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CES: MSI unveils external Thunderbolt GPU, Henge Docks gain MacBook Air support

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
New Mac-centric products are aplenty at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, including a Thunderbolt-connected external graphics processor from MSI, and a vertical docking station for the MacBook Air from Henge Docks.

MSI GUS II

MSI is showing off at CES this week a new external graphics solution that can connect to a Mac through a high-speed Thunderbolt port. The MSI GUS II, highlighted by AnandTech, relies on the high bandwidth capacity of the 10Gbps Thunderbolt port found on the latest Mac models, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

"The external chassis features a Thunderbolt interface and an internal PCIe slot," Anand Lai Shimpi noted. "Despite running on a MacBook Pro there is currently no OS X support for the solution, but it does work under Windows. Presumably if there's OS X support for the GPU inside the enclosure it would work under OS X as well."

No timeframe for launch or price for the external GPU were given, but the product could be a solution for users who want more graphics processing power for their MacBook when it's in use at home. The GPU featured in the MSI GUS II must be powered by PCIe alone, as there are no auxiliary power connectors inside the device.




Thunderbolt-based external drives have also been prevalent at CES this year. Seagate plans to ship by the middle of this month adapters that will allow existing Seagate GoFlex drives to fit into a Thunderbolt slot, while Western Digital plans to release new Thunderbolt drives by the middle of 2012.

Another Thunderbolt accessory highlighted on Thursday is Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock, which will allow users to plug in multiple USB devices through one docking station. The product is expected to launch this September for $299.

Henge Docks for MacBook Air

Henge Docks revealed on Tuesday that it has made available for preorder two new vertical docking stations for Apple's thin-and-light MacBook Air. The docks aim to make it simple for users to place their notebook in the station and use it in a desktop setup or with a home theater system.

"The Vertical Docking Stations for the MacBook Air line are Henge Docks' first to feature fully integrated ports, right out of the box with no additional setup," the company said. "Integrated ports combined with a sturdy, rubberized cradle for a precision fit means a smooth, accurate docking experience allowing users to quickly connect and disconnect their peripherals in one easy motion. Henge Docks' unique vertical orientation saves desk space while showcasing the svelte profile of the MacBook Air."

The Henge Docks design does not require any hardware, software or settings changes to a computer. Every current MacBook is compatible with the system.




The new MacBook Air docks come in sizes of 11 inches and 13 inches, and feature Mini DisplayPort and USB pass-through. The 11-inch MacBook Air dock will retail for $55, while the 13-inch model is $60.

"We are excited to add the MacBook Air Dock to Henge Docks’ line of docking station solutions," said Matthew Vroom, CEO. "The MacBook Air is a fantastic machine and we feel that our new docking station takes the Air to the next level by eliminating the cable clutter that plagues today’s workspaces."
post #2 of 26
What about the 2010 model MacBook Air? Is it compatible with the Henge Dock?

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post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

What about the 2010 model MacBook Air? Is it compatible with the Henge Dock?

I'm more interested in the fact that the docks don't seem to have Thunderbolt out. So you sacrifice Thunderbolt for what, having a vertical laptop?

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



"We are excited to add the MacBook Air Dock to Henge Docks line of docking station solutions," said Matthew Vroom, CEO. "The MacBook Air is a fantastic machine and we feel that our new docking station takes the Air to the next level by eliminating the cable clutter that plagues todays workspaces."


...am I missing something?
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm more interested in the fact that the docks don't seem to have Thunderbolt out. So you sacrifice Thunderbolt for what, having a vertical laptop?

Exactly. It would be nice to have a Thunderbolt model.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by [Greg] View Post

...am I missing something?

I don't get it either. Looks like a solution without a problem.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KazKam View Post

I don't get it either. Looks like a solution without a problem.

Nothing dock wise beats my Thunderbolt display. Put two connectors into the Mac (power and Thunderbolt) and everything else is plugged into the display. Everything is neat and tidy and the screen is awesome!
post #8 of 26
I'd love more GPU power for my imac!

Edit- I read closer and it says it only works with video cards that can be powered entirely by the PCIe bus. Which rules out anything that matters. Any macbook/imac with a thunderbolt port should already have a faster video card than what can be purchased for this.
post #9 of 26
They've got the orientation of those Henge docks BACKWARDS - I'm NEVER likely to use a Thunderbolt connection to my MBA but I use the power, USB and audio connectors every day. Why would I buy this contraption if I'm still left with 2 of those 3 cables dangling off the top?
post #10 of 26
I've been waiting for a decent Thunderbolt GPU to use with the 13" MBP. That way you'd have all the advantages of the added battery life of the 13" MBP plus the ability to "upgrade" it's biggest drawback - the GPU - when needed. Hopefully this will become a reality in the next year.

As for the Henge docks... poorly thought out.
post #11 of 26
snipped
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by archer75 View Post

I'd love more GPU power for my imac!

