Thunderbolt Hub/Splitter

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by rrm74001, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. rrm74001 macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2008
    Are there still no Thunderbolt hubs/splitters available? Seems like a reasonable thing to exist. Is it just not possible? Seems like it would exist if it were possible...

    Don't even think about replying about the Apple Display, the Belkin Express Dock, or the Matrox DS1.
  2. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    No. None. Zilch.

    Also you forgot to mention the following docks so I thought I WOULD mention them :) Although I note they are 'soon to be released'.



  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I've seen nothing on the Intel datasheets to suggest that Thunderbolt hubs (switches) are planned. Since PCIe "hubs" (switches) exist it ought to be theoretically possible to do TB => TB Controller => PCIe => TB Controller => 2x TB - but (especially by the time you've dealt with the displayport side as well) that would probably be a rather expensive way of turning 1 TB into 2 TB.

    Well, if the Caldigit dock ever condenses from its vapourware state then it would partially solve the problem by allowing you to connect a monitor *and* other Thunderbolt devices to a Mac with a single TB port.

    However, whether it will let you connect 2 monitors without one of them being a Thunderbolt display is unclear.

    Anyway, if Caldigit, Sonnet et. al. don't get these products out of the door soon they're going to miss out: 2011 MacBook users, who have only 1 TB and no USB3, would be among the most likely customers for these docks, but the deeper-pocketed ones will now be thinking about shiny new Macs. I'd also start worrying about Thunderbolt 2 support (I'm sure they will be backward compatible, but will anything downstream of them be throttled or prevented from using the newer DisplayPort standard?)
  4. Kashsystems macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2012
    I have a 2011 iMac and I would love a thunderbolt hub especially this was the model before USB 3.0 was released on iMacs.
  5. flynz4, Aug 31, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    All of the TB docks mentioned have two TB ports... just the same as all other TB devices with pass-through.

    TB is expanded by using a "daisy chain" topology... and for most people, it works pretty well. I currently use a fair amount of TB equipment, and I have not been inhibited at all by adding everthing that I need... with lots of room for additional expansion if I wish.

    My setup is as follows:

    iMac TB1 -> Apple Thunderbolt Display (dual monitor setup)
    iMac TB2 -> Pegasus R4 -> Seagate 3TB Desk HDD -> Unterminated TB on desktop

    I keep the unterminated TB cable hidden away in my TwelveSouth HiRise which provides the following:
    1. Keeps my ATD exactly lined up with my iMac
    2. Apple Superdrive
    3. Multi-gender card reader
    4. Seagate TB portable HDD
    5. Storage for my unterminated TB cable

    Depending upon use... I'll use the unterminated TB cabe for the above mentioned Seagate TB portable HDD... or my BlackMagic video capture unit.

    There is nothing preventing me from doing everything above with just a single TB port from my iMac... but I keep the ATD on a dedicated TB port because sometimes (actually often)... I will connect the ATD to my MBA instead... and I'd prefer to not muck around with the connectivity daisy-chain of my storage devices. Also, I'll often take my ATD with me to our beach house when I am working remote for a week or longer. It just helps productivity to have the 27" display.

  6. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Yeah, TB devices are meant to be daisy chained (like firewire devices) so a hub is not required. You can connect a bunch of TB devices to a single Mac TB port via daisy chain. Unlike some other architectures where a hub or splitter is required to share a port, none is required for most TB devices.
  7. Mindzeye82 macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2013
    I'm wondering if I could use a TB hard drive to connect an additional monitor that is not TBD. Could something like the following work

    MBPR -> TBD -> TB HDD -> Non TB display?

    I'm trying to find a way to hook up a third monitor to my MBPR at 2560 x 1440
  8. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Yes I know that. I was just mentioning them because the OP made such a bold attempt to stop posters mentioning hubs, but forgot to mention those ones. It was a joke. :)


    You can use a Mini Display Port to HDMI cable from the TB HDD. The MDP is the same size as the T-bolt port. The TB HDD will obviously have to have pass through.
  9. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    I am in the 2011 MBP group. If the belkin didnt cut the throughput of the USB 3 connection in half (something no one has said why it was done) I would have gotten it already. I do believe that the caldigit device will come out-Sonnet on the other hand, still says "Summer 2013". Last time I checked, summer doesnt really extend into September.

    Nevertheless, if either one said that they are engineering their devices to use TB2, then I would accept that as an explanation for the delay and would appreciate them making their devices the best that they could. But if both continue to be "vaporware", the Belkin may want to fix that USB issue as that is the only reason i am not buying it.
  10. HenryAZ macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2010
    South Congress AZ
    2011 Mini here, and I am awaiting the Sonnet device as well. But, to be fair, summer is officially over at the autumnal equinox, September 22, 20:44 UTC, so they still have 3 weeks left :)
  11. mrmeister macrumors regular

    May 26, 2010
    That's amazing, and it supports 2 monitor outs (provided your mac will support it). They just need to hurry up and release it to the public. $199 equates to £126.66 (at the time of writing), so we can probably expect this to go on sale for about £149 in the UK. That's usually how things work, right? Always a little bit extra in the UK?
  12. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Caveat: it looks like one of those monitors has to be an Apple Thunderbolt display. I doubt you'll be able to drive 2 third party monitors without adding a second TB device to the chain.

