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Rumor: Apple investigating USB 3.0 for Macs ahead of Intel - Page 2

post #41 of 86
Seagate has stated they are working on Thunderbolt adaptors for their GoFlex line of drives (which have interchangeable baseplates for different connections). But when will they be released?
post #42 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

I think this article sums it up... http://www.ecnmag.com/blog/2011/02/c...vs-USB3.0.aspx

Oh, I thought you were going to link me to something where an OEM said that they outright just weren't going to use Thunderbolt.

This article is identical to every article from 1997 about USB, so it's pretty much meaningless.

Here, I'll show you.

Quote:
Apple introduced their new iMac last week and like any new Apple product, there is always some interesting technical buzz to capture the imagination of the press and Apples loyal customers. Apple didnt disappoint with their new laptop rollout that included the introduction of USB.

The big question is will USB kill ADB & PS/2? The simple answer is no.

Sure, USB is 1.5Mb/s. ADB & PS/2 are poky by comparison; they are specd at 125kbps (and I couldn't find a speed on PS/2), respectively, but practically speaking is more like 10kbps (for ADB). So why isnt USB the coup de grace for ADB & PS/2? Three reasons; Cost, ADB & PS/2 compatibility, installed base.

Cost. Lets face it, Apples customers arent cost conscience buyers. If you are a chip person you can look at the photo of the USB controller chip and tell its expensive. More importantly, the peripheral product hanging on to the end of the USB link requires its own USB controller and then a unique chip to interface to the port of choice. That may be fine for a high end, high performance HDD, but for many other peripherals, not so much.

(untranslatable bit) youd need a USB controller, which is probably 3X the price of a ADB or PS/2 hub chip Time and Moores law will change that, but it will take a while. (oh, look; he even admits that it's going to happen)

Finally there is the issue of the installed base. Every year over 2.5 billion new products ship that have a ADB or PS/2 port. There are over 10 billions (is he British?) products in use today that have at least one ADB or PS/2 port. Every printer, keyboard, mouse, etc all have ADB or PS/2 ports. Therefore, paying a 4X premium to have a USB to ADB or PS/2 adapter wont make economic sense unless you are an Apple customer.

Dont get me wrong. I can get as geeky as the next guy and think that USB is a nice new technology. I just dont expect it to cut short ADB or PS/2 even if it is faster... I do expect Apple enthusiasts to be able to buy some very nifty over priced peripheral products, and do expect that there will be some kick ass fast HDDs that will fully utilize the throughput of USB. However for most products the very low price point and compatibility of the installed base of ADB or PS/2 products favors ADB or PS/2.

See?

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post #43 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, I thought you were going to link me to something where an OEM said that they outright just weren't going to use Thunderbolt.

This article is identical to every article from 1997 about USB, so it's pretty much meaningless.

Here, I'll show you.

See?

See what?

All I'm saying is that not everyone will support Thunderbolt just like not everyone supported Firewire even though it was better than USB. You think different? We'll see who is right.

I would like the next iteration of Macs to have both Thunderbolt and USB3 ports so I can use peripherals from both camps. For example I have been looking for a Thunderbolt compatible portable hard drive. I can't find any. It's nearly 7 months since the MBP with Thunderbolt was released. There are however plenty of USB3 portable hard drives that would do me if only my MBP had a USB3 port.

You get it?

It's not one or the other. We need both.
post #44 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

We need both.

We don't. Whether or not we'll have both is still in the air.

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post #45 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

We don't. Whether or not we'll have both is still in the air.

Given the choice I'd prefer my 2011 Macbook Air to have USB 3.0. Thunderbolt is a waste of time right now.
post #46 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

We all know what's going to happen...

USB3 will replace USB2 and Thunderbolt will replace Firewire. So we will still be left with 2 standards just much faster. Works for me, I like choice.

So what's a rational guy like you doing in a forum like this?

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post #47 of 86
May I also point out:

USB3's speed will be the same in 10 years time. Until it is replaced by USB4. However, Thunderbolt can go faster. At the moment it's 20Gbits (10 each way), in 10 years time, it could be at around 100Gbits (50 each way).
post #48 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGJ View Post

May I also point out:

USB3's speed will be the same in 10 years time. Until it is replaced by USB4. However, Thunderbolt can go faster. At the moment it's 20Gbits (10 each way), in 10 years time, it could be at around 100Gbits (50 each way).

