Apple’s new MacBook Pro is a dongle-happy mess for anyone who uses peripherals manufactured prior to 2017, since the system only supports Thunderbolt 3 by default. Apple’s solution to the problem has been to push users towards a variety of dongles for replacing various aspects of Mac functionality. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with dongles, but using 2-4 of them on a machine supposedly engineered for svelte lines and simple user experiences doesn’t sit well with many users. Enter the HyperDrive — an all-in-one Kickstarter project that hopes to replicate all of the ports that are missing on the current MacBook Pro in a single product.
The HyperDrive includes support for HDMI output (1080p and [email protected]), Thunderbolt 3 pass-through, USB-C, SD and microSD cards, and 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with support for 5Gbps of speed. HyperDrive claims that the system is capable of up to 45Gb/s of bandwidth, which seems to imply that while the system plugs into two Thunderbolt 3 slots on either the right or left-hand side of the machine, it can’t fully tap the bandwidth of both ports (otherwise maximum theoretical bandwidth would be in the 80GB/s range).
Even so, the claims here are impressive. Hyper promises it can offer simultaneous access to USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, SD cards, and 2x USB 3.1 ports all while charging the laptop itself.
Left unanswered is why Apple itself hasn’t built this type of product yet. Even if the company wanted to offer single cables or dongles for those individuals with one specific use, it could still manufacture and sell an all-in-one solution like this to fill the most common use cases that its own hardware no longer allows. No dongle will ever hit every single port capability anyone might want, but the ports and options here are solid and should fit virtually any situation.
The HyperDrive will be available in both silver and Space Gray and is machined out of CNC aluminum to match the MBP itself. Availability is expected in March, with a final retail price of $100 (KS backers will receive their hardware for $70). We don’t normally cover Kickstarter campaigns on ET, and this article shouldn’t be mistaken as an endorsement, but Hyper is a ten-year-old company that sells its own peripherals, accessories, and products. This puts it at least a small step up from other projects. Mac customers may not want to wait for months to get a solution to the dongle problem, but if the timing lines up for your personal purchase this may be worth paying attention to.
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