The iMac Pro comes with 10 Gigabit Ethernet out of the box, which is great for connecting to high speed networks and devices like NAS boxes. But what if you have a regular iMac or MacBook Pro? You can use Akitio’s Thunder3 Dock Pro (review), which provides 10 Gigabit Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet, but that may be overkill if you just need to upgrade your network connection.

If that describes your situation, you’ll be happy to know that the prolific Thunderbolt 3 hardware manufacturer has the T3-10G, a much smaller bus-powered 10 Gigabit Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet adapter. Watch our hands-on video review for the details.

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Specifications

  • Thunderbolt 3 interface with reversible USB-C connector
  • Ethernet port supports auto-negotiation for 10Gb/s, 5Gb/s, 2.5Gb/s, 1Gb/s and 100Mb/s
  • Large gaps for airflow and heatsink for passive cooling
  • Bus-powered
  • Jumbo frame support
  • Durable, compact and portable
  • Protective rubber sleeve
  • Includes 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable
  • Windows and macOS compatible
  • Price: $190

Video review

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As mentioned, this isn’t Akitio’s first crack at making a 10 Gigabit Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet adapter, but it’s definitely its most compact and portable solution. The fact the T3-10G is bus-powered makes it particularly appealing for MacBook Pro users.

Akitio includes a removable bumper, which is great for travel, but it also adds a little more bulk to the package. I suggest removing the bumper if it’ll be primarily stationed on your desktop.

Though small compared to Akitio’s other 10GbE dock, the T3-10G is still quite a bit bigger than your typical Gigabit Ethernet dongle. Keep in mind that it’s pushing a whole lot of data, which uses electricity, which in turn generates heat.

Instead of building the adapter with a fan, Akitio wisely opted for a passive cooling setup. This necessitates its size and build, as the large gaps facilitate airflow, and the heatsink helps keep things nice and cool. Because of this design, the T3-10G is dead quiet when in use, which is music to the ears of anyone who works in audio or video production.

I used the adapter to connect to Synology’s DS1817, a NAS machine that features built-in 10GbE connectivity. As you might imagine, the difference between Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is immediately apparent when working with a NAS full of stripped hard drives. It’s the difference between having a NAS that can accommodate realtime 4K video editing, and having one that can’t.

4K-capable speed courtesy of 10GbE

Akitio is very good at making Thunderbolt 3 products, and they have a ton of experience under their belt. If you need 10GbE connectivity on your MacBook Pro, then this, along with the slightly more expensive Sonnet Solo 10G adapter, is one of the best options that I’ve seen. If you don’t care about portability, and desire a 10GbE solution with additional I/O, then I recommend checking out the Thunder3 Dock Pro, which you can learn more about in our video below.

Do you currently use 10GbE? Feel free to share your thoughts about the T3-10G down below in the comments.

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