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Strong sales of Apple's new Thunderbolt MacBook Airs cause some stock-outs

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Some locations have reportedly been sold out of Apple's newly updated Thunderbolt MacBook Air models, as consumers have been quick to embrace the refreshed thin-and-light notebook.

Checks conducted by analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities have indicated that the new MacBook Air has seen "very strong" demand thus far in the U.S. He said there have been instances of temporary stock-outs of certain models at some locations.

"Overall, we sense a bit more of a preference for the higher-end 11-inch models but the 13-inch also seems to be popular," he wrote in a note to investors on Monday. "Netting this out, the MacBook Air has truly redefined the laptop computing market, in our view, and we expect this momentum to continue."

Further evidence of constraints with the MacBook Air can be found with Apple's own resellers, many of which do not have hardware in stock. Some resellers found in the AppleInsider Mac Pricing Guide (included below) do have some custom configurations currently in-stock, such as the 13.3-inch model with a 1.8GHz processor and 256GB of flash storage, available for $1,614.08 from MacMall.

The new MacBook Air models, with Intel's latest-generation Sandy Bridge processors and the new high-speed Thunderbolt port, were released last month. Like the previous-generation models, the MacBook Air starts at $999, but the discontinuation of the white MacBook makes the 11.6-inch MacBook Air Apple's only sub-$1,000 notebook.



White said the timing of the release of the new MacBook Air models is key for Apple because it will keep the company in the minds of consumers even without a new iPhone available for sale. He believes that Apple has the hottest lineup of products for the back-to-school season and holidays.

"In our view, successful Apple launches are key in driving the halo effect that drives incremental demand for other Apple products," he wrote.



Apple does not break out the MacBook Air as a percentage of total Mac sales, but White would not be surprised if the MacBook Air is the best-selling Mac product at many Apple stores. With the latest IDC and Gartner estimates pegging Apple's total share of worldwide PC sales at less than 5.1 percent, Apple has plenty of room for growth in Mac shipments.

While the new MacBook Air has found immediate success, White expects adoption of the new Thunderbolt connector to take more time. The $49 Thunderbolt cable and lack of available accessories are seen as barriers to adoption at the moment, though he expects that to change over time.

White also sees Apple releasing a new iPhone in the September timeframe, and expects a so-called "iPad 3" to arrive "ahead of the holidays" this year. He has a buy rating for AAPL stock, and has maintained a 12-month price target of $666.
post #2 of 36
To make matters worse for the competition:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/int...sus,13151.html
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post #3 of 36
Haha! $666 is what the Apple I cost originally. If Apple hits this price, they should just issue Apple I's instead of stock certificates.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

To make matters worse for the competition:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/int...sus,13151.html

I'm one week into using my new top-of-the-line 13" i7 MBA. I'll be putting my late-2010 MBA up on craigslist this week.

All-in-all, a very solid laptop just like the 2010. I have to admit, I do enjoy having the backlit keyboard again. Performance-wise, that i7 does make VMware/Windows7 a bit snappier but not by much IMHO. The i7 does run a bit warmer, especially when Flash is running.

Had to have the thunderbolt port when I found out their new 27" LED monitor supported a dock configuration. Having a wired-ethernet port at the office will make a huge difference. Just waiting for the darn monitor to show up!

Amazing that Apple was able to squeeze that much performance out of the Core2Duo machine. Still was faster than a dedicated Windoze iX PC in everyday stuff.

I give it a solid thumbs-up. No surprise it's selling out.
post #5 of 36
I’m on day two with my new 11” Air i7. I won’t lie: the “automatic” process of migrating from my old Mac was no picnic (actually, it wouldn't migrate at all during initial setup—but it worked fine via Migration Assistant AFTER the setup, so that’s my current recommendation for migrating Mac-to-Mac).

But that step is done, and the machine is great!

VERY fast. It amazes me how well it performs in Quake Wars (medium settings) and other apps, compared to my old iMac. Spotlight really is instant, finally, and Lion’s early quirks are very minor compared to all the new stuff I really like having. Also, the backlit keys are much brighter than the original Air—and also easier to see (bolder letters) even with the backlight off.

And now it looks like an external Thunderbolt GPU will, before long, make this micro-thin ultraportable also serve as a high-end gaming “tower!” Complete with standard upgradable card slot.

I can’t find anything like this in the PC world without spending a LOT more, and still in the end accepting a MUCH thicker and heavier machine (and no Thunderbolt or Lion). I guess PC makers don’t want you to have SSD speed in a sub-$1000 ultraportable. They’re always out to make more money and limit your options!

