For power users who deal with a high-resolution display or two, large data transfers, and multiple PC peripherals that need power, perhaps 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a Thunderbolt base can add useful high-speed ports while running a supportive computer, such as a MacBook. This helps simplify the office setup, but it also usually comes with a highly efficient power brick to add to the mix. Hyper’s nitride (GaN) HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Hub, which began crowdfunding Monday, is hoping to change that.
Hyper, a manufacturer of PC hubs, docking units, portable chargers and the like, is seeking crowdfunding for a Thunderbolt 4 hub that it claims is the first “Thunderbolt 4 hub with an integrated GaN power supply.” The dock is a small square with a rounded edge that provides one Thunderbolt 4 port and three Thunderbolt4 downstream ports with up to 40Gbps of operation and is accompanied by non-stationary power modules.
However, Hyper isn’t ready to launch its own dock just yet; It is currently undergoing a Kickstarter campaign.
Crowdfunding projects are a risky endeavor, Hyper admits on the Thunderbolt 4 dock’s crowdfunding page. But it’s worth noting that Hyper has successfully funded similar projects, such as the HyperDrive Duo USB-C Hub designed for MacBooks, which it claims is “the most crowdfunded MacBook and USB-C accessory” and the HyperJuice 100W GaN charger, which the seller says is a “USB-charger- C Most Funded Crowdfunding. Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub is Hyper’s 28th crowdfunding project.
The Thunderbolt 4 Hub’s Kickstarter page says development began in February 2021. The device is said to be Intel certified and is supposed to ship to early backers in November.
Development was at least far enough away that Hyper was able to give samples to the Cult of Mac, (which reported speeds in line with competing Thunderbolt products).
For those who prefer to have product security formal before money is put on the line, Hyper expects the Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub to sell for a hefty price tag, even at $300 Thunderbolt 4:300 standards.
The secret to the Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub’s portability is its use of GaN semiconductors, rather than silicon, for a smaller design. Other Thunderbolt 4 docks, such as the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub, may have a small central dock, but they also connect to a decent-sized power brick before attaching it to the wall.
Meanwhile, the brick-free Hyper Center measures 4.9 x 4.9 x 1.25 inches and 1.4 pounds, according to Cult of Mac (although final specifications may vary, since the hub is still crowdfunded).
The upstream single port supports 96W power delivery, which is enough to support many smaller laptops, such as the MacBook Pro, but not enough for power-hungry devices, such as gaming laptops. Notably, the included Thunderbolt 4 cable is 2.6 feet long, while the power cable is 6 feet long.
Meanwhile, the three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports can output 15W of power, which is enough for smaller devices, such as a smartphone.
Thunderbolt 4 bumps Thunderbolt 3’s 16Gbps PCIe rate to 32Gbps, and Hyper Center claims to be able to make the most of that, making it suitable for external storage devices and eGPUs.
Hyper notes that the Thunderbolt 4 Hub cannot solve the multi-screen limitations of the Apple M1 and M2. While Hub claims to support up to an 8K monitor at 60Hz (or 4K at 144Hz), or two 6K displays at 60Hz, this won’t work with a Mac running the M1 or M2.
Running two monitors at speeds over 4K and 60Hz requires that the monitors and GPU support Display Stream Compression 1.2 and DisplayPort 1.4 HBR3. This means that you cannot use the LG UltraFine 5K in a dual screen setup with the hub either.
It’s also worth highlighting that this is a Thunderbolt 4 hub exclusively, which means no other connection is available. For comparison, the Thunderbolt hub mentioned on Plugable has a USB-A port for improved versatility.
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