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I have the Late 2013 Macbook Pro, which has two USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. I currently use both USB 3.0 ports and one TB2 port. I want to connect a third USB 3.0 device to the machine, but I don't want to use a USB splitter on one USB port as I'm concerned the devices would draw too much power from the bus. I have no current use for the second TB2 port and I would love to be able to use it for this purpose.

Browsing extensively online, I've found numerous docks, such as Belkin's Thunderbolt Express, that connect via a Thunderbolt cable. This would work, but it's an expensive, 'bulkier' solution (and not the one I'm looking for).

I'm aware that a USB 3.0 device wouldn't be able to take advantage of Thunderbolt's I/O speeds, but it's certainly compatible, which is all I'd need. After all, Apple even sells a Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter. I also know that Thunderbolt is not only used for digital video purposes (along with the TB > Firewire option, there exists Thunderbolt External Hard Drives).

There are almost no Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 cables/adapters on the market. I'd think this hardware would be more prevalent given the prominence of USB devices out there. What adapters are available for OS X?

I also ended up looking for good solutions. Thunderbolt 2 supports 20 Gb/s. So it could provide enough reserves for a real usb 3 hub where every port could finally run 5 Gb/s = 640 MB/s.

As a single SSD already exceeds the speed of a USB 3 connection, we should not put them through a USB 3 Hub bottleneck to not enforce slowing the transfer rates down.

Actually there are some companies that already considered these issues:

Other good manufacturers to check out:

  • Promise
  • OWC
  • G-Technology

All in all going for thunderbolt 2 is always on the much more expensive side of the table.

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Thunderbolt and USB are quite different protocols, so you can't just use a cable -- it would need to have active electronics in it to convert between the protocols. And that means it would cost a lot more than a cheap commodity USB hub and so no one would buy it -- they'd just get a hub instead. If you're concerned about the power drain, get a powered USB hub.

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