The OWC Thunderbolt dock is a compact Thunderbolt 4 port solution for your laptop, be it Mac or PC. Realistically 13-inch MacBook users will benefit the most as the addition of the Hub boosts the usually standard poultry usable ports from one to three.
The dock itself features four Thunderbolt four ports and one USB-A port; power is supplied through a power supply which means that all four ports can be used, the front port being for power pass through and data connection to the Mac or PC.
This realistically leaves you with three Thunderbolt ports for accessories and an optional USB-A port for an additional accessory.
In effect, that would boost the 13-inch MacBook Pro from one Thunderbolt port, the other being used for the power supply, to three, not a bad boost in connectivity terms. The fourth is used to connect to the Mac.
Powered hubs these days are quite unusual as everyone scrambles for portability, and while non powered is convenient, the performance isn’t always as stable as you would hope.
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub features power to charge the laptop and ensures consistency for all of the connected accessories.
This is especially important for those using their laptops for creative application such as video, where an additional strain of power and data transfer is put on the Hub.
The Hub also tackles the issue of daisy-chaining accessories. Some accessories need to be at the front of the chain to draw enough power to function properly. For example, you may find that you connect a portable hard drive to your non-powered Hub but find that it doesn’t appear.
More than likely, this is a daisy-chaining issue where the hubs bus isn’t providing the required power to the accessory. In some cases, this can cause issues with the connected device as it’s mounted and unmounted from the system.
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub gets around this issue by being powered. Therefore with the 60W pass through, the Hub has sufficient to power the accessories while still powering the Mac.
It’s worth noting that this Hub is Thunderbolt 4, whereas most Mac’s are still Thunderbolt 3. So while Mac users won’t be, at present, able to make use of the additional speed and features of the newer technology, it won’t be long before the next generation of Macs appears featuring Thunderbolt 4.
Although I’ve gone heavy on the Mac side of use with the OWC Thunderbolt Dock, it’s also 100% compatible with PCs such as the Intel NUC 9 Extreme.