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First Thunderbolt Peripherals Arrive To Market

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the powered-by-thor dept.

Data Storage 259

MojoKid writes "Promise Technology recently launched the first Thunderbolt-compatible devices; the company's Pegasus RAID R4 and R6 storage solutions can now be ordered from the Apple Store. There's a catch, however. In order to use either storage array, one must first purchase a cable directly from Apple. The company has priced the two-meter cable at $50. As it turns out, Thunderbolt uses what's called an active cable. Inside the cable there's a pair of Gunnum GN2033 transceivers. The GN2033 is a tiny, low power transceiver chip designed to be placed inside the connectors at either end of a Thunderbolt cable, enabling dual bidirectional 10Gb/s concurrent links over narrow-gauge copper wires. The cable's $50 price may be justified, but it's also a further reminder of why Thunderbolt may follow FireWire's path into obsolescence. Apple is the only company currently selling Thunderbolt cables."

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259 comments

lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630830)

lol

or maybe (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630836)

or maybe, once production is ramped up, prices will go down. Since that's what generally happens with new technology.

Re:or maybe (5, Insightful)

Serenissima (1210562) | about 3 years ago | (#36630848)

That's crazy talk. This is Slashdot. Where anything remotely related to Apple or Microsoft must be met with derision! There's no need to bring logic or common sense into the discussion!

Common sense (1, Troll)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#36631208)

That's crazy talk. This is Slashdot. Where anything remotely related to Apple or Microsoft must be met with derision! There's no need to bring logic or common sense into the discussion!

Um, but logic and common sense both demand that we heap derision upon Apple and Microsoft (and Adobe and Oracle and Sony and RIAA/MPAA and patent trolls and any other manifestations of evil that crop up).

Re:or maybe (0, Troll)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 3 years ago | (#36630854)

Not to mention Apple usually pricing peripherals highly. Third party vendors will step in like they always do and offer a cheaper alternative.

Oh, and Mojokid is a retard. I always have to laugh at the morons calling Firewire dead and obsolete. It's still alive and kicking in the pro A/V world, you idiots. Firewire audio decks are quite common. A lot of pro-grade cameras still connect via Firewire.

Re:or maybe (2, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36630876)

Yep, not knowing about firewire's use in a niche market certainly makes someone a retard and a moron.

Re:or maybe (2)

Professr3 (670356) | about 3 years ago | (#36630916)

I'll be sure to let NBC know that their pro A/V studios are a niche market...

Re:or maybe (3, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36630938)

How many "pro A/V studios" would you say are in circulation? Please express your answer as a percentage of the billions of computers, phones, mp3 players, and other consumer electronics that are sold every single year.

Don't bother calling NBC. They already know.

Re:or maybe (3, Funny)

incer (1071224) | about 3 years ago | (#36631250)

By that reasoning, computers are a niche compared to the sale of trillions of cigarettes that are sold every single year.

Re:or maybe (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 3 years ago | (#36631336)

By that reasoning, computers are a niche compared to the sale of trillions of cigarettes that are sold every single year.

Yea, because just like computers are an integral part of every pro a/v studio so are cigarettes an integral part of every computer. .derp.

Re:or maybe (1)

incer (1071224) | about 3 years ago | (#36631458)

Seems like your reading comprehension needs some work:

How many "pro A/V studios" would you say are in circulation? Please express your answer as a percentage of the billions of computers, phones, mp3 players, and other consumer electronics that are sold every single year.

What do mp3 players and phones have to do with "pro a/v studio[s]"?

And anyway Firewire IS an integral part of every pro A/V studio. So your argument is flawed in every possible way. Derp.

Re:or maybe (1)

billius (1188143) | about 3 years ago | (#36631510)

I realize he put it in a rather asinine way, but I too was shocked to hear that they called firewire obsolete. The line between pro and amateur continues to blur as technology gets cheaper and easier to use. Sweetwater Music [sweetwater.com] has three pages of firewire audio interfaces, for example.

I'm pretty sure they know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631118)

NBC's backend is all supplied by Sony, IIRC, and runs a mix of ethernet and HD-SDI.

