What is the fuss about the USBC ports? Trying to understand

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mbpmpb17, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. mbpmpb17 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2010
    So currently I have an old 7 year old MBP, and it is time to upgrade!

    I am leaning towards either a Macbook m7 or a 13" i7 MBP.

    I currently use the following in my MBP:

    1. USB mouse
    2. mini D port to HDMI for my 27" external monitor
    3. sometimes plug in a USB cable for an external HD
    4. sometimes plug in a USB for a microphone.

    The Macbook comes with 1 USBC port, and the MBP has 2 or 4.

    What will I be restricted in doing if I go with either the Macbook or MBP?

    Will I need to buy expensive adapters?

    I think apple has a 30-day money back gaurantee on their laptops, so I was thinking of trying the Macbook first and if it is suitable I am not need the MBP. I am a programmer though and having the extra power will come in handy.
  2. killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    Skip the MacBook or atleast wait for the Kaby refresh, it might have Thunderbolt 3 by then. It currently does not have TB3 so you can't get at some of the nicer devices such as the new Caldigit TS3 Lite.

    USB adapters are 9 dollars through Apple at the moment, though you'd probably be better served by a USB-C to USB-A hub , most can be had for well under 25 dollars.
    I recommend the TS3 Lite as mentioned earlier. Its a little pricy but a rather than fuzzing around with all the dongles you can just get everything you need in one go.

  3. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    Define "expensive" :p

    Seriously, the adapters themselves for specific purposes are not very expensive, since USB C is a industry wide standard that is meant to and will replace USB A.

    Apple themselves are selling simple USB C to USB A adapter for 10$. If you want more ports, amazon will cover you.

    There are also USB C to HDMI adapters ... in fact there are USB C adapters for nearly every port you can imagine (that's kind of the point)

    However, if you plan to use a lot of peripheral, I suggest going for a more expensive multipurpose hub. On Amazon you can easily find adapters that include several USB A ports, HDMI ports, ethernet, etc.

    Ideally one that support charging from one of the USB C port on the adapter. (especially if you are going for the MacBook with only 1 port)
  4. bartvk, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017

    bartvk macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2016
    The Netherlands
    Fellow developer here. Why would you ever want to restrict yourself to the 12" MacBook? That thing is optimized for one thing only: portability.

    Get the 13" unless that portability really is the most important thing here.

    As for USB-C, I personally don't like dongles. The cleanest solution is if you replace that monitor with a USB-C/Thunderbolt-equipped monitor. Then you just hook up everything to that. Do you have the budget for that?
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Macbook: Slower processor, slower GPU, older generation butterfly keyboard, single port, smaller screen.

    I think you'll be better off with the MBP, since you get more of everything I just mentioned, though you won't notice a difference between the i7 that you listed and the i5. Save yourself some money there.

    14 days
  6. mbpmpb17 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2010
    I see, so I guess I'll pay $$ for the MBP that makes sense what you all said.

    Wow that caldigit unit is $299??

    I went to the apple website and tried to click on the 'buy' button and it said:

    "Wait till 8:01 PST" as they have some big announcemtn.

    Are you guys seeing that message?
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you want a MacBook with legacy ports (and it looks like you need them), the 2015 MacBook Pro models (13" and 15") remain in the active product lineup.
    (You won't see them on the MBPro page at store.apple.com -- you have to click the buy button and then scroll down).

    They can also be found for very good prices if you shop around (don't neglect ebay).

    Right now, I think USB-c is "just a little more trouble than it's worth".
    This may change in 2 or 3 years, remains to be seen.
    I chose a 2015 MacBook Pro over the 2016's (compared them side-by-side), and am comfortable with my decision to do so.

    I would not buy a [non-pro] Macbook.
    Other than the light weight, no comparison at all to either the 2015 or 2016 MBPro models.
  8. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    I wouldn't have tried to look until I saw your post, but yeah, I'm seeing it front-and-center on their Refurbished & Clearance page.

    Hmmmmmm. Weird, because they only announced new products earlier this week. Ok, I'll look again in fifteen minutes.

    Oh, wait -- wasn't today the day to begin preorders for the new stuff (iPhone (RED), new iPad, etc)?
  9. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    You need a hub to connect more than one USB device to a MacBook. Kind of annoying.

    You will also need an adapter if you want to use an external monitor. I use the Apple HDMI adapter which also lets me plug in a USB device and still charge the laptop while using an HDMI 27" monitor.

    The hubs with port replications etc are buggy and expensive.
  10. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    If it weren't for #3 and 4, I would say to just get the 12" MB (but wait for the next revision, which I think would be pretty soon). The USBC-to-HDMI-and-USBA adapter works fine. My aunt is using it with her new non-touchbar 13" MBP plus a mouse and external display.

    Basically, the adapter serves as a "dock", and she only needs to plug in one thing when she gets home to her desk.

    For you, though, I'd say to use a MB Pro. I figure that you'd want to use the mouse while the microphone and/or external HD are plugged in.

    [edit] Or, maybe a basic USB hub attached to the adapter would let you use all your stuff, and you'd only have to plug-unplug one socket when you move to and from your desk. Hmm.
  11. killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    The TS3 Lite is $199, the full TS3 with charging and eSATA is $299.
  12. dtrain035 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2017
    I thought the dongle dilemma was going to be a pain when I first heard about it. I use my computer for photography so I needed to hook up my USB 3.0 external hard drive, my Wacom Tablet and sometimes a USB mouse along with an SD card reader. I had to buy a new computer since my old one was way too slow at Photoshop/Lightroom so I sucked it up and got the new MBP 15".

    I bought picked up one of these from Amazon.


    Using this has very little impact on my day to day use. The hub is smaller than an iPhone and slim so I dont notice it in my bag. Plus when I work from my desk at home, all 3 of my USB devices can be connected at once via the USB-C hub. I dont use the HDMI so I cant comment on that (the reason for some of the low ratings).
  13. ZapNZs, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    There are a lot of options for doing this, and it is arguably more economical provided you do not mind having two or three wires going into the computer (some people prefer using only one wire, which goes to a hub, and this option can cost considerably more money, and many of those solutions are still yet to ship from Makers.)

    To use your current devices with a MacBook Pro model with FOUR ports (that is, any MBP with a touch bar), you could go with...

    To use your current devices with a MacBook Pro model with TWO ports (that is, the 13-inch MBP without a touch bar), you could go with...
    (obviously, these solutions would work with a 4-port model if they will work with a two port model :))
    • A USB-C/ThunderBolt 3 hub that has three USB-A ports* AND MiniDisplayPort or HDMI outs with the ability to support your display's resolution/refresh
    • A USB-C/TB hub that has three USB-A ports* AND a USB-C out with the ability to work with your display and support your display's resolution/refresh
    • A USB-C-->HDMI cable/dongle that plugs into the hub
    • A USB-C/TB hub that has three USB-A ports* AND charging capability
    • A USB-C-->HDMI cable that is connected directly to the MBP
    *If a hub has only one USB-A port, a second hub with at least three USB-A ports could be used as well, as could additional USB-C-->USB A adapters if you have spare USB-C ports on the hub

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12 March 23, 2017