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OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock: Seamless Operation Overall, But With a Few Limitations

OWC Thunderbolt Dock

re: Thunderbolt 4 Is Here...
re: Thunderbolt hub

See previous post for details on the OWC Thunderbolt Dock.

Thunderbolt 4 makes a Thunderbolt hub possible and the new OWC Thunderbolt Dock not only incorporates the capabilities of a Thunderbolt hub, but adds additional ports of its own.

I’ve been running the OWC Thunderbolt Dock for a month now and it has performed flawlessly.

With built-in hubbing capability, 3 Thunderbolt devices can be connected to the Dock, which is pretty nifty considering that it occupies only one port on the computer. Most useful for me is using these ports for USB-C SSDs like the OWC Envoy Pro EX and multiple OWC Thunderbay enclosures.

The 10Gbps USB-A ports are as always super useful, great for all sorts of USB devices and standalone hard drives like the OWC Mercury Elite Pro and similar.

Limitations

See also: Display Connections for HDMI/DisplayPort Displays on 2019 Mac Pro or Other Macs

  • There is no Mini DisplayPort as on the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. That port is essential to connect my NEC PA302W color-managed display (ditto for any Mini DisplayPort display). This is not so much a limitation as a design choice in favor of the Thunderbolt hubbing (a bandwidth allocation issue).
  • The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dual DisplayPort Adapter would not work to connect my display through any of the hubbed ports on the Dock and yet it would work directly connected to the Mac Pro. Perhaps this is some sort of limitation with Thunderbolt?
  • Downstream devices are limited to 20 Gpbs write speeds. If you have a high-speed SSD like the OWC Thunderblade, it’s therefore best to daisy-chain it or plug it directly into the computer, rather than plug it into the ports on the Dock.

Given these considerations for my own computing needs (not necessarily in general), I am probably better served by the 14-port OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock (with the Mini DisplayPort) along with one or two OWC Thunderbolt Hub.

See also: Intel: What Is Thunderbolt 4?

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OWC Thunderbolt Dock

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