By the way, if you have an iPad, give yourself a 21” Air instead: DisplayPad and other apps will give you a (slightly slow) 10" external screen for your Mac. I find it doesn’t hog the iPad’s battery much at all, either. I’m loving the dual-screen wide workspace, and an Air+iPad is still thinner and lighter in my bag than many netbooks! Plus I can grab either “half” of the setup alone, depending on what I want at the moment. (And I believe if you add an external monitor or projector, the iPad still works—as a third screen!)
post #6 of 36
I'm not surprised. The higher-end 11" MacBook Air defines the "ultrabook" category, and with the new processors, the last major purchase objection has been addressed. It is no longer underpowered in terms of CPU, storage, or ports. Optical storage use has declined in the last 3.5 years, and graphics performance, while not stellar, is mainstream. And the prices are right.

The conspiracy theorists can have a field day with the analyst's $666 price target for Apple, though.
post #7 of 36
$666 seems fitting. You can sell one share and buy an Apple I.
post #8 of 36
I think the stock outs portend well for a 15" MacBook Air.
Mac user since August 1983.
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post #9 of 36
Not surprising. Outstanding machines. Not that I have any hard evidence to prove it, but my 11"/1.8/4/256/Lion MBA feels substantially faster and snappier™ than my 2009 15"/4GB/2.53/500/SL MBP.

I am not kidding.
post #10 of 36
I bought my first Macbook Air this week. I love it.
post #11 of 36
I've said this before, but I wish I could justify getting one of these. Just playing with one at the Apple Store was so much fun.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

And now it looks like an external Thunderbolt GPU will, before long, make this micro-thin ultraportable also serve as a high-end gaming tower! Complete with standard upgradable card slot.

Does it come with a truncate to make the payment of an arm and leg easier?

I'd like to believe in a future of affordable Thunderbolt devices like a PCIe16x bridge, but considering the cost of the CABLE alone is $50 and the cost of PCIe expansion boxes currently cost in excess of $700 not including the video card, and adding to this that not a single PC uses thunderbolt which severely limits the market (MORE so than firewire 800)...

Yea, well I won't be holding my breath. I'd love to be proven wrong, but when are we going to hit critical mass for such upgrades to leave the world of jetpacks and anti-gravity flying cars?
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

considering the cost of the CABLE alone is $50

Considering USB cables cost the same in '96 when they first came out...

...Thunderbolt will be adopted JUST FINE.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

S
White also sees Apple releasing a new iPhone in the September timeframe, and expects a so-called "iPad 3" to arrive "ahead of the holidays" this year. He has a buy rating for AAPL stock, and has maintained a 12-month price target of $666.

Yes, Apple is a beast. The Beast.
post #15 of 36
With the MacBook Air 11-inch outselling the 13-inch model 10 to 1. That is why Apple should make also a MacBook Air 7-inch to outsell them all. Because true portability is here the number one feature!
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

With the MacBook Air 11-inch outselling the 13-inch model 10 to 1. That is why Apple should make also a MacBook Air 7-inch to outsell them all. Because true portability is here the number one feature!

[[..With the MacBook Air 11-inch outselling the 13-inch model 10 to 1..]]
You just making up numbers?? Where did you get the "10 to 1"?? Make it up or get it from your head? :-)
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post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

MacBook Air 7-inch

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Considering USB cables cost the same in '96 when they first came out...

...Thunderbolt will be adopted JUST FINE.

Funny how that 'fact' gets bandied about without a SOURCE. Source? Citation? Bueller?

I call bullshit.

As for Thunderbolt being adopted....my whom prey tell? Hrmmm?

Oh, by the way, USB 3 cables? Cheap and widely available before Thunderbolt existed.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

With the MacBook Air 11-inch outselling the 13-inch model 10 to 1.

Rubbish. All the reports I've seen suggest that the 11" model garners about 55% of MacBook Air sales and the 13" model garners about 45%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

Funny how that 'fact' gets bandied about without a SOURCE. Source? Citation?

I don't have a source, but I can remember $29 USB cables at Fry's. I believe they could have been $49 at the Apple store when first introduced.
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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Apple should make also a MacBook Air 7-inch to outsell them all.

If Apple ever decides to join the list of failures (OQO, UMPC, netbooks) and make a 7 inch Macbook Air, it will hopefully be with a super glossy screen especially for you.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

Funny how that 'fact' gets bandied about without a SOURCE. Source? Citation? Bueller?

So you're just not old enough to remember that. Got it.

Quote:
As for Thunderbolt being adopted....my whom prey tell? Hrmmm?

