JerryFreilich wrote:Stephen, I know nothing about these devices but would be very interested to learn more. Let us know what you discover.
My OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock arrived yesterday, and I have it in use now.
In person, it seems smaller than in the photos. (Of course, I could have made a cardboard cutout to get a feel for its size.)
This is essentially a powered USB 3 hub with the addition of audio in and out, gigabit ethernet, an additional Thunderbolt port and HDMI out. The HDMI supports 4K TVs.
There are three regular USB 3 ports, which are on when the Mac is on and two high-power USB ports that remain on all the time. Those do double duty, as USB ports and as replacements for iPhone or iPad chargers.
Oh, and one more thing,™ one FireWire 800 port. That's the killer feature for me. I can keep a couple of full-sized external drives that have FireWire 800, but only USB 2, and use them for archive drives. (My new riMac doesn't have FireWire.) You can daisychain five more FireWire 800 peripherals if needed.
You could offload all of your cables and have just one Thunderbolt cable attached to your Mac. I've mixed and matched. I've still got ethernet, and two USB 3 external drives plugged directly into my Mac.
My speakers and three USB devices are plugged into the dock. Two of these are my Lightning cable and a camera cable. I use these frequently, so it's nice not to have to plug and unplug all the time.
This leaves two USB 3 ports and a Thunderbolt port free on the Mac, and two USB 3 ports and a Thunderbolt port free on the dock.
The whole thing is absolutely plug and play. It's always powered on, and the LEDs showing a live Thunderbolt connection and power are under the edge, so they aren't glaring in your face. Build quality and design are excellent, and it's got nice, grippy rubber feet, so it doesn't slide around.
Here's a photo with a Magic Mouse nearby for scale.