And right now (with the joke that is FCPX - can't load any existing FCP projects,can't export to or capture from tape with timecode, can't output video to broadcast monitors, etc.) Apple isn't exactly very popular in the broadcast industry.

Oh, and yes, broadcast studios are obviously a niche market. If that's not obvious to you, then you probably don't know what "niche" means.

Re:or maybe (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#36631112)

Have you ever bought a consumer, prosumer or professional video camera?

They all have 4 (i.Link) or 6 pin Firewire 400 or Firewire 800 ports

Re:or maybe (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 3 years ago | (#36631172)

Yep, not knowing about firewire's use in a niche market certainly makes someone a retard and a moron.

When you make the bold claim that FireWire is obsolete, you had better check your sources. The A/V industry is hardly a niche market seeing how it produces nearly everything that today's public uses for entertainment. Sure, FireWire didn't make it in the consumer market, but that's because USB was already around and USB 2.0 came out at about the same time as FireWire and boasted better speed (even though it is rarely capable of reaching that speed in actual use). Most PCs came with FireWire ports for a few years, but consumer video devices started more and more to use flash storage rather than tape and realtime video capture (which is what FireWire is primarily used for) became unnecessary.

FireWire is still used in professional video production, which still primarily uses tape for primary video storage before being captured to a PC... and for those that do use digital storage methods, FireWire 800 can transfer 1080p video files ridiculously fast. USB 3.0 is apparently capable of 5Gb/s, though, so we'll see if the tide turns that way in the next couple years.

Re:or maybe (1)

Grail (18233) | about 3 years ago | (#36630882)

I have a FireWire/USB disk enclosure, and regularly get double the throughput on FireWire 800 versus USB 2.0 (contemporaneous standards). It might be just my imagination, but the disk is quieter when running under FireWire.

So anyone who thinks the standard is "dead" is simply in denial.

I'd make an ad hominem attack about such people being happy gluing $20k worth of plastic onto a $10k car instead of buying the $25k car to start with, but I'm not normally that kind of person.

Re:or maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631010)

I've noticed that all my peripherals run better, smother, quieter, and better-smelling when I'm using Apple brand technologies or products which I paid twice as much for.

Also, I've noticed that more expensive wine makes me happier, *just because it's more expensive*. OK, I didn't notice that, I read it in a study: http://www.fermentarium.com/industry/wine-industry/researchers-find-more-expensive-wines-more-enjoyable/

Of course, wine consumption and computer product purchase/use/possession have nothing in common...

Re:or maybe (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 3 years ago | (#36631288)

"Of course, wine consumption and computer product purchase/use/possession have nothing in common..."

Kind of like your post and this topic.

Re:or maybe (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 3 years ago | (#36631328)

Wait... the standard isn't dead because you still use it? I think I'll pull out my C64 and prove that audio tapes isn't dead as a medium for computer programs....

Re:or maybe (1)

drb_chimaera (879110) | about 3 years ago | (#36631404)

Well, that's not exactly suprising - USB2 tops out at 480MBit while FW800 runs at.... yep, you guessed it, 800Mbit - All other things being equal you'd expect it to be roughly double the speed...

Re:or maybe (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 years ago | (#36631526)

So anyone who thinks the standard is "dead" is simply in denial.

Firewire isn't dead. It's just an also ran which is slowly losing relevance and mainstream support. I expect you'll be able to buy Firewire devices for a while to come but you can expect a premium to do it. It's clear with Thunderbolt that even Apple intend to dump it at some point.

Re:or maybe (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36631326)

... laugh at the morons calling Firewire dead and obsolete. It's still alive and kicking in the pro A/V world, you idiots.

So is Betamax...

Re:or maybe (3, Interesting)

Relyx (52619) | about 3 years ago | (#36631384)

You are thinking of Betacam, which is the high-end off-shoot of Betamax. Nowadays though HDCAM and HDCAM SR tapes will have taken over for HD footage.