That requires fiber cables, which current Thunderbolt devices don't use. The copper cables of today won't be able to get to 100Gbps.

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post #49 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That requires fiber cables, which current Thunderbolt devices don't use. The copper cables of today won't be able to get to 100Gbps.

Isn't that going to be hidden in the existing style of cables? I thought that was part of why they went with active cables. The cables would still look the same, but instead of a special active electrical transceiver, they would use optoelectronic transceivers.
post #50 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horrunmio View Post

Ugh, what's the point?! It's a step back from Thunderbolt! With these things you'll never achieve the theoretical speeds printed on the box, the only way to achieve those would be to plug them in via Thunderbolt which can easily lap USB3 speeds. There are, most likely (I think I can say that here), going to be adaptors for USB3 via Thunderbolt in the near future - they will achieve speeds greater than the dedicated variety on competitors hardware.

Why add another hole in a computer body? Why are we still using wires anyway? If we must then the idea of one to rule them all is the best way forward.. remember those patents leaning toward the idea that the power and Thunderbolt cable could be combines, with the power brick as some sort of hub for all those ports like USB3.

D'accord -- 100%! You've got it down.

post #51 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by habi View Post

Yea I read you. Wouldnt it be possible to use the thunderbolt as a dock connector??? get all that crap connected that you need? external monitor, usb3.0 hub, gigethernet(for air), eSATA, thunderbolt daisychain port and whatever else that might be usefull. You could have a model with some external storage there also. It wouldnt need to be big in size...

Cant understand why nobody has made one NOW with the thunderbolt available on all macs?!?!

[What wouldn't fit in my title: "Or Just Good Old Fashioned Laziness.]

I'm no expert on Thunderbolt, habi, but if it can connect everything right up to a super-hi-rez display, its limits have yet to be discovered.

I just read that Thunderbolt is "hub capable," like USB. It is also daisy chain capable, so we as consumers really need to lean on Thunderbolt peripheral makers to include two Thunderbolt ports on their products for daisy chaining.

As we know, Thunderbolt is scalable. Right now, it is said to offer 10Gbps/sec or 20Gbps/sec (the latter being more expensive and not appreciable yet -- but, "What-a-difference-a-year-makes..."), allowing -- according to an Intel demonstration -- the transfer of the entire contents of a Blu-ray disc in 30 seconds.

Also of note, Thunderbolt is bidirectional and can simultaneously transmit upstream data and downstream data.

Also right now, Thunderbolt uses copper for its transmission wire. The drawback is that there is bandwidth attenuation with long cables. The benefit is that Thunderbolt using copper wire can supply 10w of power for devices or to charge rechargeable devices.

Thunderbolt using optical wire can have cable lengths up to 330 feet! (100 meters!)

But I'm pretty sure optical can carry data (in the form of light) but not power. So there are plans underway for Thunderbolt cables containing a copper wire and an optical wire.

As of now, it is said that Thunderbolt can scale in the future to 100 Gbps/sec. But, as we have seen, numbers can change in the future, and even higher speeds are not impossible.

I wonder if the technology is suitable for internal use, as in a replacement for SATA (Thunderbolt uses the PCI Express protocol). Probably even internal Zero Striped Array hard disk RAIDs could not take advantage of the speeds Thunderbolt affords, but maybe SSDs or future SSDs could. (Or, "Millipede" or "Racetrack" non-volatile storage. TBC.)

Could Thunderbolt be used for GPU cards? RAM buses, outperforming Intel's current QPI FSB replacement? IDK.

Thunderbolt (which I wish they had called Light Peak -- sounds more futuristic and captures the imagine more, IMHO) is far more compelling than FireWire was. And my God, I hope they had the foresight this time to design a connector with extra, unused "terminals," or "pins," or "contact points," or whatever...for future, faster versions!

Apple required an incompatible connector when they moved from FireWire 400 to 800, and Intel had do perform some "fancy footwork" to allow the same connector when they bumped USB from 1 to 2. (It's pretty creative, actually, but it still reflects that lack of foresight.)

