MBP non-Retina Thunderbolt limitations - USB3 Solution?

  • I have been trying to migrate a show that used to run off Mac Mini (the only mac we could afford at the time!) to my new MBP (i7 2.6 1GB Nvidia 8GB RAM). I used to use Firewire inputs and the Mini's HDMI>DVI for monitor and the TB>VGA for projector. I got the non-retina MBP because of the Retina's non-upgradeability, reasoning that I would probably need much more RAM in future. However, I did not realise the consequences of the single Thunderbolt connection versus 2 TB connections in the Retina plus HDMI!

    TB seems to currently only support linear daisy-chained devices, some of which terminate the TB bus. In my case, the Blackmagic Ultrastudio 3D input terminates the TB bus with no loop through, so I can't connect an external display at all! I was considering the VERY pricey Belkin dock, but contrary to pre-release images this dock does not have an HDMI out. 
    I am currently testing a USB3 dual output DisplayLink-based connector from Targus (there is another brand using the same chip but without Mac drivers). Will put it through rigorous tests at the end of this month. Seems good so far, and also looks like it may be able to run two streams of HD by drawing on the MBP's Nvidia GPU. 
    Let me know if anyone else is having MBP non- Retina frustrations...

  • Also... I have of course looked at the Matrox Dual and THTG solutions... but they use Displayport, knocking out my Blackmagic input. And knocking my pocket.

  • Dear Mockej,

    I'm afraid I have little advice to offer. I feel that Apple's choices with regard input and output on the newer Mac Book Pro leave something to be desired. Perhaps someone else has an idea here, because I don't have a good one myself.
    Best Wishes,
  • Beta Tester

    There are other soon to be released TB dock products that provide a TB through plus an HDMI out. I forget the names but a little googling should turn them up.

  • yes, I see a CalDigit dock with TB loop through and HDMI out has been announced... $199, "coming soon". I'm sure more will follow... and cheaper. @Mark, you're right, the new Macbooks are all kind of I/O crippled, especially also since the demise of the expresscard slot. Not at all built for mad tinkerers!