Re:or maybe (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#36630902)

The real question is whether the added speed is enough to justify moving away from the USB standard. Yes, it's twice as fast. But we're already at the point where a full-length high definition movie can be transferred in seconds. That is, if -- and this is a big if -- the storage media can keep up. For most people, there's simply no compelling reason to pay extra for Thunderbolt.

The summary says it's currently being used for RAID configurations. That's a sensible use. But I doubt it will make much headway with consumers.

Re:or maybe (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#36630994)

The summary says it's currently being used for RAID configurations. That's a sensible use. But I doubt it will make much headway with consumers.

How about some high-bandwidth situations? Like perhaps having a nice mobile device with Thunderbolt with long battery life, then plug it into your Thunderbolt dock and you suddenly have kickass gaming graphics and all that fun stuff?

Hell, perhaps we'd see stuff like GigE network dongles and stuff - if you're mobile and using WiFI all day, then plug it in at home and you have gigabit connectivity.

Right now, people use it because it's crazy fast for drives. But it's likely Intel sees it as the future of mobile devices - optimized highly for mobile use with long battery life by keeping all the power hungry stuff in a dock - high-end graphics, wired networking, etc.

It's basically a cable-ized version of PCIe.

Re:or maybe (0)

tjonnyc999 (1423763) | about 3 years ago | (#36631080)

And what was wrong with fiber-optic or the, hell, IDK, over 9000 other connection standards that have already been developed, real-world-tested and debugged, and have cheap, easily produced components?

But oh no, this is Apple.

Well, as long as the idiot public continues to purchase substandard products at a premium price (because people never learn), Apple will continue to get away with this BS. It's illogical, slightly funny, and really sad, but apparently "shiny white plastic > logical analysis of specifications, price, and suitability".

Re:or maybe (1)

bucky0 (229117) | about 3 years ago | (#36631230)

You do realize that this was technology developed by intel, right? Also, there's a LOT more to thunderbolt than just the physical layer that makes it sexy.

The problem was the unicorns wouldn't sell (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 years ago | (#36631296)

And what was wrong with fiber-optic or the, hell, IDK, over 9000 other connection standards that have already been developed, real-world-tested and debugged, and have cheap, easily produced components?

Because they didn't exist.

None of them were as performant or cheap.

Also, Thunderbolt CAN use fiber-optic, currently the $50 cable is cheaper than a fiber optic cable would be and probably much less fragile.

People who are criticizing the move to Thunderbolt have a lot of that "3GB/s is enough for anyone" vibe about them, and in addition ignore the benefits of the truly direct connection into the computer this standard gives you...

Re:or maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630998)

The main advantage that I see in Thunderbolt over USB is its low latency. USB is useless for real-time control, because of its high latency, leaving only various flavors of industrial ethernet and the hope that Thunderbolt will displace USB.

Re:or maybe (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36631360)

I thought USB 3,0 already solved that...

Re:or maybe (0, Troll)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#36631006)

Not without some competition they won't. And Apple's patents will ensure there's very little competition

Re:or maybe (5, Informative)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 3 years ago | (#36631210)

Not without some competition they won't. And Apple's patents will ensure there's very little competition

Intel owns the rights to Thunderbolt technology and trademarks. Apple helped develop it, which is why they happen to have the first cables and devices on the market.

Re:or maybe (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about 3 years ago | (#36631102)

or maybe, once production is ramped up, prices will go down. Since that's what generally happens with new technology.

How many times you saw an Apple product's price going down?

Re:or maybe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631162)

Quite often... my Macbook Air (original model, no SSD, cheapest version) was $1799... the new (faster, SSD, etc.) models are like $1000 for specs that exceed my 2008 model. That's only slightly more than 50% of the price, and the form factor is smaller too.

(And the iPhone dropped in price fast enough to piss some people off...)

If you think $50 for the Apple cable is bad... (4, Funny)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 3 years ago | (#36630862)

Just wait for Monster Cables to bring out their gold plated $800 Thunderbolt cable!

Re:If you think $50 for the Apple cable is bad... (-1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | about 3 years ago | (#36630942)

"Think Different" mantra might apply here, even if the technology is technically inferior, what matters is that it is special, Apple-born and exlcusive therefore carrying high profit margin. That would be hard to justify with the stock USB3 tech.

