Quick review of the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 2… It works and does what it says!

Now to meander a bit more…

Thunderbolt has been one of the really awesome technologies that Apple and Intel brought out in 2011, but has VERY slowly caught on.  This is too bad, as it has allowed me to extend the life of my computer considerably using a couple of Thunderbolt devices.  One of those devices was the original Caldigit Thunderbolt station.  By using this device, I was able to get USB 3.0 and use HDMI for my second monitor allowing me to free up a Thunderbolt pass-through for my UAD Apollo Twin audio interface.

The one thing that the original Thunderbolt Station lacked was eSata.  I was using a PC Card eSata connector with my 2011 Macbook Pro to connect up an external drive.  The issue I was having with the PC Card was that the drivers were not really supported with OS X 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, and 10.10.  With every OS update, the drivers would be kicked out as not usable, I’d rerun the install program, and everything was good.  While this arrangement worked, there always was this little fear that the PC card wouldn’t actually work, and I’d have to do something with the drive to get to the data (or worse, the data would get corrupted).

When the original Thunderbolt Station was announced, Belkin had announced a similar product, but with eSata support.  I waited for the Belkin device, but when they finally shipped it, the company had deleted the eSata connection.  I was very disappointed, and went with the CalDigit, as it was cheaper and had the HDMI port.

Fortunately, Caldigit decided to update the Thunderbolt Station to Thunderbolt Station 2 (TS2).  This device added back in the eSata port (x2!) and updated to the newer Thunderbolt 2 specification.

I received my TS2 over the weekend.  It was simple to swap out the original Thunderbolt Station for the USB 3.0 and HDMI functionality.  Where I did run into a bit of trouble was with the eSata drive.  I plugged my drive in, but the drive was not recognized.  After reading the FAQ on Caldigit’s website and uninstalling the drivers for the old PC Card, I still could not get the drive to be recognized.  In frustration, I wiggled the eSata cord around, and, lo-and-behold, the drive was recognized for a moment.  This prompted a quick run to CompUSA, I mean, Tiger Direct for a replacement eSata cable.  The new cable did the trick!  The box now works 100%, my PC card worry days are over 🙂

All-in-all, the TS2 is a great upgrade from the original, but if one does not need the eSata connector, there’s not really a need to upgrade, at least for us Thunderbolt 1 device users.

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