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MacRumors
Jun 29, 2011, 06:45 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/29/thunderbolt-cable-teardown-reveals-electronics-and-firmware/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/06/QBZvGuXR2nRD64NM.medium-500x250.jpg

(http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/06/QBZvGuXR2nRD64NM.medium.jpeg)
As noted by Arstechnica (http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/06/why-apples-2m-thunderbolt-cable-costs-a-whopping-50.ars) and iFixIt (http://www.ifixit.com/blog/blog/2011/06/29/what-makes-the-thunderbolt-cable-lightning-fast/), Apple's new $50 Thunderbolt cable is actually a "smart" or "active" cable that contains circuitry and firmware. A source within the telecom industry explained to Ars that active cables are commonly used at data rates above 5Gbps. These cables contain tiny chips at either end that are calibrated to the attenuation and dispersion properties of the wire between them. Compensating for these properties "greatly improves the signal-to-noise ratio" for high-bandwidth data transmission.iFixIt tore down the new ThunderBolt cable and found two Gennum GN2033 chips in the connector, one on each side. Additional support chips and resistors were also found for total of 12 chips and "tons" of smaller electronic components.

Gennum's chip is described as a transceiver that enables "reliable data transfer at cutting-edge speeds over low cost, thin-gauge copper cables." Early benchmarks (http://www.front.macrumors.com/2011/06/29/early-thunderbolt-vs-firewire-raid-benchmarks/) of Thunderbolt drive enclosures show massive improvements over FireWire 800.

One interesting benefit of this "active" cabling is that current Thunderbolt ports found in the iMac and MacBook Pro will be future-compatible with planned optical Thunderbolt cables. Optical cables were part of the original plans for Thunderbolt which promises to offer much higher speeds, but the first version released are based on traditional copper wiring. Intel still plans on upgrading to optical cabling in the future, and existing Thunderbolt devices should be compatible with new cabling. This was mentioned (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/02/25/notes-of-interest-on-thunderbolt-and-macbook-pro/) during the original Thunderbolt roll out. ...the port you'll find in new MacBook Pros and storage devices can actually take an optical cable when those are cost-effective enough to roll out, because Intel will eventually bake the optical transceivers into the cables themselves.Ars, however, suggests that the high cost and complexity of the cabling may be a hurdle to widespread adoption of Thunderbolt.

Article Link: Thunderbolt Cable Teardown Reveals Electronics and Firmware (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/29/thunderbolt-cable-teardown-reveals-electronics-and-firmware/)



cmaier
Jun 29, 2011, 06:48 PM
Yeah, I don't think Monoprice is going to sell these things for $8 like everyone expected.

Richdmoore
Jun 29, 2011, 06:49 PM
I hope that the cable's chips become common enough so monoprice can bring down the price to a more reasonable level.

EDIT: Beat me to it....

I guess thunderbolt will be better used for high speed storage, as other uses such as web cameras, iphone transfers, etc. can be done much more cheaply due to using "dumb" cables.

soco
Jun 29, 2011, 06:50 PM
Damn... So much for the third party hopes and dreams lol

mrfoof82
Jun 29, 2011, 06:50 PM
Not entirely surprising.

Keep in mind, Thunderbolt is two 10Gbps channels. Let's face it -- 20Gbps aggregate bandwidth is a LOT of bandwidth for an external cable which is getting up there in numbers to rival the amount of memory bandwidth most commodity computer chipsets have (I think two-channel X68 is 21.6Gbps), and those chipsets aren't exactly dirt cheap. This is bandwidth normally the realm of single mode fiber optics for cabling, and even then, the equipment on either side of that single mode cable isn't cheap.

This is not a dumb piece of shielded wire. This is a PCI-E breakout.

This is why the first thunderbolt peripherals are DAS RAID arrays and FCAL HBAs. This is stuff really intended for the professional market at the moment, not consumer devices, as there isn't a consumer device need for this crazy (yes, it's crazy!) amount of bandwidth. Not until production significantly catches up will things start to become cheap enough to make consumer devices.

This is why Apple is pushing Thunderbolt. Even in it's first incarnation it is an insane amount of overkill. It will not be quickly obsolesced.

jpg
Jun 29, 2011, 07:00 PM
Yeah, I don't think Monoprice is going to sell these things for $8 like everyone expected.

Those chips are going to get cheap really soon. Also one has to remember Apple takes some premium over production cost so that the cost to produce those things is probably closer to $30 as of now.

In a year or so $8 could be a reasonable target (those cables would lack some of the quality though)

Minority_taxi
Jun 29, 2011, 07:01 PM
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So, theoretically we could have fibre TB cables working at even higher data rates now but the don't wanna make them? If people in home theatre land are sucked in to buying $200 plus HDMI leads then surely they won't mind a $100 plus fibre lead.

I for one would buy a fibre lead up to $200 if I had 100gb rate of transfer between Mac and drive/card reader.

Cc

iSayuSay
Jun 29, 2011, 07:03 PM
Thunderbolt devices .. and the cables are truly Geek's American dream :D

Eduardo1971
Jun 29, 2011, 07:08 PM
Wow; is this the first time that iFix it has torn down a cable?

Too funny.:)

Lesser Evets
Jun 29, 2011, 07:09 PM
Give it a few years. I bet it'll be half-priced once the stuff is pumped out like french fries.

ladytonya
Jun 29, 2011, 07:09 PM
Like somebody said, the chips will get cheaper. I wonder if Apple thinks that it will eventually get one of the transfer technologies to catch on for other platforms? It seems like Firewire did but mini-DVI kinda bombed. As for the cost, somebody will break down those chips and figure out how to make then cheap. If they're eventually going to be optical, they'll be even more expensive given the current cost of optical cable. I had to pay an arm and a leg for an optical cable to connect my satellite receiver to the home theater system. If Apple or one of their suppliers is working on a less-expensive version of optical cabling, that's very good news not just for the computer world but for the home theater realm as well.

Syncing devices over a thunderbolt connection is never going to be an issue since iOS 5 will include wireless updates and syncing, so whoever mentioned that here, that is pretty much a moot point at this point.

Justinf79
Jun 29, 2011, 07:10 PM
And that's why they're $50. :)

jmmo20
Jun 29, 2011, 07:10 PM
there's something I don't really understand. Does that mean that my thunderbolt port in my MBP supports optical connection (assuming and when they become available??) or NOT?

cmaier
Jun 29, 2011, 07:11 PM
there's something I don't really understand. Does that mean that my thunderbolt port in my MBP supports optical connection (assuming and when they become available??) or NOT?

Yes, they do.

RoelJuun
Jun 29, 2011, 07:15 PM
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And still everybody keeps telling that Apple isn't interested in de Pro market and thinks only of the consumers ;)

!¡ V ¡!
Jun 29, 2011, 07:16 PM
In the end it will come down to cost for the consumer market and that is the market that will matter in the end.

Intel 2012 chip will have USB 3.0 support and Apple will be forced to adopt, once this happens TB will live the FW800 status. The cost alone will be the deciding factor along with availability of product on the market. :)

KnightWRX
Jun 29, 2011, 07:21 PM
Yeah, I don't think Monoprice is going to sell these things for $8 like everyone expected.

Depends on the pricing for the Gennum GN2033 in quantities. Not all these electronic parts are expensive, some of these can go for 1$ each for 1000.

Richdmoore
Jun 29, 2011, 07:27 PM
In the end it will come down to cost for the consumer market and that is the market that will matter in the end.

Intel 2012 chip will have USB 3.0 support and Apple will be forced to adopt, once this happens TB will live the FW800 status. The cost alone will be the deciding factor along with availability of product on the market. :)

Actually, if I understand correctly, a thunderbolt to usb 3.0 adapter should allow those of us who purchased 2011 Macbook Pros or iMacs to use that standard as well.

Since USB3.0 is slower than thunderbolt, we should have no speed loss with an adapter, in the even thunderbolt becomes a mostly dead technology.

iMikeT
Jun 29, 2011, 07:29 PM
So does this mean that the $110 FireWire 800 external enclosure that I was holding off on buying will be a better deal in the short-term?

DisMyMac
Jun 29, 2011, 07:43 PM
This is why the first thunderbolt peripherals are DAS RAID arrays and FCAL HBAs. This is stuff really intended for the professional market at the moment, not consumer devices, as there isn't a consumer device need for this crazy (yes, it's crazy!) amount of bandwidth. Not until production significantly catches up will things start to become cheap enough to make consumer devices.

Well that's a very different story than the sales pitch we heard... 'One cable to rule them all!'

Let me guess- "That was Light Peak. Nobody said anything about Thunderbolt...."

gmcalpin
Jun 29, 2011, 07:49 PM
So does this mean that the $110 FireWire 800 external enclosure that I was holding off on buying will be a better deal in the short-term?
Depending on what you mean by short-term, yes. I mean, single-drive non-RAID ThunderBolt enclosures don't even exist yet. (In-market.)

Also… $110? Look at one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEP944FW8EU2/

SilianRail
Jun 29, 2011, 07:49 PM
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32 Gbps PCI Express external cable will be cheaper and better for data. DisplayPort 1.2 is already better for display. The current implementation where the monitor has to be at the end of the daisy chain sucks. This is going nowhere.

R2D2 xx
Jun 29, 2011, 07:51 PM
any hope getting this to work with my mac pro via pci-e?

kustardking
Jun 29, 2011, 07:54 PM
In the end it will come down to cost for the consumer market and that is the market that will matter in the end.

