How useful is Thunderbolt?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by islanders, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. islanders macrumors 6502

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    Charleston, SC
    #1
    Is anyone else waiting for the update just to get TB? Is it that important to you?

    I'm guessing that TB might be very useful for presentations if it can connect to DVI, HDMI, or other projectors that I'm less familiar with but might need to use for a presentation? Would this be the case? Or is there no real difference with the current MBA or would the Pro be more useful because of some other feature?

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Currently Thunderbolt is only useful as a video output so at this point, it does not offer any advantage over the regular mDP found in current gen MBA. However, when the Thunderbolt devices start to roll out, there will be a lot more use for it. At first, it will mainly allow you to connect high-speed external storage but what the future will bring is a big question mark. Thunderbolt is essentially just PCIe port so its potential is enormous.
     
  3. bornblind macrumors 6502

    bornblind

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    #3
    As I use a 1TB Firewire drive to store all of my photos, videos, iTunes library, etc. The speed of Thunderbolt (10Gbps) will be huge for me when they release some external drives using the Thunderbolt connection.
     
  4. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

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    #4
    Definitely looking forward to something like this, or an adapter for thunderbolt->FireWire so I can keep my speeds on the new MBA for data transfer. USB 2 is sooooo slooooooow.
     
  5. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Thunderbolt will be insanely useful some day. But today, there aren't any compatible accessories on the market.
     
  6. jclardy macrumors 68040

    jclardy

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    #6
    I wonder if Thunderbolt could support Target Disk Mode like Firewire does.

    It would be extremely useful for moving large files from one machine to another.
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #7
    if t-bolt boots it will be a great saver of ssd and hdd issues here is a photo of the lacie t-bolt that I found on flicker. this would be using 2 ssds in a raid0 as a boot drive then the second one could use 2 1tb hdds as storage. your internal ssd could be an osx when you go portable.
     

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  8. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

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    #8
    I'm pretty sure it does. I seem to remember reading that a MBP and iMac can do this now.
     
  9. Cerano macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2010
    #9
    i think the future of thunderbolt is still hanging... its not established like usb...

    it may very well turn out to be another firewire... crap abandoned even by its creators
     
  10. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

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    #10
    FireWire is definitely not crap or abandoned; it's a niche product now, but definitely in use. USB 3 isn't that well established, either. I'd certainly like the more versatile Thunderbolt to win that race, but we'll just have to see.
     
  11. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a

    GekkePrutser

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    #11
    I'd love Thunderbolt, hope the 11" will get it.

    The main benefit will be that I'll finally be able to get Gigabit Ethernet on the MacBook Air. Sonnet is making one apparently (Press release here) but I'd prefer a smaller one from Apple. Hope they'll make one.

    I do a lot of technical work and that will really make a big difference. It would also come in very handy at LAN parties.

    Also, an external GPU would theoretically possible though I don't think Thunderbolt is as fast as 16-lane PCIe. But I'm sure it would offer some improvement there.
     
  12. Xgm541 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    i doubt playing a multiplayer game at a lan party where you probably have the 100mbps connection with about 5ms ping will be any better when you get a 1000mbps connection with 4ms ping.
     
  13. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a

    Psilocybin

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    #13
    At this point thunderbolt is pretty useless. We will have to see what the future holds


    Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
     
  14. bungiefan89 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 5, 2011
    #14
    Well, I've got 2 of these super-fancy ports on the back of my new 2011 27" iMac, and they've done me no good at all so far. There's not even such thing as a Thunderbolt-Thunderbolt cable!

    I'd like to hope that in the next few months or so a whole bunch of devices will come out supporting this port, like an HDMI adapter, external hard-drives, more monitors, etc.

    But right now, it seems Thunderbolt was just an over-glorified upgrade to Apple's Mini Display port.

    But who knows? If this technology can really transfer the HD version of Avatar in just a few seconds, it's got to have SOME potential, right?:confused:
     
  15. bungiefan89 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I don't think it's a race between T-bolt and USB 3, but a race between T-bolt and USB 2. What's a more commonly used port that you can think of outside of USB 2? They're on EVERYTHING, and average people rarely complain about a lack of speed in data transfer.

    I'm really starting to wonder if Thunderbolt itself is just wasted technology or a complete scam.
     
  16. Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

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    #16
    Yea, kinda sucks lol. Whats worse is when TB devices are released they will be retarded expensive.
     
  17. VSMacOne macrumors 601

    VSMacOne

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    #17
    I think you're onto it here. Apple was first to the market with this, and you know they're not going to abandon it. I expect to see all kinds of devices and adapters this summer. This is a fantastic technology and especially for laptops... If you've got a little Air and are on the run, you can just replace pictures or music or files on in a matter of minutes! I can definitely the advantages and time saving that will happen based on the speed reports so far.
     
  18. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #18
    Remember that you will need some serious hardware to take full advantage of Thunderbolt. I think way too many people think that Thunderbolt will magically make everything run at 10Gb/s. If you have an external that has maximum write speed of 80MB/s, you can't write data to it faster than 80MB/s, regardless of what interface you use. To really take advantage of TB's speeds, you will either need an SSD or HD RAID setup. Keep in mind that you will need that in both ends. If you have a 500GB 5400rpm HD in your laptop, TB won't speed up anything as the HD will be the bottleneck.
     
  19. imahawki macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I'm hoping Seagate releases Tbolt docks for their goflex drives. That would be nice!
     
  20. Orlandoech, Jun 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2011

    Orlandoech macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

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    #20
  21. halledise macrumors 65816

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    #21
    oh yes there are … … ;)

    http://goo.gl/HOhcP
     
  22. VSMacOne macrumors 601

    VSMacOne

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    #22
    Totally agreed. That's why I mentioned new DEVICES.
     
  23. racketeer71 macrumors regular

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    Jan 15, 2010
    #23
    Now, this might be a very stupid question, but:

    If what Hellhammer says "Thunderbolt is essentially just PCIe port" is true, then we could see EXTERNAL graphic cards in the future? So you would have an MBA with crappy IGP, a thunderbolt connection to a graphics card in a separate housing, and then a thunderbolt connection to your ACD 27"?

    If that's possible, I think the market could be quite big for such external graphics cards, no? Not as popular as external drives, but still something that would be bought by quite a few.

    Does anybody think, we'll see such cards within the next year?
     
  24. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #24
    It wasn't necessarily a reply to your post, more like a note for everyone that there is a bit more than TB required for high speeds ;)

    Theoretically, external GPUs are possible. However, there are several issues with it:

    • Bandwidth - TB provides only 10Gb/s whereas PCIe 2.0 x16 provides up to 64Gb/s. For lower-end GPUs, TB should be fine but high-end GPUs will most likely need more bandwidth to operate at full speed.
    • Software - While the hardware part is pretty easy, there is much in the software required to get this to work. Since Macs have EFI, you need a GPU with EFI or it won't work with OS X. This at least limits the available GPUs.
    • Market - There have been a few external GPUs in the past but they have all failed miserably. Sure, TB should be more widely adapted but most people will likely use something else for gaming. You have to remember that the GPU is not the only bottleneck, you need a beefy CPU too.

    Those are just a few concerns to name quickly. It is definitely possible but not as simple as slamming a GPU into an enclosure with TB and then it would magically work.
     
  25. GekkePrutser, Jun 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

    GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a

    GekkePrutser

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    #25
    I'm not talking about gaming (and if I were to visit a lan party I probably wouldn't use my MacBook Air for gaming, unless it was an old game like Counter Strike or Battlefield 1942).

    But there's plenty of other stuff going on at LAN parties where a gigabit ethernet port would be very handy indeed.
     

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