Re:If you think $50 for the Apple cable is bad... (4, Informative)

bucky0 (229117) | about 3 years ago | (#36631240)

what matters is that it is special, Apple-born and exlcusive therefore carrying high profit margin.

Intel made it and owns the rights to it, apple just helped develop it. It's hardly "apple-born"

Yikes (1)

Spigot the Bear (2318678) | about 3 years ago | (#36630868)

I'm going to have to take out a mortgage on my house to get the monster cable version.

Not the cable but the drives (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630872)

I can handle a $50 specialty cable but I can't justify the grand or two for the raid drives. Until the drives get in range of firewire 800 drives Thunderbolt isn't an option. I'd love the extra performance for video editing but the bigger hassle I'm dealing with is Apple's boneheaded decision to dump Final Cut Pro. Sorry but FCP X really is a souped up iMovie so I guess I'm switching to Media Composer which wipes out the whole Thunderbolt option. A lot of Apple's decisions seem chaotic lately. They go after a standard like Thunderbolt that would only appeal to high end users then basically blow off the pro users with the latest editing software release. There doesn't seem to be a coherent marketing strategy.

Re:Not the cable but the drives (-1, Flamebait)

Llian (615902) | about 3 years ago | (#36630900)

But it is apple. The fanboi's will buy it as will those who like shinies. Why do you think they can afford to release a new iphone every what... 6 months or so? People want the latest 'bling' and don't care. Marketing strategy working fine.

Re:Not the cable but the drives (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 3 years ago | (#36631128)

iPhones had come out every 12 months, now it's going to be about 15-16 between iPhone 4 and it's replacement.

WTF is Thunderbolt? (1)

farseeker (2134818) | about 3 years ago | (#36630878)

WTF is Thunderbolt?

Re:WTF is Thunderbolt? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631148)

Google it you mouth-breathing moron.

Re:WTF is Thunderbolt? (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 3 years ago | (#36631388)

Google it you mouth-breathing moron.

Mouth-breathing morons use Bing, you insensitive clod!

Re:WTF is Thunderbolt? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#36631418)

An underrated coaster at Kennywood(an underrated amusement park IMO)?

That's weird! (-1, Offtopic)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 3 years ago | (#36630880)

Why is Apple selling cables for a Verizon HTC Thunderbolt?

No thanks (4, Funny)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 3 years ago | (#36630890)

I'm going to hold off on buying these because everybody knows Monster Cables are the best. Their sweet gold-plated impedance really accentuates the harmonics of my digital bits, giving my data soft warm tones and the largest acoustical threshold range that guarantees that my ones are as oney as they can be and my zeros actually stop the measurements in my voltmeter because all the electrons are at a complete standstill. I mean seriously Apple, $50? You're practically admitting that these cables are just junk.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631072)

agreed, they're bound to be much more danceable cables

Re:No thanks (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 3 years ago | (#36631364)

No no no no, people are starting to realise that digital means you can't claim that sort of nonsense about cables anymore.
No, you have to blame everything on jitter nowadays! Yep, them cheapy cables means that certain electrons will actually travel at a different speed somehow (fat electrons [catb.org] getting stuck in the kinks?) so the clock signal and the data become desynchronised. And of course nobody has ever even heard of a phase-locked-loop.

Re:No thanks (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36631492)

I find their optical interconnects give a much warmer bass sound and more detailed mids.

(Actually saw a reviewer say this in a HiFi magazine...)

Will wonders never cease (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#36630892)

This is the first time I've ever seen it said on Slashdot that Apple's price on something is justified.

Re:Will wonders never cease (0)

Xemu (50595) | about 3 years ago | (#36630928)

This is the first time I've ever seen it said on Slashdot that Apple's price on something is justified.

Their marketing department has learned about this site, it appears.

Re:Will wonders never cease (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631302)

You have no idea how high this site in the priorities of iTurfers and how good they get paid for being successull here.