Intel 2012 chip will have USB 3.0 support and Apple will be forced to adopt, once this happens TB will live the FW800 status. The cost alone will be the deciding factor along with availability of product on the market. :)

People - this is NOT a USB replacement. It is a PCIE wire tap, not unlike the Expresscard, which means you can externalize video cards, network cards (e.g., 10GbE), and whatever else is made for the PCIE bus. It is basically a PCIE "slot" with an external port. Future macs should have either

1) 1+ Thunderbolt ports and available 3rd party TB switches (hubs) with more TB ports and "legacy" ports such as USB

or

2) 1+ TB ports and 1+ USB ports

Personally, I lament the loss of the Ethernet port on the Airs, but I hope to recover it with a TB switch.

Separately, the whole idea of TB daisy chaining is BAD. It's seriously a compounded failure risk, especially when each device on this chain is expected to be high-value on all counts. A TB switch is the right way to go, and I hope we'll see them soon.

gmcalpin
Jun 29, 2011, 07:55 PM
any hope getting this to work with my mac pro via pci-e?
Very little. I can't find a source, but I'm reasonably sure I've read that you will need a motherboard compatible with ThunderBolt, ruling out PCI or PCIe cards.

Rodimus Prime
Jun 29, 2011, 07:58 PM
Why couldn't apple just put those chips in the computer themselves.
My gut feeling was so they have an excuse to charge an arm and a leg for the cables.

kustardking
Jun 29, 2011, 08:03 PM
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32 Gbps PCI Express external cable will be cheaper and better for data. DisplayPort 1.2 is already better for display. The current implementation where the monitor has to be at the end of the daisy chain sucks. This is going nowhere.

Do you know if it is possible to go Macbook Pro -> iMac -> iMac, in serial, where each iMac is in target display mode?

I suspect that 10Gbps won't drive dual 2560 at 60Hz, but technically is it possible? Perhaps with a reduced refresh?

FroMann
Jun 29, 2011, 08:06 PM
Cool, now make it cheaper so I can buy one on Monoprice.

Westacular
Jun 29, 2011, 08:12 PM
there's something I don't really understand. Does that mean that my thunderbolt port in my MBP supports optical connection (assuming and when they become available??) or NOT?

Sorta. There's nothing optical about your MBP's ThunderBolt port. What they're referencing is a comment from someone at Intel indicating that when they do start to use optical cables for ThunderBolt, the cables can or will use normal, non-optical connectors on the ends, and the components needed to translate to and from an optical signal will be on the cable itself -- not on the devices.

So, theoretically we could have fibre TB cables working at even higher data rates now but the don't wanna make them? If people in home theatre land are sucked in to buying $200 plus HDMI leads then surely they won't mind a $100 plus fibre lead.

I for one would buy a fibre lead up to $200 if I had 100gb rate of transfer between Mac and drive/card reader.

No. The signalling on copper cables is not the only limiting factor: the whole ThunderBolt system has a limited amount of bandwidth assigned to it (a certain number of PCI-Express lanes) by the system's chipset, and these potential optical cables would still be connected via an electrical mini-DisplayPort style connector on either end, and the deployed circuitry for those might also have some limitations.

The only difference such an optical cable is likely to make for current ThunderBolt-enabled machines is that optical cables can be much longer. It might also help push them closer to the current limits of the spec, but that's all.

The other point is that there might come a day when devices are using a newer, faster version of ThunderBolt, that requires the cables use optical signaling to achieve higher data rates. If Intel sticks to its plan, what this means is that you'd be able to connect a newer optical-required-for-full-speed device to a device from today, and they could still communicate, but you'd be limited to today's speeds.

So, basically the same as every other backwards-compatible bus connector that's ever been made.

Neither ThunderBolt nor fibre are magic. They won't be able to make your computer suddenly faster several years from now when next-gen ThunderBolt devices start to appear.

elithrar
Jun 29, 2011, 08:12 PM
Why couldn't apple just put those chips in the computer themselves.
My gut feeling was so they have an excuse to charge an arm and a leg for the cables.

Because the chips help with handling attenuation on the cable, and it's part of the Thunderbolt spec. Without the chips, reaching 20Gbps over copper is incredibly hard.

PS: Read http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2711918 for a better understanding.

cmaier
Jun 29, 2011, 08:16 PM
Why couldn't apple just put those chips in the computer themselves.
My gut feeling was so they have an excuse to charge an arm and a leg for the cables.

The chips are tuned for the length and electrical characteristics of the cable. Longer cables need different firmware. They could have put the firmware in the cable and left the chips in the computer and peripherals, but then they would have problems when they shift to optical cables.

Azathoth
Jun 29, 2011, 08:16 PM
wow, I really wasn't expecting that one. At 10Gbps those are not particularly low power. Or cheap.

This reinforces my theory that Intel developed Light Peak with some amount of involvement with Apple. SJ sees this product and thinks "this is amazing - if I'm going to have cables than just this *one*" and forces Intel to bring out Thunderbolt, a copper implementation of Light Peak. Intel didn't back USB3 initially, because they figured they could get Light Peak to work (optically), but Intel couldn't find a cheap/reliable optical way of doing it, so they design a copper based solution, with the assumption that in the future someone will figure out how to do optical interconnects cheaply, thereby making it necessary to put a O/E converter in the cables.

But this doesn't explain why they didn't integrate the data recovery/equaliser into their Thunderbolt chip... The current solution seems like an expensive (and power hungry) kludge.

For those that are interested, National Semiconductor has been doing what I guess are similar chips for years:
http://www.national.com/mpf/DS/DS50EV401.html#Overview
(the Gennum datasheet is under NDA)

joueboy
Jun 29, 2011, 08:17 PM
I'm still not convince that this is worth $50! Look at the iPod Shuffle it has more chips and has a memory inside. Those chips are probably added to make us believe that Apple should sell this for $50. That Intel Light Peak demo showed on IDF back in 2009 is just a regular cable as far as I could remember.

cmaier
Jun 29, 2011, 08:19 PM
wow, I really wasn't expecting that one. I assume is a clock/data recovery IC. At 10Gbps those are not particularly low power. Or cheap.

This reinforces my theory that Intel developed Light Peak with some amount of involvement with Apple. SJ sees this product and thinks "this is amazing - if I'm going to have cables than just this *one*" and forces Intel to bring out Thunderbolt, a copper implementation of Light Peak. Intel didn't back USB3 initially, because they figured they could get Light Peak to work (optically), but Intel couldn't find a cheap/reliable optical way of doing it, so they design a copper based solution, with the assumption that in the future someone will figure out how to do optical interconnects cheaply, thereby making it necessary to put a O/E converter in the cables.

But this doesn't explain why they didn't integrate the clock/data recovery into their Thunderbolt chip... The current solution seems like an expensive (and power hungry) kludge.

It doesn't implement clock recovery, apparently.

John.B
Jun 29, 2011, 08:19 PM
Intel 2012 chip will have USB 3.0 support and Apple will be forced to adopt, once this happens TB will live the FW800 status. The cost alone will be the deciding factor along with availability of product on the market. :)
I think we'll see USB 3.0 show up in Macs when Intel adds native support in their chipsets. It's about practicality, not animosity. It's just another standard.

So does this mean that the $110 FireWire 800 external enclosure that I was holding off on buying will be a better deal in the short-term?
If it was a good deal yesterday and was something you needed, then it's still a good deal today. FW800 isn't going away anytime soon.

That said, I'm using complete 500GB FW800 drives (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00378KLYM/) for about the same money as your enclosure. YMMV.

lilo777
Jun 29, 2011, 08:23 PM
I wonder if the firmware for these cables will be updated via iTunes? Also, it looks like a cable combining optical line and metal wiring for power would be a better solution but only those who really design these things would know all tradeoffs.

Westacular
Jun 29, 2011, 08:24 PM
Why couldn't apple just put those chips in the computer themselves.
My gut feeling was so they have an excuse to charge an arm and a leg for the cables.

Because they're fine-tuned to match the exact physical properties of the wire they're directly attached to. That's the whole point: not all wires will be the same.

Also, this sort of signal-correction has to be done at either end of the wires themselves (i.e., inside the cable) -- you can't correct that from the other side of a connector port. It would be like trying to clean the outside surface of a window by washing it from the inside.

Laird Knox
Jun 29, 2011, 08:24 PM
32 Gbps PCI Express external cable will be cheaper and better for data. DisplayPort 1.2 is already better for display. The current implementation where the monitor has to be at the end of the daisy chain sucks. This is going nowhere.

Only old DisplayPort monitors have to go at the end of the chain. TB compatible monitors can be anywhere in the chain.

Laird Knox
Jun 29, 2011, 08:28 PM
I'm still not convince that this is worth $50! Look at the iPod Shuffle it has more chips and has a memory inside. Those chips are probably added to make us believe that Apple should sell this for $50.

Not really any different than an HDMI cable selling for $79. I'm sure they put the chips in there just to boost the price of the cables. :rolleyes:

That Intel Light Peak demo showed on IDF back in 2009 is just a regular cable as far as I could remember.

Wow, you could tell what was inside of a cable by watching a demo? Impressive. :p

lilo777
Jun 29, 2011, 08:29 PM
It looks like Macs are going to get USB 3.0 after all. Couple of years later than PCs but still...

Westacular
Jun 29, 2011, 08:36 PM
Well that's a very different story than the sales pitch we heard... 'One cable to rule them all!'

Nobody who knows what they're talking about ever said something like that.

There's a difference between "you can do anything using this connector" and "you will do everything using this". The sales pitch was the former, but you may have misheard it as the latter.

ThunderBolt is never going to replace USB for the things USB was originally designed for -- like connecting a mouse and keyboard -- because there's no way it will ever be remotely close to cheap enough, and connecting things like that over ThunderBolt offers no advantages (and several disadvantages!) over USB.

