Does USB 3.0 mean Thunderbolt is dead?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Alameda, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    #1
    When Apple initially launched Thunderbolt, it looked as though the single-connector laptop, integrating data and video, had arrived. But then came reality:

    1) Thunderbolt can't power the laptop, so it's a two-cable connection.
    2) Everything Thunderbolt is vastly more expensive - cables, displays, hard disks, etc.
    3) USB 3.0 arrived on virtually all PC desktops and laptops, and even on Apple's laptops. It uses an existing connector and offers 5 Gbit/second. And there are no current scenarios for transmitting more than 5 Gbit/second over a cable, unless it's video.
    4) Intel has promised to double USB 3.0 speeds to 10 Gbit/second, which is about equal to Thunderbolt.
    5) Unless you have a Thunderbolt display, there are virtually no Thunderbolt hubs. So you can't, for instance, use Thunderbolt Ethernet and an external display at the same time. Unless your laptop has two Thunderbolt ports.

    So this all leads me to believe that Thunderbolt has failed. Between the exorbitant costs of cables and accessories, and the virtually ubiquitous availability of affordable, acceptably-fast USB 3.0 peripherals, there seems to be no reason left for Thunderbolt, and it is likely to become extinct.

    Much as I pine for a single-cable laptop connection, it doesn't look like Thunderbolt is going to survive. What say you?
     
  2. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #2
    I have never used Thunderbolt and probably never will. None of my devices have it and since USB provides backward compatibility, I'll be using that.

    It doesn't look good for Thunderbolt, but you never know.
     
  3. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #3
    The only thing that really is interesting about Thunderbolt is the discrete GPU enclosures. Even then you are probably using this on a Laptop with a mobile processor so you cannot get too high of a card or it will just be bottle necked. However, currently no one is making enclosures right now and without Thunderbolt ports being on the PC side you won't see much in the way of accessory roll outs. Hell, as far as I know only Intel high end mobos are even packing the ports and Intel is exiting the mobo business and PC laptops aren't being made with thunderbolt ports too. Kind of a grim situation for it really.
     
  4. APlotdevice macrumors 68040

    APlotdevice

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    No it isn't. The current implementation of Thunderbolt is 10 Gbit/s per lane. It has 4 lanes; 2 downstream, 2 upstream. Meaning that it actually offers a theoretically 40 Gbit/s. Furthermore by the time this revised USB 3.0 comes out Intel have also introduced new TB controllers that can handle 20 Gbit/s per lane.

    Yes I think Thunderbolt will survive. It will never achieve anywhere near the mainstream status as USB, but really it was never intended to anyway. Thunderbolt is literally PCIe 4x in external form, and in the long term will likely serve the same purpose.
     
  5. lucasfer899 macrumors 6502

    lucasfer899

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    #5

    I wish that everyone would adopt Thunderbolt as fast as Thunderbolt really is, I'd rather have a thunderbolt iPhone cable, not USB, I'd rather have thunderbolt External HDD, not USB. The same goes for firewire, I'd rather everything use firewire, it's higher voltage, so it can charge things, and in general output more power than USB with less current. Also, there are (sorta) firewire 400 hubs, and I'd take firewire over USB for all of my peripherals any day. :(
     
  6. Wardenski macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I don't think its a matter of USB3 vs thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is not designed for low cost devices but rather low latency applications so I suspect they will forever exist together even if thunderbolt remains a niche.

    I think Apple has adopted quickly it just to push sales on their displays, I have no love for Apple displays personally, too expensive.
     
  7. Alameda, Mar 5, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

    Alameda thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    #7
    Does USB 3.0 mean Thunderbolt is dead?

    Meh. 18v at 550 mA max is only 10 watts. Same as the iPad's 5v 2A charger. If its power capability could charge a MacBook over the Thunderbolt cable, I'd be interested.

    In not trying to bash it; I don't have an agenda. Heck, my MacBook Air has Thunderbolt and USB 2 only, so I'd love to see some good TB products. But it looks like the TB ship has sailed.

    Can you even purchase a Thunderbolt product that out-performs a comparable USB 3-based product?
     
  8. LV426 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    The USB 3 Micro-B connector is horrible. My D800 camera has one, but how much lovelier it would be if it had a Thunderbolt connector :(

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    #9
    It'll be interesting to see what USB peripherals we'll get when USB gets upgraded to carry 100W of power.
     
  10. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #10
    It's FireWire all over again. I don't think it's dead, but it's a standard that won't be implemented on most machines other than Macs. I personally only ever had one PC with FireWire, and the only time I ever used it was when I had to sync my new-then third generation iPod with the click wheel. That and when I had to redo my Leopard setup on my G5 and that was between two Macs.
     
  11. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #11
    To say that Thunderbolt is dead incorrectly implies that it was ever alive in the first place.
     
