Review: OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock Gives Your MacBook Pro 13 More Ports to Work With

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Last November, longtime Mac vendor OWC was among the first wave of companies to announce Thunderbolt 3 docks designed to expand the capabilities of the new MacBook Pro. It's taken a while to finalize the product design, testing, and manufacturing, but OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock is now just about ready to ship and we've had a chance to spend some time with a production-ready unit.


    Priced at $299, OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock includes an array of 13 ports to allow you to connect a host of devices to your MacBook Pro. It all comes in a package measuring about 9 inches by 3.5 inches and an inch thick, with brushed aluminum around the sides and glossy black plastic on top and bottom.

    The design is relatively unobtrusive, although the OWC logo and "Thunderbolt 3 Dock" text on the front are fairly prominent. The dock is powered through a decently large external power brick, which cuts down on the size of the dock itself but means there's one more piece of equipment to tuck away with all of your other cords.

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    Article Link: Review: OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock Gives Your MacBook Pro 13 More Ports to Work With
  2. jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    This sounds good (except for that odd hissing). I have the original OWC Thunderbolt dock, and it's still working great after three years. It doesn't have any front-facing ports though; I like that this one does.
  3. fastasleep macrumors 6502


    May 21, 2010
    Seattle, WA
  4. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    This one is quite bulky... and expensive.
    If there is a dock that is small but has multiple standard USB ports plus an Ethernet port, hdmi port, that would be great. Better if it could drain power from more than one thunderbolt port from MacBook, eliminating the need to bring power brick.

    All my basic need is a dongle with at least 4 standard USB ports and one hdmi port.
  5. Sanme macrumors member


    Apr 28, 2017
    Because releasing a laptop with ports is just too mainstream
  6. zacheryjensen macrumors 6502a


    May 11, 2009
    So the 0.5m cable thing is not just a matter of (in)convenience. That is the maximum length a wired Thunderbolt connection can be for the maximum speeds. Anything longer and the max speed degrades pretty quickly.

    Edit: I should point out that by wired I mean, passive metal wires vs. active or optical. Optical connections, or active wired connections can supposedly be longer but where are those cables? Either non-existent or prohibitively expensive.
  7. MagnusVonMagnum, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017

    MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    Shouldn't this thing cost $800? That's what Apple would charge. $299 is still ridiculous when you can buy an entire PC for that, but you have to expect to pay through the nose with the Mac. PC Hub? $25. Mac hub. $299. Yeah, it's Thunderbolt 3. But those ports all used to come with a Mac years ago. PCs still do come with them. So pay $2400 for a 15" Macbook Pro with a lousy 250GB of storage ($3000 for 1TB) and then another $299 to get all those ports the $2000 model used to come with. And the Mac fanatics will EAT IT UP because they enjoy paying through the nose.
  8. Sanme macrumors member


    Apr 28, 2017
    Bro the sheeple will come after you soon
  9. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    That's why Webster dictionary uses Apple customer as an example for the word "sheeple". Just look so perfect.
    Seems that companies recently love to go hostile against customers.
  10. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    That's one way of putting it. At $299, this thing should offer Gen 2, and the 60 Watt limitation is a poor choice as well.

    I'll probably go with a $50-ish USB hub as well if/when I upgrade my 2013 MBP, but FWIW:

    • anecdotally, a colleague originally sprang for a USB hub but had quality issues. HDMI was poor, USB connections were finicky, plugging in while the machine was running caused stuff not to work at all. He moved to a Thunderbolt dock, and the issues went away.
    • Dell docking stations, for instance, really aren't that much cheaper. As far as pro-level stuff goes, these price tags are fine.
  11. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Looks really nice but it does way more than I need it do for a big hefty price tag. I'll stick with my multi purpose $49 dongle.
  12. sweaver macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2017
    MacRumors needs to check their sources better and not just go with what OWC tells them to say. I ordered a TB3 dock from OWC in mid-Dec. 2016 with OWC saying they will ship by the end of Feb. 2017. As late as Feb. 23, the OWC customer service representative were saying they would ship before the end of the month. Nothing shipped. At the beginning of March the customer service representatives were saying they would ship by the end of March then on March 8, OWC Larry sent out an email that they will ship in mid-April (with a chance it could slip into May). In early to mid-April, Customer service representatives were stating that all issues have been resolved and they will ship by the end of April. Still no shipments. Today, I got an email from an OWC customer service rep. stating they will not ship in April and not saying anything more. There has never been a clear and honest explanation of why the shipping dates have continually slipped only vague references to "certification" and "licensing" issues. Over a 4 month period while waiting for delivery of a $300 product that has seen delay after delay OWC has sent out 1 email to its customers. All of my other communication has been through chats and emails that I had to initiate. OWC has lost its focus on customer service and lost a long time customer.
  13. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    Some people here don't seem to understand the point of a dock. It's more than a really expensive way to get your ports back. It's a..dock. You can connect everything you need with a single cable, including power. I've been wanting something like this for years, before Apple took its ports away.