Think of ThunderBolt as a replacement for FireWire and ExpressCard, not low-end USB.

mex4eric
Jun 29, 2011, 08:36 PM
Pretty gutsy call by Apple and Intel! Will this port have a 3 year life? Or will it have the 10+ year life of USB. Will it survive the shift to fibre cables, with the same end ports? Or will it get replaced by a dumb fibre cable with smarter ports for the end devices, the computers and drives?

I guess I will get a TB port for free when I buy my next Mac, so I shouldn't care, but I do have quite a collection of cables that are useless now, and that problem will likely grow forever.

kresh
Jun 29, 2011, 08:44 PM
Depending on what you mean by short-term, yes. I mean, single-drive non-RAID ThunderBolt enclosures don't even exist yet. (In-market.)

Also… $110? Look at one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEP944FW8EU2/

+1

I love OWC's enclosures because they consistently use Oxford chipsets. In this case it's Oxford Semiconductor 944SE

wovel
Jun 29, 2011, 08:49 PM
I'm still not convince that this is worth $50! Look at the iPod Shuffle it has more chips and has a memory inside. Those chips are probably added to make us believe that Apple should sell this for $50. That Intel Light Peak demo showed on IDF back in 2009 is just a regular cable as far as I could remember.

Did they tear apart the cable? A 2009 demo would have likely used an optical cable and transceivers, but I did not look that close..

Westacular
Jun 29, 2011, 08:54 PM
Do you know if it is possible to go Macbook Pro -> iMac -> iMac, in serial, where each iMac is in target display mode?

I suspect that 10Gbps won't drive dual 2560 at 60Hz, but technically is it possible? Perhaps with a reduced refresh?

Fundamentally, it's probably a question of whether or not a current iMac in target display mode implements that by acting as a DisplayPort-only device, or as a ThunderBolt-aware device. And, if it's the latter, does it support using the second TB port to daisy-chain? I have no idea.

But that still wouldn't actually work for this scenario, because according to their specs, current MBPs are capable of supporting a maximum of just 1 external display.

It might be possible that Apple's just saying this to keep things simple, or that a future firmware update could change it. The AMD GPUs in the mid and higher end MBPs are capable of outputting to something like 6 or 7 displays at once thanks to DisplayPort, so I'm not sure where the limitation is.

Dont Hurt Me
Jun 29, 2011, 09:12 PM
Why couldn't apple just put those chips in the computer themselves.
My gut feeling was so they have an excuse to charge an arm and a leg for the cables.How many times have we seen this kind of stuff from apple in the past? Not again?:rolleyes:

XS-Eye
Jun 29, 2011, 09:12 PM
There was a company in late 2009 who made a general purpose optical processor, they said scaling it for mass production wasn't difficult. It was running sort of 17,000Ghz but doing simple things - with that speed does it matter if it is a 6502 clone?!? :o)

Anyway, gallium arsenide CPUs still use silicon and optical will have I/O restrictions* however if there is going to be this sudden lift above the 3.4Ghz barrier then I/O is key and I am glad Intel are thinking ahead.

*My business partner used to program Cray super computers, he said they used a Vax cluster between the Cray and PC network simply as a data buffer! Another friend at London's Imperial College said the Cray would be given 100Mb of data and would spit out a 9Gb text file which they'd spend the next month analysing.

So a bit off-topic but you see where this is going!

kiljoy616
Jun 29, 2011, 09:14 PM
If find it funny that people are bitching about price, when I can't see that many people using this technology outside those who really have to move large data around.

Look at how excited people are about iCloud and wifi, so considering this is just another device with a cable I would expect it be used more by Pro shops and not the rest of the population of mac users. I know I have no need for this, its not like having something transfer that fast will make different for the kind of work I do.

Sound like the fangirls are excited about spec but most will never really get much out of this. For people who needed speed for backup it would have been easy to use Ethernet based backups, but I figure most where just using USB2 with a smaller subset using firewire. But its always nice to read how much fantasy and how then how it just to expensive for something most will never get any use from.

Benjamins
Jun 29, 2011, 09:19 PM
It looks like Macs are going to get USB 3.0 after all. Couple of years later than PCs but still...

Mac will get USB 3 when it's integrated into Intel's chipset.

cmaier
Jun 29, 2011, 09:19 PM
There was a company in late 2009 who made a general purpose optical processor, they said scaling it for mass production wasn't difficult. It was running sort of 17,000Ghz but doing simple things - with that speed does it matter if it is a 6502 clone?!? :o)

Anyway, gallium arsenide CPUs still use silicon and optical will have I/O restrictions* however if there is going to be this sudden lift above the 3.4Ghz barrier then I/O is key and I am glad Intel are thinking ahead.
!

As one of the few people in the world to have actually designed and built a gallium arsenide CPU, I assure you they do not use silicon.

They use gallium arsenide. Hence they are "gallium arsenide CPUs."

fattire357
Jun 29, 2011, 09:47 PM
There is no way that with a microchip being required in the cable that this will be affordable anytime soon.

Huge mistake on Apple's part to have such early adoption... people will look at this as being really stupid.

Peteman100
Jun 29, 2011, 10:00 PM
I'd pay $50 for a cable right now if there were peripherals that I could use it with....

cult hero
Jun 29, 2011, 10:14 PM
I want one of those damn breakout hubs with EVERYTHING. USB 3.0, FireWire 800, sound, video, ethernet, SATA, etc.

And I'll gladly pay $50 for the cable and $100 for the box.

I know they're aiming for "high end" devices, but really... I want the hub. I'll probably switch to a next gen MacBook Air as soon as one of those are available.

AaronEdwards
Jun 29, 2011, 10:29 PM
This is why Apple is pushing Thunderbolt. Even in it's first incarnation it is an insane amount of overkill. It will not be quickly obsolesced.

Right now it's too expensive so no one else but Apple is going to use it.
Question is, when it gets cheap enough, what will it compete with then?

ChrisA
Jun 29, 2011, 10:39 PM
For most of us, the way we will use Thunderbolt is to buy a TB to firewire or TB to eSATA or TB to USB3. We will not but TB disk arrys. We will buy cheap eSATA and adapt them to TB port

An adaptor will be a dongle like device and not need the transciever chips

mattraehl
Jun 29, 2011, 10:41 PM
I want one of those damn breakout hubs with EVERYTHING. USB 3.0, FireWire 800, sound, video, ethernet, SATA, etc.

And I'll gladly pay $50 for the cable and $100 for the box.

I know they're aiming for "high end" devices, but really... I want the hub. I'll probably switch to a next gen MacBook Air as soon as one of those are available.

My prediction is that a USB3 + eSATA breakout box will be the #1 selling TB peripheral. The hypothetical versatility of TB is great and all, but right now I'd rather just be able to use an affordable USB3 or eSATA enclosure. Kind of annoying to have a super-star port that I will just end up using to get things that should have been put on my computer in the first place. The reality is that right now the best external port I have for connecting storage is FW800, and FW800 enclosures cost MORE than superior eSATA and USB3 devices. Oh well.

ETA: I'll change my tune if we ever see a SATA enclosure with a TB port on it for under $50, but I really don't think that will ever happen.

Peteman100
Jun 29, 2011, 10:45 PM
A simple Thunderbolt to USB 3.0 hub would be enough for me. The two of those make the rest unnecessary.

snowmen
Jun 29, 2011, 10:46 PM
Look at Sony Vaio Z...

I really wish MB/MBA/MBP13 can do the same!
;)
The external graphic card will be a good choice when I have my laptop home and I want to do some gaming...

Minority_taxi
Jun 29, 2011, 10:59 PM
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there's something I don't really understand. Does that mean that my thunderbolt port in my MBP supports optical connection (assuming and when they become available??) or NOT?

Sorta. There's nothing optical about your MBP's ThunderBolt port. What they're referencing is a comment from someone at Intel indicating that when they do start to use optical cables for ThunderBolt, the cables can or will use normal, non-optical connectors on the ends, and the components needed to translate to and from an optical signal will be on the cable itself -- not on the devices.

So, theoretically we could have fibre TB cables working at even higher data rates now but the don't wanna make them? If people in home theatre land are sucked in to buying $200 plus HDMI leads then surely they won't mind a $100 plus fibre lead.

I for one would buy a fibre lead up to $200 if I had 100gb rate of transfer between Mac and drive/card reader.

No. The signalling on copper cables is not the only limiting factor: the whole ThunderBolt system has a limited amount of bandwidth assigned to it (a certain number of PCI-Express lanes) by the system's chipset, and these potential optical cables would still be connected via an electrical mini-DisplayPort style connector on either end, and the deployed circuitry for those might also have some limitations.

The only difference such an optical cable is likely to make for current ThunderBolt-enabled machines is that optical cables can be much longer. It might also help push them closer to the current limits of the spec, but that's all.

The other point is that there might come a day when devices are using a newer, faster version of ThunderBolt, that requires the cables use optical signaling to achieve higher data rates. If Intel sticks to its plan, what this means is that you'd be able to connect a newer optical-required-for-full-speed device to a device from today, and they could still communicate, but you'd be limited to today's speeds.

So, basically the same as every other backwards-compatible bus connector that's ever been made.

Neither ThunderBolt nor fibre are magic. They won't be able to make your computer suddenly faster several years from now when next-gen ThunderBolt devices start to appear.

So in a sense, the optical cables that could come out are no different really then an optical-coax convertor already used in network conversions?

So new optical cables connected into existing TB devices will increase the speed/data transfer rate? Or not.

