Question Looking for a Thunderbolt 4 Hub (ie Just Several USB out, No Video, Network, Memory Cards, etc,)

Aug 6, 2022
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I recently set up a new desktop and it has two TB4 ports on the motherboard. The tower is mounted under my desk, so it’d be really useful to have more ports up front and using a link that could support 4-8 USB 3.x devices without bottlenecking would be ideal. The catch, however, is the only devices like this I’ve been able to find are ‘docks‘ with a bunch of things I don’t need (displayport/hdmi, network, memory card readers, etc…). It’s a desktop so display and network are essentially just set up once and done, so I don’t really need those to be front and centre, plus having them on their own links saves bandwidth for external drives and other devices that I do need to pull in and out. Is anyone aware of a simpler device with just 4-8 usb 3.1 gen 2 ports?
 
Aug 6, 2022
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Just connect a usb-c hub with USB ports, tb4 is not needed for your configuration then.
The problem with that solution is the aggregate bandwidth isn’t sufficient - I have a set of external SSDs for transferring video files from my laptop when editing in the field that get close to saturating a Gen 2 connection on their own. When downloading from two of them (which I do somewhat regularly), that would saturate the uplink port of a regular USB hub which I’m trying to avoid here. A Gen 2x2 hub would potentially solve that, but (a) they’re just as hard to find and (b) at the rate technology is moving I’d rather use an uplink that gives me double the headroom. It’s certainly a niche problem to have, and direct connections work with some annoyance, but the pieces all exist to solve it and I’m looking to see if anyone has put them together as of yet.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
External SSDs - correct?

Instead of USB connectivity is it viable to use wired network SSD enclosures?

A simple un-managed network switch and a couple of SSD enclosures could improve the transfers.

Once set up it should be just a matter of plugging the drive enclosure into the switch with an Ethernet cable.
 
Aug 6, 2022
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External SSDs - correct?

Instead of USB connectivity is it viable to use wired network SSD enclosures?

A simple un-managed network switch and a couple of SSD enclosures could improve the transfers.

Once set up it should be just a matter of plugging the drive enclosure into the switch with an Ethernet cable.
Ethernet would work with the desktop, but it’d be an issue with the laptop as USB lets everything get powered off its battery so network stuff gets tricky when not near AC power. Replacing a pile of existing enclosures though would likely cost more than just getting a full fat dock and not using the extra ports. May consider it once I get more SSDs, especially as the new machine has a 10GBaseT adapter in it but it’d likely need to be something with both.
 
Aug 6, 2022
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Are you using independently powered USB hubs?
Right now I’m just connecting the drives directly to the back of the computer, but looking for a way that puts the ports front and centre so it’s a little more elegant. Having a hub on top of the desk would be ideal, but just using a USB 3.2 Gen 2 unit would make a bottleneck when multiple drives are working that I was hoping TB4 could help given it (theoretically) has quadruple the bandwidth. It’s certainly not that big a deal, but I’ve got the ports and if there’s a way to use them to make things cleaner I’d like to take it.

Certainly that would be a problem if not near a AC power source.

Is that a common situation for you?
Yes - I’ll typically capture video/photos out in the field and then dump the data from the cameras to the SSDs on my laptop and do a quick edit on site to make sure everything looks good. There’s sometimes AC power around, but the outlets aren’t always in the right place and it’s faster to just find a horizontal surface and run off battery vs hunting around for a plug. When I’m done, I then take the SSDs back to my desk and do the heavy lifting on the much more powerful desktop computer. The less time I have to spend shuttling around files, the more time I have to actually work so I’m keen on eliminating any logjams in the process.

The files are eventually archived on big (relatively) slow HDDs in a file server over the network, but that can happen overnight after I’m done working so it’s not time-sensitive. The intermediate transfers, however, block me from beginning work on the next step of the process so the closer they can get to instantaneous the better.
 
Aug 6, 2022
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I am going to move this thread from Computer Peripherals to Storage.

Seems more applicable with the overall concern/requirement being file transfers.
Sorry about that - indended to ask just about the TB hub for various devices, but the thread meandered that way as storage stuff was just the driving force for needing more bandwidth than normal USB could provide.
 

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