The engineers behind the things discussed in here are a trillion times smarter than I, but it was "brilliant" software engineers that allowed only two digits to represent a year not too long ago!
post #52 of 86
With USB3 inclusion in Intel chipsets only about six months away, I think the chances of Apple introducing USB3 before Intel do is about zero.
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post #53 of 86
I took a 2011 MBP (i7) and via Thunderbolt and Migration Assistant, moved 106 GBs to a new 2011 MBAir.

Thunderbolt cable connected between each machine.

In a friendly wager, I set the over/under at 33 minutes with a local Apple employee taking the under (30 minutes)
.................................................. .................

Well, it took 1 hour and 17 minutes.....very surprised

I suppose the bottleneck was in the stock HDD as the Thunderbolt / SSD config of the Air most certainly couldn't be?

Or does Migration Assistant just take that long to read and then write the data to the new Mac?


Hmmm?

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post #54 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

With USB3 inclusion in Intel chipsets only about six months away, I think the chances of Apple introducing USB3 before Intel do is about zero.

Except for maybe the Mac Pro if they plan on updating this year. Outside of that machine, it seems more likely they'll just wait for official support.

I wonder if we'll see Thunderbolt compatibility, for faster syncing and charging, in the next run of iDevices due out this year.
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post #55 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Except for maybe the Mac Pro if they plan on updating this year. Outside of that machine, it seems more likely they'll just wait for official support.

I wonder if we'll see Thunderbolt compatibility, for faster syncing and charging, in the next run of iDevices due out this year.

Isnt Thunderbolt based on PCI Express? and If so, would that almost be impossible to replicate in a mobile device?

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post #56 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

I took a 2011 MBP (i7) and via Thunderbolt and Migration Assistant, moved 106 GBs to a new 2011 MBAir.

Thunderbolt cable connected between each machine.
In a friendly wager, I set the over/under at 33 minutes with a local Apple employee taking the under (30 minutes)
.................................................. .................

Well, it took 1 hour and 17 minutes.....very surprised

I suppose the bottleneck was in the stock HDD as the Thunderbolt / SSD config of the Air most certainly couldn't be?

Or does Migration Assistant just take that long to read and then write the data to the new Mac?

A system is limited by its weakest link, and TB isn't going to make a platter hard drive any faster than it is, a 2.5" platter hard drive at that. TB could be infinitely fast, but if the source hard drive is a turd, then the transfer isn't going to go any faster than a turd. Not that modern hard drives are terrible, but SSDs are just a lot better than them on speed now, and 106GBs is a lot of data to push around.
post #57 of 86
Being well defined means that one can implement the interface to support many devices. Another way to look at this is the special function chips that are used to implement PCI cards. These chips often come with a PCI - E interface that is supported by an embedded CPU core of some sort. In other words a PCI - E card will contain a SoC specialized for the cards I/O function.
If not a SoC then maybe a gate array. Many companies build IP for this bus.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

Isnt Thunderbolt based on PCI Express? and If so, would that almost be impossible to replicate in a mobile device?
post #58 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'd like to see four Thunderbolt and one USB 3.

So you have freedom to plug your one and only TB peripheral wherever you want?
post #59 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhyde View Post

Can you buy USB 3.0 flash sticks?

I don't think you would benefit even if there is one - read and especially write speeds of 99% of usb flash sticks are well below USB2 speeds. Having faster interface (but no faster actual storage media) wouldn't really make any difference.
post #60 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post

I don't think you would benefit even if there is one - read and especially write speeds of 99% of usb flash sticks are well below USB2 speeds. Having faster interface (but no faster actual storage media) wouldn't really make any difference.

Most USB flash sypticks are dirt slow. That is today's reality but USB 3 will make it easier to implement faster chips on these sticks. The other thing I'd expect to see is a full SSD implementation on a USB3 stick.

By full implementation I mean a SSD controller with an array of flash chips. It would be possible to approach SSD speeds with such a stick. The stick might be bigger than most USB flash dongles but Apples own blade implementations give you an idea as to potential size.

The most important thing here is to not live in the past. Just because something was slow yesterday doesnt imply it will remain so in the future. Most likely such future dongles will be optimized for read speeds but that isn't a bad thing at all.
post #61 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post

So you have freedom to plug your one and only USB peripheral wherever you want?

You. 1997.