Cc

lostngone
Jun 30, 2011, 12:35 AM
The chip cost is only half the problem. If these chips have licensed firmware on them you might be able to get the chips/parts cheap but the manufactures are going to have to pay the licensing cost for use of the firmware.

spacepower7
Jun 30, 2011, 12:38 AM
There is no way that with a microchip being required in the cable that this will be affordable anytime soon.

Huge mistake on Apple's part to have such early adoption... people will look at this as being really stupid.

FireWire Gear was sold at a premium, and Mac users were rocking 40MB/s transfer rates while PC users were stuck with USB 1.1.

Huge mistake for Apple to be an early adopter? Should we wait for Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, and all those innovative PC companies to adopt it? Then we'd be waiting forever.

Those companies still sell computers with VGA ports instead of a combo DVI/analog port like two of my Macs in 2003. With a $20 adapter you can use VGA or DVI, but that would be too confusing and expensive for PC users, so just keep shipping VGA :(

Maybe Apple should have not been an early adopter with touch screens, then there wouldn't be iPhones, iPads, or most of the android phones that exist :confused:

Nobody said that thunderbolt was a consumer product, though you might have assumed it. Like most tech, it's expensive for the first few years until it trickles down from the Pro to consumer markets.

Most hard drive companies still charge $30 or more premium for a hard drive with a FireWire 400 port even though that technology has been in the market since 1999.

Thunderbolt is also going to have a premium cost for years to come. Once the 2012 Macs have USB 3, most consumers ( Mac and PC ) will never buy anything thunderbolt unless they have to, ie intel puts it in every chipset and apple puts it in their iOS devices. But that's at least 4-5 years away.

Thunderbolt is useless in the present for everyone but pros and prosumers ie they need it for work or they are tech enthusiasts. The main products for thunderbolt for the foreseeable future are RAID Arrays and converters to fibre channel, another professional interface.

Thunderbolt will not be standard on all intel chipsets until at least 2013. Consider that most computers are more powerful than their users' needs, and that the consumer PC replacement cycle is slowing down due to this power, along with substitutes such as smart phones and tablets. Therefore I don't expect to see the majority of hard drives on Best Buy shelves using Thunderbolt until at least 2015.

I hope I'm wrong but as the VGA example above proves, most of the computer industry is conservative.

orisonmarden
Jun 30, 2011, 01:01 AM
I'm still not convince that this is worth $50! Look at the iPod Shuffle it has more chips and has a memory inside. Those chips are probably added to make us believe that Apple should sell this for $50. That Intel Light Peak demo showed on IDF back in 2009 is just a regular cable as far as I could remember.

very very bad analogy.

TB is totally different technology. U never give a comparation between them.

skier777
Jun 30, 2011, 01:10 AM
There is no way that with a microchip being required in the cable that this will be affordable anytime soon.

Huge mistake on Apple's part to have such early adoption... people will look at this as being really stupid.

Right and Wrong.
No it wont be affordable for a while. Its been almost 10 years since the release of IEEE1394 FireWire 800 yet you still pay a fair bit extra for devices that support this. A firewire 800 cable on the apple store is 39.99.
Someone has to adopt it. True, its not a consumer product yet, but they have captured a pro market and I bet a lot of people who do video editing ARE running out to buy one.

skier777
Jun 30, 2011, 01:11 AM
Nine year old technology: http://store.apple.com/us/product/TP319LL/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

Only 10bucks cheaper than one day old technology:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A?fnode=MTY1NDA3Ng&mco=MjMwNDM0NjI

baryon
Jun 30, 2011, 01:27 AM
That explains the price. I still don't care. Too expensive for a freaking cable. I thought the future was about making things easier, simpler and cheaper, instead of more complicated and more expensive.

Instead of just thinking about speed they should also be thinking about easy adoption, price and compatibility.

By the way: "Yo dawg, we herd u like computers so we put a computer in your cable that you can plug into your computer, so you can compute while you compute!"

So I wonder how USB 3.0 works now, I bet it has no chip inside. I'm guessing Apple will be forced to adopt that too eventually, as they realize that every new device will support it. Or Apple won't support it ever, and it's just going to be a mess.

iMikeT
Jun 30, 2011, 01:51 AM
Depending on what you mean by short-term, yes. I mean, single-drive non-RAID ThunderBolt enclosures don't even exist yet. (In-market.)

Also… $110? Look at one of these: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEP944FW8EU2/


This is what I meant: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/768726-REG/OWC_Other_World_Computing_OWCMEPQ946AL2_MERCURY_ELITE_AL_PRO.html

By short-term I mean in the next year as I am expecting 2-bay Thunderbolt enclosures to be shipping in that timeframe. However, I am also hoping that the enclosure-only solution isn't terribly expensive (ie, $200 for a 2-bay enclosure only). I'm definitely keeping an eye out for what OWC has in store considering that their bare FireWire enclosures have been narrowed in the past week. Hopefully they introduce a FW+TB enclosure in the summer.

Jerome Morrow
Jun 30, 2011, 02:07 AM
That explains the price. I still don't care. Too expensive for a freaking cable. I thought the future was about making things easier, simpler and cheaper, instead of more complicated and more expensive.

Instead of just thinking about speed they should also be thinking about easy adoption, price and compatibility.

By the way: "Yo dawg, we herd u like computers so we put a computer in your cable that you can plug into your computer, so you can compute while you compute!"

So I wonder how USB 3.0 works now, I bet it has no chip inside. I'm guessing Apple will be forced to adopt that too eventually, as they realize that every new device will support it. Or Apple won't support it ever, and it's just going to be a mess.

You can't have it both ways, at least not in 2011. So make up your mind and choose.

odedia
Jun 30, 2011, 03:00 AM
Do you know if it is possible to go Macbook Pro -> iMac -> iMac, in serial, where each iMac is in target display mode?

I suspect that 10Gbps won't drive dual 2560 at 60Hz, but technically is it possible? Perhaps with a reduced refresh?

If I understand the technology correctly, you get 10gb/second for EACH device in the chain. So, each display should get a 10gb/sec feed.

Mr. Gates
Jun 30, 2011, 03:12 AM
Nine year old technology: http://store.apple.com/us/product/TP319LL/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

Only 10bucks cheaper than one day old technology:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A?fnode=MTY1NDA3Ng&mco=MjMwNDM0NjI

So one ridiculous price justifies another?

I can get one of those firewire cords for $7.00 online and Apple charges $40.00 for as you said....Outdated tech

The biggest hurdle for Apple is themselves.

You know I'm right.

Torrijos
Jun 30, 2011, 03:31 AM
If I understand the technology correctly, you get 10gb/second for EACH device in the chain. So, each display should get a 10gb/sec feed.

Actually the 10Gb/s are only for TB communications (devices), the display port information passes through separated channels (max 17Gb/s in the 4 channel implementation of DisplayPort, good for 3840×2160 @ 30bpp @ 60 Hz or over 2 27inch display at 60Hz).

The thing is there were rumors of the DisplayPort bandwidth being impacted to offer the 10Gb/s for TB, but I can't find a definite answer. If it is the case maybe Apple / Intel restricted the display port channel to 2 only achieving then 8Gb/s or 2560×1600 @ 30bpp @ 60 Hz.

NightFox
Jun 30, 2011, 04:08 AM
As well as the price of these cables inevitably coming down, I wonder if there is the potential for there be a cheaper consumer version without or with less electronics? My thinking is that a lot of professional use will be of long cables where SNR is a big issue, whereas many consumers might only need a 1 or 2m cable where the SNR might be within acceptable limits without any additional electronics to improve it.

Just thinking out loud.

///M5
Jun 30, 2011, 05:03 AM
Since when teardown is just opening up 3 pieces of metal? This is barely called uncovering.

From a teardown; I expect exposing those "Electronics".

Torrijos
Jun 30, 2011, 05:36 AM
About the controllers on the cable, the problems is that in order to achieve those rates (10Gb/s in both direction concurrently) of transmission the cable has to be finely tuned and it will even be worst with optical cables.

Then a lot of people talk about USB3, I have myself bought a card (a cheap one for that matter) for my old MBPro in order to connect LaCie USB3 minimus drives (LaCie drivers work with cards from other companies but only with their devices).
The result are better data rates than FW800, but far from the max throughput possibles and putting my system on its knees when transferring large files.

The limit on the rates of transfer are due to the limit of a single disk, any single disk system won't go above an average of around 115MB/s (while burst transfer can reach 240MB/s) so in that case even USB3 would be overkill BUT as soon as you start talking about more complex systems, like RAID enclosure or SSDs you can easily be over the available throughput of USB3.
So the real question is what kind devices you need. If you're only looking for single disk storage you have every right to be pissed at Apple for waiting that Intel develops a USB3 capable chipset, BUT if you're looking for a RAID enclosure ThunderBolt is a godsend, ensuring the port won't bottleneck the enclosure capacities the way USB3 would.

From the specifications USB3 real max data rate (once overhead has being taken out) are around 400MB/s while TB should be around 1GB/s (with a 20% overhead taken out too).


P.S. : I for one I would be ready to spend 1000$ on a RAID5 capable enclosure that wouldn't be limited by the connecting port if my machine supported it...
I've had too many disillusions with a few backup external drive or RAID1 enclosures that cost me loads of valuable data while having meager performances, although you're still at the mercy of the enclosure systems crashing and corrupting data...

res1233
Jun 30, 2011, 05:53 AM
So one ridiculous price justifies another?

I can get one of those firewire cords for $7.00 online and Apple charges $40.00 for as you said....Outdated tech

The biggest hurdle for Apple is themselves.

You know I'm right.

