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Matrox DS1 is 'world's first' Thunderbolt docking station

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
Although the high speed Thunderbolt protocol was introduced with Apple's MacBook Pro line in March 2011, products have been slow to reach consumers, but Matrox looks to change that with its DS1 docking station.

Matrox DS1


Launched last week, the $249 Matrox DS1 is one of the first Thunderbolt docking stations to hit the market, providing a breakout box into which Mac users can connect their collection of peripherals with one cable.

Most Thunderbolt-equipped accessories seen so far have been high-end hard drives or external SSDs, monitors and specialty equipment targeted at professionals. While this trend is normal with many new I/O formats, Thunderbolt has taken an unusually long time to curry favor with device makers marketing to the average consumer.

Currently, MacBook Pro or Air owners have few choices when it comes to a Thunderbolt-ready hub, one being Apple's own Thunderbolt Display, which is disappointing given the spec's bandwidth capabilities.

As for the Matrox DS1, the concept is simple: create a dock that leverages the 10-gigabit per second protocol to consolidate a number of components on a Mac user's desk.

Front View
Matrox DS1 front view when connected to laptop and "SuperSpeed" USB 3.0.


Build quality is high, with an aluminum frame protecting substantial, weighty innards. On the back are two USB 2.0 ports, separate audio in/out plugs, a Gigabit Ethernet port and either an HDMI or DVI output connector, while the front stays clean with one "SuperSpeed" USB 3.0 port and one Thunderbolt port. The unit is not very large and sits rather unassumingly at the end of a Thunderbolt daisy chain.

Note that the DS1 must be at the end of a chain because it does not support Thunderbolt pass-through, something painfully obvious as the station only holds one Thunderbolt port. While not a problem for most consumers, pass-through is a main feature of the high-speed I/O tech and mimics the abilities of FireWire. In the case of Thunderbolt, the specifications limit the chain to seven devices, including two Thunderbolt-enabled displays, at least one of which requires two ports.

On the topic of FireWire, the DS1 curiously lacks support the legacy high-speed standard, a choice which could be a deal breaker for some. Many pro users, especially those in the audio/visual industry, still have equipment that outputs through FireWire. Matrox says that market studies indicate that most MacBook Pro and Air users don't own FireWire equipment, so the company opted for USB 3.0 instead.

Back View
Backside ports. From left: HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0, audio out, mic in, power.


Over the week AppleInsider was able to test the DS1, it performed as expected, with high transfer rates over USB 3.0 and low-latency display output through HDMI. There was zero lag when mirroring a late 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro's desktop, including full-screen video, on a 55-inch HDTV in full 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. It should be noted that customers must decide between either a DVI or HDMI configuration as the docking station does not support both.

Transfer speeds over USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet were on par with the direct output from the laptop's ports, and the so-called SuperSpeed USB 3.0 was a welcome addition to the year-old laptop which lacks the newer interconnect. The station also delivers power over USB as the current iterations of Thunderbolt still rely on copper wire, though this will change once interconnects switch to fiber optic sometime down the road.

For owners of current Retina display MacBook Pros, the station basically replicates the existing I/O ports, the only addition being Gigabit Ethernet and one USB connection. The choice to stick with two USB 2.0 ports in the rear of the DS1 is also questionable as it seems like a step backward from Apple's all-USB 3.0 offerings.

Plug-and-play operability was solid, and devices were recognized quickly and without fault. Thunderbolt peripherals, like LaCie's external SSD, saw negligible drops in speed, and USB 2.0 HDDs worked normally. When all ports were connected to and operating a peripheral, the DS1 got a bit warm, as did the Apple Thunderbolt cable feeding out from the laptop, but temperatures never reached a critical level.

Size
Size comparison with iPhone 5.


It is clear Matrox is targeting the mass market with the DS1, with more standard USB and HDMI ports and a desktop-friendly design, but the accessibility comes at a steep price. With Apple leading the charge in Thunderbolt adoption, however, docking stations like the Matrox offering could begin to hit store shelves at increasingly lower prices.

The unit is on sale now at select retailers and the online Matrox store for $249.
post #2 of 82
That is one handy box! And for $249 you can't go wrong. Or get the 8-port from Belkin in13Q1:

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post #3 of 82
I don't get why it doesn't have Thunderbolt out and USB 3.0. Hopefully someone else makes one that has it.

edit: I see PhilBoogie has found one. Turns out that price will be $400, which is $100 over the current Belkin Thunderbolt dock, and doesn't include a Thunderbolt cable.

