Our resident writer James DeRuvo has described NAB Show 2016 this year as “The Dot Upgrade”. The theme this year seems to be one of more refinement rather than big splashy releases. While that may not sound sexy, what we’re seeing is some wonderful revisions of previously released equipment and software.
Other World Computing (OWC) has taken that to heart when they rolled out the next-gen versions of the Thunderbolt 3 Dock, Envoy Pro EX with Thunderbolt 3, and Mercury Helios 3. The goal here seems to be getting these devices compatible with the new Thunderbolt 3 specs, which uses the USB-C type connector port. Here’s a bit more about them:
This is by far one of my favorite devices at their booth and the upgrades here are fantastic compared to the Thunderbolt 2 Dock. At the moment my main laptop is a mid-2012 Macbook Pro which has two USB 3 ports, two thunderbolt ports, and an HDMI port. I do use a USB to ethernet adapter but doing so means the loss of one USB port so having the Thunderbolt 3 dock not only offer that but also a bevy of other ports is one of the handiest things ever.
The Thunderbolt 3 Dock supports 12 ports including a high-power USB 3.1 Gen 1 port for fast mobile device charging plus four more USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a mini DisplayPort which will support a hi-res display up to 4K at 60Hz, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and a firewire 800 port. That last one sounds silly but I know many editors who still use firewire. The Thunderbolt 3 Dock is now also compatible with Windows based PCs.
Next up is an upgrade to the Envoy Pro enclosure which has only one big upgrade in that it will be one of the first external storage solutions to integrate Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. This will allow the external drive to write data at over 1 GB/s and read at about 2 GB/s.
The device is incredibly small and houses a PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD which is available with a storage capacity of 240GB, 480GB, and 1.0TB.
While the Thunderbolt 3 Dock expands the number and types of ports available on your Mac, the Mercury Helios 3 will allow you to accommodate a double-width, half-length x16 PCIe card which is hot-pluggable and will power on and off with your computer. The update here is again the Thunderbolt 3 connector of which the Mercury Helios 3 will sport two of.
Other OWC Storage Goodies
I’m a huge fan of this company and their ingenious products so even though these aren’t new products, they’re absolutely killer. The OWC Drive Dock allows you to hot swap two 2.5″ and/or 3.5″ drives for unlimited storage. It features two Thunderbolt 2 ports and one USB Gen 3.1 port for up to 522 MB/s transfer speeds. My guide at OWC, Andy Marken, affectionately dubs it “the toaster”.
The Envoy Pro mini is a thumb-drive which features full-sized SSD performance over a fast USB 3.1 Gen 1 port. This drive will fit in the palm of your hand but is available up to 480 GB of storage capacity.
Finally, for those of you who want serious storage solutions there is the rack mounted Jupiter Callisto. Available in 8 bay and 16 bay solutions, it can function both as a NAS (network attached storage) and as a SAN (storage area network) at the same time. It starts at 16 TB of storage and goes up to 128 TB with ethernet speeds up to 10Gb/s via the built-in 10GBASE-T Ethernet interface.