Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro made quite a splash when it was introduced in October 2016. The new OLED Touch Bar stole the show, and the drive toward ever-thinner devices was also on display with the new MacBook Pro models being the thinnest ever.
One consequence of making the machines so thin is that every legacy port was removed, leaving the MacBook Pro with either two or four USB Type-C connections and nothing else. Apple’s unpopular solution is a bundle of dongles, which is costly and inconvenient for anyone who needs to connect to most of today’s external devices. The HyperDrive Compact Thunderbolt 3 USB-C hub aims to solve that problem, and it’s available for ordering now in a Kickstarter campaign.
Basically, the HyperDrive plugs into two of the USB Type-C connections on a 2016 MacBook Pro and offers up a host of full-speed ports without the muss and fuss of dongles. The following ports are supported on the MacBook Pro with and without Touch Bar:
- MicroSD UHS-1 104Mb/s slot
- SD UHS-1 105Mb/s slot
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 5Gb/s port
- USB-C 5Gb/s port
- USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 40Gb/s port with max 100-watt power delivery
- HDMI video 1080p @ goHz, 4K @ 30Hz port
What separates the HyperDrive from other snap-on hubs is its status as the first that uses two USB Type-C connections to maximize bandwidth. The HyperDrive offers up to 45Gb/s bandwidth to support the use of all seven ports at the same time. The Thunderbolt 3 port provides a full 100 watts of power to fully charge the MacBook Pro at either 61 watts for the 13-inch model and 87 watts for the 15-inch.
One issue that has popped up regarding the 2016 MacBook Pro is Apple’s decision to support only the newest Thunderbolt 3 controllers. According to Sanho Corporation, maker of the HyperDrive, the hubs work “perfectly” with the 2016 MacBook Pro hardware and so shouldn’t suffer from these issues.
The HyperDrive can be ordered now at Kickstarter, and should be delivered to Early Bird buyers in February 2017 and to everyone else in March 2017. Purchase options range from the $49 Early Bird option for a single Silver or Space Gray HyperDrive, which is 50 percent off the expected retail price of $99, to $690 for a 10-HyperDrive bundle.