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New MacBook Pro Thunderbolt port gets attention at NAB 2011

post #1 of 21
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A variety of vendors are demonstrating new products taking advantage of Apple's Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pros at the National Association of Broadcasters convention.

Intel previously noted products in the pipeline from AJA, BlackMagic, Matrox, Sonnet, G-Tech, Promise, and La Cie when it unveiled the new high speed port with Apple at the launch of early 2011 MacBook Pros. Details are now flowing at NAB, now being held in Las Vegas.

The inclusion of Thunderbolt ports on Apple's MacBook Pro lineup promises to solve a significant problem for mobile video producers: the lack of both eSATA for fast disk access as well as a connection that can support high performance video input/output.

Currently, high end video applications use an ExpressCard slot to provide either eSATA or to connect video breakout boxes, but this limits users to one type of connection, and restricts them to the 17 inch MacBook Pro, which since 2009 has been the only model to retain an ExpressCard slot.

Thunderbolt supports chaining together both high performance RAID disk storage devices as well as offering general purpose, high bandwidth data for video input/output breakout boxes, and is now available across all three MacBook Pro sizes.

High end video users are now just waiting for Thunderbolt to catch on, and while it will take some time to bring new devices to market, NAB is flush with new announcements of Thunderbolt gear on tap for delivery, starting this summer.

Promise, the company Apple delegated its Xserve RAID business to after discontinuing its own SAN appliance, demonstrated its 4 and 6 bay Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID appliances for DAS (direct attached storage).

The company also unveiled SANLink, which will provide a dual 4Gb Fibre Channel link via Thunderbolt that can be used to connect to external Fibre Channel storage or to an Xsan network, as well as two additional daisy chained Thunderbolt ports for connecting to other devices.

AJA, BlackMagic and Matrox have demonstrated new break out boxes that use Thunderbolt. AJA's new box for 3G, HD/SD-SDI and HDMI workflows is codenamed Phaser, and plans to support HDMI 1.3a input and HDMI 1.4 output for stereo playback, provide 10-bit up/down/cross-conversions and RS422 device control and professional reference/LTC I/O.

BlackMagic unveiled its new $999 UltraStudio 3D breakout box for SD, HD or 2K capture and playback with support for two streams of full resolution video up to 1080p HD for new stereoscopic 3D workflows and uncompressed YUV 4:2:2 and RGB 4:4:4 workflows.



Matrox will be adding Thunderbolt to its MXO2 boxes for broadcast-quality video and audio output and capture with 10-bit realtime hardware up/down/cross conversion, HDMI video monitoring and H.264 encoding. The company will also provide an adapter for its existing products, enabling users to link to a Thunderbolt port rather than requiring an ExpressCard connection.
post #2 of 21
It's beginning.
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post #3 of 21
That thunderbolt chip needs to be in everything to succeed. FW died because NO ONE but Apple really used it. It needs to be in HDs, TVs, cameras, laptops, etc.

USB sucks and its everywhere. Ironically, it's everywhere because of Apple, thanks to the first iMac.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

That thunderbolt chip needs to be in everything to succeed. FW died because NO ONE but Apple really used it. It needs to be in HDs, TVs, cameras, laptops, etc.

USB sucks and its everywhere. Ironically, it's everywhere because of Apple, thanks to the first iMac.

FW was winning, usb2 killed it, slightly faster and massively backwards compatible. USB 3 is 1/2 the speed of t-bolt, we shall see.

If FW800 was backwards compatible things may have been different.
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post #5 of 21
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Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

FW was winning, usb2 killed it, slightly faster and massively backwards compatible. USB 3 is 1/2 the speed of t-bolt, we shall see.

If FW800 was backwards compatible things may have been different.

Agreed. Changing the port screwed up everything...
post #6 of 21
From the picture and description of the UltraStudio 3D breakout box, it looks like BlackMagic have forgotten a fundamental point with Thunderbolt: where is the second Thunderbolt connector to let you daisy chain another device after the breakout box?

Fine if you only want one of these boxes connected, and all your other Thunderbolt peripherals have daisy chain ports, but it means you can't use this in conjunction with existing displays that use Mini DisplayPort, unless you have a separate Thunderbolt hub.

Sounds like Promise got it right with their SANLink, as it provides a daisy chain port (not two daisy chain ports as the AppleInsider article claims).

I can't see any mention of this for the AJA product, and the Matrox product doesn't have an obvious description or press release on the linked page.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

FW was winning, usb2 killed it, slightly faster and massively backwards compatible. USB 3 is 1/2 the speed of t-bolt, we shall see.

If FW800 was backwards compatible things may have been different.

If you are willing to get a cheap adaptor cable, FW800 is completely backwards compatible, the difference between the FW800 and 400 connectors is about the same between mini and micro-USB connectors, two physically different connectors but the pins inside carry exactly the same things.
post #8 of 21
Slightly OT but I'm eager to see integration with new Cinema displays. . . Would be great to see USB1/2/3 and other stuff chained off the thunderbolt port. Makes me wish for a 2nd so I could drop a few eSATA III SSDs off the side real soon..
post #9 of 21
These are capture devices, not breakout boxes. A breakout box does nothing but "break out" the multi pin cable connections from a device to standard video connectors. A breakout box is typically nothing more than a fancy cable adaptor.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

FW was winning, usb2 killed it, slightly faster and massively backwards compatible. USB 3 is 1/2 the speed of t-bolt, we shall see.

If FW800 was backwards compatible things may have been different.

What are you talking about? Firewire 800 IS 100% backwards compatible. I use it everyday freely connecting 800 and 400 devices to 800 ports without issue.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Slightly OT but I'm eager to see integration with new Cinema displays. . . Would be great to see USB1/2/3 and other stuff chained off the thunderbolt port. Makes me wish for a 2nd so I could drop a few eSATA III SSDs off the side real soon..

