Trending February 2024 # Review: Lacie’s 4Tb Rugged Thunderbolt/Usb 3 Portable Hard Drive Delivers Ssd # Suggested March 2024 # Top 10 Popular

You are reading the article Review: Lacie’s 4Tb Rugged Thunderbolt/Usb 3 Portable Hard Drive Delivers Ssd updated in February 2024 on the website Kientrucdochoi.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested March 2024 Review: Lacie’s 4Tb Rugged Thunderbolt/Usb 3 Portable Hard Drive Delivers Ssd

LaCie announced its new 4TB Thunderbolt/USB 3 Rugged RAID portable hard drive ($420 list, $399 Amazon) today, and I’ve had some time to take it for a little ‘spin.’ There are two speedy 7200RPM 2TB portable hard drives RAID-ed together inside to give the device very impressive, almost SSD-like speeds but with the cost savings and huge storage of portable hard drives. At the same time, the package isn’t much bigger than a regular portable hard drive and better yet, it can take a serious beating…

Key Details:

Ruggedized housing can survive drops, seals out liquids and dust

Two 2TB hard drives are inside, joined via RAID

Offers near-SSD speeds but with conventional hard drives

Thunderbolt and USB 3 are both supported

Thunderbolt cable is integrated directly into the enclosure

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Rugged feels very similar to the rest of the venerable LaCie Rugged lineup, though it is slightly thicker and denser than previous single drive models – as you’d expect.

LaCie has incorporated a built-in Thunderbolt cable which wraps around the edges of the unit and ends up being a foot in length whenfully extracted (see image below). The cable is the thinnest I’ve seen in power-carrying Thunderbolt and the power from a MacBook is enough to power the drives.

The unit also has a USB 3 port and cable that somewhat awkwardly connects to machines that don’t have a Thunderbolt port (like Apple’s latest 12-inch MacBook and most PCs).

My 2014 15-inch MacBook Pro’s USB port didn’t supply enough power to spin up the drives; I had to use the included AC adapter which plugs in where the Thunderbolt cable rests. Awkward. See for yourself below:

The 4TB Rugged was easy to set up with LaCie Manager as an executable. Putting the RAID together was quick and easy. LaCie also installs Intego Backup Manager for you if that’s what you are into. I uninstalled immediately because I’m a Time Machine guy.

Partition-wise, the defaults make a PC-compatible 800GB partition and a 3.2TB Mac HFS partition. That use case made some sense so I went with it for the speed tests. I used the industry standard BlackMagic disk speed test which is used to check SSDs and hard drives for video editing on Macs.

I easily saw 250MB/sec speeds when using the built-in Thunderbolt connector. That’s about half of the speed of high end, internal SATA SSDs, but still plenty fast for most regular video editing. If you use USB 3 or RAID 1 redundant mirroring, expect to see speeds in the 130-140MB/sec range.

For the heck of it, I dropped the drive a few times from counter height to see if the RAID configuration was any more vulnerable than a simple hard drive setup. After about five drops from counter height, the drives continued to work fine without a glitch. I wouldn’t recommend doing this on purpose with a RAID drive with important data on it, but it is good to know that you’ve got a good chance of data survival.

Wrap up:

I’ve long loved LaCie’s rugged drives because they are made to be taken on the road along with all of the bumps and bruising that comes along with it. With the 4TB RAID version, LaCie adds incredible size and speed that video/imaging professionals and people with big backups/lots of storage needs will love. The price at $400 is significant but not at all insane when you consider the SSD-class speeds combined with the big 4TB size.

LaCie $420,$399 Amazon Any Mac/PC/Tablet With A Thunderbolt or USB 3/2* Port

CUPERTINO, CALIF. – LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), announced today that its iconic Rugged Thunderbolt™ storage solution will be available in a 1 TB SSD capacity. With double the storage, the new LaCie® Rugged is just as portable with no size or weight increase compared to the 500 GB offering. Plus, it still features the lightning–fast transfer rates of Thunderbolt and is tough in the field with shock, dust and water resistance.

