FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions - Knowledge Base

Can I recharge my MacBook Pro with only 27W or 60W?

The short answer is Yes, especially with 60W, it is enough power to recharge your laptop. The long answer follows below.

USB Power Delivery (PD) is part of what makes the Thunderbolt 3 interface such a great solution for external storage devices. According to the specifications, Thunderbolt 3 can provide up to 100W of power but in reality, it depends on the design of the hardware, so it's important to check the specifications to better understand if your Thunderbolt 3 device is able to recharge a laptop like the MacBook Pro (late 2016) for example.

The minimum is 15W, which is provided by all computers and self-powered Thunderbolt 3 devices with a second Thunderbolt 3 port, in order to use bus-powered devices. If you connect such a self-powered Thunderbolt 3 device to your computer, the MacBook Pro will accept a "trickle" charge if there is no other power source but it won't be enough to fully recharge your laptop. At best, it will slow down how fast the battery is drained.

For Thunderbolt 3 products from Akitio that provide more than 15W like the Thunder3 Quad X (27W), the Thunder3 RAID Station (27W), the Node Pro (60W) and the Thunder3 Dock Pro (60W), how much and how fast you can recharge the battery depends on what you are doing with the computer. In general, 27W is enough to maintain or slightly recharge the battery when the computer is not under load and 60W is enough to recharge the battery even when the computer is under moderate load.

Following are some examples for reference. Note that no bus-powered devices were attached to the computer during these tests.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016) - MacBookPro13.2
Model PD Test Battery % Start Battery % End
Thunder3 Quad X 27W 2 h playback of 1080p video 100% 100%
Thunder3 Quad Mini 15W 2 h playback of 1080p video 100% 100%
MacBook Pro only N/A 2 h playback of 1080p video 100% 60%

 

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) - MacBookPro13,3
Model PD Test Battery % Start Battery % End
Thunder3 Quad X 27W 2 h playback of 4K video 100% 47%
Thunder3 Raid Station 27W 2 h playback of 4K video 56% 19%
Thunder3 Raid Station 27W Computer is idle for 30 min (lid open) 20% 30%
Node Pro 60W 2 h playback of 4K video 30% 100%
MacBook Pro only N/A 2 h playback of 4K video (battery dead after 1h 39 min) 100% 0%

 

60w power delivery macbook pro