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



  • Reply 141 of 161
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,694member
    Originally Posted by dolphin0611 View Post

    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!

    Yeah this is the kind of thing you wonder if they even considered. There are millions of flash drive users out there and they'll want to have something similar to use with Thunderbolt.

    This whole thing will be fun to watch.
  • Reply 142 of 161
    Six devices? What is this, SCSI?

    Bad enough firewire only supported 63, which means it had limited use for LANs. People still used it anyway, but I would have thought 255 to be the minimum.

    Someone explain to me why six is acceptable. Hell, back in the day I remember hitting the SCSI limit of 7 with drives?and that was just drives! What about monitors, AV equipment, networks, adapters... SIX?!
  • Reply 143 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    Hadn't really noticed that. It is a problem.
  • Reply 144 of 161
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post

    So by the sounds of it, this connector is simply integrating the PCI Express controller with DisplayPort, which means AMD could theoretically implement this into their own chipsets going forward. If so, that means the entire industry can move to standardize all peripherals on all machines onto a single port. No more USB, no more firewire, no more vga/dvi/hdmi.. heck, you won't even need CAT 5 ethernet cables anymore.

    This is a pretty big deal. The only way Intel can screw this up is by putting ridiculous licensing fees to implement it, but if its based on PCI Express and DisplayPort, how can they?

    I'm not sure why people see this as a replacement for USB. It isn't at all and I would suspect it will be a very long time before Macs are completely free of USB. All the noise about a USB free AIR is ill informed if you ask me.

    USB has and always will be a low speed I/O bus. TB is nothing like USB.
  • Reply 145 of 161
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,480member
    Originally Posted by hatunike View Post

    Very interesting indeed. However, I think that it will catch on and MUCH faster than you suggest. I think this is essential technology for the future of Apple. This allows for a mobile computer to have ONE port. That is all. This includes power, data, display, everything.

    I don't see how a one-port computer has an advantage. The just-released 17" MacBook Pro has 3 USB ports, a Firewire port, this new Thunderbolt port, Ethernet and power (in addition to audio in/out and the card slot). If you are using more than one peripheral device at a time, I don't see any advantage (and in fact I see many disadvantages) of having to daisy chain the devices, rather than plugging them in at the computer. (Is the monitor port now going to be on the power brick? So I have to crawl under the desk and on the floor to connect?) If however, it means that eventually, the ports on the computer will be Thunderbolt ports instead of a mix of USB, Firewire, etc., I suppose that will be okay, providing cheap adapters are available (doubtful - Apple charges absurd prices for its cables and adapters), although I can still envision problems during the transition period in cases where you take the laptop with you somewhere and when you get there, you need to plug in a USB or Firewire peripheral or an Ethernet cable, but your computer only has Thunderbolt on it and no one has an adapter handy.

    It's not like the computer becomes meaningfully smaller or lighter if it needs only one port. I think people are too willing to give up functionality, like the desire by some to remove the optical drive and to replace very high capacity hard disk drives with lower capacity SSDs or to have everything live in the cloud, where you can only get access if you have connectivity and slower access at that. I do not want to move backwards. If you don't need peripheral connectivity, get an Air or an iPad.
  • Reply 146 of 161
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,480member
    Originally Posted by Fast Fred 1 View Post

    You mean people will refuse to buy a Mac because it has this new connection?

    No, but they might refuse to buy a Mac if it ONLY has this new connection. Unless Apple throws a bunch of free adapter cables in the box with the Mac, which is doubtful, because they love ripping people off with their absurdly expensive (but nicely packaged) cables.
  • Reply 147 of 161
    Originally Posted by frugality View Post

    The lightning bolt icon is a bit decieving. Someone looking at it for the first time will assume that it must be the port for the power cord.

    Very true. I think FastLane, LightSpeed, or Thor would have been a better choice. But I can only imagine how restrictive the trademarked name-scape is.
  • Reply 148 of 161
    to fill up and sync future iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc. Syncing just takes way to long these days for these devices via USB 2.0. Hopefully provisioning these devices to take advantage of this new i/o port is in the cards, please Apple make it so!
  • Reply 149 of 161
    Here is how I see the future playing out....

    Either Apple, Intel, or a third-party will come out with a dock that converts the Thunderbolt port to a USB3 port. And once such a dock exists, we will not see a single accessory, other than displays, that will be designed for Thunderbolt - all the accessories will be USB3, simply because USB3 will be adopted a lot quicker and cheaper than TB ever will be, and will be compatible with legacy peripherals as well.

    Even if Apple supports TB in their iDevices, I can't see them being able to fight this trend.

