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figgypudding18
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Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:46 pm

Hi All, I hope I'm posting this in the right place. It's not entirely Logic related, although I'm running Logic, and planning on going through the apple certified Logic book soon.

I'm in the process of setting up my first little home studio and I've got a bit of a conundrum on my hands. I was lucky enough to purchase an Apollo Twin DUO X interface and an Arturia KeyLab Essential 49 midi controller, as well as some monitors. My MacBook Pro specs are the following:

OS: Big Sur 11.2.3
2017 Macbook Pro, two Thunderbolt 3 ports
Processor: 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
Memory: 8 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3

As my storage is way too small, I have to use an external hard drive that connects to a thunderbolt port. This carries my logic sound library and will probably also have my apollo stuff that's not on the interface itself, so it needs to be plugged in.

Problem is, one of those ports also needs to be used for the charging cable, another for the interface. That's 3 ports that I need, 4 if I was wanting to have the midi controller plugged in at the same time.

Is there a way to get more thunderbolt 3 ports without compromising performance? I've heard something about "daisy-chaining" but also how it gives less bandwidth to each device, and not sure if that would be a good idea with all this stuff. Is there some sort of device that would solve this issue?

Thanks so much for any help and wisdom you can offer!
Logic 10.6.1
OS: Big Sur 11.2.3
2017 Macbook Pro, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5
8 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3
 
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David Nahmani
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:51 am

You posted this in the MainStage forum? I'm moving this to the Logic Pro forum, you'll get more visibility.
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fisherking
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:58 am

your usb A devices (ie the keyboard) are not thunderbolt devices. and you can get a usb A hub that ends in a usb C plug. for example:
https://smile.amazon.com/AUKEY-Adapter-MacBook-Chromebook-Pixelbook/dp/B0772TXG3H/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=usb+a+hub+to+c&qid=1619103431&sr=8-3
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lookatthisguy
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:48 am

Indeed, especially if you have the lower-tier MacBook Pros with only two TB ports, a Thunderbolt dock is hugely beneficial at least, but probably critical. They're pricier, but they handle a ton of I/O. (The one I have, through one port on the Mac, charges my laptop and connects it to my NVMe sample drive, two interfaces, second monitor, and charges my phone or iPad at high speed. On top of that, It has more ports available that I don't yet have need for.) Of note here is the fact that a TB dock can charge your computer, thus saving the other port for other I/O needs. Thunderbolt is robust enough that based on your setup, you aren't likely to see any adverse impact on the throughput.

Before buying this, however, I had two USB-C adapters to connect up to seven USB-A devices and my HDMI output, and that was partly due to portability. (In fact, one of them is the very one fisherking linked above.) You can get a bigger one to do more, but a TB dock is still the best investment.
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blinkofani
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:56 am

CalDigit new Element TB4 Hub gives you 4 TB3 and 4 USB-A ports and it's not too expensive. You just need to order quick and be patient as it's BO everywhere. You need to be on Big Sur but it's compatible with older TB3 Macs.
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Ploki
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Fri Apr 23, 2021 2:39 pm

Caldigit Element, or OWC Thunderbolt Hub. Both also charge your laptop.

The thing with intel macs is you have a single controller per TWO ports, so performance is already compromised from the get go.
On the M1, it's one controller per ONE port.

i use OWC thunderbolt hub on M1 and it works full speed via hub.
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facej
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:41 pm

a half speed Thunderbolt port is not compromised in any way compared to a USB 3 port (or less)
how many gigabytes per second to you have to move ;-) ?
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Ploki
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:02 am

a single NVMe SSD drive will fully saturate a single Thunderbolt controller.
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facej
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:32 am

7 USB-A devices (when using typical MIDI and audio gear is USB-2) is about 4 GBPS, plus an HDMI port running between 10 and 18 GBPS - so like maybe in some crazy world, 22GBPS constant. The TB3 port can do 40GBPS. That NvME SSD completely depends on the controller interface.

For practical purposes on a "low-end" machine a single Thunderbolt 3 dock should have zero problems running all of the devices connected through a single Thunderbolt port. The Thunderbolt 2 connection on the Apollo Twin might be an issue. That's a question for UAD - running the Twin through a dock or a direct connect.
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Ploki
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Re: Not enough Thunderbolt 3 ports...help!!

Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:15 pm

I don't think it would be an issue. I'm running my UFX+ on thunderbolt 2 through a dock, and also my NVMe drive.
I have both docks connected directly to two ports on the M1, CalDigit TS3+ and OWC Thunderbolt Hub.
The whichever is plugged in first also takes care of charging
<desktop pending> | 13" M1 Pro | Big Sur 11.1 | Logic 10.6.1
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