Of Docking Stations and 4k Monitors

Macbook Pros are powerful developer machines that you can hook up monitors and keyboards to to convert into nice workstations. Yet, Apple doesn’t provide any standard dock for them. Enter, the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station, which is a great little docking station for expanding peripherals for devices that support Thunderbolt.

I have a keyboard, mouse, headphones and an Android device for debugging connected to this docking station. Originally, I also had one 4k monitor hooked up as well with DisplayPort 1.1. However, DisplayPort 1.1 is only capable of 4k@30fps. For regular use, 30 fps is too janky for my eyes, so I had to go back to 60 fps. Option one was to go back to a lower resolution - but that’s not progress!

So I chose Option two - which was to switch the display to DisplayPort 1.2, support for which came in a point update to Mavericks.

Unfortunately, the bandwidth on the first version of thunderbolt is still not sufficient to drive the 4k monitor@60 Hz. This meant that I in the end still have to connect two thunderbolt cables to my MBP, one for my peripherals (keyboard, mouse, debug USB cable, ethernet) and the other for the 4k monitor.

I’m happy with this solution though, since I still do not have to plug in all of the other peripherals each morning as I get in to work.