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I'm buying a 16" MacBookPro which only has USB-C ports. I currently have no USB-C devices, so I am thinking of buying a hub/docking station with a few different ports and 85W+ pass-through charging and then attaching to one of those USB 3.0 ports another USB only hub (perhaps 12 ports) to attach all my devices to (e.g. HDD, drawing tablet, mic etc.).

Is it damaging to have all these devices + charging attaching to only one port? Should I instead spread them out in different ports through different dongles? Do I have any meaningful hit in performance for my HDD read/write or my audio interface and such that I should worry about?

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The 16" MacBook Pro has Four Thunderbolt-3 ports. Each TB3 port can do 40 Gbps transfer rate, or 4X of the top-grade USB 3.1 Gen2 link. Although the TB3 can encapsulate USB3 traffic, it is quite more powerful than USB-C. So you better carefully consider buying a native TB3 docking station, with all bells and whistles, with regular USB3 downstream ports. It is very likely that a single TB3 port from MacBook will be sufficient for all your needs, although splitting heavy traffic over different ports might improve aggregate system performance.

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  • Thank you, the answer I was looking for and then some! – NinGen ShinRa May 26 '20 at 10:24
  • I am wondering, are there any benefits on those hubs which attach on two ports, then? – NinGen ShinRa May 26 '20 at 10:35
  • @NinGenShinRa, "which attach on two ports" - Could you provide an example of such hub? I haven't seen one... – Ale..chenski May 26 '20 at 17:17
  • It's actually a very common design pattern nowadays, here is an example: www.amazon.com/HyperDrive-Type-C-Adapter-50Gbps-MacBook/dp/B01MUAEI7J if you look for MacBook Pro hubs you'll find many are like this. So there must be some benefits, I suppose. – NinGen ShinRa May 26 '20 at 19:30
  • @NinGenShinRa, I think these are just two individual hubs with own set of downstream devices and ports in one box. So yes, If two Type-C ports are connected to two DIFFERENT host controllers, then yes, it will improve overall performance of peripherals – Ale..chenski May 27 '20 at 4:31
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First off, you should not have fear of damage. Assuming the hubs are properly made, USB has a safety feature in that if any single port drawing too much current it will be disabled.

As for performance, USBv3 is extremely fast. Other than your hard drive, data demands from the devices you listed are near non-existent. You might want to keep the hard drive on its own port, but even that is probably not necessary.

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  • Thanks for the answer, it is reassuring. So, regarding performance, I actually generally have 3 external HDD connected. Obviously they are not doing read/write operations at the same time, but one is Time Machine backup so can be fairly active. Having said that, can a single USB-C port drive: power, HDMI external display, audio interface, tablet and 3HDD without incurring performance hits? – NinGen ShinRa May 25 '20 at 10:47

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