Do you use Thunderbolt for anything else than displays?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by printz, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. printz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    #1
    So I have this rMBP with two Thunderbolt ports, and I wonder how can I use them best. I'm not very interested in external monitors, since the implementation is subpar on OSX and useless on Windows when display is scaled. Do any of you use Thunderbolt for more creative purposes than just external monitors? Or is it going to be superseded by faster technologies (as if the common user ever needed anything faster than now)?
     
  2. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #2
    On my way to buy a Drobo Mini today actually, so that'll be connected via Thunderbolt. Also waiting for a few more of the docking stations to come out and then i'll probably hook one of those up to clean up my desk and the number of cables I have on top.

    and the implementation of external monitors is subpar? How? I have two 24" displays hooked up to my rMBP right now and it is a fantastic setup. (I also run the machine with bootcamp/parallels and its also excellent.
     
  3. printz thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    #3
    I mean the way OSX (Mountain) Lion handles things like full screen, old story, not worth discussing here.

    Anyway, I also experience slight flickering when using the VGA-port monitor connected via adaptor to the laptop. Not something major, but still something that makes me want to finish the work asap.
     
  4. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #4
    Ah fair enough. I can agree with you there, I rarely run full screen apps so that's been a non issue for me.

    I have had that problem as well with my one monitor. It turned out it was just an old mDP to VGA adapter and the cable that had taken a few years of beating around on my desk. I swapped it out (and used a DVI one on my other monitor) and it solved the issue.
     
  5. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    #5
    I find USB 3.0 *far* more useful than Thunderbolt. I pretty much use a USB 3.0 hub as my "dock". A single cable runs from my rMBP to the hub which is connected to several external drives (some of them through eSATA adapters) and a gigabit Ethernet adapter.

    I bought the Thunderbolt Firewire and Ethernet adapters, but I hate using them. I hate the design of the dongles (connector too long and cable too short) and I just don't like that many wires connected to my laptop.

    It's a real disappointment that there are still almost no reasonably priced Thunderbolt devices or docks.
     
  6. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    there dongles are pretty hideous , I cannot wait for the sonnet 15 dock , ill be having one of those on my desk for sure.

    I would love to see some more thunderbolt stuff , i guess with time we will get some.
     
  7. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    #7
    I have the LaCie Rugged TB drive. I use it mostly for Time Machine backups. Hard to say if the speed difference over USB 3 is appreciable but I didn't have a USB 3 drive anyway so it was worth the extra few bucks to play around with Thunderbolt storage.

    I also have a two-way TB migration cable, for when I replace my C2D iMac with something a bit more modern.
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #8
    I only use it for HDMI output.

    I just bought an eSATA RAID because the price of Thunderbolt is a ripoff, and I don't want an enclosure which has no other interface.
     
  9. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #9
    You don't have to use that idiotic so called full screen mode though. I pretty much never use it.
    Mission Control is still a bit annoying with multiple monitors as you cannot move windows between screens but that is really the only flaw. The rest works.

    If you don't want to use external screens forget you have Thunderbolt. There isn't really any point to it. You can attach a dock but USB 3.0 is way cheaper for that. Unless you want to waste money on some overpriced nonsense you don't need you can savely ignore those TB ports.

    Those sound like a pointless waste of money. So you got a pretty expensive cable for something you do well how often; Once every 2-3 years. Considering how often that is done and how time insensitive it is, one could just do that over wifi. Since the C2D iMac probably still runs on a HDD it is a bit overpowered.

    If your LaCie has the 1TB HDD you literally just wasted money as USB 3.0 would be more than fast enough also needs less power while transferring.
    Even with an SSD inside that would need to be a really fast Samsung SSD that writes at least 400 MB/s to exceed USB 3.0. Even with that being the case you would still have two problems. A the host must actually read that fast and the backup tool that probably picks together a couple of files all around must be so fast with like a 16 core Mac Pro CPU to push actually 400MB/s out. Even if that was also the case Timemachine is such a none time sensitive activity that 25% more speed really shouldn't be worth $5.
    A thunderbolt drive only makes any sense at all if you actually work on the data there because you do video production on huge data that cannot fit locally or you don't want to or cannot transfer. As a backup medium it is just a waste of money.
     
  10. ssmed macrumors 6502

    ssmed

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    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I use one for fast ethernet to the server - faster than any WiFi, the other for large monitor and a Pegasus R6 Raid. Lightroom (and previously Aperture) are definitely better on a faster external disk. I made the TB decision before I had USB3, but have been pleased with speed, but not expense.

    I am not sure there will be much faster, but USB3 is cheaper and more practical for many purposes.
     