Edit- I read closer and it says it only works with video cards that can be powered entirely by the PCIe bus. Which rules out anything that matters. Any macbook/imac with a thunderbolt port should already have a faster video card than what can be purchased for this.

Sonet Presto has had a PCIe card case for a while now, and I'm sure these won't be the only ones. Someone will get wise to adding more power capability, give it some time.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by archer75 View Post

I'd love more GPU power for my imac!

Edit- I read closer and it says it only works with video cards that can be powered entirely by the PCIe bus. Which rules out anything that matters. Any macbook/imac with a thunderbolt port should already have a faster video card than what can be purchased for this.

I highly doubt that any macbook has a video card drawing over 75 W. Obviously the mobile cards should be a bit more efficient, but not that much more. But probably a lot more useful for the computers relying on Intel GPUs, yes.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm more interested in the fact that the docks don't seem to have Thunderbolt out. So you sacrifice Thunderbolt for what, having a vertical laptop?

You also sacrifice the ability to use the laptop screen.
post #15 of 26
This might be a dumb question because I've never used a dock for my Air before, but doesn't the system Sleep if you close the lid of your Mac? And even if it can run while closed, the heat that normally dissipates through the keyboard will get trapped. I don't think the Air will get too hot, but in my past experience with the Pros, it gets extremely hot. So won't this damage the screen or something?
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... at CES this year. Seagate plans to ship by the middle of this month adapters that will allow existing Seagate GoFlex drives to fit into a Thunderbolt slot.
"

Nice. I bought those in hope they would eventually do just that.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post

This might be a dumb question because I've never used a dock for my Air before, but doesn't the system Sleep if you close the lid of your Mac? And even if it can run while closed, the heat that normally dissipates through the keyboard will get trapped. I don't think the Air will get too hot, but in my past experience with the Pros, it gets extremely hot. So won't this damage the screen or something?

My wife MBP run with the lid closed all the time. No problem except I had to trash the mini-display to dvi adapter and replace it because it stop working. I wish Apple will start putting HDMI out on all its models in the future.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

My wife MBP run close all the time. No problem except I had to trash the mini-display to dvi adapter and replace it. I wish Apple will start putting HDMI out on all its models in the future.

Never going to happen. HDMI is archaic tech compared to Thunderbolt. Could you explain what you mean by the first parts of what you said?

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Never going to happen. HDMI is archaic tech compared to Thunderbolt. Could you explain what you mean by the first parts of what you said?

Did an edit. Better?

HDMI is pretty much on all monitors and TV'S now. I don't like having to use an adapter. They did put one on the mac mini... why not the MacBooks?
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Did an edit. Better?

Much, thanks. Strange that it would just putt out on you like that.

Quote:
HDMI is pretty much on all monitors and TV'S now.

Because it's a TV port, not a computer port.

Quote:
why not the MacBooks?

Because Thunderbolt is a computer port. You're fine with a cable but not an adapter that fits right on said cable?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #21 of 26
Mac Mini + AMD 7970?
post #22 of 26
Companies that make stupid "docks" like this should have to pay for all the damaged machines.

Apple's laptops ARE NOT designed to operate properly with the display closed. They overheat, and they fail prematurely.

NEVER try to use your laptop with the screen closed. It's just plain stupid anyway - put it on a stand beside the big display, and take advantage of the extended desktop.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Mac Mini + AMD 7970?

The thunderbolt PCIe enclosure has some serious limitations:

1: It's based on PCI Express 2.0 X4 electrical slot. The PHYSICAL slot may be x16, but the pins are x4. You see this allot on lower end AMD and Intel motherboards.

2: At a 75W limitation you are going to have problems with higher end cards. Although I think the reason why MSI didn't include it was because any card that requires a 6 pin PCIe connector for the card (and subsequently over 75 watts) will require more than x4 of bandwidth.

X4 is fine for storage arrays; my MSI Megaraid in my Server 2008 R2 machine works perfectly fine. It's too slow for high end video cards.

SO it looks like a final solution will not happen until Thunderbolt 2.0 comes out with the same bandwidth as PCIe X16. This will require a thicker, bigger cable, something Mac users typically can't deal with.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio_inside View Post

They've got the orientation of those Henge docks BACKWARDS - I'm NEVER likely to use a Thunderbolt connection to my MBA but I use the power, USB and audio connectors every day. Why would I buy this contraption if I'm still left with 2 of those 3 cables dangling off the top?

These so-called docks are designed to hold the laptop with the screen closed. Since you are NEVER likely to use a Thunderbolt connection to your MBA, what will you do for a monitor?
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Since you are NEVER likely to use a Thunderbolt connection to your MBA

That's quite presumptuous.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Did an edit. Better?

HDMI is pretty much on all monitors and TV'S now. I don't like having to use an adapter. They did put one on the mac mini... why not the MacBooks?

seem like it would work on a mac mini ok ... boot in to windows 7
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