Id love to see that and expect to see that, but I also wonder if the best move is to wait until the percentage of Macs with Thunderbolts in the wild reaches a certain level.

They really can do a lot with THunderbolt and I expect if display makers are allowed to license it/include the chip apparently PC makers cant for a year then they might best Apple by a good margin.

I hope in the future well also see that MagSafe connector with an optical LightPeak cable in the center allowing for a single magnetic cable to completely dock your notebook.
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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

That thunderbolt chip needs to be in everything to succeed. FW died because NO ONE but Apple really used it. It needs to be in HDs, TVs, cameras, laptops, etc.

USB sucks and its everywhere. Ironically, it's everywhere because of Apple, thanks to the first iMac.

Apple inhibited the spread of Firewire with a $.25 per port license fee.

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1040-220209.html
http://www.macobserver.com/news/99/m...incensing.html
post #13 of 21
I wat ThunderBolt on Apple TV's so I can build a cluster in a shoebox.
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post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dempson View Post

From the picture and description of the UltraStudio 3D breakout box, it looks like BlackMagic have forgotten a fundamental point with Thunderbolt: where is the second Thunderbolt connector to let you daisy chain another device after the breakout box?

Fine if you only want one of these boxes connected, and all your other Thunderbolt peripherals have daisy chain ports, but it means you can't use this in conjunction with existing displays that use Mini DisplayPort, unless you have a separate Thunderbolt hub.

Sounds like Promise got it right with their SANLink, as it provides a daisy chain port (not two daisy chain ports as the AppleInsider article claims).

I can't see any mention of this for the AJA product, and the Matrox product doesn't have an obvious description or press release on the linked page.

Please visit their website, they have valuable information that could help you understand the purpose of this kind of equipment. These are not toys, they are professional tools and both companies are very successful with their products.

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/pro...ultrastudio3d/
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

What are you talking about? Firewire 800 IS 100% backwards compatible. I use it everyday freely connecting 800 and 400 devices to 800 ports without issue.

technically I was incorrect when I stated it wasnt backwards compatible. What I meant was that the reason it lost the battle was that requires an adapter to use 400 stuff on 800 ports. USB 2 worked so well for so many years because a USB 1 device can plug right in and use it, no adapter needed. dont make people buy more adapters, even if the cost is trivial, $10 is still $10 and its one more thing to have to keep track of, and loose, forget to toss in the laptop bag, let someone borrow and not get back etc.
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post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dempson View Post

From the picture and description of the UltraStudio 3D breakout box, it looks like BlackMagic have forgotten a fundamental point with Thunderbolt: where is the second Thunderbolt connector to let you daisy chain another device after the breakout box?

USB has been daisy chainable from day one, hell most if not all of us already do it weather or not we realize it. Many PCs and even some Macs with multiple USB ports go to one mother board header. I used to see some stuff in the early days that had a second port on it, and occasionally they are still out there, like printers that accept thumb drives for photo printing, but really, when was the last time you saw a USB device with a passthru for daisy chaining?

wanna daisy chain? give it some time and buy a hub when they come out.
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post #17 of 21
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Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

technically I was incorrect when I stated it wasnt backwards compatible. What I meant was that the reason it lost the battle was that requires an adapter to use 400 stuff on 800 ports. USB 2 worked so well for so many years because a USB 1 device can plug right in and use it, no adapter needed. dont make people buy more adapters, even if the cost is trivial, $10 is still $10 and its one more thing to have to keep track of, and loose, forget to toss in the laptop bag, let someone borrow and not get back etc.

Agree completely. If there was a valid technical reason for changing the physical shape, the change would have at least been understandable. But since 800 and 400 have the same configuration, the shape change is puzzling, and proved idiotic.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by xsu View Post

But since 800 and 400 have the same configuration, the shape change is puzzling, and proved idiotic.

But they don't have the same configuration. FW400 uses either 4 or 6 pins (4=no power) while FW800 uses 9 pins. 2 of the extra pins in FW800 are for shielding, most likely required to prevent interference at the faster speed.

http://pinouts.ru/Slots/ieee1394_pinout.shtml
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiceWare View Post

But they don't have the same configuration. FW400 uses either 4 or 6 pins (4=no power) while FW800 uses 9 pins. 2 of the extra pins in FW800 are for shielding, most likely required to prevent interference at the faster speed.

http://pinouts.ru/Slots/ieee1394_pinout.shtml

It does seem very shortsighted and something that Apple seems to have rectified when they designed the 30-pIn Dock Connector. It seems all their recent port interfaces are designed to be very future-forward.

Was FW400 designed when Jobs was at the helm or before? That could explain a few things.
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post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

USB has been daisy chainable from day one, hell most if not all of us already do it weather or not we realize it.

Sorry, no. USB uses a tiered, star topology using multiple hubs, and requires the host-processor to manage low-level USB protocol.

FireWire is a tree topology, and It allows peer-to-peer device communication such as communication between a scanner and a printer to take place without using system memory or the CPU. Unlike USB.

And in practice, USB 2 is not quite as fast as FireWire 400, requiring more system processing resources.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

FW was winning, usb2 killed it, slightly faster and massively backwards compatible. USB 3 is 1/2 the speed of t-bolt, we shall see.

If FW800 was backwards compatible things may have been different.

I'll agree with everything but your description of USB speeds.
Since USB isn't point-to-point, in reality USB2 is slower than FireWire 400 and not only that, it uses more processing power.
The death of FW is one of the sad stories of tech; it was better than USB, but the royalties killed it.

Notice how (mini) displayport doesn't have royalties?
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