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New Thunderbolt Revision Features 20 Gbps Throughput, 4K Video Support

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,15 days | from the lots-of-bits dept.

Displays 301

hooligun writes "The next-gen Thunderbolt tech (code-named Falcon Ridge) enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously in addition to running at 20 Gbps. It will be backward-compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt cables and connectors, and production is set to ramp up in 2014. An on-stage demo with fresh-off-the-press silicon showed the new Thunderbolt running 1,200 Mbps, which is certainly a step up from what's currently on the market."

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301 comments

Adoption by Mass Market? (4, Interesting)

AtomicSymphonic (2570041) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397421)

So, will we see OEM Windows PCs come by default with Thunderbolt ports? Or is this another fantastic, magical, extraordinary Apple Inc. exclusive?

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (3, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397449)

So, will we see OEM Windows PCs come by default with Thunderbolt ports? Or is this another fantastic, magical, extraordinary Apple Inc. exclusive?

You wouldn't seriously risk upgrading to Windows 8 just to be able to use 20 Gbps external connections would you???

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397853)

there was a rumor today that Apple is going to release an update to the Mac Pro this month. But imho the mac pro is obsolete and has been replaced by a macbook with a thunderbolt port. This covers all the I/Os that you would normally need a big rig for. the only exception I can think of is upgrading the graphics card down the line. But I don't know enough about the state of the graphics card industry to say if the top-of-the-line discrete card in the macbook pro is not good enough for desktop uses.

a laptop can not replace a workstion system (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397899)

a laptop can not replace a workstation system also the macbook maxes out at 16gb ram and only 1 HDD build in.

Macbook vs Mac Pro (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397989)

But imho the mac pro is obsolete and has been replaced by a macbook with a thunderbolt port.

If you wanted to configure your macbook to match a *current* mac pro, you'd need 8 more full i7 cores (assuming you have four in the macbook), four hard drives, four external graphics engines, and 48 gb (I think) of RAM... all strung out on your thunderbolt cable. And a *lot* of power supply wiring. Not sure that's an equivalence that is worth much.

And add to that whatever they do with the next Mac pro upgrade they say they're working on... More cores? More ram? Faster system bus? All of the above? No, don't think your macbook is quite there, lol.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (4, Informative)

Radagast (2416) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397499)

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397649)

Figured it would be the P8Z77 lineup. With USB3, I honestly did see the need for thunderbolt so soon. I just didn't see the need for slinging that much data back and forth. After experiencing the first generation of USB1, it wasn't used much at all (if ever). This is how I see Thunderbolt now. So I opted for P8Z77-V Pro instead.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397537)

I don't know what you've been smoking but Thunderbolt is an Intel invention. They worked with Apple on implementation with Apple's most obvious contribution being the VESA compliant mini-Displau port connector. For their efforts, Apple got a good six month lead on their competition as they had products the day Intel released the specs. Incidentally, Apple got the Thunderbolt trademark and then transferred it to Intel.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397547)

Obviously he's been exposed to too much Apple marketing.

Apple is pushing this stuff hard to make up for their poor engineering choices. Beyond that, it's value and appeal is pretty dubious.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397579)

its*

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397627)

Really? So Apple's marketing is sompowerul that Intel's website [intel.com] is spewing Apple's propaganda? Or change Wikipedia:

Thunderbolt (codenamed Light Peak)[1] is a hardware interface that allows for the connection of external peripherals to a computer. It uses the same connector as Mini DisplayPort (MDP). It was released in its finished state on February 24, 2011.[2]

On the same day, Apple released new iMacs with Thunderbolt. [apple.com]

Now what are your facts?

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397675)

[citation needed]
What exactly are the poor engineering choices for which Apple is pushing this stuff? Why is the overall value and appeal dubious? I only ask because somehow you're at +4 Interesting without having actually said anything.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397861)

note: jedidiah is a gnu/hippie who's angry that Apple took-over the *nix desktop market.

In any case, Thunderbolt has been out for two years now and the peripheral selection is pretty pathetic. Apple has an expensive monitor/docking station. Belkin's docking station has been "coming soon" forever now. And there's some drive enclosures, and that's abou tit.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397999)

There's some really good storage available with Thunderbolt now. I can get an 8-bay RAID enclosure with Thunderbolt for around a grand (bare enclosure with no drives) put 8 drive mechanisms in it and get a multi-terabyte array that delivers around 650MB/sec (megabytes, not megabits) per second read and write on my MacBook Pro.
Prior to this you needed really expensive FibreChannel equipment to deliver the same kind of performance.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398115)

Prior to this you needed really expensive FibreChannel equipment to deliver the same kind of performance.