How many times to I have to DO THIS to people's posts to get it through their skulls?

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post #62 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post

So you have freedom to plug your one and only TB peripheral wherever you want?

Let me guess... You were a buggy whip salesman in a past life?

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post #63 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You. 1997.

How many times to I have to DO THIS to people's posts to get it through their skulls?

What is sad here is the same people expect new and improved processors every year but can't grasp that the rest of the hardware has to move forward also. Sometimes that means marginalizing old standards for new.
post #64 of 86
It seems to me that Tallest Skil may be exactly on the money.

USB killed off PS/2, ADB, and parallel ports because two things occurred: 1) Intel included USB support on all their (non-server) chipsets, and 2) Apple adopted USB and dropped support for the older ports. (Intel continued to support PS/2 and parallel ports for about a decade after introducing USB.)

We've already seen Apple add support for Thunderbolt across the Mac product line (I don't think anyone doubts that the next Mac Pro or its replacement will get Thunderbolt). We know that Intel will start including Thunderbolt support in their chipsets about six months from now. That only leaves us waiting for Apple to drop USB support. Obviously that won't happen before Thunderbolt - USB adaptors (much cheaper than the Cinema Display, which can be used as such an adaptor) become available. I suspect Apple would not drop USB support before adding Thunderbolt support to future iOS devices, though Apple might cut the number of USB ports to one and increase the number of Thunderbolt ports as soon as next year.
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post #65 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPhotos View Post

While I am waiting for a newer version of the Mac Pro to be released, I'd love to see Apple work to give me a faster way to save images to my external drives. I have a photography studio, and have 15 external 2TB drives. They are now in eSATA bays. The image files include work back to 1999 - and they get backed up to a set of drives that live off site.

Rather than working on a file on my desktop, I work in Photoshop on the file from the external drive. That slows things down considerably - but the alternative was that the desktop versions and the stored versions of the files began to drift apart (and work was getting lost).

How do USB-3 and Thunderbolt compare to eSATA transfer speeds to an external drive?

They are in eSATA bays and not set set in a raid configuration right? eSATA can handle the bandwidth of one drive easily. USB3 would probably be slower. Thunderbolt mean nothing here as you shouldn't be fully saturating the channel accessing one drive at a time. It should not be noticeably slower than working on the file from your desktop. If anything running off eSATA drives should be faster as you're not hitting the same drive that holds your application data when you go to save. What hard drives and enclosures are you using?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

It seems to me that Tallest Skil may be exactly on the money.

USB killed off PS/2, ADB, and parallel ports because two things occurred: 1) Intel included USB support on all their (non-server) chipsets, and 2) Apple adopted USB and dropped support for the older ports. (Intel continued to support PS/2 and parallel ports for about a decade after introducing USB.)

We've already seen Apple add support for Thunderbolt across the Mac product line (I don't think anyone doubts that the next Mac Pro or its replacement will get Thunderbolt). We know that Intel will start including Thunderbolt support in their chipsets about six months from now. That only leaves us waiting for Apple to drop USB support. Obviously that won't happen before Thunderbolt - USB adaptors (much cheaper than the Cinema Display, which can be used as such an adaptor) become available. I suspect Apple would not drop USB support before adding Thunderbolt support to future iOS devices, though Apple might cut the number of USB ports to one and increase the number of Thunderbolt ports as soon as next year.


Right now the costs to implement it need to go down. $49 cables don't work well as a solution for bundled mice and keyboards. Intel has also been horrible about releasing a thunderbolt sdk. If they don't do something to support its widespread implementation it'll just become the newest firewire.
post #66 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon133 View Post

I don't think you would benefit even if there is one - read and especially write speeds of 99% of usb flash sticks are well below USB2 speeds. Having faster interface (but no faster actual storage media) wouldn't really make any difference.

I just ordered a 32 GB stick ($35 after MIR), and I'll let you know in a few days if it's any faster in USB 3.0 vs 2.0 mode.

Both the reviews on this particular model said that it was faster in USB 3.0 mode, so I'm expecting an improvement as well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220612

As for TB, the only issue I have with TB, is that it requires a completely new motherboard, and mine is a barely a a year old, and in no need of replacement for it, considering there are also no peripherals available ATM. Without widespread adoption, it will just become FW all over again, which I also have, but only an old MiniDV camcoder uses it.
post #67 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

It seems to me that Tallest Skil may be exactly on the money.

