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First Look: Inside Apple's fast new Thunderbolt port on MacBook Pros - Page 4

post #121 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

I guess that is my beef. If Apple/Intel's new baby fails to get wide support (which is very possible) then we will be stuck with USB2 until its slow speed becomes a major major headache.

FW800 adoption is pathetically small. Thunderbolt offers... another attempt, followed by another years long wait, potentially resulting in nothing but USB 2.

Anybody want to take bets on how quickly Monoprice gets out a full line of TB adaptors, including one for USB3?

I know adaptors aren't ideal, but if massive throughput is your main concern get two of them and you'll have twice the throughput for multiple devices than you'd get by Apple including USB3 ports on Macs.
post #122 of 161
i'll be surprised if the new ipad doesnt have a thunderbolt connector. I'd also expect an apple hub soon perhaps.... hopefully in the shape of Steve Jobs head and you plug into the ear, nose, etc.
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post #123 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Assuming Intel includes it in all of their chipsets and convinces PC makers to include the port, there's one other important factor. How much will it cost to implement it in the other devices? USB is dirt-cheap to include because it's a fairly simple chip compared to a FW controller. So I assume it will be present for the forseeable future. Half of the FW800 drives I have also have eSATA, which I don't have any Macs with that connection.

So, would HD makers add a 4th port to cover their bases? That adds an incremental cost to their units. Or do they drop either FW or eSATA, potentially upsetting customers who don't have TB and therefore must use the USB port? If it costs too much to include TB, they will just continue making FW800 drives and expect the customer to go buy a TB adaptor.



I agree. I don't think we'll ever see a built-in USB3 port on a Mac. The closest thing will be a USB3 adaptor for TB. But I do think we'll continue to see USB2 ports for quite some time to come. It's a cheap, mature technology. It could be quite some time, if ever, that a TB controller chip will be cheap enough to include in a thumb drive, and you aren't going to carry around an adaptor all of the time just in case you need to pull files off somebody's thumb drive.

I don't believe these chips will cost much. They aren't converting one process to another the way PATA and SATa to FW chips are. So the complexity won't be as high. These are basically moving the Express bus out to an external device, using whatever protocol exists. It supports mass drive and Displayport directly. Others will require adapters. But like so many other, old standards, many of the present ones will just go away over time.

It does look as though the often laughed upon Apple invented mini Displayport socket is here to stay. It's being used everywhere now.
post #124 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atanner View Post

Am I the only one who finds it odd that Apple and Intel would launch this without a single peripheral on the market that uses it yet? The intel video had a bunch of "coming soon" products in their demos, but didn't mention when they'd be released. Are Lacie/WD/Seagate et al reluctant enough about the tech that they couldn't co-ordinate some sort of launch at the same time?


Apple's cinema displays use it instead of mini display port

This is precisely why it was released without removing any other ports. It's clear that in 2012, we'll see FW800 and at least one USB port yanked off all Macs, desktop and portable.

I think you'll be surprised at how fast LaCie/WD/Seagate all jump on this bandwagon.
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post #125 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

I guess that is my beef. If Apple/Intel's new baby fails to get wide support (which is very possible) then we will be stuck with USB2 until its slow speed becomes a major major headache.

FW800 adoption is pathetically small. Thunderbolt offers... another attempt, followed by another years long wait, potentially resulting in nothing but USB 2.

I doubt this will fail. Both manufacturers and consumers (though, as usual, consumers don't know they are hungering for this, just what it will bring them) are hungering for ports that are simpler to use, as USB and FW were both promised to be, but weren't, and faster.

Intel makes a lot of mobos for companies. When this is in there, it will be used. I have no doubt companies will see this is a way to sell more computers, and so will happily add this to their machines when it becomes available.
post #126 of 161
From Intel's page, I read "Electrical or optical cables"... Does this imply they've implemented the Fibre Optic one, and not the Copper one rumoured before?
post #127 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Boy, did that Magsafe connector patent send a bunch of us down a rat hole. Lots of spilled electrons in the last few days posting about how LightPeak would work with a magnetic connector! But it was fun.