    Not too different from the Caldigit one...was supposed to come out Q1 (end of March), then it was moved to Mid-May, now it's Late May according to their Twitter account. Considering there are no Mac-certified TB3 docks out yet with full power delivery and they are all supposedly coming out at the same time, I blame Apple's certification.
  14. OWC Larry macrumors member

    OWC Larry

    Apr 7, 2005
    Woodstock, IL
    The vast majority of the delay has truly been beyond our control. You may or may not notice the plethora of EFI updates rolled in with each of the 10.12.x OS updates over the last 5 months. The good news is it is about making sure all is good and right. It's frustrating for all - and we get close and then we are back waiting... but now that's in the rearview.

    While I would agree - we're already later than it should have been, we truly are in the home stretch. I personally flew to oversee final details on the production line and been interfacing with the powers that be to keep hiccups off. I share what I can, when I can...

    I sincerely appreciate the patience - the Dock rocks (and we'll reach out on any noise as that's not to be expected, these are quiet) - and the wait is nearly over. I hate that it's taken this long and, again, can't say enough thank you's for the patience.

    Thank you.
  15. Hedwigg Suspended


    Aug 4, 2011
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Some people enjoy buying useless, expensive car parts for no good reason... some of us enjoy buying expensive computer gear. Such is life. Is there really a use in criticizing people about it?
  16. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    I'll wait for Apple to backtrack and give me a solid, high end 15" Macbook Pro. I have the Thunderbolt 2 version of this and it's a wonderful product, but only needed it for the additional TBolt 2 ports since the Apple TBolt Display took away one and only offered TB1 speed and a bunch of outdated ports I wouldn't want to use. Adding the OWC dock broke out that one extra TB2 port into more useable options.

    Now, however, I may just wait until a new Macbook Ultra or something comes to market with USB 3 ports, an SD reader, and four TB3 ports.

    And 17" version too please.
  17. HPDoor macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2013
    I just now bought a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) with 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB memory and 1TB storage. It has all the ports I need.
  18. richpjr macrumors 68040


    May 9, 2006
    The reports of it being noisy and the sad confirmation that it is only 60 watts has me thinking of cancelling my order.
  19. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2011
    Thanks for the update OWC Larry. Always good to see the manufacturer checking in and providing updates when possible.

    I would not blame the manufacturers on delays for these docks. With the same delay coming from numerous manufacturers, it is obviously an issue with Apple/Intel and their certification. Really want a dock, but am glad they are making sure things are top notch before release.

    I am tempted on this one, but the 60W is my main concern. I also don't need the Firewire 800, but that's minor (and I admittedly have one or two old WD drives that can use a FW connector).
  20. carestudio macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2008
    Hope OWC can ship their first thunderbolt 3 dock soon.
    Caldigit already shipped their first Mac and Windows compatible Thunderbolt 3 dock using second generation of chip from Jan this year as they promised. It's only less than 200 dollars but 15W charging. At least, they made it happened on time. Other late comers should catch up soon.

    60W only would be a concern, but I like firewire port on OWC's dock. Keep up your good job, OWC!
  21. Marx55 macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2005
  22. bartvk macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2016
    The Netherlands
    The Innergie USB-C charger was bitten by this. Twice. It's a very well reviewed 45W USB-C charger. Their first release worked before a certain version of 10.12, then they brought out a new version. Which again only worked until the next update. I've got two of these chargers now, with neither of them working.

    The whole USB-C/Thunderbolt thing is very much in flux.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 29, 2017 ---
    As an aside, is nobody surprised that the data transfer speed seems to be limited? Quote from the review:
    I connected a USB 3.0 external hard drive to the dock and saw read and write speeds right around 100 MB/s

    Seems very weird to me. For example the CalDigit Tuff easily does 140 MB/s, plus people will probably want to connect external SSDs which run over 400 MB/s.
  23. lietsche macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006
    It should be way faster than that, even it is only gen.1.
    I preordered a long time ago, too, and this worries me, as I am planning to connect my USB 3 disks to the dock (some in RAID 0), and they are way faster than 100 MB/s.
    Probably the Reviewer connected only a rather full 2,5" (single) drive which should run around that speed...?
  24. Ries macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2007
    And that's how Apple's choose to stay with black, white and red.

    --- Post Merged, Apr 29, 2017 ---
    Could you point me to the cheap TB3 car parts the rest of the world would like to buy?

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