Pretty sure you're agreeing with him. You know I'm right.

AidenShaw
Jun 30, 2011, 06:04 AM
20Gbps aggregate bandwidth is a LOT of bandwidth for an external cable which is getting up there in numbers to rival the amount of memory bandwidth most commodity computer chipsets have (I think two-channel X68 is 21.6Gbps),

Dual channel DDR3-1600 is 25.6 GBps (Bytes per second, not bits per second). The Core i* chips connect the memory to the CPU package, not the chipset - so mentioning X68 is inaccurate (I assumed that you meant "CPUs that use X68").


So new optical cables connected into existing TB devices will increase the speed/data transfer rate? Or not.

Same data rate - but optical will increase the maximum TBolt cable length to 100m from 3m or so. Just in case you want to put your TBolt RAID array in the server room. (Of course, you'll need two optical cables to route back to your desk if you want to daisy chain your monitor.)


...so in that case even USB3 would be overkill BUT as soon as you start talking about more complex systems, like RAID enclosure or SSDs you can easily be over the available throughput of USB3.

Actually just having a couple of simple, single drives on the same USB hub would benefit if they're in use at the same time.

chameleon81
Jun 30, 2011, 06:31 AM
Those chips are going to get cheap really soon. Also one has to remember Apple takes some premium over production cost so that the cost to produce those things is probably closer to $30 as of now.

In a year or so $8 could be a reasonable target (those cables would lack some of the quality though)

I wonder based on what you make these claims/assumptions?

manu chao
Jun 30, 2011, 06:36 AM
Actually the 10Gb/s are only for TB communications (devices), the display port information passes through separated channels (max 17Gb/s in the 4 channel implementation of DisplayPort, good for 3840×2160 @ 30bpp @ 60 Hz or over 2 27inch display at 60Hz).

The thing is there were rumors of the DisplayPort bandwidth being impacted to offer the 10Gb/s for TB, but I can't find a definite answer. If it is the case maybe Apple / Intel restricted the display port channel to 2 only achieving then 8Gb/s or 2560×1600 @ 30bpp @ 60 Hz.
I thought to remember that the DP information only passes over separate channels when there is no TB device in the chain, ie, when you connect a display directly to the combo mDP/TB port. As soon as any TB device is in the chain, everything passes over TB and only at the end, in the display, the DP signal is extracted from the TB signal.

But it naturally would be great if it worked as you described it.

Thunderhawks
Jun 30, 2011, 06:41 AM
People - this is NOT a USB replacement. It is a PCIE wire tap, not unlike the Expresscard, which means you can externalize video cards, network cards (e.g., 10GbE), and whatever else is made for the PCIE bus. It is basically a PCIE "slot" with an external port. Future macs should have either

1) 1+ Thunderbolt ports and available 3rd party TB switches (hubs) with more TB ports and "legacy" ports such as USB

or

2) 1+ TB ports and 1+ USB ports

Personally, I lament the loss of the Ethernet port on the Airs, but I hope to recover it with a TB switch.

Separately, the whole idea of TB daisy chaining is BAD. It's seriously a compounded failure risk, especially when each device on this chain is expected to be high-value on all counts. A TB switch is the right way to go, and I hope we'll see them soon.

+1

Can't understand the moaning about missing TB products or pricing.
TB is still new technology and will take a while to spread out.

When widely implemented we will see

TB switches
USB 3 adapters that can run both

and whatever else is missing.

toke lahti
Jun 30, 2011, 06:47 AM
Future macs should have either

1) 1+ Thunderbolt ports and available 3rd party TB switches (hubs) with more TB ports and "legacy" ports such as USB

or

2) 1+ TB ports and 1+ USB ports
If Apple would want to do it right, they would correct their mistake of crippling the DP with TB.
They should do like Sony did eg. put the TB to the same connector than usb3 and let DP have it's own port.
That way you need only 2 kind of ports (DP & usb3+TB) and could use usb3 or TB devices without dongles and wouldn't need TB hub for using usb3 hub.
P.S. : I for one I would be ready to spend 1000$ on a RAID5 capable enclosure that wouldn't be limited by the connecting port if my machine supported it...
Usually speed of these boxes are limited by raid5 processor's speed.
Even usb3 port speed would be good enough for these new Promise's TB boxes.
Actually just having a couple of simple, single drives on the same USB hub would benefit if they're in use at the same time.
Yes they would benefit.
You need more than one "simple usb drive" to saturate usb3 line.

manu chao
Jun 30, 2011, 06:59 AM
If Apple would want to do it right, they would correct their mistake of crippling the DP with TB.
They should do like Sony did eg. put the TB to the same connector than usb3 and let DP have it's own port.
That way you need only 2 kind of ports (DP & usb3+TB) and could use usb3 or TB devices without dongles and wouldn't need TB hub for using usb3 hub.
What is the difference between having three combo TB/USB ports + one mDP port and having three combo TB/mDP ports + one USB port?
In both cases you only have two kinds of ports, could use USB 3 without a dongle or a hub.

Don't be fooled by the current ratio of mDP/TB combo ports to USB ports, this is already shifting with the iMac.

Of course, much more likely is two mDP/TB combo ports and two USB ports (as USB devices will be around in great number for a long time).

Think of it, would you rather have a MBA with one USB3/TB combo port plus one mDP port or one USB3 port plus one mDP/TB combo port?
- One display + one USB device -> both configurations are fine
- One display + Ethernet -> both configurations are fine (though both need a dongle)
- One USB device + Ethernet -> suddenly the USB3/TB solution looks bad (I don't know whether the USB-Ethernet dongle works via a USB hub with the hub still being able to serve other USB devices)
- One USB device + one TB device (external disk, video camera) -> again, the USB3/TB solution needs a hub

Torrijos
Jun 30, 2011, 07:11 AM
Usually speed of these boxes are limited by raid5 processor's speed.
Even usb3 port speed would be good enough for these new Promise's TB boxes.

Actually it wouldn't, since the Promise box has been measured capable of sustaining 600MB/s rate in RAID5, 200MB/s over the specified real throughput of the USB3 port.

gorgeousninja
Jun 30, 2011, 07:13 AM
I'm still not convince that this is worth $50! Look at the iPod Shuffle it has more chips and has a memory inside. Those chips are probably added to make us believe that Apple should sell this for $50. That Intel Light Peak demo showed on IDF back in 2009 is just a regular cable as far as I could remember.

Yeah my microwave oven has chips and electronics in it, so no way can a cable be any different. It's all the same isn't it?
Just because this is a breakthrough technology aimed initially at the professional market because normal consumers dont need it,
and because I have absolutely no idea of the engineering that went into making this thing, means I absolutely know 100% that this cable is not worth $50.

Torrijos
Jun 30, 2011, 07:17 AM
Actually just having a couple of simple, single drives on the same USB hub would benefit if they're in use at the same time.

They would be OK, up to 3 1/2 (at 115MB/s sustained data rate per disk with the port specification real data rate of 400MB/s), a fourth disk (or other high bandwidth device) and you're underperforming. There is also the question of CPU utilization by USB which isn't nice... My machine is quite old but copying a file between 2 USB 3 drives and my core 2 duo MBPro slows to a crawl.

darkplanets
Jun 30, 2011, 07:32 AM
At least we have a justification for the price... this time.

I'm curious as to why people are such staunch proponents of USB3.0-- I would much prefer this. I can daisy chain everything, including a monitor. It has more available bandwidth. The only con is price.

For RAID setups this is the clear winner-- look at the promise rigs speed on either cabling.

fattire357
Jun 30, 2011, 07:35 AM
Can't understand the moaning about missing TB products or pricing.
TB is still new technology and will take a while to spread out.


As a fellow moaner I can explain.

It is totally reasonable that thunderbolt as a new technology will be expensive and difficult to find products for.

Which is exactly why it wasn't a wise move for Apple to chose Thunderbolt over USB 3.0.

KnightWRX
Jun 30, 2011, 07:51 AM
As a fellow moaner I can explain.

It is totally reasonable that thunderbolt as a new technology will be expensive and difficult to find products for.

Which is exactly why it wasn't a wise move for Apple to chose Thunderbolt over USB 3.0.

There's also very much the chance that Thunderbolt will end up being a niche technology that will never filter down to consumer level products, only offering these high-end products to choose from for a more advanced market (prosumer, SMBs). Hence why leaving up USB3 at the price of Thunderbolt is regarded as another choice limiting move by Apple.

But that is Apple for you. They are pigheaded when it comes to this stuff.

milo
Jun 30, 2011, 07:55 AM
I guess this should put an end to the posts insisting that apple should dump all other ports and just include TB. Yeah, using this would make a LOT of sense for cheap things like keyboard and mouse. At some point I assume they could get all that circuitry down to one chip and lower costs a bit, but this is never going to be as cheap as other cables.

That said, this is HUGE for high end pro users. It makes some pro work possible on iMac and laptops that wasn't before. And I could definitely see many consumers getting one big/fast external drive to add to their iMac or laptop.

Ulf1103
Jun 30, 2011, 07:57 AM
Any ideas on how much an external drive of 1TB @7200 rpm with TB cable is gonna cost and when we may expect them?
'cause aparently it's much fatser then using it with FireWire.

I wonted to buy the 750Gb HD @ 7200 rmp with FireWire
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go
http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMS8U7750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/fw800.png
85MB/Sec is nice,
but USB3.0 is nicer:
http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMSU37750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/usb3.png
115GB/Sec
(this is ofcourse the cheaper version with usb3.0 HD @ 7200 rpm)
And with TB i's gonna be like 200GB/sec or even much more...