Apple did what we in basketball call a "head-fake". If you go back to the patent, the point of it was to marry an optical link along an existing copper wire interface. The example used Magsafe but if all of us had thought about it, we would have known then that this was not going to happen.

Why? You want this standard to be adopted as widely as possible. Magsafe is considered to be a competitive advantage for Apple in laptops and if you put Thunderbolt in it, that means they'd have to give Magsafe to EVERYONE. On the other hand, MiniDisplayport is a public standard that Apple developed and gave back to the DisplayPort working group free of charge with no royalties. Adding Thunderbolt to it doesn't saddle anyone with paying patent royalties back to Apple.
post #128 of 161
Thank you DED for putting all of this into meaningful context for all of us. This is a brilliant move by Apple. I was recently viewing photographs on a lame lenovo laptop screen that my uncle shot with his high end professional camera gear thinking "why spend all this money on expensive photo gear and then view the end product on a lame ass monitor" which is what he does all the time. The ability to connect HD devices and other significantly upgraded peripherals as we manage our ever increasing digital lives through this technology , whether at home, work or play, is a significant breakthrough in technology, price and performance.
post #129 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by article

Additionally, the PCI Express design of Thunderbolt makes it straightforward to add FireWire or USB interfaces to a device that is connected via Thunderbolt, eventually enabling Apple to drop other connectors from its equipment while still allowing users to continue to use their existing equipment.

Is this why we don't care about Sandy Bridge issues?
post #130 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

The one thing I don't like is the integration with display, that will mean that if I want to connect a display adapter I might have to unplug a disk to hook up an extra monitor, unless they require that all devices must include a display passthrough port.

Yeah, my current setup is USB -> external display which has a built in powered usb hub that my external keyboard, wireless mouse, wireless headset, extra iphone cable, printer and wacom are plugged into. My external harddrives are daisy chained via FW800. That way, when my MBPro isn't "docked", I can still access the hard drives.

Thunderbolt will not be able to daisy chain existing firewire/usb/esata peripherals together, which means a hub, which in my opinion is not an elegant solution for most people. Way too "desktop computer-like" in my opinion.

I think it would have been smart for Apple to have refreshed the Cinema Display line at the same time as this release, including Thunderbolt tech and a built-in "hub" to plug everything into (USB3, FW800 and even eSata). That would have really showed off the tech, transitioned the ports nicely, and given the Apple fetishists among us another excuse to drop a couple thousand extra bucks
post #131 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robsta View Post

From Intel's page, I read "Electrical or optical cables"... Does this imply they've implemented the Fibre Optic one, and not the Copper one rumoured before?

I don't know. They say that both optical and copper cables will work. Apple's pics for the adapter show electrical and optical pins. It's hard to say yet.
post #132 of 161
Hopefully there will be an Express Card adapter for us with mbp's older than 24hours!
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post #133 of 161
The new MBP's should've been thunderbolt only to begin with. Why bother with an upgrade that's barely an upgrade or at least give some people the option to go without the messy optical disks and slow USB 2/3. Wouldn't it have been smarter to roll out their on connectors and what not along with the new MBP but keep the MBP simple and really spur some computer sales. I sure wish my MBA would've had thunderbolt tech but I will get one with it later this year if they decide to do a refresh of the MBA.
post #134 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't know. They say that both optical and copper cables will work. Apple's pics for the adapter show electrical and optical pins. It's hard to say yet.

A whole lot of FUD and useless questions are being bandied about Thunderbolt today. But this issue is the really big deal.

How forward-compatible is Thunderbolt? Will we be able to mix copper and optical connections and peripherals when the faster versions appear? Is there a performance issue with this (like connecting USB1 peripherals to a USB2 hub.)
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post #135 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

Hopefully there will be an Express Card adapter for us with mbp's older than 24hours!

no dice?

