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OWC Thunderbolt Hub review- add a number of USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 ports

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

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

While USB-C is often both 5Gbps or 10Gbps, Thunderbolt 3 and 4 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 4 vs Thunderbolt 3 vs USB-C.

This Thunderbolt 4 dock works with all of them and can work to the quickest spec of any system related to it.

Specs and options

Another advantage of Thunderbolt 4 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 – certainly 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). If you require extra USB-A ports, take a look at the pricier Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub that boasts 4, additionally at 10Gbps.

The OWC hub’s energy provide is rated at 110W, with 60W reserved to cost the related pc. Each 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 might be a situation the place the 60W of energy supply is diminished to maintain bus-powered drives going, however with 110W, this ought to be sufficient to maintain the whole lot going.

Note that Apple has at all times used the highest specs of Thunderbolt 3 however Windows producers didn’t at all times meet the identical requirements. Windows customers will due to this fact have to examine that their PC is appropriate with Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 for it to make use of a T4 hub. A Thunderbolt 3 Windows PC would possibly work however shouldn’t be assured – though it could work as a USB-C hub in Windows.

It’s not a totally fledged docking station however with a couple of adapters might be used as one. OWC has a Thunderbolt 4 dock within the works, and we’ll overview that when it’s transport.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub screens

You can use the Hub to attach storage resembling quick SSDs and different equipment, and likewise as much as two 4K shows at 60Hz – or one 5K/6K/8K. Note that newer M1-processor Macs are restricted to only one exterior show. Intel Macs and Windows laptops can join to 2.

Thunderbolt 4 docks are on their method (and in our check lab), however earlier than then check out our roundup of the greatest USB-C and Thunderbolt docks

One of the most effective issues about Thunderbolt 4 is its skill to good daisy chain a number of T4 units. Previously, the chain might be damaged by eradicating any however the final system within the chain. T4, then again, creates unbiased “tree branches” to attach a number of Thunderbolt, USB4, and USB-C bus-powered units.

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

A 0.8m Thunderbolt 4 cable is included within the field.

OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub cables

Design and construct

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub is compact regardless of all its ports and weighs 250g. As such it’s slightly heavier than rivals such because the Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub and Plugable Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 Hub.

The energy provide will most likely rule it out as a conveyable journey system, though that’s smaller and lighter than Caldigit’s mighty 150W energy brick.

The energy provide port is of course behind the hub, and we’d have most popular the laptop computer T4 connection to be hidden away there, too. But 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.

Price

Available solely direct from OWC for the time being, the Thunderbolt Hub within reason priced at $179 or €157 (about £139; UK clients should purchase from the OWC EU Store however will nonetheless get it with a UK plug).

This is kind of a bit cheaper than Caldigit’s Element 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 value is the bottom we’ve seen for certainly one of these newest Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 hubs.

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

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