Ulf1103
Jun 30, 2011, 08:01 AM
Have no problem with the 49 price point, BUT! come on Apple since when does $49 translate to 49 euros! at todays exchange rate that is almost $71 we all know the cables are not made in the USA so there is no logical reason for changing the $ to € symbol and calling it a day :mad:

It only means I will purchase one in the US, and avoid the EuroTax that so many companies feel justified charging.



:apple:

Where did you findthat it's only gonna cost 49€?
I like that fact, 'cause I'm from Europe :)
(finely an advantage for Europe)

Ulf1103
Jun 30, 2011, 08:05 AM
Any ideas on how much an external drive of 1TB @7200 rpm with TB cable is gonna cost and when we may expect them?
'cause aparently it's much fatser then using it with FireWire.

I wanted to buy the 750Gb HD @ 7200 rmp with FireWire
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go
http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMS8U7750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/fw800.png
85MB/Sec is nice,
but USB3.0 is nicer:
http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMSU37750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/usb3.png
115GB/Sec
(this is ofcourse the cheaper version with usb3.0 HD @ 7200 rpm)
And with TB i's gonna be like 200GB/sec or even much more...

Ulf1103
Jun 30, 2011, 08:07 AM
You do realize that this is a Bad thing!....49 euros is more expensive than what the cable costs in the States :D

Damn, you're wright.
If I buy it for 49€ I would be ripped of...
Why does it cost so much to import it :(

I'll buy it in the US with a lot of other stuff, and then it will chip for free to me and I'll save 14€ or 24$ :P

doctor-don
Jun 30, 2011, 08:16 AM
Cables will be found in stores by some well-known electronics manufacturers that will sell for $39 and more, just as the HDMI and Toslink cables are over-priced. Shoppers will still be able to order through stores like Amazon for a fraction of the cost. ;)

Ulf1103
Jun 30, 2011, 08:21 AM
You should wait until you need a MacBook pro or something larger, as the price difference Europe/USA will allow you to visit the States free of charge :D

I'm gonna need a MBP, but I need it with an ssd and warranty and stuf.
That, I can't order in the US and let it ship to Belgium. I think. I'll try it in a minute :P

If I could order it in the US, I would save 675€ or 964$ damn...
Only problem, I can't :(

I'll need to find someone who knows someone in the US or so who can order it for me etc.

does anyone knows if the AppleCare Protection Plan is valid when you buy it in the US and you're in Europe and something is wrong with it?

mdatwood
Jun 30, 2011, 08:33 AM
There's also very much the chance that Thunderbolt will end up being a niche technology that will never filter down to consumer level products, only offering these high-end products to choose from for a more advanced market (prosumer, SMBs). Hence why leaving up USB3 at the price of Thunderbolt is regarded as another choice limiting move by Apple.

But that is Apple for you. They are pigheaded when it comes to this stuff.

With prices this high the chance of a niche product continue to rise.

Thunderhawks
Jun 30, 2011, 08:52 AM
As a fellow moaner I can explain.

It is totally reasonable that thunderbolt as a new technology will be expensive and difficult to find products for.

Which is exactly why it wasn't a wise move for Apple to chose Thunderbolt over USB 3.0.

Well, the jury isn't out yet whether USB 3 or TB will be more successful.

To me releasing TB early is a statement that Apple believes in this technology. (Let's not forget there is already a stage 2 development to this)

Hopefully the infrastructure will be created to make optimal use for whoever likes it.
Obviously that believe will only last until the next better thing comes out.

bmturney
Jun 30, 2011, 08:54 AM
Now with these "smart" cables the problem could be with the host, the peripheral... and now it is increasingly likely it could be the cable.. no more just straitening out the tip with a pair of needle nose pliers when you roll over it with your chair...

pubwvj
Jun 30, 2011, 09:11 AM
"...the port you'll find in new MacBook Pros and storage devices can actually take an optical cable when those are cost-effective enough to roll out, because Intel will eventually bake the optical transceivers into the cables themselves."

This makes sense and is not actually new. A decade ago I was using long runs of optical cable with tiny transceivers built into either end of the cable. The new Thunderbolt ones are smaller, more miniaturization, but that is just evolution, not revolution. I'm glad to see it. I liked that method.

mattraehl
Jun 30, 2011, 09:12 AM
Any ideas on how much an external drive of 1TB @7200 rpm with TB cable is gonna cost and when we may expect them?
'cause aparently it's much fatser then using it with FireWire.

I wanted to buy the 750Gb HD @ 7200 rmp with FireWire
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go
Image (http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMS8U7750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/fw800.png)
85MB/Sec is nice,
but USB3.0 is nicer:
Image (http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/OWCMSU37750GB16/SEAST9750420AS/usb3.png)
115GB/Sec
(this is ofcourse the cheaper version with usb3.0 HD @ 7200 rpm)
And with TB i's gonna be like 200GB/sec or even much more...

I think you mean 115MB/sec. Anyways, 115MB/sec is almost certainly as fast as the disk itself can go. OWC sells an external SSD in USB 3 enclosure that they clocked at 250MB/sec.

Single-SSD enclosures will probably be able to saturate TB in just a couple generations, the latest OWC and OCZ gear is already hitting 500MB/s in sequential read and write.

dernhelm
Jun 30, 2011, 09:20 AM
Separately, the whole idea of TB daisy chaining is BAD. It's seriously a compounded failure risk, especially when each device on this chain is expected to be high-value on all counts. A TB switch is the right way to go, and I hope we'll see them soon.

Depends on what you are trying to do. The fact that you can daisy chain the devices together means two things. 1) The devices can potentially talk to each other without needing a computer in the middle to mitigate, and 2) any device can act as a TB hub. Both of these are good things. They are what separated FW from USB in the early days (even now to a degree).

Of course, TB hubs (switches, whatever you want to call them) will be a good thing once they emerge. Not sure if I myself would ever expect to need one, but for anyone expecting to hook up 3 or more devices, I can see it as being valuable.

arkmannj
Jun 30, 2011, 09:25 AM
What is the difference between having three combo TB/USB ports + one mDP port and having three combo TB/mDP ports + one USB port?
In both cases you only have two kinds of ports, could use USB 3 without a dongle or a hub.

Don't be fooled by the current ratio of mDP/TB combo ports to USB ports, this is already shifting with the iMac.

Of course, much more likely is two mDP/TB combo ports and two USB ports (as USB devices will be around in great number for a long time).

Think of it, would you rather have a MBA with one USB3/TB combo port plus one mDP port or one USB3 port plus one mDP/TB combo port?
- One display + one USB device -> both configurations are fine
- One display + Ethernet -> both configurations are fine (though both need a dongle)
- One USB device + Ethernet -> suddenly the USB3/TB solution looks bad (I don't know whether the USB-Ethernet dongle works via a USB hub with the hub still being able to serve other USB devices)
- One USB device + one TB device (external disk, video camera) -> again, the USB3/TB solution needs a hub

how about Apple combine Thunderbolt with all of the ports :) a bit overkill i'm sure, but that would certainly make for a world of options, and just might encourage more device makers.

My future dream (though not practical for the moment) is to have a true universal port that you can use for any of your externally connected stuff. (and perhaps even internally)

hamiltop
Jun 30, 2011, 09:27 AM
Have no problem with the 49 price point, BUT! come on Apple since when does $49 translate to 49 euros! at todays exchange rate that is almost $71 we all know the cables are not made in the USA so there is no logical reason for changing the $ to € symbol and calling it a day :mad:

It only means I will purchase one in the US, and avoid the EuroTax that so many companies feel justified charging.



:apple:

It's not the companies who charge the EuroTax. It's an actual tax called VAT. VAT is an arm and a leg (around 20% in most countries), but it's generally included in the list price. 20% VAT means that Apple is charging around 40 Euros for the cable before VAT, which ends up being about $55.

benpatient
Jun 30, 2011, 09:53 AM
It seems like they've engineered a solution to a problem nobody had...

Now there are millions of consumer laptops, and soon to be mac minis, with a port that in truth should have as much widespread usage as your typical fibre channel controller card...

there are too many restrictions on this for it to be a practical consumer product.

it doesn't make any sense to put this on a macbook or imac or mac mini.

I have basically just learned that i spent 50 extra bucks for a port on my mbp that I will never use.

By the time computers are using this kind of interface bandwidth and it's cost effective, this MBP will be a relic.

stylewriter
Jun 30, 2011, 09:53 AM
Yikes... those are some ugly fingers...

benpatient
Jun 30, 2011, 10:04 AM
It's not the companies who charge the EuroTax. It's an actual tax called VAT. VAT is an arm and a leg (around 20% in most countries), but it's generally included in the list price. 20% VAT means that Apple is charging around 40 Euros for the cable before VAT, which ends up being about $55.

the numbers would be (in germany, anyway):

price without vat: 42 euros.
converted to USD: $61.

so that's a 12 USD difference in price, before the VAT.

12 dollars is over 24% of the price.

So before the VAT, EU customers are paying 25% more to have something shipped from Asia.

I know you said "around 40 euros" and "about $55" but the differences between those numbers and the real numbers add up quickly. Now scale that across an entire country, or a group of countries, and you've got quite big latte.

weckart
Jun 30, 2011, 10:05 AM
There's also very much the chance that Thunderbolt will end up being a niche technology that will never filter down to consumer level products, only offering these high-end products to choose from for a more advanced market (prosumer, SMBs). Hence why leaving up USB3 at the price of Thunderbolt is regarded as another choice limiting move by Apple.

But that is Apple for you. They are pigheaded when it comes to this stuff.