Quote:
Thunderbolt ports can't be added to existing PCs via an expansion card; Intel says the only way to have it is to buy a system or logic board that incorporates the new Thunderbolt controller chip. That's because the Thunderbolt chip needs direct access to both the system's video and PCI Express architecture.
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post #136 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

i'll be surprised if the new ipad doesnt have a thunderbolt connector.

You're really expecting Apple to re-architect iOS to be based on PCI Express? Because that's what Thunderbolt is based on.

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.
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post #137 of 161
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Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

A whole lot of FUD and useless questions are being bandied about Thunderbolt today. But this issue is the really big deal.

How forward-compatible is Thunderbolt? Will we be able to mix copper and optical connections and peripherals when the faster versions appear? Is there a performance issue with this (like connecting USB1 peripherals to a USB2 hub.)

Intel's PDF says no problem. But I don't know if that refers to this first implementation, or the general interface overall.

All I can do for now is to refer people to Intel's own documentation.

A number of things aren't clear. What about the two channels? Is that two channels per port, or controller?

Optical or copper? It says both. Then why the talk that the first implementation will be over copper?

Confusing.
post #138 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

You're really expecting Apple to re-architect iOS to be based on PCI Express? Because that's what Thunderbolt is based on.

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Hmm! Do we know for sure it doesn't use Express now? Is that an Intel only chip bus? For certain?
post #139 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

It only carries power for low draw peripherals, you will still need a powercord for the laptop itself. Also, unless this becomes an essential technology to the PC makers and the general public it will be marginal at best. Apple lacks the market power to make a new port successful on their own, no matter how important they think it is. Intel's ability to market this is going to be the make or break, Apple is nothing more than a proof of concept that might make the rest of the industry more comfortable buying in.

You mean people will refuse to buy a Mac because it has this new connection?
post #140 of 161
Has there been any mention of how much it will cost for manufacturers to add TB to their products? This will be important in helping to spur adoption. I will be curious to see how it plays out in the high speed video RAID space. It would be nice to see a Mac Pro with a couple of these port built in. That will save big dollars on FC cards and the like.
post #141 of 161
This technology sounds great but I have one concern. USB memory sticks work great as they are slim, portable and easy to use. An 8Gb stick can cost just $10. And some are really tiny. But due to the size and shape of the Thunderbolt connector, it would mean a similar portable memory device would need to be thicker if it were to accommodate the port's shape and size. Perhaps they can come up with a Micro-Display Thunderbolt port in the future!
post #142 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphin0611 View Post

This technology sounds great but I have one concern. USB memory sticks work great as they are slim, portable and easy to use. An 8Gb stick can cost just $10. And some are really tiny. But due to the size and shape of the Thunderbolt connector, it would mean a similar portable memory device would need to be thicker if it were to accommodate the port's shape and size. Perhaps they can come up with a Micro-Display Thunderbolt port in the future!

Yeah this is the kind of thing you wonder if they even considered. There are millions of flash drive users out there and they'll want to have something similar to use with Thunderbolt.

This whole thing will be fun to watch.
post #143 of 161
Six devices? What is this, SCSI?

Bad enough firewire only supported 63, which means it had limited use for LANs. People still used it anyway, but I would have thought 255 to be the minimum.

Someone explain to me why six is acceptable. Hell, back in the day I remember hitting the SCSI limit of 7 with drivesand that was just drives! What about monitors, AV equipment, networks, adapters... SIX?!
post #144 of 161
Hadn't really noticed that. It is a problem.
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post #145 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

So by the sounds of it, this connector is simply integrating the PCI Express controller with DisplayPort, which means AMD could theoretically implement this into their own chipsets going forward. If so, that means the entire industry can move to standardize all peripherals on all machines onto a single port. No more USB, no more firewire, no more vga/dvi/hdmi.. heck, you won't even need CAT 5 ethernet cables anymore.

This is a pretty big deal. The only way Intel can screw this up is by putting ridiculous licensing fees to implement it, but if its based on PCI Express and DisplayPort, how can they?

