What can Thunderbolt 2 ports be used for?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iop, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. iop macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2011
    I know they can be used for displays, but is there anything else they are good for? I've seen pcie enclosures, but they cost hundreds of dollars, unfortunately, and egpus aren't officially supported for Th2 anyway.
  2. LogicalApex macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2015
    They can be used for almost anything... Since they support USB natively in addition to Thunderbolt extras like HDMI and DisplayPort as well as PCIe lane access to power extremely fast storage or other options.

    You may see TB devices start dropping in price over the next year or two as USB4 supports TB3 (which is backwards compatible) and should lead to a wider adoption rate at a lower cost.
  3. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    You're talking about Thunderbolt 3, the OP is asking about TB 2. At least I think you are since TB2 didn't natively carry a USB signal.

    There are TB2 Ethernet and FireWire adapters. There are also TB2 SATA3 enclosures (although most are TB1 since SATA3 is still quite a bit slower than TB1). The advantage of using TB for a SATA (presumably SSD) disk is that it supports TRIM and SMART, something USB doesn't. Refurbished/used earlier generation LaCie Rugged TB2 drives are not that pricey but obviously, they're not always available. In general, the availability of TB2 devices will be winding down. There are some high-end audio devices as well. Are you looking for anything specific? Some of the high-end used TB2 devices may become available on places like eBay, etc. as the world moves on to TB3/TB4.
  4. Stephen.R macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2018
    Another good option (particularly for older Macs) is a “dock” type device to give more/newer ports - I added usb3 and esata to a 2011 mbp (via tb1 but it’s the same concept).

    Another option is mass storage - a thunderbolt based multi-bay drive enclosure can easily benefit from more bandwidth than even usb3 provides.
  5. netnewswireuser macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2017
    all the things you can do with a TB3 port, can be done with a TB2 port using the Apple TB3->TB2 adapter.
  6. scottrngr macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2015
    Too bad TB2 devices never came down enough in price to catch on.
  7. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    True (I think) if the device you're connecting only uses the Thunderbolt signal. But not true if the device (most notably TB3 docks) uses both the Thunderbolt signal and the mutliplexed DisplayPort signal. CalDigit, for example, says if you connect their TS3 Lite dock to a TB2 port, "The only limitations is that the charging function on the TS3, dual monitor connectivity, and 5K monitor support will not work." This is the case with all of the TB3 docks I've seen with multi-display functionality. (To be fair, if there was a true TB2->TB3 adapter that could convert the multiplexed TB2 DisplayPort signal into a multiplexed TB3 DisplayPort signal then this limitation may not exist although you would still have throughput limitations which would limit the TB3 dock functionality.)
  8. Flabasha macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2011

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7 April 29, 2019