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post #4 of 82

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one? Whatever card the drivers can handle! (Meaning, I suppose, whatever OS X expects a Mac Pro to handle.)

 

I can’t give up Air portability, but TB has held out the promise of greater GPU power when I’m at home at my desk. All promise... no reality, so far. A GPU made for Mac Pro would be FAR better than you’d expect an ultrathin laptop to be able to offer. Come on, TB, let me have my cake and eat it too! Plus then I could choose to keep the same (home-base-only) GPU when getting a new Air.

post #5 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one?

Sonnet sells those

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post #6 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one? Whatever card the drivers can handle! (Meaning, I suppose, whatever OS X expects a Mac Pro to handle.)

I can’t give up Air portability, but TB has held out the promise of greater GPU power when I’m at home at my desk. All promise... no reality, so far. A GPU made for Mac Pro would be FAR better than you’d expect an ultrathin laptop to be able to offer. Come on, TB, let me have my cake and eat it too! Plus then I could choose to keep the same (home-base-only) GPU when getting a new Air.

They appear to be available.

Edited by SolipsismX - 12/16/12 at 9:15pm

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post #7 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Sonnet sells those

That's a nice little box.  I'll have to check that one out.

post #8 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Sonnet sells those

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


They appear to be available.

 

I very much fear, though, that existing products such as those two don’t support GPUs.

post #9 of 82
I think I'll hold out for the next Thunderbolt display. The device variety for Thunderbolt (at 20 months and counting) is disappointing to say the least, and the fact that most of them don't have a second port for chaining is a huge cause for concern.
post #10 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


They appear to be available.

That thing costs nearly $1000.00. That's crazy.

 

The Sonnet box is better, as it costs "only" $400-$800 depending on the model, but it only works with half-length cards.

 

Does anyone know why these things cost so much? If Thunderbolt is really just external PCI-Express, it seems that a TB->PCIe adapter should be a very simple piece of equipment, shouldn't it?

post #11 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I very much fear, though, that existing products such as those two don’t support GPUs.

Magma FAQ:

Q: Does GPU or video card work with ExpressBox 3T?
A: The GPU must be supported by the Operating System AND have a compatible Thunderbolt Driver.

So the Magma does support GPUs but you still need to find a PCIe GPU that supports it with Thunderbolt -and- Mac OS X drivers.

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post #12 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They appear to be available.

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post #13 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I very much fear, though, that existing products such as those two don’t support GPUs.

From their KB:
Quote:
714 Do GPU cards work over Thunderbolt on Windows? Nov-02-12
GPU cards over Thunderbolt under Windows are currently neither supported by Sonnet, nor the GPU card vendors, nor Microsoft.

Several GPU cards do seem to work with Windows if you boot the maching with the Thunderbolt chassis attached at boot time. We should also note that Sonnet Echo chassis don't currently provide auxillary PCIe power which several high-power GPU cards require. Furthermore, the power required by the card must to be under the rated power of the chassis less 10W for Thunderbolt, less the power drawn by a subsequent bus-powered Thunderbolt device, if any. Here's an informative link: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-graphics-thunderbolt,3263.html Bonne chance.

...so I have no idea! I do remember the Dell docking station for their Latitude back in, what 1998? Damn, that was a challenge getting it to work under NT4!
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post #14 of 82

Matrox should be embarrassed to bring this to market with two USB 2.0 connectors.

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post #15 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't get why it doesn't have Thunderbolt out and USB 3.0. Hopefully someone else makes one that has it.
edit: I see PhilBoogie has found one. Turns out that price will be $400, which is $100 over the current Belkin Thunderbolt dock, and doesn't include a Thunderbolt cable.

Intel has several chip variations. This was likely an issue of cost to produce the logic board for such a thing. It also could have been an issue of getting certification for a thunderbolt out port there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one? Whatever card the drivers can handle! (Meaning, I suppose, whatever OS X expects a Mac Pro to handle.)

 

I can’t give up Air portability, but TB has held out the promise of greater GPU power when I’m at home at my desk. All promise... no reality, so far. A GPU made for Mac Pro would be FAR better than you’d expect an ultrathin laptop to be able to offer. Come on, TB, let me have my cake and eat it too! Plus then I could choose to keep the same (home-base-only) GPU when getting a new Air.

There are a number of potential issues with an external gpu. I wouldn't personally trust one unless it's certified by a company that produces graphics cards. If someone manages to make a plug and play kind of device, you'll probably see an Anandtech review.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

That's a nice little box.  I'll have to check that one out.