I'm not sure why people see this as a replacement for USB. It isn't at all and I would suspect it will be a very long time before Macs are completely free of USB. All the noise about a USB free AIR is ill informed if you ask me.

USB has and always will be a low speed I/O bus. TB is nothing like USB.
post #146 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by hatunike View Post

Very interesting indeed. However, I think that it will catch on and MUCH faster than you suggest. I think this is essential technology for the future of Apple. This allows for a mobile computer to have ONE port. That is all. This includes power, data, display, everything.

I don't see how a one-port computer has an advantage. The just-released 17" MacBook Pro has 3 USB ports, a Firewire port, this new Thunderbolt port, Ethernet and power (in addition to audio in/out and the card slot). If you are using more than one peripheral device at a time, I don't see any advantage (and in fact I see many disadvantages) of having to daisy chain the devices, rather than plugging them in at the computer. (Is the monitor port now going to be on the power brick? So I have to crawl under the desk and on the floor to connect?) If however, it means that eventually, the ports on the computer will be Thunderbolt ports instead of a mix of USB, Firewire, etc., I suppose that will be okay, providing cheap adapters are available (doubtful - Apple charges absurd prices for its cables and adapters), although I can still envision problems during the transition period in cases where you take the laptop with you somewhere and when you get there, you need to plug in a USB or Firewire peripheral or an Ethernet cable, but your computer only has Thunderbolt on it and no one has an adapter handy.

It's not like the computer becomes meaningfully smaller or lighter if it needs only one port. I think people are too willing to give up functionality, like the desire by some to remove the optical drive and to replace very high capacity hard disk drives with lower capacity SSDs or to have everything live in the cloud, where you can only get access if you have connectivity and slower access at that. I do not want to move backwards. If you don't need peripheral connectivity, get an Air or an iPad.
post #147 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Fred 1 View Post

You mean people will refuse to buy a Mac because it has this new connection?

No, but they might refuse to buy a Mac if it ONLY has this new connection. Unless Apple throws a bunch of free adapter cables in the box with the Mac, which is doubtful, because they love ripping people off with their absurdly expensive (but nicely packaged) cables.
post #148 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

The lightning bolt icon is a bit decieving. Someone looking at it for the first time will assume that it must be the port for the power cord.

Very true. I think FastLane, LightSpeed, or Thor would have been a better choice. But I can only imagine how restrictive the trademarked name-scape is.
post #149 of 161
to fill up and sync future iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc. Syncing just takes way to long these days for these devices via USB 2.0. Hopefully provisioning these devices to take advantage of this new i/o port is in the cards, please Apple make it so!
post #150 of 161
Here is how I see the future playing out....

Either Apple, Intel, or a third-party will come out with a dock that converts the Thunderbolt port to a USB3 port. And once such a dock exists, we will not see a single accessory, other than displays, that will be designed for Thunderbolt - all the accessories will be USB3, simply because USB3 will be adopted a lot quicker and cheaper than TB ever will be, and will be compatible with legacy peripherals as well.

Even if Apple supports TB in their iDevices, I can't see them being able to fight this trend.

There is one other technical reason why this is the likely future - Thunderbolt supports 2 channels of 10Gbps each, and supports a daisy chaining architecture. It is still not clear whether TB supports a hub architecture. Even if TB supports a Hub architecture, the total speed of all the TB ports in a hub would be capped at 20Gbps. Assuming you have 4 ports in a hub, it makes a lot more sense to have a TB/USB3 hub, because you then end up with 4 or more ports that can do 5Gbps each. Even if you have 4 TB ports in a hub, you are not going to get any speed improvement anyway.

Even if we move to TB over optic fiber, I am not really sure what applications at a consumer level can take advantage of these speeds. Remember even SATA III has a theoretical speed of just 6Gbps - and real world speeds are very much within USB3 limits. If you have a RAID with SATA III disks then you can take advantage of 100 Gbps TB - but this is more likely in professional space than in consumer space. The only real application would be downloading HD video from a camera - where the download time would drop significantly. And to take advantage of this, you need to completely change your entire equipment - computers, cameras, cables, etc.

