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Help me find a MBP Thunderbolt dock please


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Help me find a MBP Thunderbolt dock please
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-10-18, 23:06

I'm struggling to find what I'm looking for. The hardest part seems to be powering the 85W MBP. I can also go to town buying dongles, but really I don't want to do that. I want one cable to plug into the MBP and that is it. Everything else plugs into the dock. I want two monitors preferably with 2 HDMI ports, though I can adapt Display Port if I must. I really don't want to use a dongle on a TB port to get my second external screen. Gigabit ethernet is a must. Beyond that I'm pretty open. Some USB-As, Mic/Audio out 3.5mm jacks would be cool.

Right now I've got two HDMI ports, Gigabit ethernet, 5 USB-A ports and an SD card slot...but it looks like crap.
The first is a WAVLINK hub that works well with 85W passthrough:

The second part is an Apple dongle that has my MBP power adapter fed through:

Finally I have an Anker 3 Port/Gigabit adapter plugged in too:


So how does this actually look? Like butt.



I don't have the HDMI cables connected because I don't want to stress the USB-C ports on this thing. The hub uses the two ports on the side of the MBP and works great for the task, but just don't really look good or make me feel comfortable about this setup. Granted, I paid more for the Apple official adapter than the other two combined.

So is there a good dock out there that does what I want? I'd like to mount the dock under my desk so it is out of the way. I recently did that with an external optical drive and I'm really happy with that.


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709
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2019-10-19, 09:07

I'd go with either a CalDigit TS3 Plus or a OWC TB3 Dock. I've used both and they're each terrific. Though, the CalDigit might be more what you're looking for with its DisplayPort and USB-C on the back. That's just a matter of 2 cables to your monitors. The OWC does have a front-facing micro-SD port, if that matters to you.

Two dedicated HDMI ports on a power-pass-through box is probably not going to happen (not that I've ever seen anyways).

So it goes.
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chucker
 
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2019-10-19, 09:50

You haven’t specified the specs of those monitors, so it’s hard to say if passing two HDMI ports through will deliver enough bandwidth.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-10-21, 08:59

709, does that OWC one pass 85W? I had it preordered when they first announced it but cancelled when I saw it was only 60W. I keep meaning to go back to it but figure you likely use a 15" so would know in real world use.
Edit: I actually clicked the link you gave and it says it does now. Glad I didn't go for their first version!

chucker: oh yeah, standard 1080p 60Hz types. I mean, at some point I may go up to 4K, but that isn't on my horizon right now. Every dock I've seen supports what I've got so I didn't think about that.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.

Last edited by turtle : 2019-10-21 at 09:57.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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2019-10-21, 15:27

Looking through these two I'm really leaning back to the OWC. I could mount it under my desk like the optical drive and keep everything out of sight. It would put the card readers and headset jack right there too. This would make Skype/Teams calls be able to be wired for works stuff...

Any other recommendations out there?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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chucker
 
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2019-10-21, 16:07

Elgato’s docks (other than the Mini) would also do.

Personally, I think I’d just save the money, not bother with power delivery and get a much much cheaper USB-C Dock for most of the ports plus just Apple’s regular power adapter. It’s one more cable but for like a fifth the cost.
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turtle
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Formerly turtle2472
 
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2019-10-22, 13:02

I might end up going that route just so I don't throw money away, but then again, one cable is really nice.

If I went with something that didn't have power passthrough do you have a recommendation? Yes I can google and go through the geek sales site but I'm looking for something people are actually using that are good and solid devices.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Bryson
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Whitby
 
2019-10-23, 11:07

This thread made me wonder about getting a Thunderbolt 2 dock for my venerable 2015 MBP.

But!

A: They're really hard to find now that TB3 is around.
B: They're still OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive.
C: I'm not 100% convinced that it will work with 2 external monitors, whereas the current setup does work, for sure.

Anyone got one they want to sell me?
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chucker
 
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2019-10-23, 12:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryson View Post
This thread made me wonder about getting a Thunderbolt 2 dock for my venerable 2015 MBP.

But!

A: They're really hard to find now that TB3 is around.
B: They're still OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive.
C: I'm not 100% convinced that it will work with 2 external monitors, whereas the current setup does work, for sure.

Anyone got one they want to sell me?
I have a Belkin.

It works and saves me some plugging/unplugging and makes the desk a little nicer. (I have Ethernet, HDMI, a short Watch charging cable and occasionally more stuff connected. But I do need a second HDMI cable for the other external monitor, and MagSafe.)

Occasionally (though not for months now, I think? Might be fixed?), the Mac gets stuck when waking up until you unplug it. Which would be kinda risky if I had, like, storage connected. And is also not a great UX.

So I would indeed say the pricing is questionable, though to be fair, I don’t technically use the benefits Thunderbolt has over USB much at all.
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chucker
 
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2019-10-24, 05:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
I might end up going that route just so I don't throw money away, but then again, one cable is really nice.

If I went with something that didn't have power passthrough do you have a recommendation? Yes I can google and go through the geek sales site but I'm looking for something people are actually using that are good and solid devices.
I can't recommend anything because I don't have a tbMBP yet. (Mainly due to the keyboard.)