You still need to ensure that the gpu works properly under OSX unless you're just gaming under Windows. I'm not sure if the thunderbolt port on Macs has bootcamp drivers. There are motherboards with thunderbolt ports at this point and a handful of notebooks. I don't think it's natively supported by Windows though in the sense of generic Windows support. You also may have to reboot to get it to see something like a gpu. They aren't typically hot plugged devices. You're also limited on bandwidth. The high end cards are not likely to run at maximum performance levels. Most of them won't even work with these boxes. Some of the top gpus can exceed 200W. Just make sure you check all of the details prior to moving forward.

post #16 of 82
I bet spending al that money will help make one person feel better since they have a hole burnt into their pocket. Whew saved by Matrox. Now he wont have to buy new dockers. Wa waa waaa waaaaaa.
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post #17 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Magma FAQ:
Q: Does GPU or video card work with ExpressBox 3T?
A: The GPU must be supported by the Operating System AND have a compatible Thunderbolt Driver. So the Magma does support GPUs but you still need to find a PCIe GPU that supports it with Thunderbolt -and- Mac OS X drivers.

 

Hmmm... interesting. I always assumed that the only external GPU PCI cards that would be possible (for Mac) would be the ones Apple officially has drivers for—meaning, the cards Apple sells for Mac Pros. But it sounds like you also need special TB drivers as well? In that case, a PCI card via TB must not appear to the system in the same way a PCI card normally appears. I wonder if that's a potential compatibility problem for all manner of PCI cards—sounds that way.

 

Their compatibility list seems to contain no graphics cards, just a note: “External graphics support is a feature many users desire and we’ll keep you informed."

 

I hold out hope for the future... I’d spent $100-$150 for a chassis that let me connect a decent dedicated GPU to a MacBook Air. (Hot plugging not expected... I can accept a reboot if I have to. But I do want it to be OS X! OS X is where I game, while Windows remains safely virtualized and strictly used for occasional testing of web stuff in IE.)

post #18 of 82

"On the topic of FireWire, the DS1 curiously lacks support the legacy high-speed standard, a choice which could be a deal breaker for some. Many pro users, especially those in the audio/visual industry, still have equipment that outputs through FireWire. Matrox says that market studies indicate that most MacBook Pro and Air users don't own FireWire equipment, so the company opted for USB 3.0 instead."

 

Who the heck did Matrox survey!!! Only people who bought MBP & Airs in the last six months??? There are still millions of those models in use that have only USB 2.0 and Firewire. Am I supposed to believe that I'm the only one of those people (i.e. not pro users, not in the audio/visual industry) who uses Firewire…that almost everybody else use only USB 2.0!?!?!

 

No doubt in my mind. This piece of s… item will not sell well.

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post #19 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

That is one handy box! And for $249 you can't go wrong. Or get the 8-port from Belkin in13Q1:

Nice! Any idea on price of this device! Well equipped for the video semi-pro market. I don't understand Matrox thinking FireWire isn't necessary. They are missing they very market they specialize in, video editing. Who doesn't have some FireWire gear in this field? My only concern is Belkin doesn't scream 'quality' in my experience. Hopefully I am wrong.

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post #20 of 82
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one? Whatever card the drivers can handle! (Meaning, I suppose, whatever OS X expects a Mac Pro to handle.)

I can’t give up Air portability, but TB has held out the promise of greater GPU power when I’m at home at my desk. All promise... no reality, so far. A GPU made for Mac Pro would be FAR better than you’d expect an ultrathin laptop to be able to offer. Come on, TB, let me have my cake and eat it too! Plus then I could choose to keep the same (home-base-only) GPU when getting a new Air.

Nobody promised GPU support over TB except for a few poorly informed pundits on the web. The idea has no merit at this time.
post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No
Nobody promised GPU support over TB except for a few poorly informed pundits on the web. The idea has no merit at this time.

 

ahem

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4474/sony-updates-vaio-z-thinner-lighter-light-peak-and-external-gpu

 

 

 

 

Quote:

The main reason why the new Vaio Z is so much lighter and thinner than its predecessor is the lack of a discrete GPU. It comes with Intel HD 3000 which is integrated into the CPU die, whereas the old Vaio Z came with a discrete NVIDIA GT 330M. However, Sony has provided an interesting solution to this. They have announced a Power Media Dock (PMD) which is basically a souped up external optical drive. The external dock has an AMD Radeon HD 6650M with 1GB of DDR3 in it as well. The AMD 6650M allows you to connect up to two displays to the PMD so you can have a total four displays: two attached to the PMD, one attached to the laptop’s HDMI port and obviously the laptop’s integrated LCD. 