I think Apple will soon find that TB will be in same boat as FireWire. Unfortunately, better technology is not always the winner, as history as shown us with several cliched examples!
post #151 of 161
TB supports complex network topography like firewire. Meaning, yes, you can have hubs.

Your rationale makes no sense to me whatsoever. A USB3 hub, just like USB2, is capped at the speed of the port its plugged into. In fact, due to the USB protocol (which sucks, always has sucked, always will suck), the protocol overhead increases EXPONENTIALLY so that you'll never see USB3 hubs used in this manner.

USB 1.1 was designed for low bandwidth peripherals like mice, keyboard, etc. I could argue that even for this purpose, USB sucked, but Apple/Sony dropped the ball big time on firewire. Firewire, by the way, does not suffer from topology problems like USB, and does not have the protocol eat up CPU and bandwidth exponentially because each device doesn't need to be actively controlled by the CPU! If you think about this you'll realize how ludicrous it is.

A USB3 "hub" on TB would help alleviate the inherent design flaw of USB somewhat by not being a USB hub, but instead a TB node which supports multiple USB3 ports. However, this would saturate the TB connection with USB protocol chattiness and USB3 should just DIAF.

To summarize: I doubt you'll see USB3 hubs take off. The whole purpose of USB3 is high throughput, and USB3 hubs pretty much kill throughput. USB3 will just be an alternative to SATA only with power; an alternative that drains CPU power and finds new ways to burn your penis as it heats up your laptop faster than pyrit.
post #152 of 161
BTW Intel's strategy is cunning when you think of it.

Chip makers like NVIDIA, AMD, VIA and SiS didn't want to be left behind on the Next Big Thing™ so they rush ahead and push USB3 thinking that Intel had their own chip set in the works. They even accused Intel of hiding the USB3 spec so it would retain this advantage, but Intel rightfully claimed they never owned USB3 and now we see they have no interest in its success.

Meanwhile NERDS rushed full bore buying USB3 hardware because, well, you know, 3 is bigger than 2 and thus would also increase their penis size by the same ratio (hopefully allowing them to see it beyond their neckbeards, frumps, and empty cans of Mountain Dew). Yes, NERDS, because USB3 has yet to fill any practical role or technical niche—not even loading WoW faster or adding more FPS to Crysis.

Then a standard emerges which isn't a giant heap of steaming shit and suddenly the nerds realize their penises haven't grown at all! Now the internet is roaring with whiney screeds, being hurriedly typed by fat fingers (no doubt recently greased by hot pockets) filling youtube comment text fields with babble about how USB3 has already become ubiquitous and thus the war is over before it began so stop pointing out my small penis.

Technically, USB3 is a pile of shite that has no practical application. While that hasn't stopped the Gamer Soda-quaifing nerds from wasting their money on upgrading their erections, I'd take a look at the current benchmarks before wasting yours:

http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/02/05...ast-right-now/

(not mentioned in this graph is how much CPU was consumed, and whether an egg could have been fried on it)
post #153 of 161
So far, the biggest hurdle I see for Thunderbolt is the six device limit you raised. That's gonna hurt.
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post #154 of 161
Sigh, yes, but still better than eSATA, right?

Kinda makes me wish FW 3200 had been given the same "holy shit this is great! How soon can we deliver? NOT SOON ENOUGH!" treatment. Hell, that standard was announced in 2007 and was fully backward compatible with FW 800 (unlike USB3).

I mean, did they really not see the potential for networking? FW networks are still around despite gigabit ethernet. They're cheaper and easier to setup. Sure, it would have required longer optical cables, but since the protocol is now set in stone I don't see the limit being overcome when we start using fiber.