USB killed off PS/2, ADB, and parallel ports because two things occurred: 1) Intel included USB support on all their (non-server) chipsets, and 2) Apple adopted USB and dropped support for the older ports. (Intel continued to support PS/2 and parallel ports for about a decade after introducing USB.)

Note that USB significantly improved upon those old PS/2 and ADB ports. TB is a completely different in it's goals and design. I think it is a mistake to think they even are competing at this point.
Quote:
We've already seen Apple add support for Thunderbolt across the Mac product line (I don't think anyone doubts that the next Mac Pro or its replacement will get Thunderbolt). We know that Intel will start including Thunderbolt support in their chipsets about six months from now. That only leaves us waiting for Apple to drop USB support.

I think you will be waiting a very long time. TB will never be cheap enough to compete with low end USB devices.
Quote:
Obviously that won't happen before Thunderbolt - USB adaptors (much cheaper than the Cinema Display, which can be used as such an adaptor) become available. I suspect Apple would not drop USB support before adding Thunderbolt support to future iOS devices, though Apple might cut the number of USB ports to one and increase the number of Thunderbolt ports as soon as next year.

I suspect you will be seeing USB ports in Macs for the next ten years.
post #68 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Note that USB significantly improved upon those old PS/2 and ADB ports. TB is a completely different in it's goals and design. I think it is a mistake to think they even are competing at this point.

Interesting. Do you consider Thunderbolt to be a new video port that happens to transport data and power?

Because I've always seen it as a new data port that happens to transport power and video. That's why I see it as a USB successor.

Quote:
TB will never be cheap enough to compete with low end USB devices.

Mmm we'll see.

Quote:
I suspect you will be seeing USB ports in Macs for the next ten years.

I say four to six.

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post #69 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Right now the costs to implement it need to go down. $49 cables don't work well as a solution for bundled mice and keyboards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

TB will never be cheap enough to compete with low end USB devices.

Price is primarily a function of volume. USB cables used to be just as expensive as Thunderbolt cables are now. Many people said that USB would never be cheap enough to compete with PS/2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Intel has also been horrible about releasing a thunderbolt sdk. If they don't do something to support its widespread implementation it'll just become the newest firewire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

Without widespread adoption, [Thunderbolt] will just become FW all over again, which I also have, but only an old MiniDV camcoder uses it.

Starting about six months from now, Intel will include Thunderbolt in their chipsets. Intel never supported Firewire in their chipsets. Only Apple and Sony (amongst the big players) supported Firewire. USB succeeded, as I explained above, because both Intel and Apple pushed it. Watch the same thing happen with Thunderbolt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

As for TB, the only issue I have with TB, is that it requires a completely new motherboard, and mine is a barely a a year old, and in no need of replacement for it, considering there are also no peripherals available ATM.

As of today, the installed base of Thunderbolt-equipped computers is a few to several million, but that's growing by more than a million per month, perhaps soon by two million per month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I suspect you will be seeing USB ports in Macs for the next ten years.

I really doubt that. I think it comes down to when Apple can transition iOS devices from USB to Thunderbolt. Once iOS devices use Thunderbolt rather than USB for syncing, I believe Apple will then move quickly to drop USB from future Macs. If I had to guess, I would guess that iOS devices released in 2012 would still be USB-based but that iOS devices released in 2013 would be able to sync via either USB or Thunderbolt. That will give new iOS owners who don't already have a relatively new Mac (or PeeCee which supports Thunderbolt) an additional incentive to buy a new machine, which would likely be a Mac. My guess is Macs will drop the USB ports two to four years from now.
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post #70 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

I really doubt that. I think it comes down to when Apple can transition iOS devices from USB to Thunderbolt. Once iOS devices use Thunderbolt rather than USB for syncing, I believe Apple will then move quickly to drop USB from future Macs. If I had to guess, I would guess that iOS devices released in 2012 would still be USB-based but that iOS devices released in 2013 would be able to sync via either USB or Thunderbolt. That will give new iOS owners who don't already have a relatively new Mac (or PeeCee which supports Thunderbolt) an additional incentive to buy a new machine, which would likely be a Mac. My guess is Macs will drop the USB ports two to four years from now.