“My expeditions take me all over the globe so I need equipment that’s up for any terrain,” said photographer and National Geographic Expeditions expert Kike Calvo. “The LaCie Rugged is my go–to hard drive because its fast speeds help back up my work quickly, and its toughness has yet to let me down. With the addition of drones into my workflow, I’m creating more content than ever before. So larger capacity in the same reliable enclosure means I can take fewer drives and save valuable luggage space.”

The LaCie Rugged delivers speeds of up to 387 MB/s* — three times faster than a standard mobile hard drive**. With these speeds, creative professionals can transfer 100 GB in less than five minutes. The LaCie Rugged even provides enough bandwidth to review and edit photos or video in the field. With a laptop and a LaCie Rugged, a photographer or videographer has everything they need to back up footage or complete a project on location. This time savings and convenience is key for field–based professionals.

“Wherever digital content is created and wherever our customers want to travel to capture and collect it, our LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt drive will go as the ideal companion,” said Erwan Girard, Business Unit Manager for LaCie. “With fast Thunderbolt speeds that save hours in the field and now a 1 TB SSD capacity, our customers can focus on the creative process instead of worrying about transfer times or storage limits.”

The LaCie Rugged is MIL–compliant, which means that data is protected even during accidental drops of up to 2 meters (6.6 feet). With its cap in place, the LaCie Rugged is also IP 54–rated for superior protection against dust and water splashing — even during operation. Plus, it is resistant to vibration and shock and is tough enough to be shipped for reliable delivery to clients or partners.

With both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces, the LaCie Rugged is an ideal match for Mac® and PC users. The LaCie Rugged is fully bus powered through the Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables. Plus, the integrated Thunderbolt cable stows neatly when not in use, ensuring that it will never get lost or left behind.

The LaCie Rugged includes everything professionals need for secure backup in the field: a backup software suite and compatibility with Time Machine® and Windows® Backup. It also includes LaCie Private–Public software, which lets users password–protect the entire drive or only certain volumes with AES 256–bit encryption.

The LaCie Rugged features a three–year limited warranty that includes comprehensive, complimentary web–based resources, expert in–house technical support, and worldwide repair and/or replacement coverage. It is possible to upgrade this service with warranty extensions and fast product replacement.

The new 1 TB SSD version of the LaCie Rugged, design by Neil Poulton, will be available this month for $949.99 (MSRP) through the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Resellers.

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Review: Mophie’s New Powerstation Delivers Juice Using Usb

We’ve seen our fair share of portable USB-C battery packs that have been certified to support the USB-C Power Delivery specification, also referred to as USB-C PD. The new Powerstation AC battery accessory from Mophie is one of the most compelling yet.

Building in both USB-C Power Delivery and a protected AC outlet, it’s very similar to their previous USB-C PD battery pack. It’s retained a similar form factor and that soft-touch fabric that wraps the exterior while getting markedly larger and providing a few extra features.

But first, give our hands-on video walkthrough a quick watch.

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The larger size is a result of a few different factors.

What’s new?

Notably, the capacity is up significantly to a whopping 22,000mAh.

The device is going to need all the extra juice it can get because customers can now plug in a variety of devices into its brand new AC outlet on the end.

The AC outlet itself takes up space, but so do the dual fans helping keep the battery cool under heavy use. The fans aren’t particularly loud, but you will notice them in a quiet room.

What can it do?

With USB Type-A, USB Type-C and AC outlet as outputs, there’s lots to love about this device.

iPhone and iPad owners will be pleased to learn that they can quickly charge any USB device through the USB Type-A port on the battery pack because it can handle 2.4A (enough to charge your iPhone significantly faster than the included power adapter).

If you have a USB-C device, like the 12-inch MacBook Pro or the redesigned MacBook Pro, you can charge it using this battery pack without any issues. For those wondering, the included USB-C port is able to pump out power at up to 30W. If you have a Retina MacBook, you’re set. If you own a 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro model, it’ll charge too but at a bit slower rate.

MacBook Pros can also get their power from the built-in AC outlet that handles up to 100W of power (the 15-inch MacBook Pro ships with a 87W power adapter include in the box).

The AC outlet is also GFCI-compatible, helping protect your device at all times.

