Thunderbolt hub

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by berdar, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. berdar macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I'm using a late 2011 MBP and have found myself in need of using 2 thunderbolt external drives at the same time. Is there a reasonably priced hub out there that will let me do this?
     
  2. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #2
    Since Thunderbolt has to be ran in series there is no such thing as a Thunderbolt hub. You need Thunderbolt drives that have two Thunderbolt ports so that they can be daisy chained to multiple drives.
     
  3. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Just because you can daisy chain doesn't mean you have to daisy chain. The problem is that there is almost no use case for it and thus not commercially viable. Usually you can get by with daisy chaining or using the second TB port (or more in case of the Mac Pro).
     
  4. brand, Jul 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015

    brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #4
    It's all in the details.

    The OP said he has a 2011 MacBook Pro. The 2011 MacBook Pro only has a single ThunderBolt port. Since the OP wants to use both hard drives with ThunderBolt that makes a use case for daisy chaining by drives since that is the only option.

    The OP only has a single ThunderBolt port and is not asking about a Mac Pro so the only option for using multiple drives with ThunderBolt is to daisy chain the drives.
     
  5. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #5
    I was replying to the following:
    You are claiming that TB has to be daisy chained which is misleading the OP. There are non-daisy chainable TB devices like the ethernet and firewire adapters Apple sells as well as the TB-SATA dock from Seagate so you definitely DON'T have to run TB in series at all, it's not even possible with quite a lot of devices! The only reason that TB hubs don't exist is due to the very limited set of use cases which make them economically unviable. Companies don't like losing money so we don't get TB hubs.

    Wit that in mind one could easily have come to the conclusion that in this one either needs to daisy chain the TB devices or look for a different connection (you can add USB3 via one of the many Thunderbolt docks out there).
     
  6. brand, Jul 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015

    brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #6
    TB does have to be daisy chained to run multiple TB devices on the same TB connector. The OP was asking about running multiple TB devices on his single TB connector so I answered it appropriately and there was nothing misleading about it.

    I never said there wasn't non-daisy chain-able TB devices or devices with a single TB connector that were designed to not support passing TB to the next device in the line. Those devices can be used by themselves or as the last device in the chain. In fact it is very likely that both of the OP's current drives only have a single TB connector and why I said he would need drives with two TB connectors to achieve what he is wanting.

    To use multiple TB devices on the same connector they do in fact have to be daisy chained together. The reason there are no TB hubs is not because of it being economically unviable but because it is not technically possible. TB is not designed to support a TB hub like USB is. TB is designed to be daisy chained together in series.

    You are trying to twist this into something that it is not. The OP asked about a specific use case with his specific hardware.
     
  7. dyn, Jul 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2015

    dyn macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Due to not having a hub yes

    Then you are clearly in the wrong thread. The OP here asked for a hub, hence the title.

    Never stated you did say that only that you implied that TB itself requires devices to be used in series which I read as daisy chained. The daisy chain requirement is not correct. Since we don't have hubs it's quite obvious that daisy chaining is the only option if you want to connect multiple TB devices if you have 1 TB port (and it is limited to 6 devices in total).

    You couldn't be more wrong. Neither protocol is designed to support hubs or be like a hub. Both are serial buses so it doesn't matter if you daisy chain or use a hub because in both cases it means that devices will be chained together in series. Such is the nature of being a serial bus.

    The main difference is target audience. USB is meant to be a cheap solution for lower end devices, TB for lower end to high end. The high end means things like high bandwidth, low latency, dma and the ability to carry any protocol. It also means being expensive. And it means that not many TB devices wil be connected to 1 controller since you share the data connection and thus lose a lot of bandwidth. That's why you cannot connect more than 6 devices to 1 port. Wether you daisy chain or use a hub doesn't matter because the same thing will apply. Again, such is the nature of being a serial bus and aiming for high end usage. Since not many people will connect that many devices there is almost no market for a TB hub.

    TB3 is yet another reason why it is technically possible to use hubs with TB: it incorporates USB3.1 Gen 2 and uses the same USB-C connector.

    It really is purely economical and not technical.
     
