Belkin today introduced the latest generation of its popular Thunderbolt dock for Mac and PC bringing with it Thunderbolt 2 technology and other improved specs. In total, the new Thunderbolt dock will allow you to connect 8 separate devices with support for daisy-chaining up to an additional four Thunderbolt devices. Those are similar specs to the first generation dock (now reduced to $199/$149), but a step up in performance with the faster Thunderbolt 2. Belkin notes that the increased bandwidth allows the new dock to offer superior image quality, with support for up to 4K cinema resolution:
Display the clearest picture through either the HDMI or Thunderbolt 2 port at a resolution of up to 4K. The USB 3.0 ports open the ability to charge smartphones, tablets and other higher amperage devices, even when the host computer is asleep or not connected to the dock. It also offers Thunderbolt 2 data transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps, which is two times faster than Thunderbolt, four times faster than USB 3.0 and up to 25 times faster than FireWire® 800.
Belkin is also promising dual-display support this time around with some exceptions: Note about dual displays: At least one display has to be Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 technology-ready. For displays that are not Thunderbolt technology-ready, the Thunderbolt port is backwards compatible with Mini DisplayPort. The dock supports either HDMI or Mini DisplayPort, but not both. The dock supports only one display at 4K cinema resolution.
The new and improved Belkin Thunderbolt docking station packs in a total of 8 ports including two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 1 HDMI port, 3 USB 3.0 ports w/ charging, 1 audio out, 1 audio out (with mic support), 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, and of course the AC/DC power input.
The new Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock is available to order from the company’s website and is expected to arrive in Apple Stores this October for £249/$299 including a 1 meter long Thunderbolt cable. Other retailers will start carrying the product in November. Of course the product requires a Mac (or PC) with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port. If you’re interested in the first generation Belkin Thunderbolt dock, it’s now reduced to $199 on the company’s site or $149 on Amazon.com
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