I agree with most of that, except for the 2-4 year time frame for dropping USB. I think we'll have to see a steady exodus to Thunderbolt-capable peripherals that once supported USB before that could possibly happen.
Can we expect to see a Thunderbolt equipped flash drives within 2 years at the same price point as USB flash drives for comparative capacities? If so, then 2-4 years could be doable, but I'm thinking USB drive bastion will not fall easily or quickly.

I think it's more likely we'll see more Thunderbolt ports on Macs (put your video input on either side of your notebook) with USB becoming less important, perhaps even dropping in the number of ports per device for years before we completely see it go away. After all, Apple is likely to be supporting USB 3.0 by the time Intel includes it and it does have specific benefits.

First and foremost is to see when Apple can get an inexpensive and small Thunderbolt controller in their iDevices to make data syncing, charging and potentially even video-passthrough viable. Is this upcoming event too soon to expect it?
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post #71 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

First and foremost is to see when Apple can get an inexpensive and small Thunderbolt controller in their iDevices to make data syncing, charging and potentially even video-passthrough viable. Is this upcoming event too soon to expect it?

I think this year is too soon for Apple to add Thunderbolt support to the iOS devices. The installed base of Macs with Thunderbolt is still too small. My guess is we'll see Thunderbolt support added to iOS devices with an iPad4 release in early 2013. By that time, most Macs still in use will support Thunderbolt. It would make sense for the iPad to get Thunderbolt a bit before other iOS devices. Syncing a lot of video would go from a few hours to a few minutes.
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post #72 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Interesting. Do you consider Thunderbolt to be a new video port that happens to transport data and power?

I think this highlights TB problem in the market place right now. People are trying to color the port based on past experiences. While this is understandable I think one has to dig into the specs of the port a bit to understand it. In a simple way it is an external PCI-Express port, but only in simple terms.

There is a bit of complexity here that goes beyond the serial ports of the past. This is one factor in the ports expense, followed closely by it's speed.
Quote:

Because I've always seen it as a new data port that happens to transport power and video. That's why I see it as a USB successor.

lots of things can transport video and power that does not imply that they have anything to do with USB. For example there is an Ethernet standard that will supply power to remote devices that can include video sources. No body associates this standard with USB. So I don't see in this case how the supply of power, video or anything else has anything to do with making TB a successor to USB.

USB has always been a cheap solution to interfacing low end devices. Things like a noise, keyboard, printer and the like. The port is optimized to minimize hardware requirements, thus the proliferation of extremely cheap micro controllers with USB built in. Given the software engineering skills one can implement a USB device for dollars.

TB on the other hand is almost the direct opposite approach. It is a hardware intensive solution. First devices are required to have in and out ports. These ports are interfaced with a cross bar switch and all of this has to interface with a micro controller that is fast enough to keep up with the data rates. Oh one other big thing you need an active cable to interconnect these devices. In the end TB physically is nothing like USB. It is a high end solution that really isn't suitable for 90% of the things that USB does well.
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Mmm we'll see.

Right now it costs very little to implement a USB device in hardware. We are talking less than a few bucks here, the volume is astronomical so making a profit is pretty easy. TB looses right out of the gate with it's active cable requirement. Even if they can cut the cable price to $5 ( highly unlikely) it still swamps the cost of low end TB devices relative to USB. This doesn't even include the cost of the actual hardware in the device. None of this will see the volumes that USB devices see.

As an aside it would help greatly if the PC world picked up TB. However there seems to be excessive negativity in the PC market around the port even though they realize that it isn't a competitor to USB.
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I say four to six.

Look at how long RS232 hung around after USB. In this case USB was a direct replacement for the things RS232 was used for. TB and USB aren't even on the same playing field so I don't see competition between the two. USB will continue to be a low end interface while TB will pick up high end implementations where the expense is justified.

Another way to look at this is Ethernet connected NAS drives. Putting in that Ethernet port generally increases the cost over that of a USB drive. The lack of volume doesn't help pricing either. In this case we are really talking about a higher end device where a TB device might be competitive. Drop below this level of functionality and USB becomes the economical answer.