No, not really. You can get an 8 bay enclosure (like this [sansdigital-shop.com] ) with SFF-8088 connectivity for half a grand and get 4 gigabytes per second read/write.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (4, Informative)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398199)

Ummm. No.
That enclosure doesn't do RAID, it's a JBOD enclosure. The peak transfer rate for the mini-SAS interface is 3Gbs (3 Gigabits, not bytes, per second) this is an absolute maximum of 375 MB/sec. The real-world performance of the unit will then depend on the RAID card you're using and will typically be somewhere lower than the peak theoretical performance of the interface. I don't know what drives you're putting in there that can each do 500MB/sec (SSD?) and I don't know what RAID card you propose to use that'll let all eight SSDs run at their peak rate.

The unit I was talking about (http://www.areca.com.tw/products/thunderbolt.htm) on the other hand, with 8 drives in it has a measured real-world performance of 650MB/sec read or write via a single Thunderbolt cable, using RAID 5 that's done in hardware in the enclosure itself.

This 650MB/sec is the actual performance that the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test gave me on a MacBook Pro 13" laptop connected to the RAID with 8x 1TB Western Digital hard drives in it.

Thunderbolt is faster than SAS, SATA and SATA II. Thunderbolt is faster than 2, 4 and 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel - Thunderbolt is a 10Gbs full-duplex interface, so can transfer 20Gb/sec at it's peak. That's 2.5 Gigabytes per second (1.25 in each direction).

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398207)

Doesn't an external SAS connector deliver stuff that fast it's hooked up to something with enough spindles?

Apple (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397689)

Apple has confusingly named their new iDevice connector "Lightning," so I think people can be forgiven for assuming Thunderbolt and Lightning are from the same company.

Re: Adoption by Mass Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397713)

Perhaps he's referencing the fact that it's still rare to see systems that support Thunderbolt.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397607)

Would even that be enough? I have a motherboard with Firewire ports, but the only use I get out of them is when I need to connect my sister's MacBook for some reason.

I've got more USB 3.0 devices than I do Firewire.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

Chrontius (654879) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397683)

A counter-example: Last time I bought a desktop computer, I went out of my way to buy one with Firewire(400, at the time, was cutting edge). I then proceeded to buy an external hard drive for routine backups, and later daisy-chained an iPod 4g off it. It beat the pants off the USB cable that the iPod came with, at the time.

I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time, though.

This time, I went with one of the Gigabyte thunderbolt motherboards. God only knows what I'm going to do with it, but when I figure it out, it's right there. Maybe I'll add a Drobo with thunderbolt and gigabit ethernet, when they introduce one. Maybe the next generation of graphics cards will be external, to isolate it from CPU and PSU heat, or because they run much cooler with a dedicated PSU due to voltage concerns, or a push-pull fan configuration, or because they're immersed in a sealed oil tank and there's nowhere in a conventional case to mount it.

Point is, future-proofing, followed by an incremental upgrade, is often cheaper than buying two or three mid- or low-end systems over the course of the computer's life. You have to be willing and able to do the upgrades, but without the interesting new busses to connect them with, you may not be able to do it at all.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397833)

Your saying Firewire was great because you could plug a whopping 2 devices in to it? And both those devices had USB connectors which everything else used?

I'm not saying that Firewire isn't technically better than USB for several things.
Its just a poor reason to say its great because you managed to find something to plug in to it.
FYI I have never used my firewire ports - nothing I have uses it.

Is a separate technology really required just for hard drives? Not really which is why USB 'won'.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (2)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398235)

Firewire can do a lot more than two, initially was vastly faster and could do reliable streaming (used to be VERY important with video cameras for one thing, and even USB CDROM burners used to be shit while firewire ones worked due to the reliable streaming). USB won because it was a lot cheaper and usually good enough.

next generation of graphics cards will want pci-e (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397915)

next generation of graphics cards will want pci-e at least a X16 2.0 link or a X8 3.0 one. thunderbolt is way under that it's not even pci-e 2.0 X8

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (4, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397735)

I used to use firewire all the time back when I used to do a lot of video editing around the turn of the millennium. The first generation of USB was so bad that I didn't even consider USB2 for my external storage. Firewire, OTOH, was a rock. Never had a device just disappear for no reason. Throughput was better, CPU load was lower, isochronous transfer was possible. Night and day. Like comparing a Lexus to a Yugo.