    As far as I know, each Thunderbolt device in the chain can only support one display at a time. The "display" could be either:

    - a non-TB DisplayPort device connected to TB out

    - a built in display (like the Apple TB display, that uses an internal DisplayPort connection)

    - a HDMI/DVI/other display socket (as on the Caldigit).

    ...but not two of those at the same time.
  13. mrmeister macrumors regular

    May 26, 2010
    Well, it might work, it might not. Still, it'd be cheaper to buy two of these devices plus a non thunderbolt monitor than it would be to buy one thunderbolt monitor. Not to mention the extra ports!
  14. dutchwolves macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2009
    Thunderbolt disappointment

    All in all, the speed is amazing but I am being boxed in with the lack of hubs that have more than 2 connections. Firewire and usb have always given adequate options.
    I have a LaCie SSd and have used my mini tb out for my monitor and resorted to the USB 3 connection on the LaCie. I might note that after looking at specs and approximate close speeds, USB 3 has proven to work. Performance is lagging a bit with higher track count in Logic Pro X but given the state of the art or lack of it, TB is overpriced and is still vaporware. Poorly executed technology option with typical promises. Its like having a Porsche with only room for one person. Not quite the ride promised.
    Here's hoping it matures sooner than later.
  15. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Regarding the bold section above.... Not likely. TB expands via daisy chain, not by hubs.

  16. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    just got this email from Sonnet

  17. Bigloue macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
    Please hurry up...we need some Thunderbolt Hubs. I just got a new Macbook Pro, which has two TB outlets...

    I was planning on using:

    1. The first port for a MDP to a 27" dell monitor
    2. The second for one of these future TB hubs/docks, then daisy chain my HDD then have my second Dell 27" monitor connect to the HDD by a MDP. This should work correct?

  18. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004
    I know Sonnet is a real company that ships real products. Quality products.

    Somebody needs to tell them that "enhancements" are what you do to existing products to make them better. Until it's on the retail shelf it's vapor.

    Which is a shame because I really want one of those.
  19. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    I did for a while but I am simply waiting on the Caldigit. At least caldigit seemed to be honest about release dates and don't have their website still saying a release date of summer 2013
  20. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    It is a puzzling "feature" of the Belkin, but as I am transitioning to my new 15" rMBP as my main computer, I couldn't keep waiting so I bought the Belkin. So far (touch wood) it works just fine, and I don't have any USB3 devices that exceed 2.5Gbps anyway. When I get around to deciding on a desktop storage solution for stuff that doesn't fit on the MBP SSD (using my old MP as a file server for the moment), it will likely be TB anyway since it will either be a Pegasus J4 or one of the 4 bay TB 3.5" RAID boxes.

    Aside from USB3- implementation, I don't understand all the hate it seems to get. I am running ACD, USB3 WD Passport drive, USB for the hub in the ACD and ethernet off it with no problems so far. Also tested the FW port - all good.

    If Caldigit ever ships at $199, I'll jump on one of those as well since FW is not essential to me any more (I can always use the TB-FW adapter). I would even pay another $100 if it was TB2, although for my purposes, I doubt I would saturate a single TB1 channel with only a 4-bay RAID, single display. Any other USB3 drives will be occasional use things and I can just temporarily use one of the ports on the Mac directly.
  21. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    I think all the hate is about three things (this is based on user and industry reviews)

    1. unexplained and strange bottlenecked USB3
    2. Users not being able to really charge tablets on it
    3. General confusion about multiple displays (though all docks seem to have this issue).

    To me, since I don't have USB3 at all (I have a 2011 MBP), having bottlenecked USB3 doesn't seem like a fair trade. If I am going to drop 300 for something, I want it to be fully baked, not 3/4 baked.
  22. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    I come bearing very happy news
    (below is copied from an email)
    The wait is almost over! CalDigit is excited to announce the release date for the Thunderbolt™ Station. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all those who have been patiently waiting since we announced the product. The Thunderbolt™ Station will begin shipping on November 4th. We will begin accepting pre-orders through our US online store today, October 28th, through November 3rd.

    Preorders for the EU and Asia online stores will open on October 30th.

    As a small token of our appreciation to all of our loyal customers, we will offer a $10/£5/€5 discount off Thunderbolt cables purchased along with each CalDigit Thunderbolt™ Station.


    Terms & Conditions

    CalDigit reserves the right to cancel the promotion at any time.
    Release dates subject to change.
    Pre-ordering will not guarantee shipment on launch date. Delivery times will vary depending on available inventory.
    Shipments will be fulfilled in the order they are received.
    Pre-order offer ends November 3rd 2013. Any orders placed after that date will not include the Thunderbolt cable discount.
    Customers are responsible for local import taxes & tariffs.
  23. Bigloue macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
  24. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    End of the year -- BUMMER !!!! This is the only dock I am interested in that is even in the works! I love the feature set - nothing else comes close at this time... ughhhh

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