First Look: Inside Apple's fast new Thunderbolt port on MacBook Pros

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Comments

  • Reply 61 of 161
    Boy, did that Magsafe connector patent send a bunch of us down a rat hole. Lots of spilled electrons in the last few days posting about how LightPeak would work with a magnetic connector! But it was fun.
  • Reply 62 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezetation View Post


    What Thurderbolt has going for it is that it is more than USB, more than eSata, more than just a 1 typical use type port. I don't think we'll see the USB ports or others leaving the Mac anytime soon, this has far more implications for things like Docking systems & compact laptops like the MBAir.



    The one thing I don't like is the integration with display, that will mean that if I want to connect a display adapter I might have to unplug a disk to hook up an extra monitor, unless they require that all devices must include a display passthrough port.



    It seems that products will have a passthrough connector. I haven't read anything about a need for it to be display adapter specific, though the cable end would need to be if the monitor doesn't have a TB connector itself.
  • Reply 63 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post


    Until they realize that the Magsafe power port connector doesn't fit in the Thunderbolt port.



    Nope, they'll keep plugging the monitor cable in and call Apple asking why their computer won't charge.
  • Reply 64 of 161
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,831member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezetation View Post


    What Thurderbolt has going for it is that it is more than USB, more than eSata, more than just a 1 typical use type port. I don't think we'll see the USB ports or others leaving the Mac anytime soon, this has far more implications for things like Docking systems & compact laptops like the MBAir.



    The one thing I don't like is the integration with display, that will mean that if I want to connect a display adapter I might have to unplug a disk to hook up an extra monitor, unless they require that all devices must include a display passthrough port.



    Currently, there aren't enough hubs or adapters or even peripherals out there to allow for the removal of those other ports. However, I'm sure there will many breakout boxes (port hubs) to allow multiple connections to the single port. This is necessary to have backward compatibility. Eventually, for Macs, we may see hubs with USB, FireWire, Ethernet, DisplayPort ports to allow the connection of legacy peripherals. At that time Apple may choose to replace all ports with one, two or three Thunderbolt ports.



    While they may not ever require that peripheral makers include a pass-thru port, in the past FireWire devices have usually shipped with them for daisy-chaining peripherals.
  • Reply 65 of 161
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    USB3 has, in some ways, a lot more going for it because people can plug all of their existing USB peripherals directly into it without really thinking, while lightpeak will require everyone shelling out for all sorts of new cables. While the promise of a single cable is great, in practice it'll be quite a few years before it approaches being widespread.



    It doesn't have more going for it. New motherboards are typically shipping with 6-8 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports (both on the back). Almost every USB port people are using is USB 2.0. Without Intel support (which Thunderbolt has), it has nothing going for it.



    PS: When you buy a new peripheral it comes with the cable and you plug it into the port that fits. Most consumers don't buy cables.



    Quote:

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that Apple and Intel would launch this without a single peripheral on the market that uses it yet? The intel video had a bunch of "coming soon" products in their demos, but didn't mention when they'd be released. Are Lacie/WD/Seagate et al reluctant enough about the tech that they couldn't co-ordinate some sort of launch at the same time?



    Isn't it odd that there's an iPad announcement next week? Peripherals are coming, don't you worry. Apple is just getting their time in the sun today because they helped develop the technology.
  • Reply 66 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I don't care what PC manufacturers do or don't do.



    Intel said that this is specifically designed for audio and video and I'm certain that the Pros will gravitate towards Thunderbolt, because almost all pros use Macs. Firewire survived just fine without it being found on cheap PC laptops. The average PC user using inferior gear does not need the power of Thunderbolt.



    Lacie has also just announced the first Thunderbolt external drive that I am aware of.



    That PC I have sitting in the corner has been enjoying USB 3 for about a year now. Where have the Macs been all this time?



    The "average PC user" needs thunderbolt and USB 3.0 about as much as the "average Mac user," in that they just need a place to plug in their keyboards and iPods. That's it. Any professional that understands the benefits of IDEE 1394 and has a reason to use it already does. You can add Firewire 800 to just about any PC on the market for about $30.



    So kindly step down from your Mac high horse, thanks ^_^. Besides, I'm more concerned about the licensing involved to implement it into chipsets. Since its based on PCI Express and displayport, does that mean AMD can add their own implementation of Thunderbolt in their chipsets going forward? I don't want to be forced to buy an add-in card for any AMD-based system I build in the future.
  • Reply 67 of 161
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    How many people are going to attempt to plug the power cable into the port marked with the Lightning Bolt?



    I mentioned this earlier, but they won't get far when they realize it doesn't fit.
  • Reply 68 of 161
    The Intel + Apple combination can be sufficient to push this:



    1) Intel makes it all really cheap, by providing the controllers in their chipsets itself.

    2) Apple can push it by

    (a) bringing it to the market. Apple commanding the majority of the premium market (where peripheral sales are likely to be reasonably high) means that a lot of peripheral makers are going to target this. Consider a scenario where Seagate is selling only USB3 drives, but Western Digital has a TB drive which has twice the transfer speed. What is a mac user going to buy as his Time Machine backup?

