The Thunderbolt three Dock connects to a host Mac via a too-short however protected zero.5-meter Thunderbolt cable. An important promoting factor of the dock, like maximum, is that it may aid two 4K displays at 60Hz with one connected to the Mini DisplayPort and one thru the bypass through Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and up to six USB gadgets.
Differentiating it from most is it also has a FireWire 800, optical TOSlink, and an SD card reader. It also seems to be the primary Thunderbolt three dock to deliver with 60W of charging electricity, instead of simply 15W.
As with maximum Thunderbolt docks, the OWC Thunderbolt three dock is driver-loose in macOS, however, the FireWire 800 Port does not work in Boot Camp at all.
Mass storage devices, enter devices, and output devices all paintings flawlessly, much like they have been natively plugged into the host computer.
The power supply is yet again, large, and hot. This might be related to charging energy needs, and in all likelihood will pertain to all Thunderbolt three docks, mainly those that supply full electricity to a connected MacBook Pro.
What approximately that SD card slot?
A viable selling point for the dock is the SD card reader. There are a variety of speed scores for SD playing cards these days, and we’ve got some accessible.
SDHC playing cards transfer at full 25MB/2nd speeds. SDXC cards will attain about 80MB/2nd —a piece less than the peak 105MB/sec allowable by using the three.01 specification supported within the dock.
USB and UASP
As we’ve got referred to earlier than, some cases and docks do not aid UASP. Assuming both your enclosure and dock help it, the protocol gives for faster record transfers than tools that do not assist it.
The OWC Thunderbolt three dock does in reality aid it, so check that one off the favored capabilities list.
Video checking out
As with the CalDigit TS3 Lite dock we tested, dual 4K displays operate without trouble. Additionally, the LG Ultrafine 5K Thunderbolt 3 display can be daisy-chained off the dock with no problem and no connectivity boundaries for the onboard ports brought about by the relationship, even if we fully loaded a USB port with an SSD RAID and achieved a huge statistics switch throughout the Gigabit Ethernet port.
However, as with other docks, don’t connect something to the monitor at the same time as the use of the dock more arduous than a keyboard. The demands on the Thunderbolt 3 port while you add the USB-C on the monitor plus the dock’s ports are simply too fantastic.
A note on force enclosures
We’ve got an assortment of FireWire 800 power enclosures we’ve had for years, and they all worked nicely. However, shopping for a $three hundred dock to use them can be throwing correct money after horrific.
If the enclosure is genuinely antique, then it makes use of PATA drives —the vintage ribbon cable, last seen within the optical bay of the Mac Pro and not used for a hard force since the days of the G4.
If the enclosure is more recent than a decade vintage, it probably makes use of SATA drives. If that is all you want the dock for, you’ll be better off getting a new enclosure and moving the drives over, for extra well-known compatibility.
Testing 1,2,3, testing!
With the rare exception of some surviving FireWire power enclosures, the maximum probable elegance of device traumatic FireWire 800 connectivity on a 2016 MacBook Pro are audio interfaces.
The first hurdle is Sierra compatibility. Some devices just don’t have Sierra drivers. The 2d is bodily connectivity – without Firewire, the gadgets won’t connect either.
In restricted trials, the Universal Audio Apollo FireWire, and Apollo 16 FireWire worked well in Sierra thru the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock with the latest drivers. An officially unsupported Alesis Multimix 16 worked with a hack, plenty to the relief of our audio hardware provider. Only one unit may be linked via the chain, but that’s a hindrance of the driving force, and no longer the dock.
If you want FireWire 800, there may be one choice
Here’s the problem with reviewing docks. They work without hacks or they don’t, they supply sufficient charging power, or they don’t —clean sufficient.
Unless an assessment says that the dock simply does not characteristic, customers pick a Thunderbolt three dock no longer on reviews, however, based totally on the ports they’ve. Some Thunderbolt three docks have DisplayPort, HDMI, or Mini DisplayPort. Those don’t without a doubt sway the client, due to the fact contemporary monitors seem to have each DisplayPort or HDMI —or a cable will get you there.
But, in case you want FireWire 800 and you have got a 2016 MacBook Pro, options are restrained. Users can either drop about $one hundred to get Apple’s Thunderbolt three to Thunderbolt 2 adapter after which a Thunderbolt 2 to FireWire 800 adapter —or even this is iffy and now not universally compatible.
For $200 more, the vaunted “unmarried cable solution” can be had with FireWire 800 gadgets in the blend, with either twin-4K or 5K plus all of the different connectivity that the dock brings. That’s what’s going to promote the $299 OWC Thunderbolt three dock, more than any words hammered out from a check bench.
Score: four out of five
AppleInsider charges the OWC Thunderbolt three dock a four out of five. While the $299 charge is steeper than other alternatives, the added connectivity of the SD card slot and FireWire 800 will promote the dock to an amazing portion of legacy Mac hardware customers who need new equipment.
If handiest we could convince producers to include cables which might be suitable for extra than just preliminary testing.
Where to shop for
Those searching out the satisfactory deal on the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock can find the accessory on sale for $297.50 at each B&H Photo and Adorama with unfastened expedited shipping and no tax outdoor NY and NJ.