OWC Creates a Better Thunderbolt Dock

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In 2013 I got the Belkin Thunderbolt Dock and I’ve been quite happy with it. So what could change in two years? Well, a lot. The basic principle is the same. A Thunderbolt dock allows you to plug in a single Thunderbolt cable into your Mac and expand the ports giving you more USB 3 ports, Firewire 800, audio line in/line out, etc. The NEW OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock does what you would expect but offers 5 USB 3.0 ports instead of 3. It offers 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports, and HDMI (with 4K support) in addition to Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio in/out. Two of the five USB 3.0 ports are also high powered for charging your bigger devices such as iPads. With they addition of HDMI this means that now I only have to plug ONE Thunderbolt 2 cable and one display port cable to my Cintiq 24HD into my MacBook Pro and ALL of my devices and displays are connected.

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For those of us who use our MacBook Pros like a desktop computer when we’re at our desks, these Thunderbolt docks are indispensable. It makes coming home or back to the office so much easier by just having to plug in one or two cables to have all of your devices connected. Now if it could only cut down on the amount of clutter on my desk, I’d be even happier! 🙂

You can get/pre-order the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock here. Initial supplies are limited. I ordered mine the minute they announced it and was happy when it shipped.

 



  • jameskatt

    CalDigit’s new Thunderbolt 2 Dock is EVEN BETTER and much more portable. And is less expensive!

    • Less expensive because it’s NOT Thunderbolt 2. So if you need the speed and 4K support the CalDigit one is not the way to go. However, if you only have a Mac with Thunderbolt 1 ports then yes it’s a good deal.

    • James –
      Did you mean this one? .. CalDigit Thunderbolt™ Station 2

  • George Purvis

    I concur. I’ve been using the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock for several weeks now with my 2013 MacBook Pro 15″. (I ordered it in early December.) I’ve never liked docks before, but the one cable (plus power cord mag) hook up to dock my laptop makes this just as easy as using the MacBook with hardwired ethernet. So far, I’m impressed with it’s performance and appearance. My USB3 hard drives actually test slightly faster (~2%) on the dock than they do directly attached to the USB3 ports on the MacBook Pro.

  • Hey Terry — once again one of your reviews is gonna cost me money!

    Ironically, I’ve been waiting to see specs/reviews on the the OWC Dock.. but like you said to James, I may not need TB2 .. so.. I’ll check out the Caldigit.. I am sick of plugging in everything when i work from the home office.. etc. PLUS.. I need a new motherboard – covered from Applecare – as my right side ports (HDMI, SD slot and USB) are dead.

    -Adam

    PS – I did get the Brother printer and it’s working just fine!

  • oldmantick .

    I pre-ordered also and I have a couple comments after using it for a while.
    I’d like if the audio out had digital as I’m still using the standard audio port on my MBPr for that.
    Also the dock will support 2 monitors only if one of them is a thunderbolt monitor i.e. no adapter. So you can use HDMI or display port adaptor but not both.
    May have to buy a thunderbolt monitor so I can actually support 2 monitors off of it.
    Maybe the sexy 34″ curved from LG 🙂
    I run 3 monitors and I still have 5 cables plugged into my MBPr with this dock.
    On the HDMI, if you use an HDMI to DVI adapter the resolutions available are very limited and low, MUST use an HDMI cable.

  • Brian_M_CDN

    This OWC has a good selection of ports, plus a nice look. If I get an upgrade to a retina MBP I’m seriously considering the Henge Horizontal dock – model specific, but really nicely laid out. (It is shipping a year late, but at least in that year the ports improved to Thunderbolt 2, as well as some other tweaks to ports included)

    As for Thunderbolt supporting 2 monitors, there are several ways to make it work – although they involve hardware. Each thunderbolt chip can support a monitor. (also requires a video chip that can support enough resolution, some models can only do the internal display, plus one external) I use my 15″ MBP (non-retina) with an apple 27″ Thunderbolt, then a Seagate GoFlex thunderbolt adapter (just has sata connector pointing up that I can set any sata drive onto – I usually have a 3.5″ drive sitting in it for time machine, but it also works well for doing data recoveries from failing drives) which then from that I can hook up mini-displayport monitor, or a mini-displayport to VGA or HDMI adapter. So to do it without a thunderbolt display, you’d need 2 thunderbolt docks, or something like the seagate goflex

  • pappals

    I’ve been liking the StarTech TB2DOCK4KDHC because there is no audio pop when going in and out of sleep, has an eSata port and Toslink optical audio. Sells at a discount price similar to the OWC dock but also comes with a TB cables and three different power cables. I plug in a Apple TB to firewire adapter for those rare occasions I need a firewire port. Otherwise, from what I’ve read the Startech Dock just seems to work better.

  • Elliot Sudbury

    I pre-ordered one and have been using it for the past few weeks. Having problems with the ethernet port randomly disconnecting (no link status lights) and the display blanking out sporadically. OWC tech support haven’t been very helpful thus far unfortunately. Hate to think I’ll have to post it back to the US (I’m in the UK). Such a faff.

    • Sorry to hear it. Mine has been plugged in and up since day one with zero problems to date. Hope they can sort it out for you.

      • Elliot Sudbury

        Cheers Terry. Me too!

        • MC Deli

          I am having a similar problem. The symptoms are that the ethernet and usb connections stop working. I am using Logic X and when the dock powers off and on Logic starts a scan and alerts me of the dock’s USB Audio Codec – and all my USB peripherals stop working. It happens after a few hours of use. So I think it may be heat that is causing the dock to power cycle? (Also, as an aside, my Parkdale tests also report 25% drop in performance with my ext SSD vs direct connection to rMBP)