Do you think astroturfers pray to the choir? olololololol Theres no circlejerks in professional astroturfing,

passive was too hard. (5, Informative)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | about 3 years ago | (#36630894)

my team did a lot of the ground research for the light peak spec. the greatest challenge was shoving enough bits through the wire -- we couldn't find a way to do it passively. That's why it's $50.

Re:passive was too hard. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630990)

but why the chips are not part of the devices?

Re:passive was too hard. (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 years ago | (#36631412)

Because different cables can use different chips or firmware. The initial Intel release said that optical cables might be available in the future - same (electrical) sockets, but with an optical transciever built into each plug.

Also, Thunderbolt is not a USB replacement for attaching mice and cheap memory sticks - its an external PCIe bus and its killer apps will be things that you can't do with USB. Hence the first peripherals are things like kick-ass RAID arrays, fast SSDs, high end video capture/editing kit etc. One of the forthcoming peripherals is an external case to take a full-size PCIe card (try that with USB!)

So, lots of MacBook users are not going to use TB as anything other than a monitor port, so it makes sense to shift some of the component costs to the cable rather than the motherboard.

Re:passive was too hard. (2)

advocate_one (662832) | about 3 years ago | (#36631008)

yes there was... put the chips in the card at each end... or even, deity forbid... dump the electrical wire except just for power and ground and use a fibre optic link for the data... it's NOT rocket science these days...

Re:passive was too hard. (4, Informative)

toQDuj (806112) | about 3 years ago | (#36631024)

The chips are tuned *per cable* as far as I heard, and thus cannot be included on-board. They would've if they could've.
regarding the fibreoptics, the cost was much higher than for copper. Not rocket science, but not exactly consumer-price either.

Re:passive was too hard. (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 3 years ago | (#36631044)

Yea, I think it is known that optical cables was considered in the development of Light Peak, and ultimately Light Peak/Thunderbolt should work with both copper and optical cabling.

Re:passive was too hard. (3, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | about 3 years ago | (#36631382)

If so, then put your expensive chips at each connector, and put a single cheap memory ship in the cable. Perform whatever tuning is required, then store the coefficients on the memory. When you plug in the cable, the memory is interrogated and the coefficients sent to the fancy chips at either end.
Of course, this assumes that actual chip cost is a factor, rather than just a massive markup because of a pair of chips costing tens of pennies each.

Re:passive was too hard. (2)

toQDuj (806112) | about 3 years ago | (#36631450)

My guess the bulk of the cost are in assembly of a low volume product, packaging and sales overhead. I think they make perhaps 50-75% profit on each cable. That said, why is everyone focusing on the cost of the cable? it is not the first high-end cable to sell for 50 dollars..

Re:passive was too hard. (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 3 years ago | (#36631338)

Even a different LENGTH of cable would have different performance characteristics. This allows different lengths and even materials to be used. With the right chips on board, you could, potentially, plug a fibre Thunderbolt cable into a wire-based computer or peripheral.

Re:passive was too hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631132)

How about just doing 10-gig Ethernet? 10 gigabit bandwidth over at least 50m of CAT 5!

Re:passive was too hard. (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 3 years ago | (#36631454)

I suspect the communications overhead for thunderbolt is considerably lower resulting in a higher throughput.

Re:passive was too hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631430)

$50 is still too much for two chips and some wire.

Actually it fits quite nicely w/ Apple's strategy (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#36630906)

well, at least part of it anyway. With the departure of the XServe from Apple's lineup and their promotion of the mac mini server, it's obvious Apple is really trying to go for the small-medium business market with their server offerings. As part of that, Apple has been trying to convince owners/IT people who work at said businesses that you can essentially create the same "infrastructure"(hardware/software/workflows etc) as the big enterprises do without having to spring for enterprise level hardware. Even with the cable, this RAID is still cheaper than a fiber channel card, and of course actually allows people to connect real storage to the mini-server(provided they throw a thunderbolt port in the next mini, which they would have be insane not too).

While I certainly don't see anything that requires a $50 cable to totally usurp USB anytime soon, that doesn't mean it won't be successful or fit in well with the type of product lineup Apple is trying to build.

