Originally Posted by marvfox
As a newbee please tell me exactly what does Thunderbolt perform if you are an average computer user like myself?Do you need more cables to use this?thanks
I have been using computers for years, I have so-called built my own with available parts, at the time hopefully the latest and greatest ... only to find that the changes seem to keep coming faster and faster. Why the intro ... because the variety of inputs and outputs over the years have changed, are changing and the number and complexity are sometimes baffling.
It is all about the speed of data transfer... video and data. It is cabling to Displays, controllers and storage. But, this is no place for a history lesson... but you would like to transfer a Blu-Ray movie in 30 seconds instead of hours or days ... we all like 1080P LED TV right? ...(old technology is oh, so slow)
The bottom line is Apple wanted a super data transfer highway that they could depend upon for many years into the future. That time is here. Many thought mini-display port was just Apple's way of wanting to be different. No, no, no, just smaller, more economical, less space required to implement. Same technology as Display Port (an Intel great idea wanting to standardize "video interfacing" (a fancy name for a cable with unique ends). VGA and DVI, HDMI (I won't explain what these mean, now). But, we also want high speed data transfer. So Apple approached Intel ... and together they came up with "lightpeak" a code name that is now marketed as "Thunderbolt" ... Intel fabricated the controller to work with their high performance line of processors with PCI express technology (Sandybridge, et al) e.g. i3, i5, i7. And Apple just released the first computer with Thunderbolt, the new, MacBook Pro series of laptops. There are a lot of makers of storage and display devices now developing products with Thunderbolt interfacing... it is coming, and coming fast... because it is needed and wanted.
Then there is data transfer ... Years ago we had serial RS232 ... then ethernet has been the workhorse, but USB shows up and it is wildly implemented USB 1.1, 2.0 and coming now 3.0 each getting faster with some degree of backwards compatibility (means your old stuff still plugs in and can function as best it can, but will be slow compared to the new stuff.) We also have ethernet and it too, has been getting faster and faster. Apple also had Firewire and it also continued to develop ... it is different but did not interchange nicely with USB and ethernet. So beit.
Then as digital camera wiped out film cameras their recording media switched to an SD plug in format. Used the same technology as USB thumb drives but changed the connector configuration. That has continued to change and provide larger storage capacities... all the way down to micro-SD use in cell phones.
So now Apple seeing the nightmare of everybody wanting all their old devices and mechanism to continue to have value and be able for those (like you) to be able to use them.
But now comes the idea of touch screen tablet ... a la iPAD. It has revolutionize the concept of what really is the personal computer (PC). (read John Grubers offering of "The Chair" in DaringFireball)
Now with the evolutionary step of iPAD2 ... thinner and lighter ... can y'all see that providing a whole panel of connectors, just so y"all can continue to use that OLD STUFF ... gets to be a real problem.
So now Apple wanting simplicity ... one connector on the hardware, but yet the ability to serve the legacy of all the various connectors, and technologies so you can continue to get value out of devices you have spent real money acquiring.
Like Abe Lincoln ... sorry for such a long letter, didn't have time to write a shorter one.
The bottom Line. Thunderbird addresses this future, long range need ... one connection (really two in one ... but the cable incorportates video and data in one end connector.
Intel developed the circuitry in silicon (the controller) ... it works only with mini-misplay port (MDP) on the new hardware end, but enables the development of hubbing. Let's say you end up with a new Monitor that has Thunderbolt. That new monitor has plenty of panel space to also include, USB 2.0 and 3.0, ethernet, HDMI, SATA , SDHD maybe DVI, Maybe VGA, etc. So you get to network all your devices, they just plug into a separate box (monitor or whatever). An this scheme allows up to (6) devices to be hooked up in series, one plugs into the next, and so on. (I apologize for the acronyms ... but this let's you know there is a lot going on here.
Data speeds are extremely high (by todays standards ... in copper) ... when fiberoptics is further developed speeds and cable lengths will expand considerably. This all takes time, money and standardization. Standardization is the key here.
In final summary of this post. One small, dual channel connector can interface with all kinds of devices, monitors, other computers, storage devices, hubs, networks, etc.... Each getting what it can understand at the ability of the device ... but also the newer devices (many are coming) can also get what they need ... all in this elegant cable concept.
Whew ... Does this make any sense to you? Have I got you really confused? as you learn more you will understand more.
In a broad sense it is a revolution in connectivity and cabling ... as TOUCH SCREEN technology a la iPAD is the personal computing ... but, TB will not be in iPAD any time soon if ever. You won't need it ... iPAD will transfer stuff wirelessly.