    (b) Apple can really push this by inclusion in the iPad/iPod. Once TB is supported throughout the entire line of Apple products, Dell will have a scenario where they have to either support TB, or Mac users can sync their iPhones, iPads and iPods 10 times faster than Dell users.



    It remains to be seen if either company is going to push this much, but if they decide to, assuming its technically solid (which it absolutely appears to be), its can easily be very successful.
  • Reply 69 of 161
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    Nope, they'll keep plugging the monitor cable in and call Apple asking why their computer won't charge.



    That much is for certain. I had to assist a professor yesterday because she couldn't get her laptop to appear on the projection screen. I noticed right away that she hadn't connected the VGA cable to her laptop. Doh!
  • Reply 70 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post


    FW800 was not bad but it hardly caught on outside Apple and Apple dumped it like a hot potato(e).



    Really? I still see a FW800 port on all the new MBPs.
  • Reply 71 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    Boy, did that Magsafe connector patent send a bunch of us down a rat hole. Lots of spilled electrons in the last few days posting about how LightPeak would work with a magnetic connector! But it was fun.



    Its better this way! Rather than create a proprietary connector, Intel is utilizing the existing Mini-DisplayPort connector that Apple released a few years ago that can be used royalty-free. I think that's the key that will make this standard work - its open, its familiar, its backwards compatible, and literally anyone can implement it.



    Smart, smart move, Apple and Intel.
  • Reply 72 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


    Likely one. Intel says one (or two), with no explanation for when the (or two) is applicable. The great limitation is that Thunderbolt currently only supports Displayport 1.1a, which doesn't really allow for daisy-chaining of displays (the new 6000-series GPUs support DP 1.2, which does, but to no utility).



    Are there even any displays with support for daisy-chaining in the market today?



    Surely you have missed this? Or are you speaking of daisy-chaining only between multiple displays?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple


    Now you can create a professional video setup for your MacBook Pro, just as you would for your Mac Pro. If you?re a video editor, imagine connecting high-performance storage, a high-resolution display, and high-bit-rate video capture devices to handle all the post-production for a feature film ? right on your notebook. Thunderbolt I/O technology allows you to daisy-chain up to six new peripherals, such as the Promise Pegasus RAID* or LaCie Little Big Disk,* or five peripherals and an Apple LED Cinema Display.



  • Reply 73 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    I've seen it alluded to, but not out-right stated, that this is a peer-to-peer technology. Or is it master-slave like USB? The peer-to-peer aspects of FW were seldom used, but Migration Assistant is one example. That's one thing people always pointed to when they feared the loss of Firewire. And if it's peer-to-peer, and also supports networking protocols like ethernet, could I daisy-chain Mac-HD-Mac and allow both Macs to access the hard drive at the same time?



    "Thunderbolt technology is based on a switched fabric architecture with full-duplex links. Unlike bus-based I/O architectures, each Thunderbolt port on a computer is capable of providing the full bandwidth of the link in both directions with no sharing of band- width between ports or between upstream and downstream directions. The Thunderbolt protocol architecture can be abstracted into four layers as shown in Figure 2." (http://www.intel.com/technology/io/t...US_secured.pdf)



    I wonder if it supports closed loops like 1394b. It is certainly useful if you need to remove nodes on the chain.



    In any case I assume that this is basically external PCI-e.



    Quote:

    And I don't think you'd need a display that supports daisy-chaining. You'd only need a DisplayPort adaptor that support it. The adaptors would be daisy-chained and an individual display would hang off each adaptor. They wouldn't even know they were on a TB bus.



    That's true. I believe AMDs technical brief for the 6000-series suggested that there would be DisplayPort "splitters" as a stopgap measure. I have not bothered to look for any though. Anyway, the 10 Gbit bandwidth for DisplayPort provided by Thunderbolt is still less than the 17.3 Gbit provided by DisplayPort 1.2, which is unfortunate since it is not enough for two 2560x1600/[email protected] Hz displays.
  • Reply 74 of 161
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by serkol View Post


    Looks like this is not going to happen. Just read from the Intel's presentation:

    DisplayPort devices must be the last device in chain.



    Picture this:



    Mac -> hub -> Cinema Display



    Now tape the the hub to the back of the Cinema Display and what do you have? Apple could do that internally on the display.



    New Cinema Displays wouldn't be DisplayPort devices, but rather Thunderbolt devices, so there's no worry about that restriction.
  • Reply 75 of 161
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,582member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    That PC I have sitting in the corner has been enjoying USB 3 for about a year now. Where have the Macs been all this time?



    I'm glad that Mac users haven't been enjoying USB 3.0 for the past year, because Apple was smart and decided to move straight to Thunderbolt instead, which is superior to USB 3.0. Anyway, what's out for USB 3.0 anyway? It doesn't look like it's caught on exactly. I've always been skeptical of USB and even firewire 1 is better than USB 2.0 when it comes to real world usage. Good riddance to USB is what I say.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    So kindly step down from your Mac high horse, thanks ^_^.



