Thunderbolt docks all the same?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bartvk, May 28, 2017.

?

What determines the choice for a TB3 dock?

  1. Legacy ports like FireWire, eSATA, S/PDIF

    5 vote(s)
    62.5%
  2. Look and feel

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Brand name

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  4. Customer service

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Other (please comment)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. bartvk macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #1
    So there's a whole bunch of Thunderbolt docks coming out soon: OWC, CalDigit, and on this site Elgato told us it's coming June 6th. And maybe Plugable and Belkin too.

    I happened to have an email exchange with a guy who works in the industry, and he scoffed at the current crop of docks. He said they're basically all the same, because they all use the Intel reference design. Performance will be the same, reviews will probably also roughly be the same.

    And I think he's right, they basically all cost $299.

    First I was disappointed, but when I thought about it some more, maybe it doesn't really matter so much. They all have a bunch of USB 3 ports, ethernet, DisplayPort etc. and I can't really think of anything I would need more.

    What do we think about this? Does it matter that they only differ in small details like having SD card slot or not? Or do you buy based on something else?
     
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #2
    The ability to select multiple options would be good! For me, it is portage and brand name. Portage, because I use eSATA to replace USB 3.1, and brand, because one TB2 dock I purchased was terrible, another was pretty good for the most part, and the current one is flawless.
     
  3. bartvk thread starter macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #3
    Wait, what? I'd consider eSATA really a legacy port. You actually prefer it to USB?
     
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #4
    I do, personally, because it does not cause interference with 2.4 GHz wireless signals, it natively supports TRIM on external SSDs, my actual read/write speeds with eSATA 6G + external SATA SSDs/HDDs are usually higher than with USB 3.1 (even w/ UASP), and on HDDs the sleep/wake cycles work more reliably for me than with with USB.

    It definitely is a legacy port, and one with several major downsides. But its benefits over USB for my own personal situation has allowed me to largely move away from USB 3.1 to a solution that better fits my individual needs (I'm also using TB/TB2/USB 2.0/FW800), and I'm much happier now with using eSATA for SATA-based secondary storage. It may not fit the needs of other Users, but for me it works so well that any hub I am investing in would have to have at least one 6 Gbps eSATA port that is capable of port multiplication, and preferably 2+. Macs + Thunderbolt-->eSATA for me has been an incredibly positive experience because of the consistency and reliability aspects.

    I'd also give preference to a hub that does not run the SDXC and/or microSDXC reader(s) through USB 3.1.
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #5
    They are not all the same. I only consider the ones that have 2x eSATA.
     
  6. bartvk thread starter macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    AFAIK only the CalDigit offers eSATA.
     
  7. cube, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

    cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #7
    Startech too. I have both TB2.

    But the Startech only has 1x. I bought it for the optical out, but it does not support multichannel :mad:
     

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