Saturday, August 13, 2022

Hyper’s new Thunderbolt 4 hub has laptop charging power, but no brick

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Hyper, the company behind those stackable GaN chargers and high-performance battery banks, is run a Kickstarter for a Thunderbolt 4 hub that is really compact thanks to the fact that it doesn’t require a massive power source like those other hubs put a lot of strain on. Instead, it plugs straight into the wall with a relatively standard 8-power cable, so you can add high-speed ports to your computer without taking up a ton of backpack or desk space.

Despite its simplicity, Hyper says it can still deliver up to 96 watts of power to your laptop, which is enough to power most laptops (if you have a gaming computer or a 16-inch MacBook Pro, it could still lose power, though. some battery when fully tilted). However, as with most Hyper products, the hub is not cheap; Hyper says it’s expected to retail for around $299 when it’s released.

You can do a lot with three Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Image: Hyper

As a Thunderbolt 4 hub, you have a few more ports to work with. The front has four Thunderbolt ports. You plug your computer into one and then whatever drives, displays, or other accessories you want into the other three. Hyper says its 32Gbps PCIe speeds (which is equivalent to 4x for PCIe 3.0 or 2x for PCIe 4.0) are fast enough for external GPUs, and its ports can deliver 15W of power to devices like an iPad Pro. It should also be compatible with most fancy monitor setups; Hyper says the hub will support technology such as Display Stream Compression and the multi-stream transport technology needed to run two 6K displays at 60Hz.

The hub uses GaN to provide a lot of power for your computer and your other devices.
Image: Hyper

Obviously you’re paying a lot for the convenience of not having an external power brick (which makes the hub more portable). For the price of the hub, you can get a full Thunderbolt 4 dock that adds several other ports. Hyper offers Kickstarter backers a significantly lower price (from $179 to $239, depending on which tiers still have stock), but there is inherent risk in doing so. Yes, right now Hyper is a reputable brand with plenty of successful crowdfunding campaigns under its belt, but there’s still a difference between a Kickstarter pre-order and buying something straight from a website. The company says it expects the hubs to start making their way to backers in November.

If your pockets aren’t that deep or you don’t mind putting up with a little discomfort, OWC’s Thunderbolt Hub might be worth a look. It also lets you add three Thunderbolt 4 ports to your computer, as well as a USB-A port (it even runs at 10 Gbps). At $169, it’s a lot cheaper than the Hyper version – but it’ll have to be attached to a huge power brick, and it can only handle a 60W charge.

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