Of course, now all my stuff is USB because firewire components are so rare and I have no need to move devices between computers. I've got gigabit ethernet to move files and I don't need to move a single optical drive between multiple machines. And USB is much more reliable than it used to be. My new gaming rig has two firewire ports but I haven't used them. Neither of my laptops has a firewire port and I haven't missed them. Thunderbolt seems like a solution to a problem that no longer exists [in my world].

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397897)

Firewire, OTOH, was a rock. Never had a device just disappear for no reason.

Mac yes, Windows no. I used Firewire setups for years and drives were always dropping, logs filling up with "sbp2" and "ntfs" errors, etc. (This was with 3 different controllers and lots of drives.)

I used Firewire because it was "better", but to be honest, for the normal random-access use case there's no noticeable difference with USB2.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398275)

If your random access use case involves only very small data transfers, perhaps. But if you ever need to transfer a lot of data, like initially copying your files, USB 2 is really slow, topping out around 35 MB/sec if you're lucky. Even FireWire 400 from more than ten years ago will comfortably move data at very close to 50 MB/sec and within spitting distance of the theoretical capacity of the bus. FireWire 800 is twice as fast, both in theory and practice. Simply loading a few hundred GB of data over USB 2 is agonizing. With FireWire 800 it's merely annoying.

FireWire was also nice because at least on Macs it delivered enough power through the bus to comfortably power any 2.5" hard drive, which USB can usually do, but not always, which is why drive makers often bundled those funky pigtail USB cables for their portable drives. Finally, the peer-to-peer nature of FireWire was also very useful on Macs because it allowed most Macs to act as an external hard drive when connected to another computer over FireWire. This was a very compelling feature.

Fortunately USB 3 is a huge improvement. It relieves many of the frustrations of USB 2, outperforms FireWire 800, doesn't suffer the live-plugging issues that have plagued a lot of eSATA on Macs, and due to its very low cost is destined for the same ubiquity enjoyed by USB2. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, USB 3 still doesn't support peer-to-peer transfers, so Macs won't enjoy "target disk mode" over it, nor will it be appropriate for networking or a variety of more rarified use cases that don't necessarily involve a clear master/slave relationship between devices (if USB 3 does support peer-to-peer operation, please comment).

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397937)

It's not a mass market consumer technology. Itsa the modern day equivalent of SCSI.

Re:Adoption by Mass Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398047)

Disagree. Thunderbolt is only interesting with laptops & low-profile desktops (e.g. Apple kit). Everyone else already has "SCSI" (SAS/SATA) and a full compliment of ports.

Except at this point, the docking/expansion options aren't really there yet.

What could I connect this to? (2, Insightful)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397483)

Apple has pissed off all the other CE manufacturers. There will be nothing to plug the other end into.

Without general support great features are worthless. Apple is repeating Sony's mistake with betamax. They won't share, thus it will fail.
Great technology without support is worthless.

Re: What could I connect this to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397497)

But isn't Thunderbolt an Intel technology?

Re:What could I connect this to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397503)

Apple has pissed off all the other CE manufacturers. There will be nothing to plug the other end into.

Without general support great features are worthless. Apple is repeating Sony's mistake with betamax. They won't share, thus it will fail.

Great technology without support is worthless.

iTV, coming to a stage near you!

Re:What could I connect this to? (4, Informative)

Radagast (2416) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397505)

That's simply false. There's a large amount of Thunderbolt accessories, including video gear, PCIe expansion chassis (very useful for laptops), and docks. Sonnet just announced this Thunderbolt dock [sonnettech.com] , which seems to be a pretty great deal for laptops.

Re:What could I connect this to? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397569)

...for differing values of large.

I am sure that you would also claim that Firewire rules the world too.

With all of the costs and extra gear involved. You might as well just have another PC. The real problem here isn't that Apple laptops are lame but that there isn't a seamless experience between different devices on an Apple network.

The Cloud concept there doesn't quite live up to the hype.

Re: What could I connect this to? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397643)

It was released as a spec just over 2 years ago. It requires a different connector. Considering most motherboards came with LPT ports up until a few years ago and I can't remember using one in almost twenty years, I would say that rapid adoption of new technology may be lacking for some manufacturers.

