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Cassandle

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
312
296
This might be a silly question, but I‘m new to hubs etc. I’ve been running a 2011 MBP with an old, basic monitor until recently. Back then connection options were more limited and simpler, and Apple was more generous with ports.

I now have an M1 Mini and will be getting a 4K monitor. I also need some extra USB ports: the Mini has 2, which will both be taken up by external SSDs (one for expansion, one for Time Machine) but I also need to plug in a wired keyboard and mouse for some of the games that I play.

Is it better to get a standalone USB port, or get a monitor with ports built in? I’m looking at the Dell P2721Q or the LG 27UL850, which are both USB-C monitors with additional USB ports.

Also, what are the benefits of connecting the monitor via USB-C rather than HDMI or DP? At the moment I have my iPad Pro connected to the Mini via USB-C, so presumably I’d lose that (unless you can connect USB-C to DP?)
 

Phil77354

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2014
1,918
2,005
Pacific Northwest, U.S.
I can't address all of your questions, but one point that comes to mind is that it is unlikely that you will find a monitor that has the exact combination of ports that you (or any other particular user) wants or needs.

I finally and for the first time purchased this dock recently, it allows me to connect everything I currently own and gives me good flexibility for future needs:

 
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justashooter

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2020
335
194
The Mac Mini M1 essentially has 4 USB ports. It has two USB-A 3.1 ports and two thunderbolt/USB4 ports. Even a simple non-externally powered usb 2 hub plugged into one of the USB-A ports will drive your mouse and keyboard, but I would get a USB3 hub.Like this:

I would use the thunderbolt/usb4 ports for your external drives if you can, you may get a bit more speed out of them depending on your external SSD's. My preference also is for the hub to be at the computer, not at the monitor, keeps the cables out of the way. Not worrying about a having USB on the monitor opens up your choices for monitors also.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,113
12,279
I'd choose a "standalone" hub.

More options available.
And, if something fails on the display, you still have the hub.
 

Cassandle

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 4, 2020
312
296
Thanks everyone.

In terms of getting a monitor with USB-C, what are the benefits? I have an M1 Mini so the charging isn’t useful. Is it only really laptops that benefit from USB-C or is there a reason why a desktop would benefit?
 

justashooter

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2020
335
194
USB C is faster so if you have fast SSD drives, RAIDS, etc.
I don't see a benefit in having USB C (or any hub) on the monitor. But, the Mini M1 carries both USB C and Thunderbolt over the same connector (but you do have to have the right cable). If you want to run a 5K or 6K monitor from the mini you have to use thunderbolt from the Mini to a thunderbolt 5k/6k monitor. If 4K is enough for you then use the HDMI output from the Mini for the monitor.
 
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