  12. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #12
    Thunderwhat? Oh you mean that Mac port that is only useable if you buy some pricey adaptors. :)
     
  13. Nebrie macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Thunderbolt is Apple's answer to the age-old demand "I want a Mac Mini with PCI expansion slots". Expect the next Mac Pro to look like a bloated Mini.
     
  14. Alameda thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    #14
    But in reality, it is not 40 Gbits, is it? Isn't it 10 Gbit in each direction, and two lanes used for DisplayPort video?

    More to the point: Where is the practical application for Thunderbolt? Single-cable monitor hub is cool, but at $999, it's not for me. Hard drive storage that's faster than 5 Gbit/s is probably not reasonably useful. SATA taps out at 6 Gbit/s, so paying more for what is probably only a theoretical speed boost makes no sense.

    So if you believe Thunderbolt has a future, I'm truly curious: What will it do? Maybe it will be a gaming monitor for ultra-light notebooks, and the monitor will have a mega-fast nVidia GPU built-in. Or maybe an iPad will have such an interface to turn it into a wicked-fast, full-bore computer, but Apple tablet CPU's aren't being designed that way. I don't see either of these applications driving much volume, though.
     
  15. smoledman macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Thunderbolt is for people who have a ton of money to spend on very expensive peripherals and storage. USB 3.0 for the rest of us hoi polloi.
     
  16. lucasfer899 macrumors 6502

    lucasfer899

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    #16
    Re-Read what I said before you chop up my words. I said FireWire. Not Thunderbolt. I like the whole 12V thing.
    Ew, uhm, who on earth designed this POS?

    Why would USB ever carry 100W of power.
    You would need:
    Much more powerful PSU in any desktop machine for anything that takes 100w.
    Improved traces across the logic board to carry such amounts of power.
    Better shielded USB cable.
    But firewire 400 is so much faster than USB 2.0 anyway.

    No. What is meant is the renamed Intell lightpeak technology which adopted the MiniDisplayport connector for backwards compatibility and is only mainly used on Macs. However I am starting to see PC manafacturers deploying it.
    Along with several motherboard manafacturers, including Gigabyte, Asus, ASRock, just to name a few.

    What I like is how they're supporting Thunderbolt based displays, the motherboard has Display inputs on the rear I/O which you plug the GPU's output into, and then the Motherboard processes it and outputs it again but as Thunderbolt. This is what I've come to expect on the new mac pro.
    Or a GPU with TB outs. You never know ;)
     
  17. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

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    #17
    Imho.....

    in this point TB is still a developing technology. Depends in peripheral makers what can deliver affordable and useful products. But being backed for Intel and Apple, I hardly see it as dead. I have seen too many port transitions. Remember SCSI and how hard and expensive was? Takes more than 5 years to go the dodo route. Same thing with the FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 deployments/transitions. Same complaints of no products/expensive. So lets revisit this theme in 3 years, say?


    :):apple:
     
  18. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #18
    I'd rather have USB3 than TB. Few devices and the ones that are out there very expensive.

    Is TB dead? No, but I'd say its struggling.
     
  19. APlotdevice macrumors 68040

    APlotdevice

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    #19
    100W USB is intended to replace proprietary chargers for things like laptops. You won't be powering your peripherals with it.

    No, all lanes are available to TB devices. Now if a legacy DisplayPort device is at the end of the chain then total bandwidth is split up, with each TB lane reduced to 5.4 GBit/s. Otherwise they receive the full 10 Gbit/s.

    Bandwidth is not the only advantage that Thunderbolt has over USB. It also doesn't tax the CPU as heavily and offers lower overall latency. These two factors may not be a big deal for the average consumer, but they can be for certain professional users.
     
  20. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    #20
    But there's also the fact that you wouldn't need to connect bigger external drives to mains power, and you could power a monitor from USB.
     
  21. APlotdevice, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

    APlotdevice macrumors 68040

    APlotdevice

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    #21
    Actually, from what I've read of the USB Power Delivery Specification, the goal seems to be to have your monitor power the computer; Similar to Apple's existing displays, only through a USB cable instead of a built-in MagSafe connector. They don't seem to be talking about integrating this into the computer itself. Probably for the reasons that Lucas outlined above.
     
  22. designs216 macrumors 65816

    designs216

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    #22
    It's just that USB3 came out first and is more widely supported at the moment. Thunderbolt has potential, give it a chance. I like the idea of having these two high speed connection standards, so I hope the race continues...
     
  23. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #23
    What race? USB3 is way ahead and TB has just crossed the start line.

    TB does have potential but I doubt it will be as "popular" as Firewire. Devices are just way too expensive. The average consumer could buy FW devices, but TB? Still way too expensive.
     
  24. designs216 macrumors 65816

    designs216

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    #24
    Agreed but that could change down the line. Though this could be a case of Blueray vs. HD DVD, competition/choices are good.
     
  25. Alameda thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    #25
    Sigh. So I can use Thunderbolt + Power Cable or USB + Video Cable. Brilliant!
     

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