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

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  • Reply 121 of 161
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    i'll be surprised if the new ipad doesnt have a thunderbolt connector. I'd also expect an apple hub soon perhaps.... hopefully in the shape of Steve Jobs head and you plug into the ear, nose, etc.
  • Reply 122 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    Assuming Intel includes it in all of their chipsets and convinces PC makers to include the port, there's one other important factor. How much will it cost to implement it in the other devices? USB is dirt-cheap to include because it's a fairly simple chip compared to a FW controller. So I assume it will be present for the forseeable future. Half of the FW800 drives I have also have eSATA, which I don't have any Macs with that connection.



    So, would HD makers add a 4th port to cover their bases? That adds an incremental cost to their units. Or do they drop either FW or eSATA, potentially upsetting customers who don't have TB and therefore must use the USB port? If it costs too much to include TB, they will just continue making FW800 drives and expect the customer to go buy a TB adaptor.







    I agree. I don't think we'll ever see a built-in USB3 port on a Mac. The closest thing will be a USB3 adaptor for TB. But I do think we'll continue to see USB2 ports for quite some time to come. It's a cheap, mature technology. It could be quite some time, if ever, that a TB controller chip will be cheap enough to include in a thumb drive, and you aren't going to carry around an adaptor all of the time just in case you need to pull files off somebody's thumb drive.



    I don't believe these chips will cost much. They aren't converting one process to another the way PATA and SATa to FW chips are. So the complexity won't be as high. These are basically moving the Express bus out to an external device, using whatever protocol exists. It supports mass drive and Displayport directly. Others will require adapters. But like so many other, old standards, many of the present ones will just go away over time.



    It does look as though the often laughed upon Apple invented mini Displayport socket is here to stay. It's being used everywhere now.
  • Reply 123 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Atanner 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?





    Apple's cinema displays use it instead of mini display port



    This is precisely why it was released without removing any other ports. It's clear that in 2012, we'll see FW800 and at least one USB port yanked off all Macs, desktop and portable.



    I think you'll be surprised at how fast LaCie/WD/Seagate all jump on this bandwagon.
  • Reply 124 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bwik View Post


    I guess that is my beef. If Apple/Intel's new baby fails to get wide support (which is very possible) then we will be stuck with USB2 until its slow speed becomes a major major headache.



    FW800 adoption is pathetically small. Thunderbolt offers... another attempt, followed by another years long wait, potentially resulting in nothing but USB 2.



    I doubt this will fail. Both manufacturers and consumers (though, as usual, consumers don't know they are hungering for this, just what it will bring them) are hungering for ports that are simpler to use, as USB and FW were both promised to be, but weren't, and faster.



    Intel makes a lot of mobos for companies. When this is in there, it will be used. I have no doubt companies will see this is a way to sell more computers, and so will happily add this to their machines when it becomes available.
  • Reply 125 of 161
    From Intel's page, I read "Electrical or optical cables"... Does this imply they've implemented the Fibre Optic one, and not the Copper one rumoured before?
  • Reply 126 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.



    Apple did what we in basketball call a "head-fake". If you go back to the patent, the point of it was to marry an optical link along an existing copper wire interface. The example used Magsafe but if all of us had thought about it, we would have known then that this was not going to happen.



    Why? You want this standard to be adopted as widely as possible. Magsafe is considered to be a competitive advantage for Apple in laptops and if you put Thunderbolt in it, that means they'd have to give Magsafe to EVERYONE. On the other hand, MiniDisplayport is a public standard that Apple developed and gave back to the DisplayPort working group free of charge with no royalties. Adding Thunderbolt to it doesn't saddle anyone with paying patent royalties back to Apple.
  • Reply 127 of 161
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,586member
    Thank you DED for putting all of this into meaningful context for all of us. This is a brilliant move by Apple. I was recently viewing photographs on a lame lenovo laptop screen that my uncle shot with his high end professional camera gear thinking "why spend all this money on expensive photo gear and then view the end product on a lame ass monitor" which is what he does all the time. The ability to connect HD devices and other significantly upgraded peripherals as we manage our ever increasing digital lives through this technology , whether at home, work or play, is a significant breakthrough in technology, price and performance.
  • Reply 128 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by article


    Additionally, the PCI Express design of Thunderbolt makes it straightforward to add FireWire or USB interfaces to a device that is connected via Thunderbolt, eventually enabling Apple to drop other connectors from its equipment while still allowing users to continue to use their existing equipment.



    Is this why we don't care about Sandy Bridge issues?
  • Reply 129 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezetation View Post


    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.



    Yeah, my current setup is USB -> external display which has a built in powered usb hub that my external keyboard, wireless mouse, wireless headset, extra iphone cable, printer and wacom are plugged into. My external harddrives are daisy chained via FW800. That way, when my MBPro isn't "docked", I can still access the hard drives.