AMD 6650M specifications
Shaders 480
GPU frequency 600MHz
Memory 1GB DDR3
Memory frequency 900MHz
Memory bus width 128-bit

To make this worthwhile, Sony uses Intel’s Light Peak technology (yes, Sony calls it Light Peak, not Thunderbolt) which provides up to 10Gb/s of bandwidth in each direction.

post #22 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Nice! Any idea on price of this device!

 

As stated upthread, it is planned to be $400 and not out till 1Q2013

post #23 of 82
Not exactly the first of kind, but first complete with important periferals inputs and outputs. The first was "adapter" that you could equip with most of ExpressCard for any periferals you needed.

It is worth to take a look at this almost year old piece:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html
post #24 of 82

I'm waiting for the Belkin version.  It has what I need. The Matrox DS1 is simply missing too much. 

 

At $400 the Belkin is worth it.  Completely worth it.

post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Glad to see more TB products out there, but how about a TB external GPU—or slot in which to install one? Whatever card the drivers can handle! (Meaning, I suppose, whatever OS X expects a Mac Pro to handle.)

 

I can’t give up Air portability, but TB has held out the promise of greater GPU power when I’m at home at my desk. All promise... no reality, so far. A GPU made for Mac Pro would be FAR better than you’d expect an ultrathin laptop to be able to offer. Come on, TB, let me have my cake and eat it too! Plus then I could choose to keep the same (home-base-only) GPU when getting a new Air.

 

Realize tha the Mac Book Pro Retina can already drive multiple Monitors.

 

There will NEVER be a TB External GPU.  There isn't much of a market for it.  It already costs a lot of money to develop a TB product.  So to waste it because there are few people that will buy it.

 

The best chance of having an external GPU is to have an expansion chassis with full-size PCI slots.  The Magma Thunderbolt Expansion box has THREE full-size PCI Slots.  BUT, the PCI GPU card manufacturer needs to write Thunderbolt drivers for the cards.  Tough luck with that.

post #26 of 82
I think cost is due to low volume. There's a limited market for these things; really only MacBook Air owners who have bought in the last 1.5 years.

Anything else (MacBook Pro or desktop) doesn't need this device in the same way. There's also not going to be a lot of demand on the PC side either, I wouldn't think.

But I agree that the peripheral selection today is, at best, disappointing. But I'm not surprised. Firewire, which in the USB 1.0 days, had real advantages, never caught on much outside the digital video world (It was tough, for example, to find firewire card readers). Unless Thunderbolt becomes a consumer-grade technology present on basic PCs, then this will remain a niche technolgy with high prices, much like firewire and SCSI before that.
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No
Nobody promised GPU support over TB except for a few poorly informed pundits on the web. The idea has no merit at this time.

I think it has merit. Eventually I expect desktop displays to Retina, but I don't think a MBA or an older MBP could easily run them. Having a display with a built-in video card (or external) would help make that an option. Perhaps it's not a big market but it might be big enough that it's worth vendors looking into. Maybe CES will be favourable to Thunderbolt.

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post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post

 

Realize tha the Mac Book Pro Retina can already drive multiple Monitors.

 

There will NEVER be a TB External GPU.  There isn't much of a market for it.  It already costs a lot of money to develop a TB product.  So to waste it because there are few people that will buy it.

 

The best chance of having an external GPU is to have an expansion chassis with full-size PCI slots.  The Magma Thunderbolt Expansion box has THREE full-size PCI Slots.  BUT, the PCI GPU card manufacturer needs to write Thunderbolt drivers for the cards.  Tough luck with that.

 

The beauty about Thunderbolt comes from its hardware nature of being drivers independents.  TB really is an external PCIe 4X BUS where almost any PCI cards in a TB chassis will work without any changes in it's drivers.  This is also why Thunderbolt has to be built-in on the controller's motherboard and can't be add to non-thunderbolt ready PC via a PCI card. 

 

This being said, a PCIe 4X is not enough bandwidth for high performance video card, you won't see external video solution suitable for gaming anytime soon.


Edited by BigMac2 - 12/17/12 at 9:33am
post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

 Well equipped for the video semi-pro market. I don't understand Matrox thinking FireWire isn't necessary. They are missing they very market they specialize in, video editing. Who doesn't have some FireWire gear in this field? 

