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Matrox Thunderbolt dock turns MacBooks into desktops for $249

post #1 of 101
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Matrox on Sunday unveiled its new DS1 Thunderbolt docking station, which allows users to add multiple peripherals like an HDMI display, a full-size keyboard and a mouse to a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac or PC for $249.

The DS1 also includes a gigabit Ethernet port that provides connectivity to wired corporate networks at data transfers 18 times faster than Wi-Fi. In addition, it has a high-speed USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone input, and a speaker/headphone output, all of which can connect to a Thunderbolt MacBook or Ultrabook with just one cable.

The Matrox DS1 has a solid aluminum construction that the company said is ideal for office, home or dorm use. It will be available at authorized dealers in September for $249 U.S.

"Today?s MacBooks and Ultrabooks are powerful enough for most corporate users but their limited connectivity makes them inconvenient, and their small screens and keyboards make them uncomfortable to use in the office all day," said Alberto Cieri, senior director of sales and marketing at Matrox.

"The new Matrox DS1 docking station easily enables the creation of an ergonomic workspace and brings much-needed expandability for printers, scanners, storage, smartphones, optical drives, cameras, flash drives, and other peripherals."

The Matrox DS1 will be showcased at the Computex Taipei 2012 event at Intel's official booth, located at M0410 in the NanGang Exhibition Hall.

Matrox


"Thunderbolt delivers unparalleled performance, flexibility, and simplicity to personal computing," said Jason Ziller, Intel?s director of Thunderbolt Marketing. "Products like the Matrox DS1 docking station help highlight what Thunderbolt makes possible."

Also set to arrive in September is Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock, which was announced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. It will also turn a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac into a full-fledged desktop workstation with an HDMI port, FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5-millimeter audio port, one gigabit Ethernet port, and two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining to another Thunderbolt device.

Apple also offers the Thunderbolt Display, which lets users plug in one 10Gbps Thunderbolt cable to drive a monitor, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.
post #2 of 101

What a piece of junk. Why would anyone buy this rather than dropping an extra $50 for the Belkin?

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post #3 of 101

Both the Matrox and the Belkin ports are ridiculously overpriced for what you get.

post #4 of 101

DualHead2Go is still the best thing out there. I wonder when, if ever, we'll get a Thunderbolt multi-monitor solulion..?

post #5 of 101
U see all the nice looking apple products and they wanna sell a hideous piece of overpriced useless garbage like this? How is this even a story? Am I missing something or is AI getting sponsored articles now?
post #6 of 101

Uh, what were they thinking when they put the USB ports that close to each other when there's plenty of space on the front (among other layout issues)?

post #7 of 101

I see a DVI port but where is the HDMI?

post #8 of 101

Super, thunderbolt to everything I already have…

post #9 of 101

It gives your laptop a few extra ports.  That does not make a laptop into a desktop.  

post #10 of 101
If you want the $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display but only have $600-650 to spend then this dock (or the Belkin) plus this display using the exact same display panel as Apple's ATD may fit your needs well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo View Post

What a piece of junk. Why would anyone buy this rather than dropping an extra $50 for the Belkin?

It does have USB3.0 which the Belkin doesn't have, although MR notes that USB3.0 may not be supported by Apple at this time.

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post #11 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by tasslehawf View Post

DualHead2Go is still the best thing out there. I wonder when, if ever, we'll get a Thunderbolt multi-monitor solulion..?

 

Serious question.  Can't you just daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays together?

post #12 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Serious question.  Can't you just daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays together?

You can but that's a $2000 solution.

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post #13 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Uh, what were they thinking when they put the USB ports that close to each other when there's plenty of space on the front (among other layout issues)?

 

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why they cram USB ports so close together. I dare them to plug two flash drives into the thing. Same with multi-outlet power strips. The common ones you see at Costco come with the plugs so close together it halves the utility of the product.

 

I'd also like to see others do stuff like Apple with their magnetic power connector on their laptops. That cheap little circular plug in needs to go.

 

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post #14 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


You can but that's a $2000 solution.

 

Oh, if they are that cheap can I daisy chain three or more together?  At what point will I see performance issues?

post #15 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Oh, if they are that cheap can I daisy chain three or more together?  At what point will I see performance issues?

