The flakiness that is Geddie USB C Adapters
OK, I’ve had some pretty bad luck with third party USB C adapters. For some like the Satechi, they don’t connect reliably, but for the Geddie which thankfully is unavailable, but I’m sure it is just being used by a new low cost manufacturer somewhere. These are things that take a single USB C connection and use it for power, and then give you HDMI, USB B and other ports. I would probably throw them away, TL;dr.
So if you have one of these Geddie’s beware:
- One of them actually fried and I could smell it. I’m also pretty sure it blew out circuits on the motherboard of my 2017 MacBook Pro (moving forward to the day that I will be all M1 :-). It wasn’t just the USB C ports, but the motherboard they is damaged. It costs $600 to replace that motherboard, so it makes no sense vs getting a $900 M1 MacBook.
- The second Geddie is starting to fail. On one side it gives me the full 100 watts from an adapter, but on the other, it gives me just 15 watts so the laptop drains down. And in another port, it doesn’t give me anything.
Also I had not realized it, but it has two great features, the first is 100 watts of power, and then it support 4K at60 Hertz. The tradeoff though (because of USB C connector limitations) is that it only does USB 2.0 at 480Mbps. So net, net, probably not worth the tradeoff.
So what should a person do?
- Well, first of all the new generation of Thunderbolt 4 adapters is coming out without any of these limitations, the boxes are smaller (and I’ll report on some soon), but they are bigger than a single adapter and have their own dedicated power supplies.. And you will pay $200 or more but that is better than having a trail of ten $30-60 no-name adapters with the possibility that they will destroy your computer. I haven’t tried them, but the Kensington SD5700T is a pretty big unit but has 4 TB4 ports (with TB4, you can actually have a hub for them so they don’t just daisy chaing and these are backward compatible with USB C, And it has 4 USB A ports plus power for 90W (although on Amazon, there are compatibility issues and you need Big Sur on your Mac). The Anker PowerExpand is more portable with 85W for your Mac and 15W for other devices. It does have a dedicated power cord though and is pretty bulkly also it doesn’t support M1 MacBooks (but I think this really means the M1 MacBook currently can only support a single display, but be warned). None of the other hubs are shipping righ tnow, but the OWC Thunderbolt Hub looks promising,there are 4 TB4/USB C ports and 1 USB -A and it works with 4Kp60 and it has a dedicated charge which is not great for 60W. Given the above experience, I’m not going to use any no-name docks. So also not yet availabe is the CalDigit Element Hub, it 4×2 so a little smaller, and has a 60W charging with a dedicate wall wort, but it has 4 TB4/USBC and 4 USB 3.2 10Gbps ports and dual 4K. The main limitation is the 60W power, but the OWC Thunderbolt Dock is 90W and with a whopping 4 TB4, Gigabit Ethernet, 3 USB-A 10Gbps, 3.5mm audio and an SD slot, so this could be the perfect stay at home doc.
- If you want something right now, then I would just get an HDMI to USB C adapter and then individual USB C to USB A adapters, yet it is less convenient, but it’s way less risky. These days a USB B to USB C adapter costs $5 and a HDMI to USB C. Again, you have to watch how much power they supply, most at 60W which is not enough for a big Intel MacBook Pro 15″ machine.
- If you are stationary and need it right away, then I’ve had great luck with the expensive, but reliable CalDigit TS3 Plus. It is huge comparatively, but it has a 90 watt dedicated supply and a zillion ports. One inconvenience is that it only has a DisplayPort and you need an active HDMI to DisplayPort adapter (the passive ones don’t work, because you need to actually change the signal, whereas the passive ones, just change the wiring and the conversion is done in the computer), but for $280, you get a bundle where you get both.