Quite surprisingly, CalDigit is a bit late to the party when it comes to Thunderbolt 3 enabled NBASE-T network adapters. With Sonnet, Promise, Qnap, OWC, and others already having solutions on the market it will really come down to aesthetics, pricing, and warranty as many of these solutions use the same controller internally.
As for the CalDigit solution, they have gone with a unique design supporting increased cooling capabilities with fin stacks surrounding the entire adapter. Each end is capped off; one housing the RJ45 connector the other, the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection.
As far as specifications go the Connect 10G supports the NBASE-T protocol offering multi-gig functionality that includes 1GBe, 2.5GBe, and 5GBe along with 10Gbe as its top offering. The big draw here is the ability to use existing cabling to upgrade your current network to 2.5Gbe or even 5Gbe.
The Connect10G also entertains the 802.3an/bz standard along with ABV, WoL and Jumbo Frame support up to 16K for Windows and 9K for macOS. This is a bus-powered solution weighing 350g.MSRP of the CalDigit Connect 10G comes in at $149.99 with a two-year warranty.
Packaging offers a fresh look at CalDigit solutions. We have an image of the adapter centered with branding top left and right.
Scope of delivery includes reading materials, Thunderbolt 3 cable, and the adapter.
The entire unit takes advantage of as much surface area as possible to cool the internal 10Gbe controller. On this end, we have the RJ45 port along with multicolor LEDs below to note operation mode.
On the opposite side, we have the only spot of CalDigit branding next to the Thunderbolt 3 port.
Pulling the unit apart we have a two-piece heat sink design that directly cools the PCB and controllers while that connects to the larger enclosure for further dissipation. The controller used in the Connect 10G is the Aquantia 107S.
Performance, as mentioned, will be nearly identical across adapters as they all use the same hardware. As seen in testing the Connect 10G performed up to expectations in each scenario, utilizing a direct cable connection to our test machine.
There is no doubt the CalDigit Connect10G offers the largest footprint among current solutions; while many vendors look for way to minimize the size for a compact design, CalDigit added additional cooling capabilities to the Connect10G with two fin stacks, one inside the other. This overall has added to the build quality and the aesthetics of the unit.
As for performance, like mentioned previously, many of these Thunderbolt 3 enabled 10Gbe solution use the same Aquantia 107S controller. The Connect10G is no different and performs on par with the OWC, Sonnet, and Promise unit I have had in-house previously.
As far as pricing goes, CalDigit has given the Connect10G a $149.99 MSRP which puts it on par with the OWC unit while being 20 and 30 USD cheaper than the Sonnet and Promise units.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
With Connect 10G, CalDigit offers the best all around Thunderbolt 3 enabled NBASE-T adapter.
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