You forgot inconsistent. All the signs are that Apple increasingly is focusing on the middle to lower end of the market at the expense of professionals, which makes the choice of the high-end TB over the consumer USB 3.0 even more baffling.

powaking
Jun 30, 2011, 10:05 AM
So let me get this straight this is geared towards professionals but the only way I could see pros use this is for storage devices when paired with video editing YET FCPX isn't really geared towards professionals but towards consumers. :eek:

stylewriter
Jun 30, 2011, 10:06 AM
It seems like they've engineered a solution to a problem nobody had...

Now there are millions of consumer laptops, and soon to be mac minis, with a port that in truth should have as much widespread usage as your typical fibre channel controller card...

there are too many restrictions on this for it to be a practical consumer product.

it doesn't make any sense to put this on a macbook or imac or mac mini.

I have basically just learned that i spent 50 extra bucks for a port on my mbp that I will never use.

By the time computers are using this kind of interface bandwidth and it's cost effective, this MBP will be a relic.

It's a stupid fast general IO port... it's extremely similar to a 8x PCIe port. Thunderbolt and PCIe even use the same protocol. Anything you might want a PCIe card for can be done with Thunderbolt(once people actually make devices for it).

hamiltop
Jun 30, 2011, 10:17 AM
My big question about thunderbolt is the latency.

While something like this (http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/03/micron-realssd-p320h-can-read-3gbps-write-2gbps-impress-millio/) would be bottlenecked by 10gbps in a theoretical TB PCIe box, would it still be able to handle the same number of IOPS?

ZipZap
Jun 30, 2011, 11:00 AM
A $50 cable? Are they kidding?

Are USB 3 cables expected to be the same price?

soapsuds
Jun 30, 2011, 11:32 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

I think there are two common usage cases for Thunderbolt: pros using high end external drives, and prosumers/consumers who use it to connect their laptop to the next Cinema display, which will act like a docking station with one cable, and could even have USB 3 ports on the back. The second case is what could help getting the technology into the mainstream.

cedartree
Jun 30, 2011, 11:37 AM
I have a music studio set-up with (right now) a Macbook Pro -- I use the thunderbolt connection to connect to a large external monitor and I use the firewire to connect to some audio equipment (that equipment can only connect through firewire). Once the new Mac mini comes out, I want to use that instead and free up my laptop. So... if there's a thunderbolt on the new Mini, will there also be a firewire as well (just like there's both on my MBP?) Otherwise, not sure I can use the Mini (?) Thanks!

mattraehl
Jun 30, 2011, 11:44 AM
It seems like they've engineered a solution to a problem nobody had...

Now there are millions of consumer laptops, and soon to be mac minis, with a port that in truth should have as much widespread usage as your typical fibre channel controller card...

there are too many restrictions on this for it to be a practical consumer product.

it doesn't make any sense to put this on a macbook or imac or mac mini.

I have basically just learned that i spent 50 extra bucks for a port on my mbp that I will never use.

By the time computers are using this kind of interface bandwidth and it's cost effective, this MBP will be a relic.

You summed it up pretty well. The most likely use for our Thunderbolt ports is to turn it into "normal" consumer connectivity like USB3 or eSATA. We will basically be paying a premium to downgrade to a lower-bandwidth connection.

-LikesMac-
Jun 30, 2011, 11:45 AM
I think Apple is going to put USB3 in once Ivy Bridge comes out....................................................

Speedy2
Jun 30, 2011, 11:51 AM
Thunderbolt is so useless.
USB 3.0 is ubiquitous, compatible and much cheaper.
It might be slower, but who cares. It'll be fast enough for 90% of all purposes for the next 5 years, and then we'll have USB 4.0.

When lazy Intel finally builds it into its chipsets next year, the Macs will automatically get it too. The fanboys will rejoice and and no one will ever speak of TB again.

All that talk about optical cables is just a silly distraction that has been going on for DECADES. Remember when everyone thought we needed fibre optics at home for Gigabit Ethernet? Now we have 10GB Ethernet and TB on copper, and it works perfectly. Cables are on their way out anyway, especially for computer peripherals.

Speedy2
Jun 30, 2011, 11:54 AM
There is also the question of CPU utilization by USB which isn't nice... My machine is quite old but copying a file between 2 USB 3 drives and my core 2 duo MBPro slows to a crawl.


There's something wrong with your computer then. USB transfers don't saturate the CPU in any way.

Speedy2
Jun 30, 2011, 11:57 AM
That said, this is HUGE for high end pro users. It makes some pro work possible on iMac and laptops that wasn't before.

Yeah right .... like what exactly?
Oh wait... I remember. It's because Apple is too stingy to put a USB 3.0 chip into their products and has never supported eSATA (as crappy as it might be).

But then again, before you can do "work that wasn't before" you still need actual TB products. Good luck finding them and not getting ripped off.

Ashin
Jun 30, 2011, 12:09 PM
Sounds like the next Firewire.

AKA, flop

toke lahti
Jun 30, 2011, 12:34 PM
Actually it wouldn't, since the Promise box has been measured capable of sustaining 600MB/s rate in RAID5, 200MB/s over the specified real throughput of the USB3 port.
What is the difference between having three combo TB/USB ports + one mDP port and having three combo TB/mDP ports + one USB port?
In both cases you only have two kinds of ports, could use USB 3 without a dongle or a hub.

Don't be fooled by the current ratio of mDP/TB combo ports to USB ports, this is already shifting with the iMac.

Of course, much more likely is two mDP/TB combo ports and two USB ports (as USB devices will be around in great number for a long time).

Think of it, would you rather have a MBA with one USB3/TB combo port plus one mDP port or one USB3 port plus one mDP/TB combo port?
- One display + one USB device -> both configurations are fine
- One display + Ethernet -> both configurations are fine (though both need a dongle)
- One USB device + Ethernet -> suddenly the USB3/TB solution looks bad (I don't know whether the USB-Ethernet dongle works via a USB hub with the hub still being able to serve other USB devices)
- One USB device + one TB device (external disk, video camera) -> again, the USB3/TB solution needs a hub
Ok,
usb3 isn't as fast as TB with the new Promise box, but for 99,9% of mbp buyers that doesn't matter.
Usb3 is fast enough "for the rest of us" and it's 10x cheaper.
And since if macs would have usb3, almost nobody would need TB and it would be very hard to use it as selling point and that's why Apple might neglect usb3 same way as blu-ray.

Apple is sending very mixed signals about caring their "pro" customers.
Looks like they are dropping pro software little by little and also pro hardware.
Then why should they care about "pro" mbp users?
And at the same time that 0,1% of mbp users that would actually benefit the speed increase of TB over usb3, maybe half of those would also need full bandwidth DP and don't get it.
Oh well, maybe those people have money and will to buy new mac every year and next model will have faster DP in TB as the new displays arrives.

The technical problem in putting DP in LP is that "TB-crippled" DP has only 10 Gbps, which isn't even enough for last gen DP specs, let alone the next one.
This means that once again macs miss a great change for future expandability, which is of course okay for Apple, since people will have to buy new macs sooner and also people don't know that, so they can't blame Apple for it.

About port implementation in MBA:
They could put 2 usb3+TB ports and one mDP.
This would remove the need for dongles for most of the users.
If there is some insane design rule to have only 2 ports, which would be usb3+TB & mDP, you could handle most cases with one TB-hub with some usb3 ports in it.

cube
Jun 30, 2011, 12:56 PM
Another reason why a dedicated connector that does not cripple DisplayPort is the right solution.

hamiltop
Jun 30, 2011, 01:02 PM
There's something wrong with your computer then. USB transfers don't saturate the CPU in any way.

I was under the impression that USB traffic is handled by software drivers. I thought that was one of the main differences between USB and firewire. Firewire can handle transfers at the hardware, whereas USB cannot.

To me that's a huge benefit.

Thunderbolt, I presume, is a hardware solution like firewire (since it operates likes PCIe).

toke lahti
Jun 30, 2011, 01:33 PM
I was under the impression that USB traffic is handled by software drivers.
Yes it is, but usb bandwidth is so small and cpu operations so simple, that you can't choke any modern cpu with usb transfers.
Problems with usb comes when something else chokes your cpu and then usb can't maintain the transfer rate.
Problems with usb3 transfers in OsX could also be caused by bad drivers.

taylortm
Jun 30, 2011, 02:46 PM
By the way: "Yo dawg, we herd u like computers so we put a computer in your cable that you can plug into your computer, so you can compute while you compute!"


Why you guys hating on this post (currently a -9!!!!)??? That cracked me up! Maybe you guys are all taking this (and yourselves?) way too seriously?

and, yes... I realize that a vague general insult like this will not score me a bunch of +1.

John.B
Jun 30, 2011, 03:32 PM
Same data rate - but optical will increase the maximum TBolt cable length to 100m from 3m or so. Just in case you want to put your TBolt RAID array in the server room. (Of course, you'll need two optical cables to route back to your desk if you want to daisy chain your monitor.)
IIRC, you could daisy chain from the Mac to the monitor to the RAID array as long as that monitor is Thunderbolt aware.

CFreymarc
Jun 30, 2011, 05:56 PM
Not entirely surprising.

...

This is why the first thunderbolt peripherals are DAS RAID arrays and FCAL HBAs. This is stuff really intended for the professional market at the moment, not consumer devices, as there isn't a consumer device need for this crazy (yes, it's crazy!) amount of bandwidth. Not until production significantly catches up will things start to become cheap enough to make consumer devices.

There are a whole new generation of high frame rate, HD video that is going to take bandwidth like this and eat it alive. Watch.