Wrapping it up

I am ever so torn about the Powerstation AC.

On one hand, it is easily the most attractive portable battery pack with some of the best features on the market and premium build quality.

At 22,000mAh, it’s not the largest battery pack we’ve seen, but it’ll cost you.

So, is the trade-off worth it?

In my mind, yes. Many other battery packs are made of metal that adds unnecessary weight and makes them prone to scratches and dings. I’m in love with the soft fabric wrap around this battery and the trio of different outputs that cover anything I would need while on the go.

If you find that Mophie’s latest portable battery isn’t for you, be sure to check out our roundup of other USB-C PD battery packs for one that better suits you (there are many other options, including Mophie’s Powerstation XXL).

If you want to pick up a Powerstation AC for yourself, it’ll run you $199.95 direct from Mophie.

Fix: Windows 10 Thinks Hard Drive / Ssd Is Removable

Fix: Windows 10 Thinks Hard Drive / SSD is Removable

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The internal Hard Drive should not be shown as an external device that can be quickly removed. This suggest a configuration issue and your computer might perform slower than usual.

Let’s correct this mistake by making some settings changes in Device Manager, updating BIOS and Windows and making sure everything else is properly configured.

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To fix Windows PC system issues, you will need a dedicated tool

Fortect is a tool that does not simply cleans up your PC, but has a repository with several millions of Windows System files stored in their initial version. When your PC encounters a problem, Fortect will fix it for you, by replacing bad files with fresh versions. To fix your current PC issue, here are the steps you need to take:

Download Fortect and install it on your PC.

Start the tool’s scanning process to look for corrupt files that are the source of your problem

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Some Windows 10 users have reported concerns over the system thinking that their hard drives or SSDs are removable. If you’re experiencing the same, this article will help you resolve the issue.

When Windows 10 thinks hard drive is removable, it could also show your external USB flash drive in the Disk Drive section. But what is happening there?

This behavior is known to be found in systems where the installed SATA AHCI driver is in conflict with the computer’s motherboard and/or BIOS. By default, Windows will install a generic SATA AHCI driver when you install the operating system so that it gives basic functionality across different products.

In this case, the best thing is to install the most current drivers, such as SATA related drivers. For Intel systems, this would be the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver that handles AHCI functionalities, as AMD has its own AHCI driver. The problem at hand is manifested when your internal SATA HDDs or SSDs are displayed as removable media in your taskbar.

Here are solutions you can use when Windows 10 thinks hard drive is removable.

What to do if Windows 10 thinks hard drive is removable? 1. General troubleshooting

Restart your computer

Check for and install any available Windows updates

2. Update BIOS from device manufacturer

Check and install available BIOS updates, but if none exist, use the steps below to override how the inbox driver surfaces devices on specific ports:

exe add “HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesstorahciParametersDevice” /f /v TreatAsInternalPort /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d x

(x corresponds to the Bus Number you noted in the previous step).

Expert tip:

3. Use Registry Editor

Disclaimer: Before changing anything in the Registry Editor, back up your registry first.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesmsahci

Create a new KEY called Controller0

Inside Controller0, create another KEY called Channel0

Inside Channel0, create a new DWORD called TreatAsInternalPort

Set the value to 1. This will set the SATA port 0 (Drive C) to no longer show up in Safely remove hardware)

Go back to the Controller0 folder

Inside Controller0, create a new KEY called Channel1

Inside Channel1, create a new DWORD called TreatAsInternalPort

Set the value to 1 (this sets SATA port 1 (Drive D) to no longer show up in Safely Remove Hardware)

Repeat this process until all internal SATA ports are set to be treated as internal. If you have 6 SATA ports, set Channel0 up to Channel5. If your motherboard has fewer SATA ports, remember to start at 0.

Reboot to allow changes.

4. Modify in Device Manager 5. Check BIOS

Go into your BIOS and check if the SATA port to which your hard drive is connected to has the Hot Plug enabled. It could mean that your motherboard supports hot-swapping of hard drives, which you can disable the AHCI feature on your motherboard and it will disappear.

