The best way to add USB 3 to a mid-2011 iMac

rodrigoluizb

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 30, 2013
46
1
Campinas, SP, Brazil
Hey folks

I recently bought my rMBP and i'm amazed with the USB3. The R/W speeds are way more faster the USB2, transfers between mac and HD (also HD and HD) are pretty quick and i love (who doesn't) files being copied quicker. And now, since i have an mid2011 21.5 iMac, i'm looking for the best way to add some USB3 ports via TB. And when i say best, i mean the cheapest and the one with quicker results as possible.

I thought in 3 options:

1. A thunderbolt dock like the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station (belkin has a dock also, but the USB3 ports are 2.5GBs)
2. The sonnet express card adapter + USB3 express card
3. I think this is the fastest option (but it might be the more expensive) a PCIe thunderbolt interface + USB3 PCIe card.

About the thunderbolt docks, i would like to know from people who got one of these how slow the USB3 speeds from the dock are, compared to USB3 ports from their macs.
 

BeatCrazy

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2011
1,817
738
I have a 2011 mini, and went with the CalDigit dock. Love it, and would do it again.
 

smellalot

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2011
277
2
Selling you iMac and getting a used or refurbished 2012 model may be the cheapest way. If not the cheapest it is definitely the way where you get the most for your money.
 

rodrigoluizb

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 30, 2013
46
1
Campinas, SP, Brazil
If you decide to use an external thunderbolt "dock", also take a look at the Akitio dock:
http://www.akitio.com/accessories/thunder-dock
I was looking for the caldigit dock because it has a dual thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining as well as a HDMI output. Since i'm using a external monitor via DVI, i'd like to leave the 2nd thunderbolt port free, for future devices which might have only 1 TB port
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
I was looking for the caldigit dock because it has a dual thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining as well as a HDMI output. Since i'm using a external monitor via DVI, i'd like to leave the 2nd thunderbolt port free, for future devices which might have only 1 TB port
Then it looks like you have settled on your best option. Really those are your cheapest options.... Caldigit if you want to connect a monitor and ONLY care about USB. Akito if you want eSATA, but no monitor.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2011
1,929
128
Florida
I went with the CalDigit for two reasons, to get USB 3 and to have a single cable connection to unplug when going from desktop mode to portable. With the USB 3 port the disk speeds are what you would expect with a SATA drive so it's at the spinning drive limits.