Belkin upgrades unreleased Thunderbolt Express Dock with USB 3.0, eSATA; ups price to $399.99

Belkin today announced new upgrades to its upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock, as well as a new Thunderbolt cable for both Mac and PC users. Belkin’s new Thunderbolt offerings will be on display at the Intel Exhibition Showcase, Booth M410, at Computex, June 5-9, 2012.

The Thunderbolt Express Dock is a first-of-its-kind docking solution for both PC and Mac users that enables instant access to up to nine desktop peripherals with one cable, and provides an easy transition from a desktop workstation to a mobile device. Upgrades to the latest version of the dock include the addition of three USB 3.0 ports, instead of USB 2.0 ports, as well as an eSata port.

Both the dock and Belkin’s new one-meter Thunderbolt cable take advantage of Thunderbolt’s 10 gigabits-per-second, bidirectional speeds, and enable users to transfer full HD movies in 30 seconds and view online content at Gigabit Ethernet speeds. They also allow for daisy-chaining of up to six additional Thunderbolt enabled products and support high-resolution displays.

“As more hardware companies announce plans to incorporate Intel’s Thunderbolt technology into their products, we aim to create quality accessories that take advantage of Thunderbolt’s blazing fast speeds and other benefits,” said Martin Avilla, general manager of Belkin’s core business unit, in the press release. “Over the past few months, we have really listened to our end users and created a one-meter cable and refined the dock to make it an even better desktop solution, which we believe will make Belkin a go-to provider for Thunderbolt accessories when they launch in the summer and fall.”

“Thunderbolt delivers unparalleled performance, flexibility, and simplicity to personal computing,” said Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt marketing, in the press release. “Products like Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock and cable help highlight what Thunderbolt makes possible.”

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

The Belkin Thunderbolt Cable will be available in July 2012 at select retailers worldwide and on Belkin.com. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock will be available worldwide in September 2012.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock (F4U055) – $399.99 (previously announced model was $299.99)
• Instant access to up to 9 desktop devices with one cable
• Cable-clutter-free design for a cleaner workstation
• Compatible with both Mac and PC
• Connectors: 3 USB 3.0 ports
• 1 FireWire 800 port
• 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
• 1 eSata port
• 1 3.5mm-out port
• 1 3.5mm-in port
• 2 Thunderbolt ports (1 upstream, 1 downstream for daisy-chaining up to 6 additional Thunderbolt devices)
• Includes MiniDP to HDMI Adapter

Belkin Thunderbolt Cable (F2CD031-1M) – $44.99
• Convenient 3ft/1m length
• Video/Data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps bi-directionally
• Dual channel design
• Provides up to 10 Watts of power
• Daisy-chaining capabilities of up to six devices

More info here.

Source: Belkin International, Inc.

Related articles:
Belkin previews new Thunderbolt Express Dock at CES 2012 – January 9, 2012

28 Comments

  1. $399.99 Ouch! WTF Belkin, does it give head as well?

    What exactly does it do again, it’s a hub right? Now maybe if they dropped a USB or two and put in a 6-pin Firewire plug, I’d feel better about it (I still have a need for those dammit).

    Ah, maybe not……….but throw in the head and maybe I’ll reconsider.

    1. “WTF Belkin, does it give head as well?”
      No, but it does come with on cigarette and a match because many people like to smoke after getting shagged.

    1. It’s probably because the associated components are pretty pricey. iFixit took Apple’s TB cable apart and found: As well as including two relatively large Gennum GN2033 active-cable transceiver chips that make the 10Gbps transfers possible, there are two smaller chips marked S6A 1JG alongside one GN2033, and two more chips marked 11102F SS8370 and 131 3S alongside the other. There’s also a host of even smaller chips and lots of resistors on both sides of the tiny board. Apple charges $50 for its cable. EDN reports It enables fast data transfers between a PC and a peripheral or a display device, combining PCIe and DisplayPort technology for simultaneous bidirectional transfers at 10.3 Gbps over a single cable.

      Such speed comes at a price, however. In addition to the Intel-supplied host processor, graphics-processing unit, and platform-controller hub, the technology requires some dedicated interface management, support components, and carefully built cable using 40-gauge AWG to make it happen. It also demands a significant amount of power and management.

      So it boils down to the fact that this isn’t your father’s VGA or SCSI interface. Hopefully component costs will come down with mass adoption and the rest of us will be able to afford TB in our homes.

    2. You were being ironic, right? On an Apple fan site, griping about something being too expensive and the maker being greedy for charging a premium?

      Has anyone priced out a competing Thunderbolt hub with equivalent technology built-in (or as options)?

    3. pap, greed has nothing to do with it. If you want something cheaper, go out and manufacture it. Enough with this greed crap. Still looking for freebees pap? You’re living in the right place.

      1. Not at all GenY. I have an iPhone. Just not the $399 version. No way I would ever spend $300 on a phone. Having only spent $199 on my phone, the way I see it, that leaves me with $200 to spend elsewhere. And come Fall, I will gladly apply that $200 toward the Belkin TB Express when it becomes available.