Re: What could I connect this to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398113)

Considering most motherboards came with LPT ports up until a few years ago...

PC Desktop users will be the last people to adopt Thunderbolt. One: they have slots and don't really need it. Two: it requires a special graphics card and some hacky loop-back connector.

Once the cost comes down, you could see TB being adopted on ThinkPads and higher-end laptops.

Re:What could I connect this to? (1)

Radagast (2416) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397943)

No, Firewire is pretty much dead, although it was good for a while.

It seems to me that Thunderbolt has had faster and wider adoption than Firewire did over the same time after introduction. Thunderbolt is also a lot more useful than Firewire, since it's essentially PCIe over a serial cable. It's fairly trivial to adapt existing PCIe drivers to run the same hardware as an external TB box (or the PCIe card in a TB PCIe chassis), so it's very flexible.

Basically, TB finally delivers on the ancient promise of a universal IO interconnect.

Re:What could I connect this to? (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397573)

I want one, but srsly, the cost of that thing is retarded. $400 for the base option, which is essentially an extravagant usb3.0 hub and dvd rw with some bells on it.

Re:What could I connect this to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397727)

That's simply false. There's a large amount of Thunderbolt accessories, including video gear, PCIe expansion chassis (very useful for laptops), and docks. Sonnet just announced this Thunderbolt dock [sonnettech.com] , which seems to be a pretty great deal for laptops.

Looking at the dock they offer (Bluray + 2TB HDD) It's over $500... On what planet does that seem like a pretty good deal?

Re:What could I connect this to? (2)

putaro (235078) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397801)

Unfortunately it doesn't "just work".

I have a Mac Pro 17" with Thunderbolt that I mainly use to hook up an external monitor (Thunderbolt->DVI with a KVM switch in between).

I picked up a LaCie Thunderbolt-SATA adapter to mess with. Plugged it in between the laptop and the KVM switch. Oops. Video quality goes to hell. If I pull the KVM it works better, but that kind of screws up my desktop.

It would have been nice if Apple had put two (or more) Thunderbolt ports on the machine but, hey, all you need is one, right, because it's so fast. Until you get something that doesn't play nice with the spec into your chain.

Thunderbolt is gearing up to be the Firewire of the 21st century (and I say this as someone with a whole rack full of Firewire equipment) - cool but not supported well enough to have any long-term longevity.

Re:What could I connect this to? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397507)

WTF you ranting about? Thunderbolt is Intel developed with input from Apple.

Re:What could I connect this to? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397521)

Thunderbolt is Intel's technology; Apple has nothing to do with it's licensing.

There are already several options (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397541)

What could I connect this to?

Several RAID arrays, gigabit ethernet, multiple monitors, misc external storage (like single disks or a DROBO).

All with one connector...

Yes Thunderbolt stuff was slow to come out, but the rate of arrival has picked up.

Re:There are already several options (1)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397711)

Do each of the devices get their own DMA signalling, or are you crippled to only one device being fast at a time? How does context sharing of the pipe sharing work? I imagine that this -could- be a great step in the right direction, but they need a lot more than just a raw fat pipe to make multiple peripherals fast and responsive.

Re:There are already several options (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398139)

What could I connect this to?

Several RAID arrays...

I wouldn't suggest it. It'll only take two SSDs to saturate a Thunderbolt bus (or 4 SSDs with 20 Gbit Thunderbolt).

Re: What could I connect this to? (1, Redundant)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397545)

Repeat after me: Thunderbolt is an Intel technology. It is the copper version of LightPeak. Apple was the first to have it in their products because they worked with Intel on a number of things like the mini-Display Port connector. Thunderbolt == Intel.

Re: What could I connect this to? (1)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397633)

except only apple is the only real supporter.
Intel made it for apple. Intel wants to keep apple happy. It's the cost of doing business.

Re: What could I connect this to? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397981)

How is Intel releasing a public spec making it "for Apple"? Thunderbolt solves a lot of different problems. It is the next gen external/PCIe. It is supposed to combine Ethernet, eSATA and USB3. USB 3 which is another Intel product solves other problems. There is overlap between the products. Intel released the spec just over two years ago.

Re:What could I connect this to? (1)

tyrione (134248) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397873)

Apple has pissed off all the other CE manufacturers. There will be nothing to plug the other end into. Without general support great features are worthless. Apple is repeating Sony's mistake with betamax. They won't share, thus it will fail. Great technology without support is worthless.

