CalDigit Thunderbolt™ Station Preview

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

CalDigit has been making high quality external storage solutions for over 10 years, and we decided to create a new product that utilized our expertise in this area.  The result of which was the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station is a small and portable Thunderbolt expansion dock that connects extra peripheral devices to your computer via a single Thunderbolt cable.

CalDigit TS

As laptops are getting thinner, they are losing many of their connectivity options in order to make them even more portable.  This results in a lack of versatility for connecting multiple devices to your laptop.  The power of Thunderbolt makes it as simple as connecting one cable to your computer in order to add a whole host of new connectivity options.

CalDigit TS

The Thunderbolt Station is built from aluminum, and is made with the same attention to detail that has made CalDigit the company of choice for the content creation industry.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

Featuring 3 x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, dual Thunderbolt ports, Audio In & Out, the Thunderbolt Station adds a new level of flexibility to your ultra slim laptop.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

MONITORS

CalDigit’s products are renowned for their versatility, and the Thunderbolt Station is no exception.  Firstly, let’s talk about the monitor configurations possible with the Thunderbolt Station.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

The Thunderbolt Station uses the HDMI 1.4 spec that supports dual stream 3D, extended support for color spaces, and much more.  The Thunderbolt Station’s HDMI output also supports HDCP movie playback.  This means that you can play content such as iTunes movies on your monitor or TV.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

One of the most asked questions about the Thunderbolt Station is if multiple monitors can be connected.  The answer to that question is that you can connect up to an extra 2 monitors to your Mac.  However, some 2011 Macs with Thunderbolt are only capable of working with 1 Thunderbolt monitor.  To check if your Mac is capable of daisy chaining more than 1 monitor please visit Apple’s support site: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5219#dispnum

These are the dual monitor configurations that are possible with the Thunderbolt Station:

  • Two Thunderbolt monitors
  • One Thunderbolt monitor & one HDMI monitor
  • One Thunderbolt monitor & one DVI monitor (Requires a HDMI to DVI cable)

For more specific information please visit the Thunderbolt Station FAQ.

CalDigit TS

USB 3.0

The second most frequently asked question about the Thunderbolt Station is about the USB 3.0 ports.  Other devices on the market have issues charging and bus powering USB devices.  The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station’s USB 3.0 ports generate enough power to charge your USB devices such as iPhones and iPads.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

They can also bus power devices.  See the image below of the CalDigit AV Pro USB 3.0 hard drive bus powered via the Thunderbolt Station.

The USB 3.0 ports also support the latest USB 3.0 protocol called UASP.  UASP stands for USB Attached SCSI Protocol, and means that the USB 3.0 interface can support multiple commands at the same time for increased performance.

The inclusion of USB 3.0 ports on the Thunderbolt Station is ideal for people who have a Thunderbolt equipped Mac that does not feature USB 3.0 ports.  The Thunderbolt Station would allow you to add the flexibility of using the wide variety of USB 3.0 devices that are available on the market.

Other USB 3.0 features include hot-plugging devices, wake-on-USB 3.0, and backwards compatibility with USB 2.0.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

ETHERNET

The Ethernet port on the Thunderbolt Station is ideal for situations where no WiFi access is available, or if you have an unstable WiFi connection.  It also features a wake-on-LAN function.

CalDigit TS

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

AUDIO IN & OUT

If you’re someone who records voice-overs or podcasts, the audio in function of the Thunderbolt Station is great for connecting a microphone to your laptop.  The audio out function is ideal for connecting external speakers for clear audio playback.

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station will be available soon through CalDigit Resellers worldwide and through the CalDigit Online Store.

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46 thoughts on “CalDigit Thunderbolt™ Station Preview

    1. 1) $199 MSRP
      2) If you want to connect to 2 monitors, one of those monitors will need to be a Thunderbolt monitor. You can use a DP-HDMI or DVI for one monitor, but the second would need to be a Thunderbolt monitor.

  1. Too bad you can’t use the Thunderbolt connection with Apples dp/tb to dvi adapter. There aren’t many thunderbolt displays (1?). But there are monitorys with dp, hdmi and dvi connections. It would be nice to have a version with one thunderbolt connection to connect to your laptop and two hdmi connections. I’ll wait till a suitable product appears somewhere. Also during the IDF thunderbolt wasn’t really in scope and is mostly ignored by other companies. I think just as with firewire tb will die a silent death. Now that USB is getting faster with 3.1 less overhead but a wide adoption potential. We’ll see.