    But I like the view from up here.
  • Reply 76 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by serkol View Post


    So now Apple can make their displays to serve also as dock stations. You come back home and connect your MBA or MBP to the big screen. All other stuff is already connected to your display, so you have to stick only 1 cable into your portable device. Clever. Oh, they even can make displays with hard drives and DVD/CD :-)



    Otherwise known as an iMac. What could be done with a 27" iMac and a MBP joined together via TB? Or an iPad/iPod/iPhone and a display like you propose? An iPod connected to a peripheral packed display would be a not too bad personal computer.



    I'm glad to see other people grasping the potential rather than just spouting "OMG!! USB 3.0 FTW!"



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 77 of 161
    Looking at the ports on my unibody aluminum 13" Macbook: Never noticed that it's exactly as thick as the Ethernet port. The top casing is incredibly thin above that port.



    So you'd have to think the 2012 Macbook refresh will kill ethernet ports across the board - if it's the major update alluded to earlier in the week.



    I'm surprised that DisplayPort / Thunderdome is as tall as it is. Pretty much the same as USB. Is there some reason for computers to always have A-type USB ports instead of micro or mini?
  • Reply 78 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Am I the only one who finds it odd that Apple and Intel would launch this without a single peripheral on the market that uses it yet? The intel video had a bunch of "coming soon" products in their demos, but didn't mention when they'd be released. Are Lacie/WD/Seagate et al reluctant enough about the tech that they couldn't co-ordinate some sort of launch at the same time?



    I just saw the Intel live presentation. They had a few storage devices from LeCie that were TB capable. In the demo they hit the drive's max throughput (6Gbs) without even breaking a sweat.



    Western Digital has signed on along with many pro audio device manufactures. I suspect it is cheap enough that you will see a flood of devices on the market in a 6 months to a year. Believe it or not this answers the prayers of many PC manufacturers that have been playing musical chairs with ports and I/O protocols in an attempt to make everybody happy and not get killed on per port licensing fees.
  • Reply 79 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Intel has said that 10 Gbps is not theoretical, but actual achievable bandwidth.



    And yes, devices will always be limited by their own capabilities, but those devices will only use up the bandwidth they need, allowing others to transmit data in the remaining space.



    For instance, I could have a FW800 RAID, an external display and an ethernet connection all running off the single Thunderbolt port. While they each have their own bandwidth limitations, they would all run full speed, no bottle neck.



    Systems that use the new port will not get FireWire, USB, DisplayPort, etc. automatically, the hardware controllers for each still need to be there, as well as the software support in the operating system.



    I get the bandwidth thing, and with the intention to log all those peripherals on one bus, I reckon that's a good thing, but as to addressable speed, are there any disk/storage type devices that can "get up to speed" so to speak? SSDs have the capability but their controllers are for now limited in speed. Striped disk arrays (RAID 0) can also increase their throughput and boost speed, but both FW800 (with SATA drives) and eSATA are much slower than 10Gbps, so I'm still wondering where our improved performance (where the computer rubber hits the road) might come from? In other words, where are the new drive controllers that can boost the SSD or RAID 0 storage to this new capability? And what are they going to cost? Native Firewire drives never took off because of the expense of the controller.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    You're thinking too small. Who says you'll only have one disk connected to your port? The bandwidth of Thunderbolt is supposed to be larger than that required by your devices so that you can put multiple devices of multiple types onto that one port.



    No, I understand one port to rule them all, as I stated earlier. I also currently have multiple machines using multiple external Firewire hard drives, that are SATA based with SATA/FW bridge boards. If Intel and whoever don't have cheap controllers that scale the devices up to those speeds (The announcement mentions copying an HD movie in 30 seconds) then just like using a SATA/FW bridgeboard is the current implementation for external FW drives versus a native FW controller, we will have this neat speed thing, but limited access to it. So, while I am not predicting FAIL, I am wondering about where the speed is going to come from.



    I checked LaCie's website, and they are not mentioning price (that I could see) but their drive appears to be SSD only, so that's part of it, but they didn't have much more information except that was really fast
  • Reply 80 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zandros View Post


    "Thunderbolt technology is based on a switched fabric architecture with full-duplex links. Unlike bus-based I/O architectures, each Thunderbolt port on a computer is capable of providing the full bandwidth of the link in both directions with no sharing of band- width between ports or between upstream and downstream directions. The Thunderbolt protocol architecture can be abstracted into four layers as shown in Figure 2." (http://www.intel.com/technology/io/t...US_secured.pdf)



    I wonder if it supports closed loops like 1394b. It is certainly useful if you need to remove nodes on the chain.



    In any case I assume that this is basically external PCI-e.







    That's true. I believe AMDs technical brief for the 6000-series suggested that there would be DisplayPort "splitters" as a stopgap measure. I have not bothered to look for any though. Anyway, the 10 Gbit bandwidth for DisplayPort provided by Thunderbolt is still less than the 17.3 Gbit provided by DisplayPort 1.2, which is unfortunate since it is not enough for two 2560x1600/[email protected] Hz displays.



    Somewhere, in my reading I saw reference to a "4 by" TB (4 parallel TB connections), as an intermediate step.



    Also, as defined, the Lightpeak spec supports 100 Gbit over optic.



    So, there appears to be room for growth to accommodate multiple displays.
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