I have been looking at Thunderbolt Docks for my MacBook Pro for some time and finally took the plunge. I decided to purchase the Sonnet Echo 15. It was the most expensive of the docks that I looked at but I decided to get it because of the extensive functionality it offered. It would give me USB 3 on my older MacBook Pro and still has FireWire and esata. It also included an optical drive and room for a hard drive.
When I first unpacked the dock I liked the look of it. It did not look cheap like some others I looked at. I plugged in my peripherals and monitor and things worked right away. I didn't start having issues until I loaded the driver and rebooted. When I rebooted I found that I first had to login to my MacBook and let it finish booting up before I could use the keyboard and mouse. I have a usb keyboard and mouse and when I have them plugged into the Mac instead of the dock I can boot up and login on the external keyboard and display.
The second issue that I found was that when I plugged my speakers into the dock I only got sound out of one of them. I then unplugged the input cable and plugged it back into my MacBook and sound returned to normal.
The fan on the dock is not loud but is noticeable. If that was the only problem with the dock I would keep it but it's not. For a dock that costs almost $500 I expect to have no issues. I will be returning the dock and will be back to my original setup.
So after a week of stress testing my Macbook and not being able to replicate the failure that I had but noticing that it is still running hot I took my Macbook back to the Applestore and explained the situation to them. Since it was still under Applecare for a couple weeks they agreed to send it in to their depot to be repaired. I had it back in 3 days and so far it is running much cooler. At the depot they replace the logic board as well as both fans. I am hoping that this will last for sometime since my Applecare runs out in 11 days and I would really like to keep using this Macbook for at least a couple more years. For the most part it has run well for me and I don’t want to spend money on a new one for at least another year minimum.
This afternoon around lunch time I was checking Facebook on my Macbook Pro when I encountered something entirely new. As I was scrolling down the screen my screen froze and I could hear the fans on my Macbook Pro kicking into high gear. After a minute or two my Macbook Pro rebooted but it would not boot back up for me to use it. It would boot to a gray screen and then sit there with the Fans screaming. I then disconnected my Macbook Pro from my KVM and tried to boot it connected to nothing but power and it still would not boot beyond that gray screen. I tried everything I could think of and could not get the system to boot.
Through some patience and trial and error I was able to get my Macbook to boot for a short while but it failed again as soon as I plugged in my external monitor.
After this I decided to do some research and found that I was not alone. There were many reports of 2011 Macbook Pros failing with issues related to the Discrete Graphics Adapter in them. I went ahead and made an appointment at the Apple Store for the next time I could make it and did some reading to see how bad it really was.
Here is one of the more active sources of the information that I have found in relation to this issue.
Discussion in Apple Support Forums. There are over 11K responses in this thread.
Going to try more tonight to see what I can do.