I'm also dumbfounded as to why they REQUIRED both protocols in ThunderBolt when it would have been just as easy to make the video optional. This would have allowed quick, widespread adoption using an expresscard or PCI-E adapter. This means a non-video port could use ALL thunderbolt devices EXCEPT video out. Oh, the horror! You mean I could have TB and would still have to use HDMI?! THA HORROR!

It makes no sense! For one, we have often had similar connectors have varying support levels. DVI-D vs DVI-I vs DVI-A for example, would be analogous to displayport vs TB-I vs TB-D (for video-out-only, both, or data respectively). Would this really be confusing? I know there are idiots out there who expect, for example, cable-only solutions to convert displayport to VGA, but c'mon! We could have zillions of speedy PCs with TB tomorrow if they would only allow for a TB without video-out. IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!

It's like firewire all over again. What is with Apple's (and now Intel's as with GPUs) not-invented-here syndrome?
post #155 of 161
The more you think about it the more stupid it gets...

The other repercussion of requiring display-out for every TB port is it killed potential use for servers. Since every port requires the ability to drive a display, that means you need a display driver for each port.

So you can forget about massive SAN arrays using TB. Sure, most servers don't need more than six drives (or I suppose 5 if you want a display?), but some do! How many SATA connectors is on the average non-server PC mainboard? Three?

(Of course, this probably didn't even enter Apple's collective stupidity^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H mind because they have completely abandoned enterprise. Imagine being in the situation where you need to run Mac OS X to encode stuff with Mac software and not being able to buy reliable hardware. What a JOKE!)

So what does this mean? Servers (which Apple doesn't sell, because they're retards) will continue to use SATA 3.0 and wait patiently for SATA 6.0 because neither USB3 nor TB fit the bill. TB would have been great except for the 5-6 device limit and the display requirement. If either restriction didn't exist, Intel/Apple would have a huge market for their new tech. Well done morons
post #156 of 161
To drive the point home, the ultimate irony hit me as I have a displayport on my MacBook Pro which can't audio out.

Yea, that's OK but don't you dare have a TB port which can't video out!
post #157 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Likely one. Intel says one (or two), with no explanation for when the (or two) is applicable. The great limitation is that Thunderbolt currently only supports Displayport 1.1a, which doesn't really allow for daisy-chaining of displays (the new 6000-series GPUs support DP 1.2, which does, but to no utility).

Are there even any displays with support for daisy-chaining in the market today?

The daisy-chaining of displays is also limited by the GPUs in every notebook, no? They all probably support two displays at most - one in addition to the built-in (or?). What's cool is that Thunderbolt probably is fast enough to allow an additional GPU outside the notebook to drive two more screens?!

I'm also curious about what Intel means in what you say above.
post #158 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgnq View Post

The daisy-chaining of displays is also limited by the GPUs in every notebook, no? They all probably support two displays at most - one in addition to the built-in (or?). What's cool is that Thunderbolt probably is fast enough to allow an additional GPU outside the notebook to drive two more screens?!

I'm also curious about what Intel means in what you say above.

The display limit depends on the number of pixels you're pushing, not the GPU. You can have one large display which saturates the connection.

A GPU removed from the CPU would be utterly pointless unless you wanted to add more OpenGL processors to a laptop or something (which sounds VERY impractical for various obvious reasons). There is a reason the GPU is connected to the CPU and not the monitor.
post #159 of 161
What's with people and the 6 device limit. The limit applies to TB devices ONLY. If you plug a FW Drive into your TB port, you can then connect (in theory) 60+ other FW divices up to that. Its the same as putting a FW PCI-E card in your Mac Pro!

If you want to run 12 SATA drives go ahead. Plug in two SATA controllers and raid away.

Hell you can't put more than THREE PCI-E devices in a Mac Pro.
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post #160 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post

What's with people and the 6 device limit. The limit applies to TB devices ONLY. If you plug a FW Drive into your TB port, you can then connect (in theory) 60+ other FW divices up to that. Its the same as putting a FW PCI-E card in your Mac Pro!

Do we know this for sure? Even so, who's going to keep making FW devices now?
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