Sony, for one, and they hate Apple.

Quote:
Oh, by the way, USB 3 cables? Cheap and widely available before Thunderbolt existed.

Okay, what's your point?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #22 of 36
Apple invests in the technology, which gives them an advantage. Then they release first. By the time the rest of the market copies the trend and releases, Apple is on their second production, fine tuning, minor details, and re-using parts to drive down costs, allowing for better things at lower prices, in comparison to the rest.

They rush out in the lead and as long as they keep up with the demands, it is almost impossible to catch them. The best thing anyone can do is wait for the next race.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

With the MacBook Air 11-inch outselling the 13-inch model 10 to 1. That is why Apple should make also a MacBook Air 7-inch to outsell them all. Because true portability is here the number one feature!

Seriously? Unless you can make some sort of trans-dimensional full-size keyboard that can fit in a 7" screen form factor, it's not gonna happen.
And, what the hell would you do with a 7" screen? What would it run, Lion or iOS? Running full-blown OS X on a 7" screen with super-cramped keyboard would be a phenomenally bad experience. Making it an iOS device would result in a more expensive, though less capable iPad (hint, there's a reason the iPad screen is 10" and not 7"and Steve explained that a while ago). There is just so much wrong in the whole "Pocket Mac" concept.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiA View Post

If Apple ever decides to join the list of failures (OQO, UMPC, netbooks) and make a 7 inch Macbook Air, it will hopefully be with a super glossy screen especially for you.

HAHAHA! Win.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Also win.
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

As for Thunderbolt being adopted....my whom prey tell? Hrmmm?

Oh, by the way, USB 3 cables? Cheap and widely available before Thunderbolt existed.

Gosh, I guess you've never heard of the concept of "new" technology. You know, USB was "new" at one point. In fact, people howled in protest when the original iMac came out because it didn't have any legacy ports, which was an even more dramatic switch than the introduction of Thunderbolt. I think in a few years, Thunderbolt will become the I/O standard: it's compact, high-bandwidth, multi-protocol, and future-capable. And yes, as was stated earlier, cable and adapter prices will go down fairly quickly, as third party companies make their own cables.

And for the worryworts out there, USB still has a decade of life left. Okay, maybe five years. Either way, you'll have a fairly decent "transition" period.
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post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

Funny how that 'fact' gets bandied about without a SOURCE. Source? Citation? Bueller?

I call bullshit.

As for Thunderbolt being adopted....my whom prey tell? Hrmmm?

Oh, by the way, USB 3 cables? Cheap and widely available before Thunderbolt existed.

1) You call bullshit because you look at a USB cable in 2011 and claim that they can't possibly have been pricer in 15 years ago? WTF?!

2) Apple and Intel have adopted Thunderbolt. Remember the last time Intel created a data and port interface that Apple adopted? It was called Universal Serial Bus and it was quite successful.
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post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So you're just not old enough to remember that. Got it.

So you're full of shit. Got it.

Just because Best Buy sells a $30 printer cable doesn't mean there are $1 thunderbolt cables just over the horizon.

Quote:
Sony, for one, and they hate Apple.

So you'll be able to use thunderbolt devices with Sony's product? OOPS! I GUESS NOT!
Quote:
Okay, what's your point?

That anyone drawing a comparison to USB's first rollout is full of shit.

Thunderbolt, outside of Apple, isn't employed anywhere. You can't even add thunderbolt ports to existing equipment like you can, say, expresscard, unless you got a video card maker to do it (don't hold your breath...they still won't embrace displayport in place of hdmi because people want hdmi).

Thus far it's an Apple-only expresscard-and-displayport port. Does anyone see thunderpoint disk drives gaining traction if there are cheaper alternatives you can use with non-Macs? I certainly wouldn't pay the premium just like I haven't used my FW800 port. I'll wager FEW Mac users have ever used that port.

The odd thing is Apple seems to think this exclusivity is a good thing. I don't understand this mentality. They can't force the industry to use thunderbolt like they could the iPod dock.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

I'd like to believe in a future of affordable Thunderbolt devices like a PCIe16x bridge, but considering the cost of the CABLE alone is $50 and the cost of PCIe expansion boxes currently cost in excess of $700 not including the video card, and adding to this that not a single PC uses thunderbolt which severely limits the market (MORE so than firewire 800)...

Yea, well I won't be holding my breath.