It all depends on the GPU you have. Taken from the first hit on the Google search of "how many thunderbolt monitors can you daisy chain?"...
Quote:
Not all Macs' Thunderbolt ports are created equal, however. While most Macs will be able to drive two Thunderbolt displays from a single port, the MacBook Air is only capable of driving a single display. Additionally, the 13-inch MacBook Pro's display will automatically go black if it's driving two Thunderbolt displays; Apple notes this is "expected behavior." The 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros and iMacs should be capable of driving two displays in addition to their own internal LCDs. The Mac mini can drive two Thunderbolt displays plus a display connected via its HDMI port, but only if the mini has an AMD graphics card.

I expect one day we'll see displays with their own GPUs in the displays or an external box that has a GPU or a box with PCIe clots for GPU(s) that can support many more. The real bottleneck right now is the GPU in your Mac/PC with the next bottleneck being the bandwidth of the interface, which is likely to be updated in 2014.

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post #16 of 101

As already mentioned - where is the HDMI? and more importantly, what about Thunderbolt pass-through?

post #17 of 101

The picture does not match the specs...

post #18 of 101

You guys are harsh.  

post #19 of 101
Damn, that thing is ugly as sin. Should have made it $269.00 and paid a designer to design a box for it. Or hire your 6 year old daughter to do the same. Anything but THAT (shown above).
post #20 of 101
HDMI and DVI are the same except DVI doesn't carry audio. (and of course the connectors look different). A simple DVI to HDMI adapter is all that's needed to connect this box to an HDMI display.
post #21 of 101
What's with all the whining?

OK, maybe they're not going to win a beauty contest, but maybe the target audience is more interested in function than form.

Isn't it funny how the Apple haters claim that Mac users only buy Macs because of the appearance and that they're no different than PCs, but yet they're the first to jump on a product that doesn't meet their standards of beauty. Can you say 'hypocrite'?
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post #22 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If you want the $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display but only have $600-650 to spend then this dock (or the Belkin) plus this display using the exact same display panel as Apple's ATD may fit your needs well.
It does have USB3.0 which the Belkin doesn't have, although MR notes that USB3.0 may not be supported by Apple at this time.

 

This and the Belkin lack some features and are ultra expensive. For the price you think they could include a couple of esata ports and have display port.

post #23 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shogun View Post

Damn, that thing is ugly as sin. Should have made it $269.00 and paid a designer to design a box for it.

And then you've have complained about the extra $20. You're not happy unless you're complaining about Mac products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theskivvys View Post

This and the Belkin lack some features and are ultra expensive. For the price you think they could include a couple of esata ports and have display port.

Then design your own. The fact that the Belkin and Matrox units are within $50 of each other suggests that it's not 'ultra expensive' and is right in line with market price.
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post #24 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

And then you've have complained about the extra $20. You're not happy unless you're complaining about Mac products.

What?? Are you high? When have I ever complained about the price of Mac products? Seriously, what a weird attack... Wouldn't my point suggest a willingness to pay for both form and function? Something I'm going to look at every day for five years should be beautiful and bring joy to my life. I'm willing to pay for that as its a real benefit.
post #25 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

You guys are harsh.  

Not really, this thing is a joke. If it had a pass through TB port and cost something like $125 it might be worth a discussion. Or if it had an internal drive or other redeeming value it might be worth considering. This doesn't even take into account the other shortcomings already pointed out.

I'm trying to resist yet another computer purchase this year and will try to milk my 2008 MBP for a bit longer. Crap like this hitting the market just means that it is much easier to put off the purchase. I want to see TB offer up some real value for the laptop owner.
post #26 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Isn't it funny how the Apple haters claim that Mac users only buy Macs because of the appearance and that they're no different than PCs, but yet they're the first to jump on a product that doesn't meet their standards of beauty. Can you say 'hypocrite'?

Another bizarre comment... Why are you commenting on Apple haters when that's clearly not the population reading here? I'm not even sure you made the point you think you did. Who are the hypocrites in this scenario?
post #27 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

And then you've have complained about the extra $20. You're not happy unless you're complaining about Mac products.
People are complaining about this product, not Macs. The complaints are justified too.

By the way I'm not bothered by the looks. The price and feature set though are a problem.
Quote:

Then design your own. The fact that the Belkin and Matrox units are within $50 of each other suggests that it's not 'ultra expensive' and is right in line with market price.

