laptop is not going to burn up but will get quite warm. There are fan control utilities where you can program more aggressive fan profiles. To connect two displays on one TB port, one must be display port and connected at the end of the TB chain, one display must be connected to the dock via HDMI. You currently cannot put two display port displays on one TB port. My rMBP15 has two TB ports, which comes in handy when driving multiple displays.

    4) is there any danger to keep the lip closed (aka clamshell mode) daily for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week?

    The laptop sensors will shut it down before any damage. I found the retina screen to be so good for text, however, I always have the laptop open and use its space. Laptop is on the keyboard shelf, large monitor above and it just lines up right.
     
  6. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    #6
    I've looked at the echo box, but I almost think I'd rather spend an extra $150 and get a refurb mid-tier Mac mini for that price.

    The two socks I mentioned are my main consideration because the price is right. At ~$200, either the OWC or the CalDigit will allow me to use my personal Laptop as my daily computer. Again, I just wanted to make sure that I know what to expect before buying either one.
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #7
    Just saying for the same money ($190 or $225) you would get a better dock for ~200. I mentioned the others because it wasn't clear if you knew about them.

    The mini isn't going to let you use the rMBP as as your daily computer, but then buying a second computer is always an option. :)
     

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