Personally I don't think Apple has played all of it's cards yet with respect to TB. Right now they have a display that functions as a hub, so docking seems to be one of the TB strategies. Interestingly the docks then support multiple USB ports. This says a lot right there
post #73 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

Price is primarily a function of volume. USB cables used to be just as expensive as Thunderbolt cables are now. Many people said that USB would never be cheap enough to compete with PS/2.

I'm not to sure anybody said such a thing. Rather Apple started an avalanche that moved the industry to very quickly adopt USB. USB was literally every where within a year or two.

As to cables TB uses active cabling. These cables will always gave a premium on them because of that. The only way that you can significantly impact costs would be to have extremes in volume I don't think we will ever see.
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Starting about six months from now, Intel will include Thunderbolt in their chipsets. Intel never supported Firewire in their chipsets. Only Apple and Sony (amongst the big players) supported Firewire. USB succeeded, as I explained above, because both Intel and Apple pushed it. Watch the same thing happen with Thunderbolt.

No one has implied that TB won't succeed. Rather the issue here is it's viability as a USB replacement. Frankly it sucks in this regard. That isn't a bad thing because I don't believe Apple nor Intel look at TB as a USB replacement. USB will remain around as a low end port for a very long time simply because it is a significantly cheaper solution that can be used across multiple platforms.

As to Intel I'm very happy to hear they are building in TB, that is significant for Apple. However a built in feature does not mean industry acceptance. Here the industry is the other 85% of the market for PC hardware. Like it or not this is where the volume is at, without strong adoption and promotion by Microsoft and the PC builders no significant volume will be seen in TB devices.
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As of today, the installed base of Thunderbolt-equipped computers is a few to several million, but that's growing by more than a million per month, perhaps soon by two million per month.

Insignificant volume to drive costs down. You have to ask yourself what percentage of those sales will even need an external high performance device and then what percentage will even be willing to go to the extra expense of a TB device.

You might say that everybody needs or wants an external storage device and frankly I'd agree. The question is when these guys go down to their local retailer and find a USB3 drive for $60 and a same size TB drive for $140 which do you think will see the greater sales numbers? Mind you we have USB and FireWire experience to reference here.
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I really doubt that. I think it comes down to when Apple can transition iOS devices from USB to Thunderbolt. Once iOS devices use Thunderbolt rather than USB for syncing, I believe Apple will then move quickly to drop USB from future Macs.

Really? Honestly do you really think Apple would say to hell with all the iOS device sales to PC owners. This isn't a credible argument at all.

Beyond that what incentive is there for Apple to cut off customer access to all the low cost USB devices out there? Currently there is nothing available to implement these device on outside of USB. You can't suggest TB because it isn't a low end solution and there is no indication of wide scale adoption.
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If I had to guess, I would guess that iOS devices released in 2012 would still be USB-based but that iOS devices released in 2013 would be able to sync via either USB or Thunderbolt. That will give new iOS owners who don't already have a relatively new Mac (or PeeCee which supports Thunderbolt) an additional incentive to buy a new machine, which would likely be a Mac. My guess is Macs will drop the USB ports two to four years from now.

You seem to be under the impression that the only thing people connect to their USB ports are iOS devices. That is so far out of whack with reality as to be humorous.
post #74 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I agree with most of that, except for the 2-4 year time frame for dropping USB. I think we'll have to see a steady exodus to Thunderbolt-capable peripherals that once supported USB before that could possibly happen.

Pricing for TB components will get better overtime, that I firmly believe. However I just don't see pricing getting even close to USB anytime soon. USB can be implemented into incredibly cheap 8 bit micros that can be built into devices for a few bucks.
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Can we expect to see a Thunderbolt equipped flash drives within 2 years at the same price point as USB flash drives for comparative capacities?

Not a chance. However we could see some very nice TB based SSDs where it might be easier to bury the cost of TB.
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If so, then 2-4 years could be doable, but I'm thinking USB drive bastion will not fall easily or quickly.

I don't think it will fall at all for low end devices. At the medium level it is more complex but it is fair to say TB would need to see wide adoption outside of the Apple sphere to achieve competitive costs. TB has the high performance end tied up already even if few devices exist.