    There is one other technical reason why this is the likely future - Thunderbolt supports 2 channels of 10Gbps each, and supports a daisy chaining architecture. It is still not clear whether TB supports a hub architecture. Even if TB supports a Hub architecture, the total speed of all the TB ports in a hub would be capped at 20Gbps. Assuming you have 4 ports in a hub, it makes a lot more sense to have a TB/USB3 hub, because you then end up with 4 or more ports that can do 5Gbps each. Even if you have 4 TB ports in a hub, you are not going to get any speed improvement anyway.

    Even if we move to TB over optic fiber, I am not really sure what applications at a consumer level can take advantage of these speeds. Remember even SATA III has a theoretical speed of just 6Gbps - and real world speeds are very much within USB3 limits. If you have a RAID with SATA III disks then you can take advantage of 100 Gbps TB - but this is more likely in professional space than in consumer space. The only real application would be downloading HD video from a camera - where the download time would drop significantly. And to take advantage of this, you need to completely change your entire equipment - computers, cameras, cables, etc.

    I think Apple will soon find that TB will be in same boat as FireWire. Unfortunately, better technology is not always the winner, as history as shown us with several cliched examples!
  • Reply 150 of 161
    strobestrobe Posts: 369member
    TB supports complex network topography like firewire. Meaning, yes, you can have hubs.

    Your rationale makes no sense to me whatsoever. A USB3 hub, just like USB2, is capped at the speed of the port its plugged into. In fact, due to the USB protocol (which sucks, always has sucked, always will suck), the protocol overhead increases EXPONENTIALLY so that you'll never see USB3 hubs used in this manner.

    USB 1.1 was designed for low bandwidth peripherals like mice, keyboard, etc. I could argue that even for this purpose, USB sucked, but Apple/Sony dropped the ball big time on firewire. Firewire, by the way, does not suffer from topology problems like USB, and does not have the protocol eat up CPU and bandwidth exponentially because each device doesn't need to be actively controlled by the CPU! If you think about this you'll realize how ludicrous it is.

    A USB3 "hub" on TB would help alleviate the inherent design flaw of USB somewhat by not being a USB hub, but instead a TB node which supports multiple USB3 ports. However, this would saturate the TB connection with USB protocol chattiness and USB3 should just DIAF.

    To summarize: I doubt you'll see USB3 hubs take off. The whole purpose of USB3 is high throughput, and USB3 hubs pretty much kill throughput. USB3 will just be an alternative to SATA only with power; an alternative that drains CPU power and finds new ways to burn your penis as it heats up your laptop faster than pyrit.
  • Reply 151 of 161
    strobestrobe Posts: 369member
    BTW Intel's strategy is cunning when you think of it.

    Chip makers like NVIDIA, AMD, VIA and SiS didn't want to be left behind on the Next Big Thing™ so they rush ahead and push USB3 thinking that Intel had their own chip set in the works. They even accused Intel of hiding the USB3 spec so it would retain this advantage, but Intel rightfully claimed they never owned USB3 and now we see they have no interest in its success.

    Meanwhile NERDS rushed full bore buying USB3 hardware because, well, you know, 3 is bigger than 2 and thus would also increase their penis size by the same ratio (hopefully allowing them to see it beyond their neckbeards, frumps, and empty cans of Mountain Dew). Yes, NERDS, because USB3 has yet to fill any practical role or technical niche—not even loading WoW faster or adding more FPS to Crysis.

    Then a standard emerges which isn't a giant heap of steaming shit and suddenly the nerds realize their penises haven't grown at all! Now the internet is roaring with whiney screeds, being hurriedly typed by fat fingers (no doubt recently greased by hot pockets) filling youtube comment text fields with babble about how USB3 has already become ubiquitous and thus the war is over before it began so stop pointing out my small penis.

    Technically, USB3 is a pile of shite that has no practical application. While that hasn't stopped the Gamer Soda-quaifing nerds from wasting their money on upgrading their erections, I'd take a look at the current benchmarks before wasting yours:

    (not mentioned in this graph is how much CPU was consumed, and whether an egg could have been fried on it)
  • Reply 152 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    So far, the biggest hurdle I see for Thunderbolt is the six device limit you raised. That's gonna hurt.
  • Reply 153 of 161
    Sigh, yes, but still better than eSATA, right?

    Kinda makes me wish FW 3200 had been given the same "holy shit this is great! How soon can we deliver? NOT SOON ENOUGH!" treatment. Hell, that standard was announced in 2007 and was fully backward compatible with FW 800 (unlike USB3).

