Adding ports to 24" iMac

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Looking to replace my late 2013 27" iMac, I've been waiting for the M1.   I might not have the patience to wait for the full sized iMac and order the 24" model.

But I see that all models have two Thunderbolt ports and some also have two USB-C ports.  

If I buy the model with 4 ports, it isn't obvious that I care what is plugged into what unless I buy a device in the future that is Thunderbolt.

But I will need USB-A plugs.   Looking at hubs on-line, I see them ranging from $13 to over $300.    That is a tremendous difference.

How do I decide what to buy?   (hub and adaptors and new cords)

Here's further information about what I have:
1.  I have a Seagate Backup Plus Hub 4TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD – This has a MicroB to USB-A cable which can be replaced with a MicroB to USB-C cable.
2.  I have an iPad and iPhone with USB-A to lightning cords and no USB-C power supplies.
3.  I will want my wireless iMac keyboard plugged into my iMac so it works when the battery is dead.  The mouse can recharge elsewhere as I can't use it while plugged in anyway.
4.  I have a 1T LaCie SSD that came with a USB-C cord and a USB-C to USB-A cord.
5.  I have two HDMI cords with adaptors so that I can use them with either my Thunderbolt-1 plugs or my wife's Thunderbolt-2 plugs (I use them for karaoke).

I don't use wired ethernet.  I don't use those thin memory cards.   I don't currently have another monitor (but still have the VGA adaptor from when I had one).

What should I be looking at, how much should I spend?


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Oh, I also connect my earphone jack to a mixer.  I've noticed some hubs have earphone jacks.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    thttht Posts: 3,940member
    What's number 6 again?

    You have 2 miniDisplayPort-to-HDMI adaptors, wherein the miniDisplayPort connector sides are plugged into your iMac's Thunderbolt ports? The other end of the adaptor what have HDMI ports enabling you to use typical HDMI-to-HDMI cables. And these have to be display out? And you need two of them, to be displayed silmultaneously?
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Number 6 uses the headphone jack to connect to a mixer and then speakers.   I mentioned that because I've seen hubs that included a headphone jack.

    I will add #7 though: I also have an Apple USB SuperDrive, that is only plugged in sometimes on Karaoke night.  

    When I run Karaoke, I have the same output to two HDMI TV sets.  I remember it being a bit of a pain to set up the first time.   One of these is for the singer, and one is for the audience.  I currently have one Thunderbolt-1 to HDMI cord, and one Thunderbolt-1 to HDMI adaptor along with a HDMI-HDMI cord.

    I have tested my wife's newer iMac as a Karaoke backup.   I have two more adaptors, a Thunderbolt-3 to Thunderbolt-2 adaptor, and a Thunderbolt-3 (or USB-C) to HDMI adaptor.  I can plug my other cords into these.   I suppose I'd be better off replacing the cords, and maybe buying a few adapters to plug USB-A devices into USB-C.

  • Reply 4 of 9
    I was thinking that it would be good to replace all of my USB-A cords with USB-C cords or at least adding adaptors to them to make them look like USB-C.  But I'm not seeing hubs that add extra USB-C sockets.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    thttht Posts: 3,940member
    I really meant number 5. You are driving two external monitors in addition to the iMac 27 monitor, right?

    And they need to be independently driven. And these a 4K monitors?
  • Reply 6 of 9
    I have two TV sets that I run on Karaoke night.   They both show the same screen.   I used to have a 2nd monitor in my apartment, but when it broke, I decided I didn't have space for it.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    thttht Posts: 3,940member
    With the current M1 Macs, off the shelf, they are limited to 2 displays. Since the iMac already has a display, it can only drive one external display. Hence, my questions regarding how you are using these external monitors.

    That's off-the-shelf. If you get a current M1 Mac, you will likely have to buy a display dock and use DisplayLink video drivers that will be able to split a single stream of video into two. You should go to:

    https://www.displaylink.com/

    to research it. The display docks do have a plethora of USBA and audio ports in them, and that should solve your numbers 1 thru 4 as it looks like you can use USBA for all of them. The DisplayLink website lists a bunch of compatible docks. Here's one. I have no idea if it is good or not, you need to research it.

    https://plugable.com/products/ud-6950h

    It can drive 2 external displays at 4K, has 6 USBA ports, audio ports, ethernet. Doesn't support USB-PD, so you can charge a laptop with it though. Since the M1 Macs are new, you should always ask both DisplayLink and the display dock vendor regarding compatibility. You should not buy an M1 Mac until you get answers regarding this.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    I will check with them, thanks.

  • Reply 9 of 9
    I'm thinking of buying this:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HVFH3G2/ref=pe_4671080_580244450_em_1p_4_lm

    【Multiport USB-C Adapter for Win System Laptops 14 IN 1】USB-C Laptop Docking Station Dual Monitor convert your USB C Laptops one type c/thunderbolt 3 port into 14 Ports: 2x4K hdmi, 3 usb 3.0,2 usb 2.0 sd/tf card reader,1080P vga,gigabit ethernet,audio,100w pd and data

    I like having what appears to be multiple USB C output ports.
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