Wednesday, 06 June 2012 08:39

Belkin boosts Thunderbolt Dock with USB 3.0

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Belkin has upgraded the specifications of its as yet unreleased Thunderbolt Express Dock. The device will now feature USB 3.0 and eSATA ports, and these changes have added to the price.

Belkin has announced that its Thunderbolt Express Dock, due to ship in September, will have three USB 3.0 ports instead of USB 2.0 as originally announced. It will also feature an eSATA port.

The new specifications are one Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one eSATA port, one audio port, and two Thunderbolt ports (one upstream, one downstream to connect additional Thunderbolt devices). A MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adaptor is also included in the $US399.99 price, and could presumably be used to connect the downstream Thunderbolt port to a monitor.

While the Dock will work with Thunderbolt-equipped Windows PCs as well as Macs, its styling suggests Apple's customers are the main target market. And although docking stations are generally associated with notebooks, some iMac owners may find this combination of ports in a single package to be a useful option.

The Dock was announced in January with one Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one HDMI port, one audio port, two Thunderbolt ports (one upstream, one downstream), and a price of $US299.

In related news, Belkin announced a 1m Thunderbolt cable priced at $US44.99. Thunderbolt cables are expensive as they contain active electronics at each end to enable two 10.3Gbps full-duplex links over a copper cable that can be as long as 3m.

Apple sells a 2m Thunderbolt cable for $US49 ($A55), but this can be inconveniently long for desktop applications such as connecting a MacBook Pro or an iMac to a docking station.

 

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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