There was a post on the forum a few days ago from someone trying to get Facebook signups to encourage a PCI box maker to make a Thunderbolt version:

http://www.villageinstruments.com/ti...hp?page=ViDock

Currently, it connects via ExpressCard and costs $200-280 depending on which power usage you need it to support. It goes up to 225W. There are demos on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xStwHPg-YGs

The 5770 from the Mac Pro would set you back about $200, maybe less if you flash a PC version and it performs like this in the ViDock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6nvSwW3GXU

Sonnet already have a Thunderbolt PCI dock coming but it is only listed as 75W so wouldn't support higher-end cards.

I personally think it would be better having an MXM box as 100W will support the fastest mobile cards and the PSU can go inside but the other boxes can support any kind of PCI card you want to use e.g audio cards and the desktop GPUs are cheaper than MXM ones.

I like Sony's 6650M dock solution for their Vaio and it's a good example of how external GPUs can be powerful enough but not obtrusive in design.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) You call bullshit because you look at a USB cable in 2011 and claim that they can't possibly have been pricer in 15 years ago? WTF?!

2) Apple and Intel have adopted Thunderbolt. Remember the last time Intel created a data and port interface that Apple adopted? It was called Universal Serial Bus and it was quite successful.

1) I'm saying this figure is bandied about without any citation. I'm calling BS. Just because someone saw an expensive cable at sharper image doesn't mean USB cables used to cost $50. It's like saying parallel printer cables currently cost $30 because that's what BestBuy is charging. It's irrelevant. Thunderbolt cables are expensive because they have logic built-in. The whole USB comparison is ludicrous. It's not a cheap peripheral port.

2) It's so successful that most people are scratching their head wondering what the point to thunderbolt is.

I'm not saying that thunderbolt is destined for failure, but it's freaking expensive and will remain Apple-only for a long time. Check this out:

Intel's much-lauded "ultrabook" platform won't even have the technology until Ivy Bridge, and meanwhile the UX21 and friends will have USB 3.0. Why doesn't the platform have Thunderbolt right now? Why is Apple so much more anxious for the tech than Intel?

I don't see anyone working with the technology claiming it will ever be cheap. Please correct me if I'm wrong. If you force me to make a prediction, I think most Mac users won't use their thunderbolt ports just like most don't use their firewire ports. When they want fast storage they'll be left pining for the cheap USB 3.0 drives everyone else has looong since had access to.

Apple won't be the first to have an expensive docking port. That's fine. But if they really want to take on USB 3 or remove all these other ports they need to divorce thunderbolt from the requirement of a display driver. Intel has no interest in doing this because they're in the north bridge/CPU business and the more tech depends on those technologies the more people will be forced to upgrade their entire machines.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

So you'll be able to use thunderbolt devices with Sony's product? OOPS! I GUESS NOT!

Someone didn't read the press release Sony put out after that product was announced.

Quote:
Thunderbolt, outside of Apple, isn't employed anywhere.

Except in NAS', audio equipment, etc...

Quote:
unless you got a video card maker to do it

So I get to make even more fun of you when the next Mac Pros release, right?

Quote:
they still won't embrace displayport

OH, LOOK. Mini DisplayPort! And they even used to put full-size DisplayPort on their cards!

Quote:
Does anyone see USB disk drives gaining traction if there are cheaper alternatives you can use with non-Macs?

You. In 1997.

Quote:
I certainly wouldn't pay the premium just like I haven't used my FW800 port. I'll wager FEW Mac users have ever used that port.

I'll take that bet. Give me my money; you're completely wrong.

Quote:
The odd thing is Apple seems to think this exclusivity is a good thing.

Can't recall Apple ever saying anything of that nature in any publication or spoken announcement.

They've said they're first. They're first with a lot of things. And then the industry follows them.

Quote:
I don't understand this mentality. They can't force the industry to use thunderbolt like they could the iPod dock.

They didn't force the industry to use USB, either. But everyone moved to it once Apple did because they were RIGHT.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

There was a post on the forum a few days ago from someone trying to get Facebook signups to encourage a PCI box maker to make a Thunderbolt version:

http://www.villageinstruments.com/ti...hp?page=ViDock

Currently, it connects via ExpressCard and costs $200-280 depending on which power usage you need it to support. It goes up to 225W. There are demos on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xStwHPg-YGs

The 5770 from the Mac Pro would set you back about $200, maybe less if you flash a PC version and it performs like this in the ViDock:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6nvSwW3GXU

Sonnet already have a Thunderbolt PCI dock coming but it is only listed as 75W so wouldn't support higher-end cards.

I personally think it would be better having an MXM box as 100W will support the fastest mobile cards and the PSU can go inside but the other boxes can support any kind of PCI card you want to use e.g audio cards and the desktop GPUs are cheaper than MXM ones.