Here’s how to enter BIOS settings on your Windows 10 computer:

Here’s what do to if you can’t hear your hard-drive powering up

6. User suggested solutions

Here are some additional solutions suggested by users on Microsoft’s forum:

Install or update SATA AHCI driver as you could be running on the generic Windows driver. Check your motherboard manufacturer’s website for a current Windows 10 driver. (Or laptop manufacturer’s website if this is a different rig than that in your specs). If there’s no Windows10 driver, then use the most recent one. If there’s no SATA/AHCI driver there, you can get one if you install the most current version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver

Try using a different SATA port and also try plugging it with a different SATA cable. Go to your motherboard manufacturer’s website and make sure you have the latest SATA controller and chipset drivers for your model. Giving the BIOS reset a try might also be a good idea, it would get your BIOS settings back to factory defaults which could help with the proper detection of the HDD.

This is generic problem of windows 64 bit versions. Microsoft has yet to find and fix the issue. It is related to performance. 64 bit operations cannot cope up so 64bit operating system is patched to treat internal drive as portable removable drive. Install 32bit version of windows, as this issue is not there.

Tip for Windows 10 users: create a ‘Storage Pool’ through ‘Storage Spaces’. A Pool can exist of just 1 storage medium. That will integrate the removable storage to be seen as an internal drive.

It’s not a solution for your system drive. For that the best bet is to find the most recent driver. If that does not work for you might want to change your 3rd party AHCI/RAID controller driver to the ‘Generic SATA AHCI controller’ that was shipped with Windows 10.

In my case I had disks attached to a Marvell adapter show up as removable. After changing them to create an MS storage space instead of a Marvell mirrored drive, they appeared in the normal spot thus making them available to disk optimization too.

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How To Format And Partition An External Hard Drive Or Ssd On Windows

Windows is pretty good with hard disk and SSD file systems. While you may think that you’re stuck with the same partitions and format your hard disk came with, Windows will let you change things up as per your preference. It’s not too complicated, either. Here’s how to format and partition an external hard drive or SSD on Windows.

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What you need to know about partitioning and formatting

How to format an external hard drive on Windows

How to partition an external hard drive on Windows

What you need to know about partitioning and formatting

You might have heard “partitioning” and “formatting” used in the context of hard drives and OS. But what do these terms actually mean?

What does partitioning mean?

“Partitioning” refers to the process of dividing a disk into several sub-devices, and allocating sub-devices to the OS to allow it to carry out functions in the rest of the sub-devices and computer. So, for instance, you can have one 500GB drive, and have it partitioned into one 100GB drive partition to boot Windows out of (and the OS will create all the other requisite partitions for recovery, etc.), and the other 400GB drive partition to store your programs and files.

Why should you partition a drive?

What does formatting mean?

“Formatting” refers to the process of preparing a storage disk for its initial data storage use. More commonly, formatting refers to the process of generating a new file system for that particular storage disk. Think of the file system as an index that figures out what file can and will be stored where — without this index, the OS would be unable to see empty and used spaces. So formatting a drive essentially tells the drive where it can and cannot store data, and that it is ready to accept data in the first place.

Difference between format and quick format

Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

When you start a formatting operation, you will often see the option to do a quick format. A quick format essentially removes the index but not the files. As a result, one cannot see the files that exist on the drive, but the files still continue to exist and can be recovered through specialized software. In other words, the files on the disk are just marked “safe to overwrite” without actually being overwritten. A quick format also skips scanning of bad sectors on the disk, but this concept is outside the scope of this article.

A regular format or full format is different from a quick format in that it overwrites the files with blank data in addition to removing the index. This ensures that it becomes almost impossible to recover the file. A full format also scans the drive for bad sectors. Because of the wider scope of the task, a full format takes significantly longer than a quick format.

Why should you format a drive?

As mentioned, formatting a drive is a step towards using a drive for storage. Different OSs use different file systems for storage. So formatting your drive with the correct Windows-supported filesystem will allow you to use the drive on your computer without any further hassle. Without the correct file system in place, your Windows computer likely won’t see the drive as available for storage. Note that formatting a drive will delete your data, and a full format will make the data almost irrecoverable.

