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I currently have an HP Elitebook laptop which I plugin into an HP proprietary docking station. When the HP is "plugged in", I have instant access to;

  • 2 monitors connected through various display adapters (at the moment; 1 display port, and 1 vga port, but other options are available)
  • Several usb ports for peripherals, including a bluetooth keyboard and bluetooth mouse dongle
  • Power for the HP laptop
  • Ethernet Adapter

I just acquired a MacBookPro 14,3. I would love to be able to plug my MBP into this docking station and have instant access to all of the above. Obviously thats not possible (nor would the power supply be correct).

What is my next best option if;

  • At a minimum, I want to be able to quickly and easily switch between using the monitors, mouse and keyboard, between the PC and MBP

I've tried screen sharing from the MBP, but its laggy, and I dont see a way to do dual screen (I'm using VNC viewer). I would prefer to avoid using a switch, given all the additional wires, but I'm guessing thats my next best option?

  • If you could give us the make/model of the Mac (at a minimum). This is usually done with a KVM switch but if the monitors have multiple inputs each you might be able to just switch that on each monitor and just get a simple USB switch to switch the keyboard/mouse between computers. Also screen sharing from Mac to PC with RDP is quite fast, can you reverse what computer you control remotely? – Steve Chambers Jun 6 '18 at 17:11
  • The model identifier is MacBookPro14,3. Going with the multiple monitor inputs (and manually switching monitor input) approach, would I then have to plug in the two monitor plugs into the MBP, or is there another device/hub I would plug them into which then gets connected to the MBP? I can screen share from the PC to the Mac, but my point/suggestion there was to use the existing setup simply by accessing the MBP screenshare. – n00b Jun 6 '18 at 18:15
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At a minimum, I want to be able to quickly and easily switch between using the monitors, mouse and keyboard, between the PC and MBP

You can't if your peripherals/accessories are plugged into this docking station.

The dock connects to the HP notebook via a proprietary connector. There's no way to connect anything but the supported notebooks to this dock.

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The key here is to understand that the HP dock is not an "independent device." It's designed for convenience when wanting to use desktop peripherals (mouse,monitor,keyboard, LAN, etc.) with your notebook; consider it part of your HP notebook when docked.

To share devices, you need "something" that interfaces with the peripherals that can be connected to both machines.

Your only options are to:

  • I assume, the first option (generic USB hub/dock) is only for switching peripherals? Or is there some hub that would work for both PC and MBP that also supports video? – n00b Jun 6 '18 at 18:09
  • There's the Elgato Thunderbolt 3, but it appears dual display support is flaky at best (I personally know of someone who tried two of these and never got it to work). They may have fixed the issue since...YMMV – Allan Jun 6 '18 at 18:19
  • So I'm still a little confused about thunderbolt3 vs. usb-c. Mainly, I know you can use the ports on a MBP for both usb-c and thunderbolt3 interchangably, but if that hub (for instance) is marketted as thunderbolt 3, doesnt that imply I cant use it on a PC? Or could I use that "thunderbolt 3" dock interchangably between a MBP and a PC (using usb-c)? – n00b Jun 6 '18 at 18:34
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    If your HP laptop supports Thunderbolt, then you can use a Thunderbolt dock (it's not proprietary to Apple). Thunderbolt is many signals: PCIe, USB 3.1, DisplayPort, and power. USB 3.1 is just USB and power (some may have DisplayPort). Both use a Type-C connector; it Thunderbolt 3 with a Type C connector and USB Type C or USB-C for short. It's highly unlikely you'll find a USB-C dock that supports dual video (not enough bandwidth) – Allan Jun 6 '18 at 18:41
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Actually you should be able to keep the HP dock and just treat it as a generic PC workstation. You would do your switching between the dock and the monitors and other peripherals.

Since the HP does not have USB-C plugging a dock between the two computers will not work.

Note that USB-C cables support Thunderbolt-3 so a USB-C cable will work for monitors and other things. Don't confuse USB-C with USB-3, the latter looks like a standard USB connector (often blue on PCs) the former are much smaller connectors.

A lot of this is finding something that works for you and without getting our hands on the actual hardware it is going to be difficult for us to make a specific recommendation that will work in your use case. So this is mostly a "bombard you with info so you can find a solution that works for you." situation.

Also my earlier comment about RDP. I have noticed that if you run the Microsoft Mac RDP client to connect to a PC it is very fast, just like sitting in front of the PC. So if you leave the HP on but not connected to keyboard/monitors/etc (just network) you can access it from a Mac at pretty much full speed. Allowing you to just hook up the Mac to your monitors/etc and not worrying about all the hardware switching. And that is something that you can try now for free.

  • Two problems here: 1) The spec page for the dock indicates USB 3.0 Type A and not USB-C. 2) USB-C supports Thunderbolt-3 - this statement is entirely incorrect; you have it backwards. Thunderbolt 3 supports USB 3.1. Also "C" is just the connector, not the standard. TB3 uses a Type C connector. USB Type C has no support for TB. – Allan Jun 6 '18 at 19:53
  • @Allan USB Type-C, or USB-C, is indeed just the connector, and it is the connector used by Thunderbolt 3, so it's not incorrect to say that USB-C supports Thunderbolt 3. That doesn't mean that all USB-C cables will support Thunderbolt 3 though (some of them don't even support USB 3.1). – nekomatic Jun 8 '18 at 15:18
  • Type-C is the connector. USB-C or USB Type C means a USB port with a Type C connector. USB (A, B, or C) does not and cannot support Thunderbolt. It's the same principle behind mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 1/2. mDP couldn't support TB, but TB could support DP. So...it means all Thunderbolt 3 cables will support USB, but no USB cables will support TB. If it supports TB, then it's a TB cable. – Allan Jun 8 '18 at 15:44

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