    I mean, did they really not see the potential for networking? FW networks are still around despite gigabit ethernet. They're cheaper and easier to setup. Sure, it would have required longer optical cables, but since the protocol is now set in stone I don't see the limit being overcome when we start using fiber.

    I'm also dumbfounded as to why they REQUIRED both protocols in ThunderBolt when it would have been just as easy to make the video optional. This would have allowed quick, widespread adoption using an expresscard or PCI-E adapter. This means a non-video port could use ALL thunderbolt devices EXCEPT video out. Oh, the horror! You mean I could have TB and would still have to use HDMI?! THA HORROR!

    It makes no sense! For one, we have often had similar connectors have varying support levels. DVI-D vs DVI-I vs DVI-A for example, would be analogous to displayport vs TB-I vs TB-D (for video-out-only, both, or data respectively). Would this really be confusing? I know there are idiots out there who expect, for example, cable-only solutions to convert displayport to VGA, but c'mon! We could have zillions of speedy PCs with TB tomorrow if they would only allow for a TB without video-out. IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!

    It's like firewire all over again. What is with Apple's (and now Intel's as with GPUs) not-invented-here syndrome?
  • Reply 154 of 161
    The more you think about it the more stupid it gets...

    The other repercussion of requiring display-out for every TB port is it killed potential use for servers. Since every port requires the ability to drive a display, that means you need a display driver for each port.

    So you can forget about massive SAN arrays using TB. Sure, most servers don't need more than six drives (or I suppose 5 if you want a display?), but some do! How many SATA connectors is on the average non-server PC mainboard? Three?

    (Of course, this probably didn't even enter Apple's collective stupidity^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H mind because they have completely abandoned enterprise. Imagine being in the situation where you need to run Mac OS X to encode stuff with Mac software and not being able to buy reliable hardware. What a JOKE!)

    So what does this mean? Servers (which Apple doesn't sell, because they're retards) will continue to use SATA 3.0 and wait patiently for SATA 6.0 because neither USB3 nor TB fit the bill. TB would have been great except for the 5-6 device limit and the display requirement. If either restriction didn't exist, Intel/Apple would have a huge market for their new tech. Well done morons
  • Reply 155 of 161
    To drive the point home, the ultimate irony hit me as I have a displayport on my MacBook Pro which can't audio out.

    Yea, that's OK but don't you dare have a TB port which can't video out!
  • Reply 156 of 161
    sgnqsgnq Posts: 10member
    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?

    The daisy-chaining of displays is also limited by the GPUs in every notebook, no? They all probably support two displays at most - one in addition to the built-in (or?). What's cool is that Thunderbolt probably is fast enough to allow an additional GPU outside the notebook to drive two more screens?!

    I'm also curious about what Intel means in what you say above.
  • Reply 157 of 161
    strobestrobe Posts: 369member
    Originally Posted by sgnq View Post

    The daisy-chaining of displays is also limited by the GPUs in every notebook, no? They all probably support two displays at most - one in addition to the built-in (or?). What's cool is that Thunderbolt probably is fast enough to allow an additional GPU outside the notebook to drive two more screens?!

    I'm also curious about what Intel means in what you say above.

    The display limit depends on the number of pixels you're pushing, not the GPU. You can have one large display which saturates the connection.

    A GPU removed from the CPU would be utterly pointless unless you wanted to add more OpenGL processors to a laptop or something (which sounds VERY impractical for various obvious reasons). There is a reason the GPU is connected to the CPU and not the monitor.
  • Reply 158 of 161
    What's with people and the 6 device limit. The limit applies to TB devices ONLY. If you plug a FW Drive into your TB port, you can then connect (in theory) 60+ other FW divices up to that. Its the same as putting a FW PCI-E card in your Mac Pro!

    If you want to run 12 SATA drives go ahead. Plug in two SATA controllers and raid away.

    Hell you can't put more than THREE PCI-E devices in a Mac Pro.
  • Reply 159 of 161
    Garlic Used In Medicine - lipitor 10 mg

    Lipitor works by inhibiting HMG-CaA reductase, which is a liver enzyme that is known to profoundly impact the production of cholesterol in the body. lipitor online
  • Reply 160 of 161
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,805member
    Originally Posted by m2002brian View Post

    What's with people and the 6 device limit. The limit applies to TB devices ONLY. If you plug a FW Drive into your TB port, you can then connect (in theory) 60+ other FW divices up to that. Its the same as putting a FW PCI-E card in your Mac Pro!

    Do we know this for sure? Even so, who's going to keep making FW devices now?
Sign In or Register to comment.