Wednesday, June 1, 2022

StarTech Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Howard Oakley:

Until relatively recently, one limitation with Thunderbolt was the absence of hubs which allowed the connection of multiple Thunderbolt devices to a single port on the Mac. Several models are now available, although they’re considerably more expensive than USB hubs. Inevitably, these are constrained by the bandwidth available in the single Thunderbolt connection made to the Mac. Connect a couple of external displays and those will limit the performance of SSDs connected to the same hub.

Wesley Hilliard:

This dock does come at a high price, and other products in the price range offer more port variety. However, we’d argue that reliability is included in the high markup, and the StarTech Thunderbolt 4 Dock has proven to be reliable.

$439.99 for 4 Thunderbolt ports, 3 USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1 USB-A 2, Ethernet, SD card, and audio.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

I'm still very happy with the OWC TB4 Dock (after some initial issues with their software). I have not tried setups like multiple external displays or the gigabit Ethernet connection, but for connecting one external display (via Mini DP -> USB C adapter) and several USB SSDs and other USB peripherals it is very reliable.

I've been very happy with the CalDigit Elements Thunderbolt 4 Hub. I use it to connect my iPad, an external 4k LG display and a couple of hard disks to my M1 Max MBP, all working nicely.
The only hick-up I have with it is that I can't charge my iPad Pro to a full 100% using the USB ports (Finder will tell me repeatedly that USB is using too much power at that point - even with CalDigit's kernel extension installed). Switching to Thunderbolt/USB-C solves that issue, though.

Unfortunately, it looks like this uses a Realtek RTL8153B Ethernet NIC. This uses the generic CDC-ECM driver, which often only reaches 700-900MBit throughput, while putting quite a lot of load on a core.

It’s especially a shame because Startech had at least one earlier TB3 Dock with an Intel i210 on PCIe.

Leave a Comment