    1. You can use a Display Port to DVI adapter to connect to one DVI monitor, or you can connect a HDMI to DVI cable to the HDMI port of the Thunderbolt Station to connect to a DVI monitor. You can only connect to one HDMI/DVI monitor at a time. If you want to connect to more than one monitor you would have to use a Thunderbolt monitor along with the HDMI/DVI monitor.

      1. I understand. But isn’t a dual monitor a kind of standard now? And aren’t a thunderbolt monitors a kind of rare? I find it a peculiar trade off to assume that one rather wants to connect another thunderbolt device rather than a second monitor. What happens if I connect a second dock can I then use the hdmi connection of the second dock?

    1. Hello. It is not possible to connect two HDMI monitors even if you use two Thunderbolt Stations. This is because the Thunderbolt interface is only capable of one HDMI video stream.

    1. It is not possible to connect two HDMI monitors even if you use two Thunderbolt Stations. This is because the Thunderbolt interface is only capable of one HDMI video stream.

  2. It is possible to connect one HDMI/DVI monitor and one standard DislpayPort monitor at the same time or this configuration work only if at the second thunderbolt port is connected a Thunderbolt monitor?

    1. That configuration would not be possible. You can only connect one HDMI/DVI monitor to either the HDMI output, or via a mDP to HDMI/DVI cable. This is due to the fact that the Thunderbolt interface is only cable of one HDMI video stream. To connect more than one monitor would require a Thunderbolt display.

  3. I’m guessing I could still connect 1 HDMI to the Thunderbolt station and 1 HDMI to the HDMI port on a retina MBP, couldn’t I? Or is the internal HDMI considered part of the thunderbolt connection?

    1. This would not be possible. The number of non-Thunderbolt monitors is capped by the GPU in the Mac. You would have to either use the HDMI port on your Retina MacBook Pro, or the HDMI port on the Thunderbolt Station.

      1. I believe I have had a 13″ Retina connected with it’s internal HDMI, and a DP to DVI or HDMI adapter and drove all 3 monitors. So, could I use a DP to DVI/HDMI adapter off the Thunderbolt Dock and the internal HDMI? I’m betting this will work. If not, can you provide the appropriate reference material on the GPU limits?

  4. To clarify, can a monitor still be connected to the MBP’s second Thunderbolt/MiniDP port, with the first TB port connected to the TB Station? In other words, can I connect:
    • 1x monitor to TB Station HDMI port +
    • 1x monitor to TB Station TB port +
    • 1x monitor to MBP TB/MiniDP port

    …or am I missing something..?

      1. Can you clarify what this limit is?
        Also, how is a TB monitor different to a DP monitor is not the TB video using the DP protocols? This is all very confusing. All I want to do is connect my DP monitor and my hdmi monitor and ethernet and audio out with less cables plugged into my macbook. I (and I’m sure many other people ) assumed that with a TB docking station this would be easy. It all seems very complicated and unclear.

      2. The limit is one HDMI monitor and one Thunderbolt monitor. You can use a Display Port monitor, but not at the same time as a HDMI monitor. This is a GPU issue.

      3. I am sorry, but this is wrong as I am currently using 2x non-thunderbolt monitors on my retina MBP, as well as the built in display. I am typing on it right now. I have 1x DVI monitor plugged into the display-port using a display-port to DVI adapter. Then I have another monitor plugged into the HDMI port on retina MBP. All 3 work as individual monitors.

      4. At the moment you only have one non Thunderbolt monitor connected to the Thunderbolt port via mini Display Port. The other is going through the build in HDMI port. When you connect the Thunderbolt Station you will have two non-Thunderbolt monitors going through the Thunderbolt interface. The Thunderbolt Station is only capable of one non-Thunderolt monitor.

  5. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I just pre-purchased the TB Station and it might have been a mistake. I have similar question like everyone else on this forum. For more clarity…I own two high-end Dell 27″ monitors that I use for dual monitors with my PC laptop. I was hoping to use them with my newest version MPB. I was hoping to do one of two configuration with your TB Station.
    Option 1:
    1 x DP to MDP to MBP
    1 x TB Station HDMI to HDMI
    Option 2 (less optimal):
    1 x DP to MDP to MBP
    1 x TB Station TB to DP
    or is my only choice to use both my MBP TB ports to connect to the Dell DP?