Baloney. The market for TB products has not been established yet. However we have real hardware we can reference for pricing comparisons. AppleTV provides on price point reference, whole i86 laptops another reference and then we have PCI Express cards supporting similar features. Digest the pricing of such hardware and it becomes clear that the term ripoff fits this discussion.
post #28 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Not really, this thing is a joke. If it had a pass through TB port and cost something like $125 it might be worth a discussion. Or if it had an internal drive or other redeeming value it might be worth considering. This doesn't even take into account the other shortcomings already pointed out.

Then don't buy one. Feel free to buy another device with equivalent functionality which costs less.

Oh, wait. There are none.
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post #29 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Baloney. The market for TB products has not been established yet. However we have real hardware we can reference for pricing comparisons. AppleTV provides on price point reference, whole i86 laptops another reference and then we have PCI Express cards supporting similar features. Digest the pricing of such hardware and it becomes clear that the term ripoff fits this discussion.

Maybe you should learn about pricing for cutting edge products.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Problem solved.
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post #30 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubston View Post

HDMI and DVI are the same except DVI doesn't carry audio. (and of course the connectors look different). A simple DVI to HDMI adapter is all that's needed to connect this box to an HDMI display.

So what you are saying is that they aren't the same ... but you can daisy chain some adapters and kinda sorta make up for it, provided you don't want audio as well?

The definition of "same" gets broken the second you add a qualifying "except" in there, at that point they are no longer "the same".

post #31 of 101

Would you prefer the design and aesthetics of a PowerBook Duo? Function before form, right? Price may be another issue, though. I've never used something like this, so I don't know what's reasonable.

post #32 of 101

@Jragosta: Everyone is  allowed their opinion, so stop telling people what to do and let them speak their mind. I see nothing wrong with comments and to be frank your comments sounds like you had a bad day maybe week and going off on people for valid comments. Consumers buy products and allowed to comment if their feel the product is not right!

post #33 of 101

I was going to say myself that those comments felt a little overly defensive. I understand that Thunderbolt stuff is going to be more expensive than people are accustomed to seeing (and more expensive than alternatives based on lesser/earlier tech), but there's no need to be as forceful about it. If anything, this is a good sign. We're seeing Thunderbolt products start to garnish attention from the consumer market, who are used to paying bargain bin prices for molasses-slow USB 2 accessories.

 

And I agree with them in some respects. What was Matrox thinking not putting a Thunderbolt throughput on this thing?! I could have sworn that was REQUIRED as part of the use of the spec.

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post #34 of 101
I am unimpressed by this. Other than using Thunderbolt to connect to the host system, it really doesn't seem offer more than this USB based solution:

http://www.frontierpc.com/networking/kvm-switchboxes/kvm-switch/startech/startech-com-2-port-usb-dvi-kvm-switch-kit-w-cables-sv211kdvi-1011615655.html
post #35 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If you want the $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display but only have $600-650 to spend then this dock (or the Belkin) plus this display using the exact same display panel as Apple's ATD may fit your needs well.

 

Possibly, I can't confirm whether the device supports dual-link DVI or not. I suspect they would say they had it if they did, so probably not.

post #36 of 101

What a wonderful economic addition!  Does the Photoshopping come with it?

post #37 of 101

I think some people are misreading the article. The Matrox device pictured has a DVI port, while the Belkin device will have a HDMI port. I think some people misread that and were wondering why the picture of the Matrox device doesn't show a HDMI port.

 

I'd much rather go for the Belkin device, primarily because of the FW800 port, and secondarily because of the thunderbolt passthrough port. I'd rather have a DVI port than a HDMI port just because of the particular gear I already have, but that's easily worked around with the right adapter. The audio in and out ports on the Matrox device seem pointless, since any system that's going to use this will already have audio ports. I suppose the small macbook air models have no audio input built in, but still, doesn't seem like an important selling point for most people.

post #38 of 101

While I love the idea of a breakout box, I really wonder how fast the gigabit ethernet would be. Especially with a display sharing the Thunderbolt bandwidth. 

post #39 of 101

I remember a time when a box like this would come out and only work on non-Mac products. THEN you'd have something to really whine about!

 

Be thankful Macs are on par with things these days.

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post #40 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Uh, what were they thinking when they put the USB ports that close to each other when there's plenty of space on the front (among other layout issues)?

 

There's nothing wrong with that. If you check motherboard designs they all feature the same. This thing have circuit boards in it too. It was designed to be use with USB cables hence the ports are at the back. This is also meant to stay in one place at all times. Besides, this is a docking station. If you want to use fat flash drives, use the port that's on your laptop. Simples!
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