It's not just video.  There is a major part of the audio recording interface market that's between USB2 and PCI cards who live and die by FW.  USB3 maybe be great but it's generally been ignored by recording gear manufacturers, and FW is certainly gone from new computers but is still what these interfaces are being made with, even new ones showing at NAMM.    It's not a matter of getting new drives.  I'm not about to sell my two year old interfaces which work great and haven't even been replaced withThunderbolt or USB3, except for a few pieces from companies, which I personally have yet to see in anyone's studio yet, available though they may be.

 

Here's what I don't get: if a laptop HAS USB3, what's the big deal about having a Thunderbolt box to USB3 when you can just get a USB3 hub from the native port? There's only real value in a several hundred dollar Thunderbolt box if it provides ports that the laptop itself doesn't give you.  I personally have zero reason to pay for USB 2 or 3 to be coming out of such a box as long as I can still use a native port for it.

post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Here's what I don't get: if a laptop HAS USB3, what's the big deal about having a Thunderbolt box to USB3 when you can just get a USB3 hub from the native port? There's only real value in a several hundred dollar Thunderbolt box if it provides ports that the laptop itself doesn't give you.  I personally have zero reason to pay for USB 2 or 3 to be coming out of such a box as long as I can still use a native port for it.

There are a couple reasons to include USB on this device. Surely it adds more USB ports without adding too much cost to the device itself but I think the most likely reason is that it allows you to keep this device on your desk with peripherals plugged in so when you disconnect your laptop you are only unplugging a power cable and a Thunderbolt.

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post #31 of 82
L
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durandal1707 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They appear to be available.
That thing costs nearly $1000.00. That's crazy.

The Sonnet box is better, as it costs "only" $400-$800 depending on the model, but it only works with half-length cards.

Does anyone know why these things cost so much? If Thunderbolt is really just external PCI-Express, it seems that a TB->PCIe adapter should be a very simple piece of equipment, shouldn't it?

Low volume = high prices
post #32 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

It's not just video.  There is a major part of the audio recording interface market that's between USB2 and PCI cards who live and die by FW.  USB3 maybe be great but it's generally been ignored by recording gear manufacturers, and FW is certainly gone from new computers but is still what these interfaces are being made with, even new ones showing at NAMM.    It's not a matter of getting new drives.  I'm not about to sell my two year old interfaces which work great and haven't even been replaced withThunderbolt or USB3, except for a few pieces from companies, which I personally have yet to see in anyone's studio yet, available though they may be.

Here's what I don't get: if a laptop HAS USB3, what's the big deal about having a Thunderbolt box to USB3 when you can just get a USB3 hub from the native port? There's only real value in a several hundred dollar Thunderbolt box if it provides ports that the laptop itself doesn't give you.  I personally have zero reason to pay for USB 2 or 3 to be coming out of such a box as long as I can still use a native port for it.

Like SolipsismX said, it's an all-in-one dock, single cable connects everything.

Also, something like this (or the Belkin) can add USB 3 to Thunderbolt Macs that are pre-USB 3. Which would be 12-18 month's worth of Macs production.
post #33 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Magma FAQ:

Q: Does GPU or video card work with ExpressBox 3T?

A: The GPU must be supported by the Operating System AND have a compatible Thunderbolt Driver.
So the Magma does support GPUs but you still need to find a PCIe GPU that supports it with Thunderbolt -and- Mac OS X drivers.

