How to Turn Your Laptop into a Desktop Workstation

Ever since laptops became powerful enough to handle serious work like video and photo editing, many people switched to just using a laptop as their main machine. It makes sense for a lot of reasons.

You can work everywhere you go with all your settings and as much power as you can afford. Sure, it may not be quite as fast as a regular desktop, but the mobility of being able to work while you travel or simply on the couch is invaluable.

You will find that sometimes you want to break free from some of the limitations of a laptop and gain the advantages of a desktop when you are are home in an office. Think Media, featuring Omar El Takrori, put together a video on one of their favorite devices, the CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

Docks have been huge for years, but the use of Thunderbolt 3 unlocked a lot more functionality for these devices. Thunderbolt meant you could daisy chain and use a lot more ports (up to 15 on the CalDigit) without losing speed.

As MacBooks are common in the creative industry, El Takrori begins by talking about the major 2017 redesign of the Pro models. Instead of a variety of different ports, Apple opted for four uniform Thunderbolt 3 ports instead. That meant you now needed a card reader and plenty of dongles to connect your devices. I’m serious. Lots of dongles. You probably still need some for everyday carry.

For at home, you don’t want to have to rely on multiple dongles to do everything you need. CalDigit aims to solve this problem by being a single hub, connected via a single cable, that has all the ports you may need. It’s a little pricey, but El Takrori thinks it is totally worth it.

This devices sits nicely on the desk and has a Thunderbolt 3 port (plus a TB3 port to connect to your computer), DisplayPort,  five USB Type-A, one USB Type-C at 5 Gb/s, one USB Type-C at 10 Gb/s, Ethernet, a UHS-II SD card reader, headphones, microphone, and optical audio. Plus you can use it either vertically or horizontally.

I actually own one of the variations of this CalDigit model with fewer ports and can confirm it is amazing. I don’t even use it for my MacBook Pro, I have it sitting next to my iMac and it gives me direct access to all my ports without having to turn the iMac around every time. Plus the SD card reader is faster than the iMac’s built-in one.

In the examples given for the MacBook it is even more valuable. They use it for a 4K monitor, connecting an Elgato capture device, Ethernet, SD card reader, an external SSD, and more on all the USB ports. That adds functionality to your MacBook Pro and in their tests with all this plugged in they didn’t seem to lose anything.

An all-in-one dock that gives you everything with a single cord can save you so much time if you use your laptop for everything. Once you get into your office it’s such a nice thing to have at your disposal.

[source: Think Media]

Order Links:

  • CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock (B&H, Amazon)

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