Monday, August 15, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

QGeeM and Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Hubs

Amazon:

QGeeM Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is committed to providing unparalleled simplicity, the highest performance and the most reliable connectivity. Achieve 40Gbps extremely fast data transmission, 60W fast charging, support for outputting 8K/4k ultra-clear monitors, quickly improve your work quality and efficiency.

The QGeeM 6-IN-1 Thunderbolt 4 mini Dock. it’s compatible with Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, or USB Type C port supports “DisplayPort Alt Mode” and “Power Delivery”.

There are three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports, plus one USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, and it can charge the computer with 60W of PD.

Via Paul Haddad:

$140 for a Thunderbolt 4 hub is the best price I’ve seen by a small margin. Worth a shot since these are all just Intel reference designs.

Juli Clover:

Accessory maker Hyper, known for its range of chargers, hubs, and battery packs, recently introduced the HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub, which it says is the world’s first Goshen Ridge Thunderbolt 4 hub with an integrated power source.

This one is $179 for three downstream Thunderbolt ports, and it can charge the computer with 96W of PD.

Do these Thunderbolt hubs work any better than USB ones for connecting storage devices? Since getting my M1 MacBook Pro, I’ve had problems with external hard drives sometimes not mounting unless they were connected before the Mac was powered on. (Restarting the Mac is not enough; I have to power it off, which means taking the MacBook Pro out of its dock in order to access the power button on its keyboard.)

The problem occurs for hard drives connected via a USB hub—so far I’ve used hubs from Anker, Rosonway, and Apple—but not with devices connected directly to the MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, two of my MacBook Pro’s ports are used to connect displays, which leaves only one as a reliable connector for external storage. I’d really like to have more built-in ports, even if they are only USB and not Thunderbolt, but this is enough of a pain that it would be worth getting a Thunderbolt hub—if it were more reliable.

Previously:

6 Comments

It's worth looking into. The problem with USB-C hubs is under their (almost always ugly) plastic shell is the same bridge chips, which use the same drivers, and share the same bugs. While different vendors may offer (slightly) different port selection, they almost never offer better stability. I dealt for this with years, although the "thing that drops out all the time annoyingly" for me was Ethernet, thanks to the Realtek chipset they all shared. The entire space is homogeneous.

I finally switched to a Thunderbolt dock, impressed by the quality design and component choices on the CalDigit TS3+ (these days I believe the TS4 is the top dog). In my case the Intel Ethernet chipset had completely stable drivers, and I've not had a dropout since. YMMV, but it's absolutely worth a shot. Once cable for everything *almost* makes the transition to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 worth it.

Ask for anecdotes, get anecdotes :) I had a HyperDrive USB-C dock: it had a lot of trouble with the spinning disk drive for Time Machine. I've upgraded to a TB3 dock and these problems went away. So I believe there's a chance the situation might improve for you.

Patrick Serrano

Have you tried unplugging the drive from the dock and plugging it back in? I've see issues when swapping drives using the same cable. If I unmount and the unplug the cable from the drive and plug in a new drive then macOS won't see the new drive until I also unplug from the computer. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So far the OWC thunderbolt 4 dock has worked reliably for me, having two external SSD drives connected through it.

@Christian Thanks!

@Patrick Yes, I’ve tried that. Sometimes it helps, but not as much avoiding using a hub.

> Do these Thunderbolt hubs work any better than USB ones for connecting storage devices?

I don't know about storage, but I have a Belkin Thunderbolt 2 dock (via Apple's 3-to-2 dongle), and…

1) more than 50% of the time, when connecting it to my 14-inch MBP, the display connected to the dock via HDMI goes through a dozen attempts to turn on. It either never succeeds until I explicitly unplug and re-plug something), or eventually does. A third display, connected directly to the MBP's HDMI port, doesn't have this issue*, so it's something about the dock, the dongle, or macOS's Thunderbolt stuff.

2) about 10% of the time, the keyboard (connected via USB to the dock) doesn't work. Sometimes, plugging the dock out and back in helps. Sometimes, it does not. (Of course, trying this also in turn causes the display to disappear yet again.)

This morning, I gave up and rebooted; everything worked. Does that mean 100% that macOS is at fault? I think so?

*) FWIW, compared to Intel, the experience on that (the MBP's direct HDMI port) does feel a lot smoother.

I _think_ the M1 Pro Macs still have Intel's Thunderbolt controller and the M2 Air has a custom Apple one, so maybe things will get better there as well.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment