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OWC Thunderbolt Hub review- add a number of USB4 and Thunderbolt Four ports



OWC’s Thunderbolt Hub hides its modernity with its modest identify. The Thunderbolt in query is the most recent Thunderbolt 4, and can also be USB4 licensed and backwards suitable with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

All these connection requirements use the identical handily reversible port however at totally different speeds.

Whereas USB-C is normally both 5Gbps or 10Gbps, Thunderbolt Three and Four are rated at a speedy 40Gbps. For extra on the variations and compatibilities of USB-C and Thunderbolt varieties, learn our detailed explainer on Thunderbolt Four vs Thunderbolt Three vs USB-C.

This Thunderbolt Four dock works with all of them and can work to the quickest spec of any gadget linked to it.

Specs and options

One other advantage of Thunderbolt Four and USB4 is the power for docks and hubs to boast as much as 4 such ports – twice as many as was potential with Thunderbolt 3 – due to the hub utilizing the most recent Goshenridge chipset.

And the OWC Thunderbolt Hub has 4 T4/USB4 ports – considered one of which connects to your laptop computer or pill.

As a bonus, there’s additionally an old-school USB-A port, at a racy 10Gbps (and seven.5W energy). When you require extra USB-A ports, take a look at the pricier Caldigit Thunderbolt Four Aspect Hub that boasts 4, additionally at 10Gbps.

The OWC hub’s energy provide is rated at 110W, with 60W reserved to cost the linked laptop. Every T4 port can present 15W of energy. Technically, the hub shares energy so will dynamically push the ability the place it’s wanted, prioritizing bus-powered drives. So, there could possibly be a situation the place the 60W of energy supply is diminished to maintain bus-powered drives going, however with 110W, this needs to be sufficient to maintain every little thing going.

Be aware that Apple has all the time used the highest specs of Thunderbolt Three however Home windows producers didn’t all the time meet the identical requirements. Home windows customers will due to this fact must examine that their PC is suitable with Thunderbolt Four or USB4 for it to make use of a T4 hub. A Thunderbolt Three Home windows PC would possibly work however shouldn’t be assured – though it could work as a USB-C hub in Home windows.

It’s not a completely fledged docking station however with a couple of adapters could possibly be used as one. OWC has a Thunderbolt Four dock within the works, and we’ll evaluation that when it’s delivery.

You should utilize the Hub to attach storage reminiscent of quick SSDs and different equipment, and in addition as much as two 4K shows at 60Hz – or one 5K/6K/8K. Be aware that newer M1-processor Macs are restricted to only one exterior show. Intel Macs and Home windows laptops can join to 2.

Thunderbolt Four docks are on their method (and in our take a look at lab), however earlier than then check out our roundup of the finest USB-C and Thunderbolt docks. 

Among the finest issues about Thunderbolt Four is its skill to good daisy chain a number of T4 gadgets. Beforehand, the chain could possibly be damaged by eradicating any however the final gadget within the chain. T4, then again, creates impartial “tree branches” to attach a number of Thunderbolt, USB4, and USB-C bus-powered gadgets.

Additionally on the again, there’s a Kensington Nano slot for anti-theft cabling.

A 0.8m Thunderbolt Four cable is included within the field.

Design and construct

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub is compact regardless of all its ports and weighs 250g. As such it’s a bit heavier than rivals such because the Caldigit Thunderbolt Four Aspect Hub and Plugable Thunderbolt Four and USB Four Hub.

The ability provide will in all probability rule it out as a transportable journey gadget, though that’s smaller and lighter than Caldigit’s mighty 150W energy brick.

The ability provide port is of course behind the hub, and we might have most popular the laptop computer T4 connection to be hidden away there, too. However it’s on the entrance, which makes it simpler to disconnect however rather less neat in look on the desk.

The USB-A port can also be on the entrance.

Value

Out there solely direct from OWC in the intervening time, the Thunderbolt Hub is fairly priced at $179 or €157 (about £139; UK clients should purchase from the OWC EU Retailer however will nonetheless get it with a UK plug).

That is fairly a bit cheaper than Caldigit’s Aspect Hub, which is $229 or £199, however does boast three extra USB-A ports.

Verdict

USB-C and Thunderbolt customers have been demanding a hub or dock with extra T4 ports, and the OWC Thunderbolt Hub delivers with an additional USB-A port thrown in for good measure.

The worth is the bottom we’ve seen for considered one of these newest Thunderbolt Four or USB4 hubs.

It may not be a full docking station however it’s the reply to these praying for a multi-Thunderbolt connector.

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