Since late 2012, a number of accessory manufacturers have released docking stations taking advantage of Thunderbolt technology to allow users to connect a number of different types of devices to their machines with a single cable. Matrox was the first to reach market with its DS1, and similar offerings from Belkin and CalDigit have since been released.
Popular TV and video accessory maker Elgato has now released its own dock, offering three USB 3.0 ports, a pair of Thunderbolt ports to support pass-through, HDMI and Ethernet ports, as well as headphone and microphone jacks.
In addition to the hardware, Elgato has also released a free menu bar utility that allows for easy ejection of mounted storage devices while also enabling high-power USB support.
In terms of connectivity, Elgato's dock is most similar to CalDigit's Thunderbolt Station, with each supporting the same set of ports. Matrox's docking station offers only a single USB 3.0 port (plus two USB 2.0 ports) and only a single Thunderbolt port, which limits users to placing the dock at the end of a Thunderbolt chain. Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock does away with a dedicated HDMI port and instead expects users to use one of the dock's two Thunderbolt ports for display connectivity. Belkin's dock does, however, include a FireWire 800 port.
Sonnet announced an even more expansive dock including internal storage and DVD/Blu-ray drives a year ago, although its release has been pushed back as Sonnet redesigns it to include support for the new Thunderbolt 2 standard supported on the latest Mac Pro and Retina MacBook Pro models.
Elgato's Thunderbolt Dock launches today on Amazon (although currently listed as out of stock) with a suggested retail price of $229.95 with a Thunderbolt cable. A $199.95 version without cable is also available.