Re:Actually it fits quite nicely w/ Apple's strate (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#36630930)

Ugh, the spelling nazi in me won't let me go on with life if I don't self-flagellate, it's "insane not to", not "insane not too"...

Re:Actually it fits quite nicely w/ Apple's strate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631030)

You'd better not read fermion's comment below, then, where he confuses 'insure' and 'ensure'...

Reason? (0)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 3 years ago | (#36630908)

So what is the technical reason for putting the logic into the cable? None? Purely financial? Ok, I will wait for IBM's new 50GB/s interconnect.

Re:Reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36630944)

Maybe try reading the article, n00bf4g?

Re:Reason? (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 3 years ago | (#36631000)

Here is the teardown [ifixit.com] . The claim is that significant circuitry is required to insure that the data transmission remains fast and reliable. It sounds like a kludge to provide a cheaper copper connection rather than paying for fiber inputs and outputs in peripheral and host devices.

We will see how this works. The Apple method has been to provide a reliable and high speed external bus so users could hook anything up essentially plug and play. This was back to the SCSI days. Those cable were more reliable than these. Though the move to USB certainly reduced costs, it was not as elegant as the FIrewire. It will be a while for current users to upgrade to thunderbolt. Hopefully by that time we will see other manufacturers.

Re:Reason? It's Smart (4, Interesting)

nonsequitor (893813) | about 3 years ago | (#36631064)

Putting the transceivers in the cable itself could mean that upgrading the bandwidth is as simple as getting a better cable and upgrading the thunderbolt driver.

Point? (2)

airconswitch (2038108) | about 3 years ago | (#36630922)

At this point, a 10 Gb/s peripheral is excessive -- not even SATA-6 can do that. Granted, Thunderbolt could be used internally, but can flash even get those speeds? Hard disks sure can't.

Re:Point? (3, Insightful)

toQDuj (806112) | about 3 years ago | (#36631034)

This way you can daisy-chain a couple of devices without losing speed.

Re:Point? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 3 years ago | (#36631050)

The big benefit is standard PCIe chips can be adapted by adding a Thunderbolt controller.

Don't forget it's also the video feed (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 3 years ago | (#36631196)

At this point, a 10 Gb/s peripheral is excessive -- not even SATA-6 can do that.

The device can also be dong video over that same cable as well, so it's not as excessive as it first seems. And isn't it better to have a standard with a little breathing room for devices to grow into?

Re:Don't forget it's also the video feed (2)

bucky0 (229117) | about 3 years ago | (#36631258)

Well, also, the video channel is separate from the data channel (there's 20gbit/sec aggregate bandwidth)

Re:Don't forget it's also the video feed (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 3 years ago | (#36631268)

The device can also be dong video...

You're the last person I expected an "Apple is teh gay" joke from.

Sony Viao Z-series (2)

sr180 (700526) | about 3 years ago | (#36630964)

The Sony Viao Z-series laptops have just been announced and include a light-peak connected dock. Its only a couple of weeks away - so Apple wont be the only one with Thunderbolt.

Re:Sony Viao Z-series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631096)

Except you cannot connect Toshiba's optical Thunderbolt to any of the non-optical Thunderbolt peripherals out there. Thunderbolt is a stupid and useless interface for anything but very specialized markets.

Re:Sony Viao Z-series (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#36631164)

But it's non-standard, and requires a Sony proprietary cable, which only comes with their Sony proprietary dock, and can't be used for anything else.
Which is why Sony calls it "Light Peak based".

Too early yet to bury Thunderbolt (4, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 3 years ago | (#36630996)

The cable's $50 price may be justified, but it's also a further reminder of why Thunderbolt may follow FireWire's path into obsolescence.

Firewire went to silicon heaven because USB was cheaper, smaller (connector-wise and cable-diameter-wise) and fully embraced by Intel. Will you make a FireWire mouse? Probably not; you can hoist a cow on a standard FireWire cable. But once you have a USB mouse, why to get Firewire? Note that speedy peripherals were uncommon back then, except video cameras. And USB 3.x attacked that market; I have one USB 3.0 device here, an HDD, and it is backward compatible to USB 2.x.