This is why Apple is pushing Thunderbolt. Even in it's first incarnation it is an insane amount of overkill. It will not be quickly obsolesced.

It is going to go the way of SCSI IMO. That is a fast interface that is very complex but eventually is replaced by a connection of near speed but less complexity. The material science behind fiber optics has been uphill for the past thirty years. My crystal ball is that a sub-set of the USB 3.0 will challenge Thunderbolt but we are going to see both like USB 2.0 / Firewire for the next few years.

keruah
Jun 30, 2011, 07:40 PM
So I wonder how USB 3.0 works now, I bet it has no chip inside. I'm guessing Apple will be forced to adopt that too eventually, as they realize that every new device will support it. Or Apple won't support it ever, and it's just going to be a mess. More speed = more processing power needed. It can cause problems. USB is old tech, it will have to be more like Thunderbold in future versions.

libizboy74
Jun 30, 2011, 10:02 PM
Here's what kind of annoys me...

So I wait forever to buy a 17" macbook Pro....

In the past, apple gave us everything the pc guys had PLUS the cutting edge stuff (you could get a usb floppy even before they went away)

In this case, the rest of the world is getting USB 3.0, which is now the common denominator....

Now I have the 17" pro, which I HAD to buy in order to get the expresscard slot, but it doesn't even have a card reader that the low end models have, so I end up with the expresscard taken up with that, and switch that out for a usb 3.0 expresscard... or an esata card (you never know what you might need in the field in the video profession), but now I can only use one of those at a time, until this ever talked about usb 3.0 TB adapter comes out...

Keep in mind this was $2500 worth of laptop....

This just seems like a huge step backward to me... should I have held out till Ivy Bridge?

Does anyone else feel the burn on this? Some weird decisions I think.

kustardking
Jun 30, 2011, 11:54 PM
Here's what kind of annoys me...

So I wait forever to buy a 17" macbook Pro....

In the past, apple gave us everything the pc guys had PLUS the cutting edge stuff (you could get a usb floppy even before they went away)

In this case, the rest of the world is getting USB 3.0, which is now the common denominator....

Now I have the 17" pro, which I HAD to buy in order to get the expresscard slot, but it doesn't even have a card reader that the low end models have, so I end up with the expresscard taken up with that, and switch that out for a usb 3.0 expresscard... or an esata card (you never know what you might need in the field in the video profession), but now I can only use one of those at a time, until this ever talked about usb 3.0 TB adapter comes out...

Keep in mind this was $2500 worth of laptop....

This just seems like a huge step backward to me... should I have held out till Ivy Bridge?

Does anyone else feel the burn on this? Some weird decisions I think.


I feel the burn. Creative use of mac hardware is 100% unsupported. Apple does it part by providing censored versions of technology to simplify life for the majority of users. I love Apple design, but feel quite the opposite about their decisions on feature inclusion.

stylewriter
Jul 1, 2011, 05:51 AM
Yes it is, but usb bandwidth is so small and cpu operations so simple, that you can't choke any modern cpu with usb transfers.
Problems with usb comes when something else chokes your cpu and then usb can't maintain the transfer rate.
Problems with usb3 transfers in OsX could also be caused by bad drivers.

The lack of DMA used to be a problem with USB1 until CPUs got so fast that the task was small. Then it became a problem again with USB2, until CPUs got so fast that the task was small. USB3 is here, and the lack of DMA is a problem again...

Torrijos
Jul 1, 2011, 07:24 AM
HomeMadeTest®

My machine :

2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
OS X 10.6.8
Transcend USB 3.0 ExpressCard Adapter
LaCie Drivers
Two LaCie Minimus USB 3 drives (1 & 2 TB)


Test taken just after rebooting the machines, no additional program running (besides activity monitor).
Before the test the machine has around 90% CPU idle (activity monitor running), then I copy a folder containing 6 .mp4 videos for a total of 4.5GB (the "test").
During the copy the CPU only has around 40% idle.
As soon as the copy is over the CPU returns to 90% idle.

Believe me, you can feel the charge on the computer, then again I new what I was getting into, but I was hoping that by the time I finally change computer Apple would have either adopted USB 3 or that some TB devices would have USB3 hubs included (like a screen maybe ^^).

Still my machine isn't that bad, I can play game like Half-Life 2 (not perfectly though) and the processes that bring it to its knees are usually heavier than a simple file transfer.

toke lahti
Jul 1, 2011, 08:08 AM
This is why Apple is pushing Thunderbolt. Even in it's first incarnation it is an insane amount of overkill. It will not be quickly obsolesced.
Can you please explain in a simple way, how is cutting the bandwidth of displayport to half, not quick obsolescence?

doctor-don
Jul 1, 2011, 09:45 AM
They would be OK, up to 3 1/2 (at 115MB/s sustained data rate per disk with the port specification real data rate of 400MB/s), a fourth disk (or other high bandwidth device) and you're underperforming. There is also the question of CPU utilization by USB which isn't nice... My machine is quite old but copying a file between 2 USB 3 drives and my core 2 duo MBPro slows to a crawl.

Sounds like you are using a USB 1.0 dock instead of a USB 2 dock.

Torrijos
Jul 1, 2011, 02:08 PM
Sounds like you are using a USB 1.0 dock instead of a USB 2 dock.

¿Dock? What are you talking about mate ^^

I've made a post detailing a few transfers I ran to confirm the situation.
Those were pure USB3 transfer, the data rates seen couldn't have been possible otherwise.

toke lahti
Jul 2, 2011, 04:09 AM
Before the test the machine has around 90% CPU idle (activity monitor running), then I copy a folder containing 6 .mp4 videos for a total of 4.5GB (the "test").
During the copy the CPU only has around 40% idle.
As soon as the copy is over the CPU returns to 90% idle.

Believe me, you can feel the charge on the computer, then again I new what I was getting into, but I was hoping that by the time I finally change computer Apple would have either adopted USB 3 or that some TB devices would have USB3 hubs included (like a screen maybe ^^).
I'm not sure if file transfer taking 50% of your cpu power should be a problem.
Or maybe only then when you need more than 50% to something else.
But when you are otherwise idle, taking half of cpu power should not slow your transfer or computer's functionality in any way.
Need for power could also be result of bad quality drivers, so they might get less power hungry in the future.
At least if usb3 gets popularity in macs and then there is financial interest within 3rd party. eSata EC's didn't get this and situation is pretty bad with OsX.

Usb gen has pretty closely a decade of prime time (or at least usb2 had).
We are now in the 2nd year of usb3, so I guess that in half life of usb3, drivers will work much better. Even if cpu power average does not increase because of lighter computers (Airs getting ARM etc.).

Torrijos
Jul 6, 2011, 03:29 PM
I'm not sure if file transfer taking 50% of your cpu power should be a problem.
Or maybe only then when you need more than 50% to something else.

The thing is even common usage, like moving the mouse over the dock magnifying it, suddenly becomes choppy.

Anyway, I came to say that a twitt from the guy from Anandtech said that a Promise 4-disks Enclosure with SSDs reached a 1GB/s data rate (which should be the max throughput possible with this implementation of TB due to overhead) around 2.5 times the real data rate of USB 3.

KillerTree
Aug 6, 2011, 07:12 PM
I really hope $50 cables don't become standard

Bytor65
Aug 6, 2011, 07:57 PM
I don't think the logic makes much sense. Include expensive electronics so you can use cheaper copper. That doesn't save anything.

You can get full duplex fiber optic cables with connectors for under $10.

It seems like they would have been better off skipping right to fiber. Now when they do get around to fiber, it will need the electronics in the cable again, not only that but that cable will need optical transmitters and receiver inside the every cable as well, making optical cables extremely expensive.

John.B
Aug 6, 2011, 08:50 PM
I don't think the logic makes much sense. Include expensive electronics so you can use cheaper copper. That doesn't save anything.

You can get full duplex fiber optic cables with connectors for under $10.

It seems like they would have been better off skipping right to fiber. Now when they do get around to fiber, it will need the electronics in the cable again, not only that but that cable will need optical transmitters and receiver inside the every cable as well, making optical cables extremely expensive.
Do we have to do your homework for you? Go look up what Thunderbolt does. Then come back and explain how you are going to power peripherals with fiber, or how much the additional hardware to support fiber would add to the cost of peripherals.

Eventually, Thunderbolt will support fiber (spoiler alert: it's already in the spec) but copper is the right approach today because it's less fragile, supports power, and will make it much easier on peripheral manufacturers. The optical stuff will eventually show up, but probably only on the high end storage arrays and video devices to begin with (similar to how server storage uses HBAs and optical today).

Chrisg2014
Aug 6, 2011, 09:21 PM
At least I know now why it cost so much. I thought it was just a wire. But now I know it's a Smart wire.

ntrigue
Aug 8, 2011, 03:54 PM
Just wanted to chime in and say the Apple Store has the Thunderbolt cable now for $49.

Mr. Retrofire
Oct 23, 2011, 05:38 AM
Right and Wrong.
No it wont be affordable for a while. Its been almost 10 years since the release of IEEE1394 FireWire 800 yet you still pay a fair bit extra for devices that support this. A firewire 800 cable on the apple store is 39.99.
Someone has to adopt it. True, its not a consumer product yet, but they have captured a pro market and I bet a lot of people who do video editing ARE running out to buy one.

I've a good shielded, very flexible, 3 meter length FW800 cable here, for 10 US$. It is not our fault, that you think you must buy such cables in the Apple (Online) Store. You can also buy RAM from Apple for 200 US$, or the same, mac-certified (Elpida (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elpida_Memory) or Samsung (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Electronics#Semiconductors)) RAM for just 40 US$ on the free market.