  11. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    #11
    A standard rugged LaCie USB drive is about $140 and I paid $150 for the Thunderbolt model. Like I said, really more of a 'just to have it' thing. I do intend to run Ubuntu from it using rEFIt at some point, but either way $150 for a shock-proof, splash-resistant high performance drive is worth it to me.

    I'm also not too terribly worried about the $5 I spent on the TB two-way data cable. A buddy was talked into it in the store and then he found he had no use for it, so I took it off his hands. I did try a WiFi migration once-- took 12 hours for about 200GB worth of data. I'll pass on ever waiting on that again.

    Also, don't knock fullscreen mode too readily. It has its limitations but when you get used to trackpad gestures (three-finger swipe) it becomes very useful.
     
  12. srsub3 macrumors 6502

    srsub3

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    Mar 10, 2013
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Didn't used that except of screen connection... is useless IMHO....and don't start talking about docking stations.... for what they offer they are outrageously expensive.....
     
  13. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #13
    USB is nice for convenience, especially for connecting cameras or keyboards, USB sticks, iPhones perhaps, DVD drives. USB3 is a dog, however, for any disk, let alone display connection. Some put up with it for convenience, but taking away 50% performance from an SSD is just not right... and is noticeable.
     
  14. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

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    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #14
    Make sure that your external USB 3.0 devices support the UAS-Protocol (USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP)). Read this:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3-uas-turbo,3215.html
     
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #15
    I have a TB display at work and I'm using it as a docking station. Ethernet, USB mouse & keyboard, power is all plugged into the TB display, and when I come in I only have to connect the TB & power cable that both come from the display.

    I guess I should also plug my backup HDD into the display, but I prefer to keep it in a locked drawer.
     
  16. srsub3 macrumors 6502

    srsub3

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    Mar 10, 2013
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    Don't connect time machine hdd to tb display! I used to do that but my mac had a lot of problems! It was very slow in everything and it took hours to turn off! Don't understand why, but as soon as I started connecting it directly to the mac, all the problems were gone!
     
  17. printz thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    #17
    I wish there existed a rack of usual desktop components (disks, video cards, processors) to connect to my laptop so I can use it like a more powerful workstation. Being thin as it is, I have a feeling that the new MacBook Pro can't handle too much power by itself, so it could use some external help. And there to be drivers for Windows, considering that it's possible that niche number-crunching applications be Windows-only.
     
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #18
    In Europe the Lacie with Thunderbolt comes in at 200€ at the least. While the same config USB 3 is at 105€ which is quite the difference. That is including the 20% VAT we have and generally higher prices for some companies products. I can get USB 3.0 1TB drives for 75€. In dollar I don't quite believe you prices.

    The TB cable as second hand for $5 is cheap. Yet it isn't usually. USB cables cost virtually nothing. Thunderbolt cables are active that also allows the use of optical ones which are just ridiculously expensive but it is possible. Even a short one in copper though just costs as much as most people would be willing to pay for an external USB 3 case exclusiva the disk inside. Cables is one reason why I doubt TB will hit the mainstream anytime soon.

    Why Sony, Samsung or Acer just doesn't hop on board with some Ultrabook + powerful (USB, SATA, Display, GPU, LAN) Dock solution is probably due to driver difficulties and price. That is what TB would be great for.
     
  19. urkel macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #19
    Do I use Thunderbolt for anything else than displays? No

    Would I use Thunderbolt for anything else than displays if it truly were the consumer solution Apple claimed it would be and was priced accordingly? Heck yeah.
     
  20. fskywalker macrumors 65816

    fskywalker

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    Nov 6, 2009
  21. Joseph Farrugia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2011
    Location:
    Malta (EU)
    #21
    Yes

    I work on an early 2011 MBP (no USB3),
    & connect a Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter between the MBP & a 27" ACD.

    This allows me to use bare HDDs at their maximum speed, can't be happier.
     
  22. krkh99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    #22
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #23
    For me its used for my ethernet adapter because apple decided laptops done' need ethernet ports any more :mad:

    I'll probably be looking to get a thunderbolt based storage solution sometime in the future. I'm not sold on drobo because of their reputation in the past. I'm not sure if they've cleaned up their issues with the drobo mini which is what I'm eyeing.
     
  24. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    Still looking to buy a rMBP once the new ones come along.
    All my current external drives are Thunderbolt or USB3:

    Drobo 5D - used for all my files and video editing
    Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 500GB (will be replacing drive with a 512GB SSD shortly).
    Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 1TB - used for backups
    Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt 256GB SSD - not used, currently for sale over in the marketplace.

    2 Thunderbolt ports would definately help!

    Also have a couple of USB3.0 drives for moving files between work and home.
     
  25. CaptHenryMorgan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2013
    Location:
    The District
    #25
    All my external drives are Thunderbolt. Way faster than anything else I have to deal with day-to-day.
     

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