  2. Despite the price, you have to agree that Belkin is a GREAT company that sells great products and has always been a huge Apple supporter through thick and thin. They will always get my money.

    1. I agree! I keep waiting for an excuse to hate Belkin, then they come out with another kewl thing at a decent price. I use my MacBook all day every day on a Belkin portable laptop desk circa 1998. I wish they still made them! It and I shall never be parted.

  3. The price probably represents a fair price for the number they expect to sell. However, if Thunderbolt is ever going to become mainstream, there will need to be a supply of perepherals at affordable prices.

    As things currently stand, Thunderbolt will only be for those with deep pockets. It needs a mass-market product at an affordable price in order to gain traction.

    1. My prediction: the iTV (or whatever; don’t want it confused with current AppleTV) will not have HDMI ports. It will have Thunderbolt only.

      Since very few consumer AV devices have Thunderbolt, this will drive up sales of adapter cables and AV-specific Thunderbolt hubs so existing devices with HDMI, RCA, and component cable devices can still be used, which in turn will eventually drive their prices down.

      Expensive to buy an $x iTV and then have to buy $y worth of equipment to hook anything up to it? At least this would be an actual benefit, unlike $100 Monster cables.

        1. They’ve done it before, when they dropped all legacy ports and went with USB on the original iMac.

          Another reason: Macs never got BluRay support because of licensing costs for HDMI and encryption system (HDCP?). When I checked it was $10,000/year, plus per-unit costs of as low as 5c if you also licensed HDCP. Apple sells about 14M Macs a year, let’s say it’s 10M after excluding the MB Air. That’s $500,000, plus whatever the HDCP license costs are.

          It’s peanuts compared to Apple’s annual profits, but why pay it if you don’t have to?

          If Apple excludes HDMI ports, it still has to pay the HDCP licence but gets to pass the HDMI costs on to hub and adapter cable makers.

          1. Sorry, if “Hollywood” sees Apple produce an A/V device without HDMI no one with license any media to them. HDMP/HDCP is vital to keeping the unwashed masses from intercepting digital from the source.

            1. Who said anything about an iTV not having copy protection? Built-in HDMI is not required for HDCP.

              Thunderbolt supports HDCP. It has to, to play iTunes HD video on Thunderbolt displays (and some pre-TB displays using DVI).

              Copy protection in force, media license issue solved–years ago, before Thunderbolt was introduced.

      1. You’re insane. No A/V device can be sold without HDMI. Nobody in the home theater market has shown the slightest interest in TB as a means of connecting devices. With the need for an active and expensive cable, it’s not going to happen.

        iTV (or whatever) which I’m hardly convinced will exist can’t be in the market without HDMI. All the evidence I see says AirPlay is the HDMI of Apple in the coming future. Assuming that Airplay can continue to provide uncompressed 1080p video and 5. 1 audio, why bother with TB. In fact, maybe we’ll see Bluetooth 4.0 Airplay compatibility so that dedicated connections can be made between Apple devices without wireless.

        1. Insane? “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

          And you need to re-check your assumptions. You have never streamed “uncompressed 1080p video” over Airplay. Uncompressed 1080 HD is MINIMUM 95 MB/s, or 760 Mbps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncompressed_video). An 802.11n router has a *theoretical* max of 300 Mbps (37.5 MB/s), but real-world speed maxes out around 140 Mbps (17.5 MB/s).

          iTunes HD video is compressed. Airplay mirroring from your Mac, iPhone or iPad is compressed. You want uncompressed 1080p, you’re stuck using a wired connection for at least a few more years. TB at 2x 10 Gbps (1.25 GB/s) and HDMI easily handles the highest uncompressed datarate listed (1.9 Gbps, or 0.237 GB/s).

  4. you can buy a house for $399.99 in some parts of the country.

    And what’s with all that 99.99 crap? Haven’t we learned anything from the New JC Penny commercials?!

    1. So far, if anything has been learned from JCP’s new direction, it is that it doesn’t appear to be working for them. Sales are down.

      Of course it’s possible, or even more than likely, that this is just one of things that takes some before it becomes successful.

      As for that “99.99 crap”, that isn’t some “marketing/advertising, Jedi-mind-manipulation technique” used to deceive or trick consumers. It’s a simple pricing strategy used by retailers because consumers respond to it… and have for decades.

      If anything, it’s retailers not consumers, who get the short end of the stick with the technique. They lose a penny on everything they price that way.

      JCP has a real uphill battle with this as they’re fighting consumer expectations that have been going on for about a century. It’s probably the main reason their sales are down.

  5. $399.99 <-Priced to not sell. Imagine buying it then a year later the cost of Thunderbolt docks are like $50 or less. Oops. I think I'll stay off this particular bleeding edge for the time being. Mass adoption is a beautiful thing.

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