Don't own any professional equipment or work within the NAB world? Do some more research. More and more manufacturers are jumping on-board. https://thunderbolttechnology.net/products [thunderbol...nology.net]

Neat (0, Flamebait)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397485)

Both users will be really excited about this.

Re: Neat (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397563)

You mean the millions of consumers that have Macs recently? Or the ones buying Intel's newest boards?

Re: Neat (1)

narcc (412956) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397777)

The joke, in case you missed it, is that Thunderbolt has ridiculously poor market penetration.

Who cares how many new Intel boards ship with the port, or the tiny fraction of the tiny number of Mac users with a newer unit. There's not much you can actually plug in to the things.

Ask any Mac user if they'd trade the Thunderbolt ports (that they obviously don't use) for some old USB 2 ports.

Thunderbolt, it seems, is the new firewire. Unfortunately for Thunderbolt fans, everyone remembers how firewire turned out and doesn't want get burned again.

Re: Neat (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398039)

Except for the fact that it's an Intel technology and that it solves a number of different issues. Tell me how many eSATA devices came out right after it came out? Or did it take years for widespread acceptance. But let's not get facts get in the wayz

New Standards are nice and all.... (4, Informative)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397515)

But in the end, it all comes down to cost. Current Thunderbolt displays are rather expensive. Heck, I picked up a dual-link DVI monitor of the same resolution for $275 on ebay! why pay three to four times as much for something with only a small few bells and whistles added on?

Thunderbolt, overall, is great in terms of performance, but it just seems to be well beyond what most folks are willing to pay. It's like that guy who brags about how "My car has a Turbo Kit option from the dealer" but he NEVER SPENDS THE MONEY TO GET IT.

The external drives, the only situation that I'd actually be interested in, are also stupid expensive. In the long run, just better off either using E-SATA, USB3, or internalizing the drives. Same goes for daisy chaining monitors. Want to run tons of monitors? Install more video cards! woo.

no more coffee for me after 5pm, k? ._.

Re:New Standards are nice and all.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397575)

True cost is something that will matter but I am waiting for the external pcie adapter for TB When I am able to attach a desktop G-Card to my laptop through TB. I will make a switch to only a laptop.

Re:New Standards are nice and all.... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397905)

You can already buy laptops with high end graphics and multiple outputs built in. No need for a clunky external setup. High end gaming laptops can be configured with dual 2gb GTX 680M GPUs or the AMD equivalent. Not exactly anemic.

Re: New Standards are nice and all.... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397671)

You're looking at this from the narrow viewpoint of a monitor connector. ThunderBolt can replace a laptop dock with a single cable. So instead of hooking up a USB, Ethernet, and monitor cables, just hook up one TB cable. It's not there yet as the specifications were released just over two years ago.

Re: New Standards are nice and all.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397745)

You're looking at this from the narrow viewpoint of a monitor connector. ThunderBolt can replace a laptop dock with a single cable. So instead of hooking up a USB, Ethernet, and monitor cables, just hook up one TB cable. It's not there yet as the specifications were released just over two years ago.

Have you seen a TB dock for under $200? I'm not being snarky (well just a little) because I want one, and I'm actually curious if you've seen one for a price that isn't insane.

Re: New Standards are nice and all.... (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398011)

Compare a thunderbolt cable to a Cisco 10 gig copper cable and tell me thunderbolt is overpriced.

Re:New Standards are nice and all.... (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397751)

You can't connect a 4k monitor to a dual-link DVI connector. You need 4 DVI channels for that.

Re:New Standards are nice and all.... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397771)

The external drives, the only situation that I'd actually be interested in, are also stupid expensive. In the long run, just better off either using E-SATA, USB3, or internalizing the drives. Same goes for daisy chaining monitors. Want to run tons of monitors? Install more video cards! woo.

I'll get right on that, as soon as I figure out how to stuff more hard drives and more video cards into my smart watch.

The impetus for Thunderbolt isn't to do existing jobs for today's technology. Rather, I get the distinct impression that it's being over-engineered to be the standard of choice for the next few decades. No, we don't need 20 Gbps throughput and 4K video now, but when you walk into a friend's living room and plug your watch into his video game display, it's going to need the bandwidth to stream the real-time-rendered fully-immersive video out and pull in the data from the motion-tracking cameras.

