OWC THUNDERBOLT HUB: FINALLY A SIMPLE WAY TO ADD MORE THUNDERBOLT PORTS TO A MACBOOK
Macworld|October 2021
Thunderbolt 3 was an amazing improvement in simplicity, despite the confusion that came with it and the transition from USB 3.0 over USB Type A, Thunderbolt 2, Mini DisplayPort and the like.
GLENN FLEISHMAN

Thunderbolt 3 uses the orientation-reversible USB-C connector, and can deliver up to 40Gbps in each data direction in an ideal world, while also supporting power (up to 100 watts, depending on controller and cable) and super high-res displays.

OWC’s Thunderbolt Hub with four Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports and one USB 3 Type-A port fills a piece of the puzzle that’s been missing since Apple introduced the new technology in 2016: a multiport external hub. Only certain Mac models have had more than two Thunderbolt 3 ports. (The short-lived 12-inch MacBook had just one, but it only handled USB over USB-C, not Thunderbolt 3.)

Support for a hub was available in the Thunderbolt controller Apple has included with all its Thunderbolt 3 Macs, but the company hadn’t yet enabled this feature and a few others at the operating system level. That came with macOS 11.1 Big Sur on both Intel and M1 Macs. The OWC Hub requires macOS 11.1 or later for it to work correctly. (Windows PCs require a Thunderbolt 4 controller for this hub’s features.

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub plugs into AC power, which lets it perform a few nice tricks. First, it can provide up to 60 watts over the included Thunderbolt cable to a Mac laptop. Second, each Thunderbolt 3 port offers up to 15 watts to attached devices. Third, even the USB Type-A port can deliver as much as 1.5 amps, sufficient for fast-charging iPhones and iPads.

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