After a lengthy delay, there will finally be a Thunderbolt expansion dock ready for actual purchase tomorrow, according to MacRumors. The Matrox DS1, first unveiled back in June and then updated in September, will be a real shipping device beginning tomorrow, with a $249 price tag.
The DS1 will provide your Mac with a Gigabit Ethernet port, two additional USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0/2.0 port, dedication audio in and out 3.5mm jacks, and either an HDMI or DVI out, depending on which model you choose. It’s the first time we’ve seen anyone deliver USB 3.0 over a Thunderbolt connection, so that’s interesting in itself. The other elements are stuff you can get via other alternatives, like a Thunderbolt Cinema Display, but those will cost you a lot more than $250.
Speaking to MacRumors, Matrox product manager Charles Amyot said there were a number of engineering challenges involved in getting the DS1 docking station to market, owing to the relative youth of Thunderbolt tech. Macs have boasted Thunderbolt ports since 2011, but they’ve seen precious little uptake in the consumer accessory market, with the exception of external hard drives, where they appear generally on more expensive, SSD-toting models. A bevy of added ports is a much more useful addition to most notebook setups, especially for a home or office docking situation, than simple storage that is available much cheaper in USB 2/3 incarnations, which serve the needs of most.
Big name accessory maker Belkin still also has a Thunderbolt expansion dock in the works, one that offers a second Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining, a FireWire 800 port and three USB 3.0 ports in addition to the other things the DS1 brings to the table (though it lacks dedicated display options). That was originally supposed to launch in Summer 2012 for $299, but it has since been pushed back to Q1 2013.