    Thanks
    Lou

  6. I currently use two non-Thunderbolt displays with my MacBook Air – one is connected via DP-DVI (to the Thunderbolt port) and the other is a USB-DVI DisplayLink device. Is this configuration possible? In other words, is it possible to connect such a USB-DVI display adapter to the CalDigit?

    1. Dear Lou,

      Here’re the answers:

      1. Can I do the following configuration with the TB Station?
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      b. 1 x HDMI to HDMI to TB Station
      – Yes, you can connect one of your Dell mointors to the MBP’s Thunderbolt Port, then another HDMI to HDMI to the TB Station (via your MBP’s 2nd TB port).

      2. OR Can I do this option (which is less optimal)
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      1 x DP to TB port on TB Station
      – Yes, same as above. However, we think your Dell would be able to reach its maximum resolution via the mDP port, while the HDMI is capped at 1080.
      3. OR (even less optimal)
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      b. 1 x HDMI to HDMI to MBP
      – Yes, it should. This has nothing to do with our TB station.

      Best regards,

      CalDigit – Support

      Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:54 PM
      To: support@caldigit.com
      Subject: Question regrading the new CalDigit Thunderbolt Station

      Last night (10/28) I pre-purchased a CalDigit Thunderbolt Station (Thunderbolt Station), via Amazon. Based on the recent forum traffic I have a couple questions, all centered around dual monitor capabilities. The questions are as follows:

      Products owned:
      • Two Dell U2713H 27” monitors capable of 2560×1440 resolution each.
      • Brand new MacBook Pro (MBP), equipped with two Thunderbolt (TB) 2 ports.

      Goal:
      • To utilize CalDigit’s new TB Station, versus using both TB ports from the MBP for my Dell monitors (via Display Port (DP) to Mini Display Port (MDP))

      Question:
      2. Can I do the following configuration with the TB Station?
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      b. 1 x HDMI to HDMI to TB Station
      3. OR Can I do this option (which is less optimal)
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      1 x DP to TB port on TB Station
      4. OR (even less optimal)
      a. 1 x DP to MDP to MBP
      b. 1 x HDMI to HDMI to MBP
      Thanks,

      Lou

  7. I think I understand the thunderbolt limitations, but I’d like to know if the following would work..

    MacBook Pro retina thunderbolt out to caldigit.
    Caldigit to apple Thunderbolt Display
    Thunderbolt Display to second Thunderbolt Display (daisy chained)
    Caldigit to hdmi monitor
    This would total three monitors

    Bonus if built in display would also work

  8. I have just received my Thunderbolt station and have successfully connected my display port monitor to one thunderbolt port on my 2012 retina MBP and one DVI monitor to the HMDI port on the thunderbolt station which is connected to the other thunderbolt port on my 2012 retina MBP. The internal display is also operational. I don’t have a Thunderbolt display to test I’m afraid.

  9. just to be clear… I have a macbook Air and I have just ordered a Dell Ultrasharp 24 – non-hdmi monitor. I also am required to have an ethernet connection. The station will allow me to access ethernet as well as plug in my monitor using a mini-dvi port cable. Is this correct? Also – where is the est place to purchase Caldigit products in canada? on this site or are there any bricks and mortar locations?

    1. Hello. Yes you can use the ethernet port and have a monitor connected at the same time. Are you using a mini-display port to DVI cable to connect your monitor? If you are then that is fine.
      With regard to a store selling the Thunderbolt Station in Canada can you please send an email over to CalDigit Sales and they will be able to point you in the right direction (sales@caldigit.com). If you want to purchase it online you can do so from the CalDigit US Online Store to ship to Canada.

  10. Hi,

    Just to be sure. I have a macbook air (2013) that supports two monitors. I would like to have this scenario:

    macbook air > thunderbolt display > caldigit > dell (display port)

    And obviously, I don’t want two mirror monitors, but an extended workspace.

    Is this configuration ok?

    1. Hello. The Thunderbolt Station supports 1 x Thunderbolt monitor + 1 x non-Thunderbolt monitor. Yes, you will be able to extend the desktop across the monitors. Thanks.

  11. I’m having issues with my Caldigit Thunderbolt Station and my external monitor. When waking from sleep mode, the colors are washed out on the external monitor via HDMI. How can this be corrected?

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