Apple's business model is based on having ecosystems. Apple will make the core systems that everyone will need, and third-party manufacturers will make the accessories. The way I see it, Thunderbolt and the Lightning connector are a part of this. Thunderbolt will be the big backbone for high-throughput and high-quality systems, and Lightning will be the simple connector for miscellaneous (slower) accessories.

Re:New Standards are nice and all.... (2)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398013)

Depends what you're doing. If you want to hook up to a fibre-channel SAN or a 10 gig network port (1GBe will get nowhere near saturating your SSD), nothing else will cut it. There already exist use cases for thunderbolt today. They just aren't home-user scenarios.

Existing stuff is Good Enough (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397557)

Re:Existing stuff is Good Enough (2)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398003)

Except for those use cases where it isn't good enough. Which is where thunderbolt is used. People seem to be expecting it to be as ubiquitous as USB or SATA, which is not ever going to happen, because its not a cheap CPU driven consumer-oriented bus.

It exists so that users of portable machines can plug in high speed peripherals. Not single external hard drives, but arrays, fibre channel, external GPUs, etc.

Most users don't do that. And that's fine. But if you DO need to do that, then USB3 just won't cut it.

watch units please (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397561)

Mbps != MBps

Please stop doing that in article summaries. When you start getting up into large numbers like that you can't just expect everyone to "read what you meant to say."

Déjà vu all over again... (1)

sshir (623215) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397661)

Is it me, or it looks like FireWire scenario playing out all over again? Only this time it's not only USB, but also upcoming WiGig to jointly lock it into a small niche...

Re:Déjà vu all over again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397717)

It saddens me to see people use "Déjà vu all over again" seriously. It's "déjà vu". That's it. The rest is redundancy that makes it self-deprecating humor.

Re: Déjà vu all over again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398007)

It's a Yogi Berra quote.

I'm confused... (0)

JasoninKS (1783390) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397673)

I'm confused...they're coming out with a second version of a connection that has never really taken off to begin with? Is anyone even using Thunderbolt? I can't imagine the usage rate is very high.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397729)

Serious? Thunderbolt has transformed many of the small to medium businesses we deal with. Even the large ones... Say, you wouldn't have need for fiber attached laptops? PCI express docking bays with aja cards? Fast external RAID for small machines (Mac Minis for example) that don't sit in server rooms?

The Usage rate is high in the pro-sumer market, which is what it was aimed for.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397821)

so in other words it is purely a niche product that doesn't have consumer appeal or adoption and is destined to go the way of firewire.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398293)

no we just dont buy laptops that suck in the first place and add 100000000 dongles to make up for it

Re:I'm confused... (1)

White Flame (1074973) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397737)

Well, *something* needs to come out to run higher-bandwidth displays and other peripherals. Even if there's not much using it now, at least once the peripherals become more commonplace there will be connector & driver support available if it goes through all that now.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

sshir (623215) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397783)

And that's the thing - time is running out: Dell already started shipping WiGig docking...

"20Gb/s" will bring useful 10GbE (4, Interesting)

GrumpyOldMan (140072) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397679)

I do 10GbE drivers, and the previous generation of tbolt did not really offer 10Gb/s of usable bandwidth to PCIe devices, it was more like 8Gb/s:

If you recall, tbolt muxes PCIe and Display Port. On the PCIe side, the thunderbolt bridge passed 2 lanes of Gen2 PCIe through to devices. Since Gen2 is "5GT/s" per lane, you'd think you'd have 10Gb/s. But not really, as "10Gb/s" does not take into account PCIe overhead, which can be about 20% of the data transfer rate. So on the original "10Gb/s" thunderbolt, you were lucky to get 7Gb/s transfer rate from 10GbE NIC, once you also add in network protocol overheads.

Having a bus-constrained NIC leads to all sorts of weird problems when receiving data.. With flow control disabled in combination with bursty transfers, you often see far less than the 7Gb/s peak, as TCP hunts around to find the constraint and recover from frequent packet loss events.

It sounds like they've built the new part from 2 lanes of Gen3 PCIe, which should be good for ~16Gb/s of usable bandwidth. This is a very welcome change, as 16Gb/s should be enough for a single-port 10GbE NIC running at full speed, and a disk controller talking to a fast SSD or an external RAID array that can deliver ~750MB/s (bytes) of I.O.

Just don't try to use a bonded 2 port 10GbE NIC, or you're back at the bandwidth constrained problem.
 