I like Sony's 6650M dock solution for their Vaio and it's a good example of how external GPUs can be powerful enough but not obtrusive in design.

The ViDock is interesting. That's a much cheaper unit than the Magma ExpressBox (although not making me leap for my credit card). Halve the cost and I'd get one for my MBP 17.

What makes you think Village Instruments could make a cheaper dock than Sonnet, and still make any money given the limited market? It might be an easier sell if ultrabooks with thunderbolt hit the market mid-2012.

One thing I noticed is the Sonnet unit will only support 4x, which makes sense because Thunderbolt is only 10gb/sec and each PCIe channel is 2.5Gb/sec. The page you cite doesn't say, but the ViDock has to be a 1x device as that's the limit of expresscard/34. I'm unsure why they promote this as a method for gaming as all gamers I know use 16x cards.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Someone didn't read the press release Sony put out after that product was announced.

Maybe you should read it. It doesn't use the thunderbolt port and probably doesn't support the full spec which requires the display signal. Sony is using it as a fast proprietary dock port.

Which is fine by me, but my original point stands.
post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

Maybe you should read it. It doesn't use the thunderbolt port and probably doesn't support the full spec which requires the display signal. Sony is using it as a fast proprietary dock port.

Which is fine by me, but my original point stands.

No, it doesn't. I don't mean the press release that accompanied its announcement, otherwise I'd have said that.

I mean the one after where they try to explain themselves by saying that it was in development before the spec was finalized and they decided they'd rather have it out than actually have a product that was correct.

Implying they'll use proper Thunderbolt (and not something that can't even legally be called Light Peak) in the future.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe View Post

I'm unsure why they promote this as a method for gaming as all gamers I know use 16x cards.

Benchmarks have been done with high-end cards in 1x slots and the cards just run a bit more slowly. At 4x, you get something like 85% of the performance at 16x for the highest-end cards.

The results speak for themselves though in that the games run smoothly on high quality.

It is a limited market though and $200 is still a high entry point for just the box. Once you combine a Mac Mini server $999 + PCI box ($200) + 5770 ($200) + 23" IPS display ($200-300), you are pretty much at the price of the $1699 27" iMac and it has a lot less clutter.

It makes some sense for the entry model Mini for gaming but I reckon a $200-300 MXM box that includes the GPU (made by the GPU manufacturers) would be the only way it would be cost-effective.
post #33 of 36
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Benchmarks have been done with high-end cards in 1x slots and the cards just run a bit more slowly. At 4x, you get something like 85% of the performance at 16x for the highest-end cards.

The results speak for themselves though in that the games run smoothly on high quality.

It is a limited market though and $200 is still a high entry point for just the box. Once you combine a Mac Mini server $999 + PCI box ($200) + 5770 ($200) + 23" IPS display ($200-300), you are pretty much at the price of the $1699 27" iMac and it has a lot less clutter.

It makes some sense for the entry model Mini for gaming but I reckon a $200-300 MXM box that includes the GPU (made by the GPU manufacturers) would be the only way it would be cost-effective.

but the Imac lack of a mate display is a trun off for some.

Also TB is less then pci-e x4 after overhead and there is the added lag as well.

External PCIe is faster and a better fit for add in video and other cards.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/...developed/6220

http://www.molex.com/molex/products/...e=Introduction

http://www.andovercg.com/datasheets/...74546-0813.pdf
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB View Post

but the Imac lack of a mate display is a trun off for some.

Also TB is less then pci-e x4 after overhead and there is the added lag as well.

External PCIe is faster and a better fit for add in video and other cards.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/...developed/6220

http://www.molex.com/molex/products/...e=Introduction

http://www.andovercg.com/datasheets/...74546-0813.pdf

Looks like that would have been a cool technology four years ago.
post #36 of 36

That was quick, I guess they don't need too much interest for this to be a profitable venture. 10-20k sales could well be enough if it's a small company and the margins are high enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB

External PCIe is faster and a better fit for add in video and other cards.

It won't be out until 2013 though and 10Gbps is fast enough for the vast majority of IO. TB will also scale in performance over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB

Also TB is less then pci-e x4 after overhead and there is the added lag as well.

Thunderbolt is described as having 8 nanosecond time sync across 7 devices. I don't think there will be any noticeable lag. It's designed for audio and video tasks. Aja, Apogee, Blackmagic and Avid wouldn't use it if it wasn't good enough.

A pretty neat usage scenario for this type of box is being able to hook up a large number of displays to a laptop:

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