  8. ColdCase, Jul 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #8
    dyn, I think you need a refresher in PCI bus and TB technology. TB is a bus technology similar to PCI, USB is serial similar to Ethernet. You are completely off base, wrong, and misleading here. There are in fact TB expansion chassis available where a wide variety of PCI cards will plug into. Much better performing technology than the USB based, but expensive. You sometimes get what you pay for however. USB was optimized for things like keyboards and mice, every other use is full of compromise. USB3 attempts to bandaid the protocol but is much more complex and no two vendors implement it the same way leading to a wide variety of user experience.

    OP the only way to use your single TB port is to use devices that are daisy chain compatible, those with two TB ports. You can connect up to 8 TB devices to your single port.
     
  9. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

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    #9
    I thought the limit was 6 Thunderbolt devices per chain?
     
  10. brand, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

    brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #10
    I think that Thunderbolt 2 supports 8 devices while Thunderbolt 1 supports 6 devices. I'm not sure what Thunderbolt 3 supports.

    [EDIT]After researching this it seems that Thunderbolt 1 and 2 both only support 6 devices. I remember reading that it got upped to 8 devices with Thunderbolt 2 but evidently I remembered wrong.[/EDIT]
     
  11. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #11
    USB and Ethernet are completely different things. USB and TB are similar since both are serial buses. Any book on these technologies will state that just like every proper computer science course will. Both TB and USB will handle things 1 by 1 which is what serial is. The other way is parallel which is 2 or more at the same time. The reason why we have so much serial buses today is due to serial being simpler and allows for cheaper cables but it also enables high speeds.

    That's because TB is designed to allow piggybacking. The TB controller will encapsulate PCIe, DisplayPort and USB (TB3 only) in a TB packet and transmit that. The controller in the computer will undo that encapsulation. Since both PCIe and DisplayPort are port of the TB implementation you can do cool things like directly hooking a DisplayPort monitor to a Thunderbolt port and use a wide variety of PCIe cards in those expansion chassis. There are some limitations to that though which have to do with power delivery of TB and how TB works.

    Exactly, USB is more aimed at lower end devices like input devices, scanners, printers and the like whereas TB is more aimed at the higher end like data transfer, multimedia appliances, networking (10GbE for example) and things like that. With TB3 both technologies will be combined which allows the user to mix and match to his liking.

    Intel and Apple disagree with you, they state that 6 is the max per port. Perhaps with TB3 or even TB4 this might be turned into 8 due to having more bandwidth available.
     
  12. g4cube macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    www.thunderbolttechnology.net, an Intel official website.

    6 Thunderbolt devices per host Thunderbolt port.

    Nope, no such thing as a Thunderbolt hub. Tech only permits daisychaining to expand Thunderbolt bus.

    If you'd like multiple hdd external drives, consider a Thunderbolt dock with USB 3.0 ports, as several can be connected, and usb ports can be expanded with usb hubs.
     
  13. brand, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015

    brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #13
    Bandwidth has nothing to do with why there can only be a maximum of 6 devices connected. This is just plain wrong.

    Again a Thunderbolt hub is not technically possible.

    Again a Thunderbolt hub is not technically possible. It has nothing to do with there being a market for it.

    We are talking about Thunderbolt 1 and 2, technology that is currently released. Not technology that has not even made it to market yet. You are grasping at future technology to try to prove your point and failing.

    Again a Thunderbolt hub is not technically possible, economics has nothing to do with it.

    At some point you just need to stop because you clearly don't understand.
     
  14. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #14
    If you feel that way then you should write to Intel that the information posted on the website g4cube linked to is incorrect and they should change it as well as the information in the developers documentation. Next do email all those other websites (Wikipedia has a nice list of those) discussing Thunderbolt they are wrong to.

    A word to the OP: forget what people are saying here, look elsewhere and look at the official Thunderbolt website g4cube linked to. Those hold the correct information and are a lot less confusing then the information in this topic.
     
  15. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #15
    No one said any of these sites are wrong, just that you are wrong and that Thunderbolt 1 and 2 does not support Thunderbolt hubs. I poked around the linked site and nowhere does it say that Thunderbolt 1 and 2 support Thunderbolt hubs. How about you point out the spot on that site or in the design specification where Thunderbolt hubs are possible. We will be waiting.
     

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