So in the end there is this middle ground where we have yet to see if TB will supplant USB. Some seem to think it is a foregone conclusion that TB will dominate. I on the other and see TB having a lot of things working against it in this realm.
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I think it's more likely we'll see more Thunderbolt ports on Macs (put your video input on either side of your notebook) with USB becoming less important, perhaps even dropping in the number of ports per device for years before we completely see it go away. After all, Apple is likely to be supporting USB 3.0 by the time Intel includes it and it does have specific benefits.

Right now it appears to me that Apples long term strategy is to recognize that the two ports really don't compete at all. Where TB does really well USB can't even touch it. Like wise where USB does really well TB can't compete.
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First and foremost is to see when Apple can get an inexpensive and small Thunderbolt controller in their iDevices to make data syncing, charging and potentially even video-passthrough viable. Is this upcoming event too soon to expect it?

The most interesting question in this thread. Considering some past patents it does look like Apple is moving in this direction. That is TB ports in iOS devices. Now the big question is will that happen this year? I want to say no. Why, well because a shrunken A5 won't do the trick. To work well TB will have to be built into the SoC so this implies an A6 variant. Then there is the issue of Apples and Intels own rules that says the devices must have an up stream and down stream port. Of course Apple could ignore their own specs.

Let's say though that an A6 chip is ready to go with TB support. How does this impact he need for USB ports on the Macs? I'd have to say not one bit. Contrary to the attitudes expressed here there is a USB world outside of iOS devices. Those devices will take a very long time to move to TB if they ever do. IOS devices no more drive the need for USB ports that printers, flash dongles or anything else. It is the market as a whole and individual desires that drive the need for USB ports.
post #75 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except Thunderbolt is better in every conceivable way.

That's not true. Not in "every" way.

TB has significant advantages over USB 3.0, but USB3 can support 127 connected devices and TB can support only 7.
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post #76 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

That's not true. Not in "every" way.

TB has significant advantages over USB 3.0, but USB3 can support 127 connected devices and TB can support only 7.

Oh, I forgot about that.

Shame that USB 3 only has a quarter of the throughput of Thunderbolt and each device would only get 39.4 Mbps while the Thunderbolt devices would get 1.4 gigabits per second… each way.

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post #77 of 86
I'm not arguing about the throughput, which as you point out isn't great. I know TB is better designed.

But in an age where tvs and home security systems can get connected to one's Mac, seven seems a bit restrictive.

Firewire allowed for 63 devices, didn't it?
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post #78 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

But in an age where tvs and home security systems can get connected to one's Mac, seven seems a bit restrictive.

That's seven per Thunderbolt port. Eventually we'll have four ports or more per device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Firewire allowed for 63 devices, didn't it?

It did.

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post #79 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

That's not true. Not in "every" way.

TB has significant advantages over USB 3.0, but USB3 can support 127 connected devices and TB can support only 7.

Yeah, I can't wait to see that USB hub! And the throughput is complete crap. USB doesn't reach it's theoretical speeds with just one device! But, yeah, hey, it theoretically supports 127 devices!

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post #80 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Look at how long RS232 hung around after USB. In this case USB was a direct replacement for the things RS232 was used for.

You haven't seen any fire alarm or security panels lately have you? They still use RS232. We are bidding a job that will use a brand of security panel we aren't certified for. Training requires a laptop with a RS232 port. The fire alarm panels we install use RS232. For the programming these systems need there is no need for higher data speeds so those industries have never made the move to USB.
One day it will happen but not yet.

You would be amazed at how much older stuff is still out there and still in regular use. We have cable testing equipment that use serial cables for download. Heck, one of the pieces of equipment uses 3.5 inch floppies for storing test results. For smaller companies it is cost prohibitive to purchase the latest greatest test gear. We would simply go broke. The old stuff still works fine and as long as it is serviced by the manufacturer there is no reason to dump it.

And a lot of the newest equipment isn't capable of interfacing with the older panels that are in service. Old programming software doesn't run on newer OS's. You have to keep older computers around if you want the service and maintenance contracts. Lot's of businesses (like school districts) don't have the money to replace existing equipment that still does the job just because it is old.

And most of the specifications on the new installation jobs we do require electronic copy on optical media.

So for some of us (more than you are aware of) there is a continuing need for keeping the old even while embracing the new.

This may all sound crazy to people that are lucky enough to instantly move to the latest and greatest but switching over is a much slower process for the rest of the world.
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