Hmmm... interesting. I always assumed that the only external GPU PCI cards that would be possible (for Mac) would be the ones Apple officially has drivers for—meaning, the cards Apple sells for Mac Pros. But it sounds like you also need special TB drivers as well? In that case, a PCI card via TB must not appear to the system in the same way a PCI card normally appears. I wonder if that's a potential compatibility problem for all manner of PCI cards—sounds that way.
I don't ever see GPUs over TB as being cost effective. For. The money being talked about you might as well upgrade to a Haswell based AIR. The number of GPUs Apple supports itself is minimal and you still take a 30% hit in performance.
Quote:
Their compatibility list seems to contain no graphics cards, just a note: “External graphics support is a feature many users desire and we’ll keep you informed."
Orto put it another way, nobody is working on support for their GPUs. The potential sales volume doesn't justify the development effort.
Quote:
I hold out hope for the future... I’d spent $100-$150 for a chassis that let me connect a decent dedicated GPU to a MacBook Air. (Hot plugging not expected... I can accept a reboot if I have to. But I do want it to be OS X! OS X is where I game, while Windows remains safely virtualized and strictly used for occasional testing of web stuff in IE.)
You would be far better off trying to get Apple to build an XMac or bring back a Mini with discrete GPU. That of course is a second computer, wait a bit longer and even an AIR might have respectable GPU performance. You really have to ask what incentive is there for a GPU solution over TB, I'd have to say there is very little.
post #34 of 82
One thing people seem to have problems grasping here is that TB is a serial port. As such the bandwidth is fixed. Thus all of these demands for more ports and capability in the docking boxes doesn't make a lot of sense. You can only push so many bits per second through today's TB cables. TB isn't magic and has to deal with the same physical realities any other serial port has to deal with.
post #35 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One thing people seem to have problems grasping here is that TB is a serial port. As such the bandwidth is fixed. Thus all of these demands for more ports and capability in the docking boxes doesn't make a lot of sense. You can only push so many bits per second through today's TB cables. TB isn't magic and has to deal with the same physical realities any other serial port has to deal with.

20Gpbs full duplex serial port at that. The only thinkg I'd consider unrealistic in this thread is the graphics. You could max out four independent USB3 ports and that might be at your limit. FW800 is a drop in the bucket.
post #36 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


20Gpbs full duplex serial port at that. The only thinkg I'd consider unrealistic in this thread is the graphics. You could max out four independent USB3 ports and that might be at your limit. FW800 is a drop in the bucket.

 

To be fair, in current TB implementation the bandwidth is split in half between DisplayPort video signal and DATA.  But I agree with you, beside graphics TB is more than enough for any other use. 

post #37 of 82

Re market size... is it worth writing the drivers? Some people assume no, but I think they are guessing. Some questions to consider:

 

• Are TB drivers hard to write? Will that get easier? If the GPU driver already exists, how complicated is the TB driver?

 

• Are ultrathin laptops going to sell better or worse over time?

 

• Are Macs going to sell better or worse over time?

 

• Are Mac games and 3D pro apps going to sell better or worse over time?

 

• Are ultrathin GPUs going to improve, but slotted GPUs are going to stand still, eroding the advantage?

 

• Are TB ports going to become more common or less over time?

 

• Are TB accessories going to get more expensive or less over time?

 

Any way I look at it, the viability of making TB drivers seems likely to improve rather than worsen. GPU makers want more customers for higher-end products, and laptops are where sales growth is in the PC industry. I’m just sad to see it go so slowly.

 

As for the hardware... just a box with a slot or two, serving many different niches—plus, for my niche, the cards you can already get for a Mac Pro. I’m not expecting anyone to broaden that selection, but it would still be a welcome choice to have. It looks like the hardware side is already solved, it just needs to drop in price. Next up: software?

 

I agree that eventually a future Air’s internal GPU may be “good enough”... except... the CURRENT Air has GPU power that would have blown a gamer away a few years ago, and now it’s not quite “good enough” for everyone. I like my detail turned up :)

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No
Nobody promised GPU support over TB except for a few poorly informed pundits on the web. The idea has no merit at this time.

 

We’re using “promise” in two different ways. It holds promise—not that someone promised to deliver it. The idea has huge merit if people want ultrathin laptops AND want more GPU power than they can contain. Such a market isn’t mainstream (neither is video capture or RAIDs) but it exists.


Edited by nagromme - 12/17/12 at 10:07am
post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

To be fair, in current TB implementation the bandwidth is split in half between DisplayPort video signal and DATA.  But I agree with you, beside graphics TB is more than enough for any other use.

My best understanding is that you can get it all as TB data if there isn't a DP device in the chain. But you do lose half once you have a DP device.
post #39 of 82
Lack of thunderbolt out is a deal breaker for me. No biggie, I can wait and find something else, but my MBP only has one TB out and I want a dock that would allow running two external displays. Also, I'd rather have those displays connected via displayport then hdmi/dvi, but can live with it.

The lack of universal USB 3 seems ridiculously cheap as well. I get some people will use this for an external keyboard and mouse, but many will want a couple hard drives attached and USB 2 is a terrible bottleneck for hard drives at this point.
post #40 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

• Are TB drivers hard to write? Will that get easier? If the GPU driver already exists, how complicated is the TB driver?

 

Normally TB is hardware and drivers transparent. But there is one catch, being external it doesn't allow main RAM aperture required for high performance 3D video card and forced them to rewrite drivers to not use AGP features.

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