Just a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and purchased the late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina. With the amazingly slim format that is the MBP, it does sacrifice a few connection options. For those that enjoy using your eSATA and Firewire 800 devices, take notice: AKiTiO is aiming to please with their latest product, the Thunder Dock.
The Thunder Dock is a hub that takes the throughput of Thunderbolt and switches it, giving an additional two USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6Gb/s ports, and a single bus powered Firewire 800 port. In addition, the Thunder Dock has a second Thunderbolt port, allowing daisy chaining of your devices. Compatibility of the AKiTiO Thunder Dock extends to OS X 10.9+. MSRP is set at $269.99, with a one-year warranty.
Delivered with the AKiTiO, we have a rather large power adapter, along with reading materials, and a Thunderbolt cable.
The front edge of the unit houses dual Thunderbolt ports; above, there are two LEDs denoting power and connectivity.
Moving to the side of the enclosure, we find dual eSATA ports, and each of these are powered by separate SATA controllers.
The back edge of the AKiTiO has dual USB 3.0 ports, along with the bus powered Firewire 800, and power connection.
Above, we have the results from our eSATA testing. Utilizing one of our Seagate 600 Pro SSDs, we were able to garner 301 MB/s write, and 380 MB/s read.
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Next up was the USB 3.0. Again using the Seagate 600 Pro, we were able to achieve 204 MB/s write, followed by 284 MB/s read.
Daisy chaining our AKiTiO Neutrino to the Thunder Dock, we found ourselves with 341 MB/s write, and 499 MB/s read.
The AKiTiO Thunder Dock is one of those devices you don't know you need, until you go to plug in an old storage device, and quickly realize your new MacBook Pro is out of ports. The build quality of the device is rather fitting of a Mac accessory, and blends quite well into the work environment. The only thing that does throw me off is the rather large power brick for the dock.
Performance of the unit was quite good via eSATA, but lacked a little in the USB 3.0 department. However, daisy chaining our Neutrino to the dock gave us great performance. AKiTiO does say that the USB 3.0 ports support UAS in their documentation, so it could be my drives that were slow, but seeing as they were SSDs coming off a fresh secure erase, I'm not completely sold on that idea. At any rate, the performance of the dock in all aspects was great; I love the idea of adding additional storage capabilities to the MBP.
MSRP of the AKiTiO Thunder Dock is set at $269.99, with a one-year warranty.
PRICING: You can find the AKiTiO Thunder Dock for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The AKiTiO Thunder Dock retails for $269.98 at Amazon.