Why not just use 10GbE? (1)

enos (627034) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397925)

Do you have any insight why they even bother with TB when 10Gb Ethernet already exists and has been deployed for ages? I.e. why not just use 10GbE instead?
It seems like reinventing the wheel for no real gain.

Re:Why not just use 10GbE? (2, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397969)

Do you have any insight why they even bother with TB when 10Gb Ethernet already exists and has been deployed for ages? I.e. why not just use 10GbE instead?
It seems like reinventing the wheel for no real gain.

When all you have is a hammer...

The main reason for using Thunderbolt over 10Gb Ethernet is that one has a fairly significant protocol overhead (Ethernet) while the other is primarily a bus protocol, and operates at a much lower level than Ethernet does. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, each has their application.

Re:Why not just use 10GbE? (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398043)

Because 10GBe doesn't expose PCI to your peripherals. Thunderbolt isn't JUST for 10GBe NICs, although that is a popular high bandwidth application that no other external connector can currently provide.

Re:Why not just use 10GbE? (3, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398271)

Because 10GBe doesn't expose PCI to your peripherals

How about ExpEther [expether.org] technology virtualizes PCI Express over Ethernet.

Re:"20Gb/s" will bring useful 10GbE (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398029)

Just curious. It sounds like you do embedded development. How can I get a job like yours? Do you need domain knowledge in addition to the typical knowledge embeeded devs have?

Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion for gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43397749)

Is it possible yet?

A video card can max out the bus and be underpowed (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397811)

A video card can max out the bus and be underpowered as Thunderbolt is only like pci-e X4.

Re:A video card can max out the bus and be underpo (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398049)

Sure, it won't be as fast as the same card running in a desktop. But it will be FAR quicker than any mobile GPU available, even running on PCIe x4. Why? Because even at PCIe x16, transfers across the PCIe bus are slow. This is why cards have onboard memory.

Business-grade direct-attached storage? (1)

astrostl (2524450) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397779)

I sure wouldn't mind seeing this compete with stuff like eSATA and SAS in the DAS market. I know that there is the Promise Pegasus and such - I'm thinking more along the lines of, "shared storage for VMware" than, "fast scratch space for video editing."

Where are the data only cards? mac pro* that needs (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397803)

Where are the data only cards? mac pro* that may need some kind of voodoo like loop back cable as the dual xeon systems don't have on board video as part of the cpu / chipset?

Some boards do have on board pci 33 based video mainly server boards.

Cables / connectors. (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | 1 year,15 days | (#43397979)

... Thunderbolt tech enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously in addition to running at 20 Gbps. It will be backward-compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt cables and connectors ...

And even faster with gold-plated Monster cables / connectors !

USB 3.0 has already won (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43398067)

USB 3.0 is backward compatible with prior versions and is fast enough for most of the stuff people use. They're has to be a killer application for Thunderbolt for mass adoption, but that has yet to appear. Combine that with ridiculous prices for Thunderbolt cables and it looks like a failure for wide adoption.

All I see is 2 x high powered USB3.0 ports... (1, Funny)

sidevans (66118) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398081)

Thunderbolt...
-------------------
Voltage : 18v
Current : 550ma
Pins : Total of 20
6 x Ground Pins
4 x Data (+)
4 x Data (-)
6 x Other stuff
Power = 10 watt

USB3.0 (Powered)
-----------------------
Voltage : 5v
Current : 900ma
Pins : Total of 11
3 x Ground
2 x Data (+)
2 x Data (-)
4 x Other Stuff
Power = 5 watt

SO basically, they've increase the voltage by 400%, dropped the current by half, added some more wires and made some special new connectors? Oh and given it another name which is $Nature_Scary_Thing . $Electricity_Word to match their previous hipster names? I'm not seeing the big deal here yet...

Re:All I see is 2 x high powered USB3.0 ports... (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | 1 year,15 days | (#43398179)

SO basically, they've increase the voltage by 400%, dropped the current by half, added some more wires and made some special new connectors? Oh and given it another name which is Nature_Scary_Thing . Electricity_Word to match their previous hipster names? I'm not seeing the big deal here yet.

Then you need to get your eyes checked. It also offers display port pass through and access to the PCI bus. Does USB3 offer any of that? Oh, and you can get USB3 and Gigabit Ethernet through a Thunderbolt dock if you really want to.

In a nutshell, USB3 can be a subset of Thunderbolt but not the other way around.

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