However 2 x 10 Gbps is some good increase in speed. You don't need it for 99% of peripherals on the market; but when you need it you need it - like that RAID thingy which can generate and consume that much data. Your choices there are simple - either this Thunderbolt, which is more or less fixed, or a variety of 10 Gbps connections, copper or fiber, SFP+ or XFP or whatever. They all are very much different, locking you into some specific hardware, and they all run hot - bad news in a notebook.

10GBASE-T is one of competitors; it runs on slower clock and requires more pairs. But as long as it works, who cares? The twisted pair cable, even category 6A, is cheap, and the distance up to 100m is what you want in any reasonable setup that includes more than two boxes on top of each other. 10G Ethernet is also switchable and routable. Considering that Thunderbolt is a point to point transport for DisplayPort and PciE [wikipedia.org] , it's use is probably limited to expansion ports; but it's probably pretty good in that role - even if majority of computers can't even handle the bandwidth, let alone have a need for such a thing.

Re:Too early yet to bury Thunderbolt (1)

pathological liar (659969) | about 3 years ago | (#36631154)

but when you need it you need it

But do you really need it? 10Gb/s is pretty great and all, but... so's SATA3. 6Gb/s is 750MB/s, Seagate's 2TB SATA3 drives do ~130MB/s sustained in the benchmarks I found, so the R4 array in the article can only max it out for the first second or so while it's still reading from the drive caches. The R6 would be bottlenecked by SATA3, but *barely* (780 vs. 750) Cheaper cables too :P ... sure you could put SSDs in it and get a benefit, but that's a pretty niche market.

I think what's more likely is that by the time there's enough hardware, and enough desire, for Thunderbolt... there'll be a SATA4 or something.

Of course, what do I know?

Re:Too early yet to bury Thunderbolt (4, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 3 years ago | (#36631252)

But do you really need it?

It beats SATA because it is not locked into ATA command set. Thunderbolt routes PCIe I/O, which means you can build any PCI peripheral and it will work as if you plugged it into the main board. You can have access to the RAM, use interrupts, DMA and whatever. There are many I/O devices out there that generate lots of data, and they are not disks. Medical sensors, scientific equipment, software-defined radios, high resolution / high frame rate cameras (for security and for machine vision,) external video cards and GPU... I can think of many examples.

Another item of interest is the DisplayPort channel. SATA doesn't support it, Thunderbolt does. Sure, you can always have a second cable... but why to use two when one works fine? The need for remote display devices is quite obvious, and one Thunderbolt jack can replace DP and SATA ports - something that a small device will appreciate.

Re:Too early yet to bury Thunderbolt (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#36631508)

Sounds like a security nightmare...

Doomed to fail? (1, Insightful)

falconcy (1082517) | about 3 years ago | (#36631014)

Is this going to be yet another of those technologies like Firewire which will end up being a toy for Mac Fanboys and ignored by the majority of the userbase?

Re:Doomed to fail? (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#36631524)

And given a big buzz thanks to Mac fanboys being media involved. Seriously, how else did the update of Final Cut Pro end up on prime time tv?

Re:Doomed to fail? (3, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 years ago | (#36631540)

Is this going to be yet another of those technologies like Firewire which will end up being a toy for Mac Fanboys

...would this be the "toy" which became the standard interface for a generation of DV camcorders and decks? It wasn't too shabby for hooking up external hard drives until USB3 came along.

$50 is nothing :-) (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about 3 years ago | (#36631046)

$50 is nothing :-)

I buddy of mine was happy to get a discount on a $199 HDMI cable and pay only $99 :-)

The fact that I bought mine at $2 is not relevant me thinks :-)

Lame. (1)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | about 3 years ago | (#36631056)

The cable's $50 price may be justified, but it's also a further reminder of why Thunderbolt may follow FireWire's path into obsolescence.

Preach on brother... you tell 'em. I also heard that Thunderbolt has no wireless and less space than a Nomad. No doubt that makes it doubly lame and triply doomed to obsolescence.

We need to dump the current common paradigm (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#36631082)

"We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job."

