I wanted to get rid of a significant set of cables when I set up my new desk, there were a gazillion of cables flying around on my desk and I wanted to bring that down to at best one.

This is not that easy when you have two large 4k monitors so far attached with USB-C (or to be exact with the Displayport on a USB-C port), want to use wired Ethernet, an USB-C SSD for Timemachine (one of two Time Machine targets I’m currently using, one manual, one automatic). And, of course, the charger. In the past this was a lot of cabling I had to manage.

There were a number of pitfalls like the situation that MacOS doesn’t still doesn’t seem to support Multi Stream Transport via Display Port 1. So many simpler docking stations where out of the equation.

The other point I had to keep in mind that I wanted to ensure that my personal Macbook gets enough power over the Thunderbolt cable to operate the Notebook and still charge it. Thus I deemed a docking station with 60-65 watts power delivery as insufficient an is searched for a docking station with 85 watts and more.

At the end I opted for the Thunderbolt route. As I don’t use 10 Gbit/s from my notebook, I decided to purchase a Caldigit TS3 Plus.2 I thought about buying the newer TS4, but at this time there was a sale for the TS3 plus and with around 200 Euro the price difference was that high, that I opted for the older and cheaper one with specs more than sufficient for me.

It works reasonably well. I get my 930 Mbit/s over my internet connection via wired ethernet. A minor problem I have from time to time: One of the monitors doesn’t get a connection from time to time and so far, I wasn’t able to find why this is happening. It happens to seldom to urge me to fix this and it’s possibly the USB-C to HDMI cable that was always a little bit quirky. Reseating the Thunderbolt cable from the docking station always solves it.

Thanks to my brother I put the docking station at a place where it’s invisible for all practical purposes. He printed me three mounting brackets for the docking station. I’ve put the docking station out of sight under my desk.

Caldigit TS3plus under my desk

With that docking station I was able to get to my 1 cable target. For a while. My new keyboard is a wired one as you may know from a recent blog entry. So I’m back to two … but that is still far less than before.

I just have one bigger problem with my setup that has nothing to do with the docking station: I have two MacBooks. One is my personal one, one the MacBook I’m using for my job. I’m a happy owner of the Apple Magic Trackpad for years now and that is the user interaction device from Apple I’m really using (unlike the keyboard I also own). I like it a lot and while I have thought about other trackpads because of a this problem, I’m still with it.

So far, the only solution I have found that always works is using that I have at any given time of day I have one primary device. From 8:00 to 18:00 my company notebook and the other time my personal notebook. I’m using a short USB-C to Lighning cable when I’m switching from one notebook to the other to pair it to the primary device and put the cable into the drawer afterwards. A bit cumbersome. But it’s currently the only workaround for this issue that fulfils one important requirements: It always works.

I could try to find a Trackpad that works as good as the Apple one with its own USB dongle3 , but so far it doesn’t bother me enough to go this way. This may change in the future.

That said, I really recommend this docking station. It has solved one of my problems with my desk quite nicely.

  1. To my knowledge. 

  2. As usual no link, it’s easy to find via Google to purchase it from your vendor of the least distrust if you feel influenced enough to want one on your one. 

  3. I would be plugged into the docking station and thus wander with with notebook using the docking station. At least this is the idea. But as always I assume there are new pitfalls. 

Written by

Joerg Moellenkamp

Grey-haired, sometimes grey-bearded Windows dismissing Unix guy.