I guess going back to your original post… instead of the Wavlink, you could've gone with this $100 Satechi, which directly has HDMI. That saves you the bizarre Apple HDMI dongle as well as the Anker Ethernet dongle. And it does have power delivery.

So then all you need is that on the left, and an HDMI dongle on the right. (Maybe there's also an adapter in this style but for the right-hand side? That'd be a little less cluttered.)
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-10-24, 08:08

The Wavlink does have HDMI, it is out of the top of the adapter, plus it was only $25 when I bought it. Even then my concern becomes all the cable and adapter weight since my MBP sits on a stand. I probably wouldn't mind as much if I the Wavlink wasn't directly attached to the MBP or the MBP wasn't on a stand and the Wavlink would be sitting on the desk too.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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chucker
 
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2019-10-24, 08:55

I guess I don't really get why you connect that Apple dongle.
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709
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2019-11-08, 08:34

ArsTech has an article out this morning reviewing a handful of docks, with a new, lower-priced CalDigit dock that may meet your needs.
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kscherer
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2019-11-08, 10:59

I was banning a spammer this morning and when I first saw your post, for a very brief second, I thought you were another one.









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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-11-10, 18:00

Thanks for the post 709! I'm looking through those and really thinking about the CalDigit USB-C Pro. It's right now $200 but might drop closer to Black Friday...so I'm keeping an eye on it. The CalDigit T3 looks good, but more than I'm looking for really.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-11, 11:43

The CalDigit dock finally went on a sale low enough I was willing to pay for it. $199 at B&H. I can't wait to get this in.
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chucker
 
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2020-03-11, 12:34

Nice!
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709
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2020-03-11, 19:04

That's great T. Can't wait to see how it works for your setup.
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turtle
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2020-03-12, 12:39

I'm so confused. Here I thought getting a DP -> HDMI would be an easy $8 fix. I had no idea there were so many options. I think I read that the only requirement is that it be an "Active" adapter. I do want it to support 4K/60Hz even though it is only going to connect to the cheap 1080p monitors for now. I don't want to have to buy another adapter later when I upgrade.

Do either of you (or anyone reading this) have a good recommendation? For now I'm going to use the Apple HDMI dongle for the second monitor. While it seems bulky just for another HDMI port, it also gives me access to the other options as well.

I thought about finding a single USB-C to dual HDMI but that doesn't seem like a good route to head for this.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2020-03-12, 14:36

There's this one for under $20. For some reason I haven't found a DP1.2>HDMI cable out there @60Hz.
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chucker
 
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2020-03-12, 16:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
I'm so confused. Here I thought getting a DP -> HDMI would be an easy $8 fix. I had no idea there were so many options. I think I read that the only requirement is that it be an "Active" adapter. I do want it to support 4K/60Hz even though it is only going to connect to the cheap 1080p monitors for now. I don't want to have to buy another adapter later when I upgrade.
Hey, to be fair, I warned you to be careful about HDMI particulars in my very first reply to the thread!
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turtle
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2020-03-12, 16:15

709, that should work just fine for me. I am ok with using an adapter over a cable for now given I do have a cable already in place. One day I'll get a monitor that uses DP instead though I'm sure.

chucker, you did. I just didn't even think to look into how easy or not it would be.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-12, 18:01

I ordered that adapter from Monoprice as well as a 2m 40Gbps TB3 cable since the one included with the dock is so short. I was going to hold off on ordering that cable, but it doesn't make sense at this point for me to wait it out.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-13, 17:14

I got it in today. Started setting it up and I think I'm going to love this. The power brick for it is huge and the unit itself is actually pretty small. I was expecting it to be bigger that it is.


For now it is going to sit under the laptop until I get all my cables in and mount it under my desk. Yeah, I'm really glad to have this!

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-19, 11:04


Today is my first day using my MBP as my primary computer thanks to the dock. I got my adapters in yesterday and went ahead and moved my desktop keyboard and trackpad to the dock too. I don't like the speaker setup right now, but I don't have good speakers so I have little choice at the moment.

I have accomplished my main goal though. One cable to rule them all. Right now the dock is in a temporary home that I don't really like. I'm going to screw it to the bottom of my desk but that will come in a month or so. I have some other things going on right now so I need to wait before I make that modification. Then I'll be able to hide all the wires and use the 2m cable in the bag on the back edge of the desk in the picture.

I do have both desktop monitors in operation too. This is really nice generally speaking. My workflow has completely changed but this isn't all bad. Just taking some getting used to.

I now need to get my audio figured out for this. I don't want to spend much, but I also don't want crap. I need something to go from Toslink to 3.5mm or a speaker set that takes Toslink.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-19, 12:56

Hmm.... looks like it's a $10 solution that can be powered by my USB3 Hub to boot! Sure it isn't high quality, but this is computer audio. I AirPlay to my real speakers when I'm jamming.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.

Last edited by turtle : 2020-03-19 at 14:17.
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chucker
 
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2020-03-19, 14:00

You accidentally a colon in your URL
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
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2020-03-19, 14:17

Heh. Fixed.
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turtle
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Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2020-03-23, 20:39

I'm loving my dock. The MBP isn't as powerful as the desktop I'm moving off of, but it works like a champ for my "normal" uses.
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