Top Picks: Docking Stations for Your Mac

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J5create Thunderbolt 5 dock, which is a great computing accessory to expand the utility of a Mac or MacBook Pro, got massive attention at CES 2024. Docks are designed to exploit USB-C connections, including Thunderbolt, enabling users to connect a monitor, add a printer, plug into a physical network, or read a memory card. Here are our top selections to come out of Las Vegas during CES 2024. Apple’s current-gen Mac lineup includes ports that use Thunderbolt 4, offering up to 40 gigabits per second of bandwidth, capable of handling video and delivering power to connected hardware. The next generation of the standard, Thunderbolt 5, was launched in September 2023, with the first hardware using it arriving in 2024. The key difference between Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 5 is the speed. The newer standard is capable of up to 80 gigabits per second of bi-directional bandwidth, thanks to moving from PCI-E 3 to PCI-E 4 addressing. Intel added a feature called Bandwidth Boost that can enable up to 120Gbps to flow through a cable. Specifications about the dock were light at the CES 2024. It had two Thunderbolt ports, a USB-A port, SD, and microSD card readers, and an audio port at the front. Around the back were two more Thunderbolt ports, a pair of USB-A, and a 2.5Gb Ethernet port. Prices and the release date was not shared for the dock, except that it is expected to ship at some point in 2024. Another offering was a fully-featured dock from Hyper, aiming to take full advantage of Thunderbolt 5’s specs. It will be launched in Q3 2024. Other World Computing’s CES showing did include some Thunderbolt 5 accessories, but details about specifications were light. Pricing is unavailable for the OWC dock. Satechi Stand & Hub with NVMe SSD Enclosure is available to order now from the company’s website for $99.99.

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