    Thunderbolt will not be able to daisy chain existing firewire/usb/esata peripherals together, which means a hub, which in my opinion is not an elegant solution for most people. Way too "desktop computer-like" in my opinion.



    I think it would have been smart for Apple to have refreshed the Cinema Display line at the same time as this release, including Thunderbolt tech and a built-in "hub" to plug everything into (USB3, FW800 and even eSata). That would have really showed off the tech, transitioned the ports nicely, and given the Apple fetishists among us another excuse to drop a couple thousand extra bucks
  • Reply 130 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robsta View Post


    From Intel's page, I read "Electrical or optical cables"... Does this imply they've implemented the Fibre Optic one, and not the Copper one rumoured before?



    I don't know. They say that both optical and copper cables will work. Apple's pics for the adapter show electrical and optical pins. It's hard to say yet.
  • Reply 131 of 161
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Hopefully there will be an Express Card adapter for us with mbp's older than 24hours!
  • Reply 132 of 161
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    The new MBP's should've been thunderbolt only to begin with. Why bother with an upgrade that's barely an upgrade or at least give some people the option to go without the messy optical disks and slow USB 2/3. Wouldn't it have been smarter to roll out their on connectors and what not along with the new MBP but keep the MBP simple and really spur some computer sales. I sure wish my MBA would've had thunderbolt tech but I will get one with it later this year if they decide to do a refresh of the MBA.
  • Reply 133 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I don't know. They say that both optical and copper cables will work. Apple's pics for the adapter show electrical and optical pins. It's hard to say yet.



    A whole lot of FUD and useless questions are being bandied about Thunderbolt today. But this issue is the really big deal.



    How forward-compatible is Thunderbolt? Will we be able to mix copper and optical connections and peripherals when the faster versions appear? Is there a performance issue with this (like connecting USB1 peripherals to a USB2 hub.)
  • Reply 134 of 161
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen View Post


    Hopefully there will be an Express Card adapter for us with mbp's older than 24hours!



    no dice?



    Quote:

    Thunderbolt ports can't be added to existing PCs via an expansion card; Intel says the only way to have it is to buy a system or logic board that incorporates the new Thunderbolt controller chip. That's because the Thunderbolt chip needs direct access to both the system's video and PCI Express architecture.



  • Reply 135 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,786member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    i'll be surprised if the new ipad doesnt have a thunderbolt connector.



    You're really expecting Apple to re-architect iOS to be based on PCI Express? Because that's what Thunderbolt is based on.



    Ain't. Gonna. Happen.
  • Reply 136 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    A whole lot of FUD and useless questions are being bandied about Thunderbolt today. But this issue is the really big deal.



    How forward-compatible is Thunderbolt? Will we be able to mix copper and optical connections and peripherals when the faster versions appear? Is there a performance issue with this (like connecting USB1 peripherals to a USB2 hub.)



    Intel's PDF says no problem. But I don't know if that refers to this first implementation, or the general interface overall.



    All I can do for now is to refer people to Intel's own documentation.



    A number of things aren't clear. What about the two channels? Is that two channels per port, or controller?



    Optical or copper? It says both. Then why the talk that the first implementation will be over copper?



    Confusing.
  • Reply 137 of 161
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    You're really expecting Apple to re-architect iOS to be based on PCI Express? Because that's what Thunderbolt is based on.



    Ain't. Gonna. Happen.



    Hmm! Do we know for sure it doesn't use Express now? Is that an Intel only chip bus? For certain?
  • Reply 138 of 161
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post


    It only carries power for low draw peripherals, you will still need a powercord for the laptop itself. Also, unless this becomes an essential technology to the PC makers and the general public it will be marginal at best. Apple lacks the market power to make a new port successful on their own, no matter how important they think it is. Intel's ability to market this is going to be the make or break, Apple is nothing more than a proof of concept that might make the rest of the industry more comfortable buying in.



    You mean people will refuse to buy a Mac because it has this new connection?
  • Reply 139 of 161
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,663member
    Has there been any mention of how much it will cost for manufacturers to add TB to their products? This will be important in helping to spur adoption. I will be curious to see how it plays out in the high speed video RAID space. It would be nice to see a Mac Pro with a couple of these port built in. That will save big dollars on FC cards and the like.
  • Reply 140 of 161
    This technology sounds great but I have one concern. USB memory sticks work great as they are slim, portable and easy to use. An 8Gb stick can cost just $10. And some are really tiny. But due to the size and shape of the Thunderbolt connector, it would mean a similar portable memory device would need to be thicker if it were to accommodate the port's shape and size. Perhaps they can come up with a Micro-Display Thunderbolt port in the future!
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