How to format an external hard drive on Windows

Formatting an external hard drive or SSD on Windows is quite simple.

Connect the external drive to your PC and open Windows Explorer.

Rename the drive under Volume label, if you wish to.

If you want the drive to be formatted more thoroughly, uncheck the Quick Format box.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Windows will format your external drive, and give you a confirmation dialog box when the formatting is complete.

To partition an external drive on Windows, you’ll need to use the Disk Management tool.

Find your external drive listed in the grid view in the bottom half.

To create a new partition, you will need unallocated space. You will see this under a black header in the Disk Manager.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The Shrink Volume dialog box will pop up. In the box next to Enter the amount of space to Shrink in MB, type in how much space you want for your new partition(s).

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

It will take a couple of seconds, but the partition will show up in the grid view of your external disk in Disk Manager.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

If you want to create another partition, you can repeat the process to create a new volume with the allocated space you left before, or repeat the whole process by shrinking existing partitions.

FAQs

There are no downsides to partitioning your external hard disk. It depends upon what kind of usage you want from your external hard disk. It’s good to partition it if you want to use the hard disk for two different purposes and don’t want to mix up your files.

It’s not a necessary thing. It solely depends upon your usage and whether the usage warrants having partitions for different purposes.

Yes, Disk Management in Windows lets you do that. You will need unallocated space available if you want to extend a partition, and if you’re shrinking a partition, it will leave you with unallocated space that you can use to extend other partitions.

A full format of the hard drive erases the data on it irrecoverably. However, a quick format merely deletes the files, leaving them recoverable with specialized software.

You should check if your hard drive has any partitions for an OS you no longer need, through disk management. This will also bring to light any unallocated space. Then partition the drive as needed for the new usage, and format it with the filesystem needed.

How To Defrag Your Windows Hard Drive

Due to the difference in technology, HDDs are inherently slower than their SSD counterparts, and their performance decreases over time as you store more and more data on them. This can be attributed to data fragmentation during the writing process. However, there is a simple fix for it called defragmentation. In this article, we will go over a few simple methods to help you defrag your Windows hard drive and get a significant performance boost.

What Is Defragmentation?

To understand what defragmentation is, you need to know how a hard drive works. Think of the latter as a train where the coaches store and carry data. Every time you add more data to your hard drive, it’s broken down into smaller pieces or fragments, and a new coach is added to the train to store that data. These coaches are added in a sequential manner.

Now, during the process of storing more data, the hard drive fills up the empty coaches with some fragments of data and creates new coaches for the remaining pieces. This results in data being scattered all across the hard drive. Even though it seems efficient that those empty spaces are finally being used, that’s not the case.

The issue here is that whenever data fragments are stored farther away from each other, it takes a while for your computer to recollect it all before it can be presented to you again. This slows down the overall reading speed of that hard drive. This is another reason why hard drive-based computers tend to slow down when your storage is almost full. The process of reversing this breakdown and reorganizing the data on the hard drive is called defragmentation.

These days Windows automatically defrags mechanical hard drives. However, it only works for drives that are physically connected to your motherboard. So, if you have an old or external HDD, it’s always a good idea to defragment it yourself for a smoother performance.

How To Defragment Your Hard Disk in Windows 10 and 11

Now that we know what defragmentation means, we can begin with the steps to do it manually on your PC.

1. Use the Disk Optimization Tool

Open the disk optimization tool – search for the “Defragment and Optimize Drives” program in Windows Search.

Check the percentage of fragmented files in the results.

Note: There’s no hard and fast rule regarding how fragmented your drive should be before you can defrag it. However, you should try to maintain the fragmentation level below 5% so that the defragmentation process doesn’t take too long.

When Windows is finished with the process, the Optimize Drives program should show your drive as 0% fragmented.

2. Schedule Optimization

You can put this whole defragmentation process on an automated schedule from the same location.

3. Use the Command Line

Press Win + X and choose ”Windows Terminal (Admin)” from the pop-up menu.

To defrag that drive, use the following command, replacing X with your drive letter:

defrag X

Wait for the defragmentation process to complete.

