To less USB ports Use thunderbolt

To all you MacBook pro users with 2 or even less USB ports. After some fiddling around I have 2x SC2900 and a X1600 working on a Belkin thunderbolt breakout. So only 1 thunderbolt cable to your laptop and 3 USB’s in the thunderbolt breakout box.

Does anyone know why these units are so critical with USB hubs ?


I had the same setup a few years back, but I never had a problem with my USB hub. Mind you I got a powered USB 2.x hub of high quality with a good (high amperage) power adapter.

Reason to pick 2.x over 3.0 was to prevent compatibility issues. I know it’s supposed to be backward compatible … but better safe than sorry, right?!

And I believe that every USB hub used in a (semi-)professional or performance environment should be powered to prevent any and all problems on that end.

Glad to hear that the USB to Thunderbolt conversion is not giving any problems. Is the breakout box powered or is it pulling all the power for the three USB ports from the TB port?

I like the TB break-out boxes, but found them ridiculously priced, last time I checked, contemplating to get one. And they are already becoming obsolete as the new MB Pro’s apparently will only have USB-C ports on them. That will no doubt halt any other developers continuing to create (cheaper) products for that purpose. An already relatively small market that isn’t gonna grow much bigger, not a good R&D incentive.

There is a good kickstarter project I saw a few weeks ago that offers a dongle that looks like it’s from Apple and that uses both USB-C ports on the left-hand side of a MB Pro (both 13" and 15") and then gets you all sorts of break-outs. I think couple of USB 3.1 ports, HDMI, SD-card and of course the original two USB-C ports. And at a very reasonable (un-Apple-like) price I think. Still only two USB 3.x ports. I am guessing with USB-C rapidly becoming a defacto standard we will see an influx of affordable USB-C to USB 3.x hubs come on the market soon.

Here’s the link should anybody be considering a new MacBook Pro:

A handful of users have gotten away with unpowered hubs but there are so many pitfalls with USB on lappys that any help you can give the entire system, eg: mains powered USB hub.

The thunderbolt breakout box sounds like a good move.