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Can I Use Arrow with a Thunderbolt 1 or 2 Computer?

Arrow is a Thunderbolt 3 audio interface and is only officially tested and qualified for use with Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac and PC computers (click here for system requirements). However, we often get questions about using Arrow with computers that only support Thunderbolt 1 or 2. 

One of the main issues with using Arrow with an unsupported Thunderbolt 1 or 2 computer is that Arrow is bus-powered via Thunderbolt 3, and Thunderbolt 1 or 2 ports cannot power Arrow. This can be worked around by using a Thunderbolt 3 dock (with an external power supply) to power Arrow, and a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adapter to connect the dock to a Thunderbolt 1 or 2 port on the computer. However, please be aware that this configuration is not fully tested or supported and we can't guarantee proper performance when using Arrow with unsupported systems.

There are also the factors of cost and portability to take into account. When combined with Arrow, the cost of the peripherals, cables, and adapters needed to make this work exceeds the cost of some of our other audio interfaces that directly support Thunderbolt 1 and 2 computers, such as Apollo Twin MkII. For example, the cost of an Apollo Twin MkII Solo is lower than the cost of the dock, cables, and adapters required to use Arrow with a Thunderbolt 1 or 2 computer (including the cost of Arrow itself), and Apollo Twin MkII actually has additional features not found on Arrow such as an optical input and additional line outputs. Thunderbolt 3 docks also require external power, making this kind of setup unsuitable for mobile use. 


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