If you want to defrag your whole system except for your main drive, use this command instead: defrag /E X:. Here, X is the letter of the drive you want to exclude.

4. Use a Third-Party Defragging Tool

Instead of using the inbuilt defragging tool, you can also use third-party defragmentation tools like MyDefrag or Auslogics Disk Defrag to achieve the same results.

Depending on your drive size, it can take a while to defragment your HDD.

Once the process is complete, you will get a message that says “Defragmentation Complete.”

Close Disk Defrag.

Frequently Asked Questions Are there reasons not to defrag your computer?

If your computer has a mechanical hard disk installed or you have an external hard disk, you always want to defrag those disks. The only exception where you never need to defrag your computer is when it’s using only a Solid State Drive (SSD) or an M.2 NVMe Drive, because those are modern versions of mechanical drives and automatically defrag themselves without requiring manual intervention. If you defrag these drives, at best, it will do nothing, but it can also cause unnecessary wear and tear if done multiple times.

How often should you defrag a hard drive?

For most Windows users, defragging an HDD once a month should be fine. You can use your PC’s inbuilt “scheduled optimization” feature to set a monthly cleanup cycle for your hard drive. Not only does it reduce the need to do it manually, it also improves the performance of your HDD. However, if regular defragmentation of your hard drive does not speed it up, you should consider upgrading it to an SSD.

Image credit: Pixabay

Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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Anker 777 Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station Review

Pros

Two HDMI ports

20W USB-C charging

Power button

Cons

Just one downstream TB4 port

Macs can’t use both HDMI

Very weak USB-A charging

Our Verdict

A well-priced dock with two HDMI ports for adding up to three external displays to your laptop.

Best Prices Today: Anker Apex 777 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock

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Price

$299.99

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Thunderbolt 4 is pushing aside Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, as the backwards-compatible and future-proof connecting technology you should be placing your bets on.

We’ve tested several smaller Thunderbolt 4 hubs, but only a few Thunderbolt 4 docking stations—read our roundup of the best Thunderbolt 4 docks and hubs.

Anker is a well-known brand that makes one of our favorite Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) docks, the PowerExpand Elite 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

Its Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station has a few surprises and will appeal to people looking to add multiple external displays to their laptop setup.

Discover all our choices for the best Thunderbolt 4 hubs and docks.

Specs and features

The Apex Thunderbolt 4 Dock features one 40Gbps upstream TB4 port (that connects to the computer with the included Thunderbolt 4 cable) and one 40Gbps downstream TB4 port for other devices, such as a fast SSD storage drive.

The upstream Thunderbolt port can supply up to 90W of power to your laptop, while the downstream port can charge other devices at 15W.

The total power supply is 120W, so leaving 30W to power connected devices when charging a laptop at its full 90W.

At the front, there’s a 10Gbps USB-C port that can fast-charge at an impressive 20W.

On the back, there are four USB-A ports: two at 10Gbps and two less-able USB 2.0 at 480Mbps. The weaker two will be fine for wired keyboard and mouse, or any device that doesn’t require fast data transfer but we would have preferred at least 5Gbps USB 3.2.

All four USB-A ports charge at 4.5W, which is underpowered compared to other docks that often have USB-A ports that can charge at 7.5W. Anker even states these are “data only”.

We were surprised at the shortage of Thunderbolt 4 ports. TB4 can support up to four on a hub or dock (one upstream, three downstream), and that’s what you find in Anker’s own PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock. Why does the full, non-mini dock have just two TB4 ports?

The answer is probably space and power supply—three connected and charging TB4 ports will demand 45W of power, which would require a larger power supply.

And the space where we would have expected the other two TB4 ports to go offers something we haven’t seen on a Thunderbolt 4 docking station before: two HDMI ports to connect to external displays.

Other TB4 docks we’ve tested have relied solely on the Thunderbolt 4 ports for display connections, or have just one HDMI or DisplayPort.

Anker’s inclusion of two HDMI ports is less flexible than we’ve seen elsewhere—where the TB4 ports can be used for display or whatever else you desire—but will please HDMI display owners, who won’t need to buy extra USB-C-to-HDMI adapters.