Replace Apple with any given entity and Microsoft with any entity that leads in it's field.

WebOS probably won't ever beat android, iOS or even windows phone 7. Does it have to? No.

Same is true for thunderbolt. Does it have to beat USB, FireWire, etc? No. Thunderbolt devices just have to hit the market.

Thunderbolt can support USB 3 hosts. I just can't wait for thunderbolt to completely replace all of the other cables except power that connect to my laptop.

Re:We need to dump the current common paradigm (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 3 years ago | (#36631226)

I just can't wait for thunderbolt to completely replace all of the other cables except power that connect to my laptop.

I think it'll be more likely that a wireless connection will do that for most people before Thunderbolt will, just as DVD will be replaced by streaming video rather than Blu-Ray.

Doomed to succeed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631090)

The people saying Thunderbolt will fail clearly haven't understood what Thunderbolt is all about. It's about locking in Apple's clients. By equipping their iToys with Thunderbolt ports and noithing else, Apple can control who gets to manufacture and sell accessories (Intel is the only manufacturer, the specs are murky, and Apple has an exclusive deal for the near future).

Forget about buying a 3rd party keyboard or camera adapter for your iPhone or iPad. You'll either pay 3x more than Android / PC users for an Apple-branded one, or you'll pay 2.5x more for one made by some brand that accepted giving Apple 50% of their profits. And the usual iDiots will pay and smile and say "it's more expensive and does the same as USB3 (minus the backwards compatibility, of course), but it's got more chips in it, so it's okay. Thank you, Apple, for allowing me to buy a more valuable cable and more valuable accessories than everyone else.".

Apple Thunderbolt: Because keeping 30% of the price of every 3rd party app just wasn't enough.

like the fella said (5, Funny)

callmebill (1917294) | about 3 years ago | (#36631114)

Standards are like toothbrushes: everyone agrees you should have one, but no one wants to use yours.

no thanks, eSATA is the way (1)

orange47 (1519059) | about 3 years ago | (#36631186)

I like eSATA much much more. After all, the drives are SATA already. anything else will just bring in more latency.

also price is important, and what most people use. for the same reasons, I dislike firewire, scsi, sas..

Re:no thanks, eSATA is the way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36631254)

eSATA is too slow for many applications, An external RAID array, for example - you dont want to be limited to the bandwidth of a single SATA channel when each of the drives in the array has their own. A thunderbolt attached controller can split out into MANY full speed SATA channels.

Think of Thunderbolt as ePCI-x.

Still waiting for the magic box... (5, Interesting)

hile (110782) | about 3 years ago | (#36631440)

What I would like to have with thunderbolt is fancy magic breaker box, which would for example include:
- 4 firewire 800 ports
- 8 USB2 / USB3 ports
- 2 ESATA ports for disks
- maybe connector for external display as well

Connecting such box to your laptop might sound silly for most users, but my use would be to hook this to my music hardware rack, having all of the audio hardware connected to your gig laptop with one cable. Like, all various MIDI controllers (usually USB), audio recording interfaces (usually firewire), instruments (my line6 guitar amp has USB) and external disks for recording.

Usually you only use one or two of these devices at a time, but the cables can be really a PITA: having one magic box bolted to your audio rack, connecting everything there permanently makes things so much simpler. Of course, I would like the magic box to come in 1U form factor, or with rack mounting kit.

If such box is made available, I seriously might be tempted to get a new MBP, just to be able to use it.

This is not going to make thunderbolt a must for all users, but it's wonderful technology to replace firewire (which is certainly not dead yet in pro audio market!). Everything doesn't have to be The Big Thing for everyone. I'm not sure about USB3, but I though it still has latency issues like USB2 for multichannel audio (like 32 channels, not your average gaming rig...), which are not solved by higher transfer rates. Might be wrong of course regarding USB3...

It's still better (1, Insightful)

dugeen (1224138) | about 3 years ago | (#36631514)

Being ripped off by Steve Jobs is still better than being ripped off by Bill Gates because - er - I can't recall the exact reason but I'm sure the Applefan zombies will be along to explain it soon.
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