USB 3.0 vs Thunderbolt Docking Stations

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by tacobill, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. tacobill macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2014
    Hi Everyone,

    So at a fair I managed to win myself an Apple prize pack of a 2014 Macbook Air and an iPad mini. I am a windows systems admin so this is all pretty new to me. That being said I love it so far, and it has replaced my computer at work and home.

    So in order for me to easily go back and forth, I am looking for a dock. Now since I am in a Windows team we have a bunch of USB 3.0 docking stations kicking around but MacBooks have the Thunderbolt port. I am wondering what are the pros/cons of each.

    (For reference I am looking for 1 monitor output via HDMI and at least two USB ports for keyboards/USB Storage)

    Thank you for all the help!
  2. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Three words: Caldigit Thunderbolt station.

    I didn't need HDMI so I went for the Belkin (so I got FW 800 instead of HDMI, it's more useful to me)

    Sometimes my Displayport to DVI adapter acts up on wake up, but it's a pleasure to connect ONE cable and have basically everything.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Can a USB3 port dock connect a large HDMI LCD Monitor? I think the point of TB is there is one connection for the monitor, wired gigabyte networking and to a RAID box. USB3 on the there hand costs less. So take your pick.

    There is also a matter of CPU load. USB required a bit from the CPU to run. Tb is more like PCIe.
  4. willgreene99 macrumors regular


    Dec 16, 2010
    I would have to recommend the Elgato TB Dock. It has the ports you are asking for and it does have the power to drive USB only drives without a power supply.

    I have both the Belkin and the Elgato and I find the Elgato the better product based on my testing and usage.
  5. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land
    For the ONE reason above, ONE wire, I recommend the cal digit dock. It is flawless IMO.
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    For starts, I've never seen a USB display adapter/hub work as well with a display, as a thunderbolt/DisplayPort connection, even on USB 3.0. You're going to get more responsiveness with a TB dock.

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