Thunderbolt Hubs and the M1 Macs

Hi everyone!

I am looking to compare some notes regarding Thunderbolt hub behavior and M1 macs. For reference a Thunderbolt hub is a class of new Thunderbolt devices that give you three thunderbolt ports from a single connection back to the computer. These include the OWC Thunderbolt Hub, a similar one from Plugable and the Kensington SD5700T. Because I review this stuff for a living I have all three !

So here’s what’s happening on both my M1 MacBook Air from last year and my M1 Max Macbook Pro that I bought a few weeks ago:

When the system goes to sleep the hub disconnects. Sometimes it crashes the Macbook, other times it just disconnects the connected devices (not good if you have hard drives connected), and occasionally the hub itself will lock up requiring a complete reboot of it and the computer.

Initially I thought it was maybe something physically wrong with my M1 Macbook Air or the OWC Dock but my Pro is exhibiting the same behavior regardless of which dock I connect.

I’ve filed a radar with Apple but it hasn’t been looked at. I do think this is a big issue with how Apple is implementing Thunderbolt on the M1’s.

I have had a similar issue with my M1 Mini and decided to switch off sleep and keep it always on (just let the screens sleep)

Before I did that I would sometimes find my Mini rebooted because of an issue in the mornings.

Re MacBook Pro, I do the same. When I use it, it is always on and when I stop using it I always take all peripherals off and force it to sleep. I had too many kernel panicks, likely because I connected too many different periperhals (Mouse, Keyboard, TrackPad, YubiKey, Speakers, 3 screens, 2 raid arrays, Time Machine, PodCaster Pro, cameras, Streamdeck and counting…)

I haven’t noticed this with my CalDigit Element hub.

@simonsmark and @LonSeidman Have you tried plugging in something else which provides power to the macbook before plugging in the hub? I.e. so that the macbook is powered by the first peripheral rather than the hub?

My new 16" Macbook Pro was doing weird things on sleep, but I noticed that it seems to be fine as long as power is coming from something other than the hub. So, in my case, I plug my LG thunderbolt monitor in first, before plugging in the hub.

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Something to try.

My 16" MBP is passtru charged through the Caldigit TS3+ at 85W when connected. However, sometimes I would plug the LG Thunderbolt screen in first, sometimes the hub. The Hub being the strongest charger as I think the screens only charge at 60W.

The Mini has a separate power supply, so in that case it should not make a difference …

I had a similar issue with an M1 Mac Mini on an OWC Thunderbolt 4 hub (it was doing the same on a 2019 MacBook Pro 16” as well plugged into the same hub at a different time). I think I ended up turning off auto select for the source on each monitor and the crashing as well as monitor disconnects stopped. It is a pain to change the source when I need to use my work laptop, but I don’t get the crashing any more. Could be a coincidence, but it seems to have held through the upgrade to Monterey.

@KGF found this. An interesting new T4 dock by Caldigit.

Not out yet but hopefully coming soon.

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So far so good with my Caldigit TS3. I haven’t noticed any issues leaving everything powered on (and my CCC tasks are running at 2am successfully so far).