The sole downstream TB4 port can also be used to connect an external monitor, so it’s possible to have as many as three displays running out of the dock: two HDMI and one TB4.

There is one problem for Mac users, though. As the Anker dock supports three displays on Windows it is using MST hub (Multi Stream Transport) to do this, and macOS does not support MST hub and can support only two video streams.

As a result, a connected Mac could use both HDMI ports only for Mirrored and not Extended displays. To support two external displays in Extended mode, you need to use one of the HDMI ports and the sole remaining downstream TB4 port.

That means that for Mac users one of this dock’s ports is useless unless you want to have two displays in Mirrored mode and there’ll be no spare TB4 port.

One other Thunderbolt 4 dock that has an integrated video port is the Caldigit TS4, which has one DisplayPort and therefore only two downstream TB4 ports; read our Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 (TS4) review. It is still a better choice for Mac users than the Anker dock as no port is left unused.

Display options include connecting a single monitor: 8K at 30Hz via the Thunderbolt 4 downstream port, or two 4K at 60Hz via either the HDMI ports or one HDMI and the TB4.

You can even connect three 4K monitors to a Windows laptop using the HDMI ports (both at 30Hz) and 4K at 60Hz via the Thunderbolt 4 downstream port.

Note that Apple’s M1 Macs support just one external display, and you’ll need to install third-party DisplayLink software to connect three monitors on an Intel Apple laptop. DisplayLink is also the solution to the riddle of how to get more than one display using an M1 MacBook.

Also on the front of the Anker dock is an SD Card slot for affordable portable storage, a combo 3.5mm Audio In and Out jack, and a power button.

Anker seems to be the only manufacturer to add a power button to its docks, and I applaud this as leaving a laptop permanently charged doesn’t do its batteries any good.

On the back with the dual HDMI, quad USB-A, and TB4 port is Gigabit Ethernet for fast, stable wired Internet access—something else you won’t get on a simpler Thunderbolt 4 hub.

The dock works with Windows 10 or 11 laptops equipped with Thunderbolt 4 (not Thunderbolt 3), and Macs running macOS 11 (Big Sur) or later. Anker warns that it doesn’t work with M1 MacBooks, which is very odd indeed—and, on further investigation, turns out to be incorrect. We know there’s a frustrating one-monitor limitation for the M1 MacBooks so maybe M1 owners wouldn’t fancy this dual-HDMI dock anyway, but it will work with the one-display frustration – just like any other docking station.

Design and build

While Anker’s TB3 dock is a compact vertical format, its TB4 dock is slim and horizontal, although you can purchase a separate, if overpriced, stand ($29.99; £19.99) that sits it upright to save desk space.

It’s a good-looking dock that, like most others, unfortunately, places the upstream computer-connecting Thunderbolt 4 port on the front, which, in my mind at least, spoils the look and the required cable gets in the way.

Anker isn’t alone in this, so there’s no real alternative right now, except for the Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub (with four TB4 and four 10Gbps USB-A) that situates the upstream TB4 port on one side.

Price

The Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is priced at $349.99 or £329.99.

This is over $100 more than a more basic Thunderbolt 4 hub but does boast many more ports, such as Gigabit Ethernet, SD Card reader, audio jack, and let’s not forget those two HDMI ports.

In comparison, the Sonnettech Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock costs $319 or £384. However, the Belkin Pro Thunderbolt 4 Dock that has a near identical port selection is priced much higher at $399/£399.

The Apex ships with a 2.3ft Thunderbolt 4 cable.

Verdict

The Anker Apex TB4 dock raises eyebrows with its sole downstream Thunderbolt 4 port, but it makes up for this with its two HDMI ports. If your external display setup uses HDMI rather than USB-C monitors, this may suit you better than a dock with three downstream TB4 ports that will require display adapters but we wouldn’t recommend this for Mac users who can’t use both the HDMI ports.

The USB-A ports are underpowered if you need to charge connected devices.

Compared to similar docks, it’s a well-priced—although we would have appreciated the stand being part of the package—with everything you’d expect of a laptop docking station and powerful laptop and device charging capabilities.

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