Intel Working on Standardized Thunderbolt Docking System for PCs

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,662
10,081



VR-Zone reports that Intel is quietly working on developing a standard docking format for their upcoming Ultrabook platform. The new docking system would incorporate a Thunderbolt connector as well as what appears to be a proprietary connector as well.




The non-Thunderbolt port would reportedly be used for power as well as direct access for the Ethernet controller which is required to support technologies such as Intel vPro and Microsoft's Connected Standby.

Apple's own solution has been much simpler. Their Thunderbolt Cinema Display offers a single cable which splits into a Thunderbolt cable and a Magsafe power cable. The Thunderbolt cable carries USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Ethernet, and Video from your laptop to the monitor.



Unfortunately, that separate non-Thunderbolt docking connector in Intel's proposal would likely prevent it from being directly supported on the Mac. Still, any major adoption of Thunderbolt technology can only help industry acceptance and the proliferation of more accessories. Belkin has already announced their own Thunderbolt docking solution which works much like Apple's display.

Intel is aggressively pushing forward the concept of the Ultrabook which bears a close resemblance to Apple's MacBook Air. Ultrabooks are expected to be the hot product at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 which takes place in January.

Article Link: Intel Working on Standardized Thunderbolt Docking System for PCs
 

Cicatrix

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2011
436
0
Phoenix, AZ
It will be nice to finally have a docking station for all peripherals through t-bolt. I wish it would include sata, and usb3 though. Also, that Belkin Express Dock design looks like complete junk.
 

adcx64

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2008
1,227
42
Philadelphia
Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that with the Thunderbolt connector on today's Macs. Having two cables there is not smart, why they did not consolidate into one cable makes no sense.
 

divinox

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2011
1,979
0
Question, why is having two separate plugs "simpler" than having but one? Common logic would state the contrary.

That said, Apples solution is certainly simple enough. I just don't get what you're going after here.

----------

Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that.
And yet every single Apple adaptor (more or less) is just that: big and bulky (comparatively). Which way is it? You can't have both.
 

adcx64

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2008
1,227
42
Philadelphia
Question, why is having two separate plugs "simpler" than having but one? Common logic would state the contrary.

That said, Apples solution is certainly simple enough. I just don't get what you're going after here.

----------



And yet every single Apple adaptor (more or less) is just that: big and bulky (comparatively). Which way is it? You can't have both.
I revised my post as you wrote yours:) I agree with what your saying.
 

pake

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2006
111
0
Delft
Why make it difficult?! It obviously works with just one cable! Introducing proprietary formats (or connectors) just reduces its compatibility. It's not wise, and I'm sure Apple will never implement such a stupid solution.

Let's hope they just make it simple with just the Thunderbolt plug.

I'd be intrigued to know if there is really a technical reason for a second plug (other than power).
 

divinox

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2011
1,979
0
Why make it difficult?! It obviously works with just one cable! Introducing proprietary formats (or connectors) just reduces its compatibility. It's not wise, and I'm sure Apple will never implement such a stupid solution.

Let's hope they just make it simple with just the Thunderbolt plug.

I'd be intrigued to know if there is really a technical reason for a second plug (other than power).
Hint: standardization work generally work towards compatibility, not against it. Second: certainly, if there was a neat way of pulling power out of the cable without messing with the data, they wouldn't opt for a split solution. so yes, I'm quite sure that theres a technical reason behind it.
 

sfoalex

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2001
381
32
Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that with the Thunderbolt connector on today's Macs. Having two cables there is not smart, why they did not consolidate into one cable makes no sense.
They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.
 

adcx64

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2008
1,227
42
Philadelphia
They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.
Exactly, skimp out on quality just to get the product on the market faster.

----------

Apple would probably sue them if they did something similar.
But apple is licensing Thunderbolt from Intel. They cannot sue the people they license the tech from. :)
 

divinox

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2011
1,979
0
They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.
What a load of crock. First, i fail to see the direct benefit of a split solution. In fact, come to think of it, i can't see it at all. From a cable point of view it just seems like more of a mess. Second, you're talking about the same company that enabled the thunderbolt in your beloved mac in first place. Third, every single Apple adaptor i own is a) big b) bulky. Snap out of the RDF.

----------

Apple would probably sue them if they did something similar.
Certainly. Im sure Apple can think of a way to patent "one cable splitting into two".
 

Ozid

macrumors member
May 22, 2011
30
3
HDMI? Upside Down? I know Apple licenses Mini Displayport at no fee, but maybe for the sake of these drawings and saving a bit of money they went with an HDMI plug to avoid any potential patent infringing. Later on they could switch back to just the Mini Displayport style once they decide on a standard and are willing to spend the money combing over it looking for possible patent misuse.

I don't even know if this kind of thing really even ever happens. It's the only not-completely-absurd reason I could come up with. :p
 

redkamel

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2006
432
28
What a load of crock. First, i fail to see the direct benefit of a split solution. In fact, come to think of it, i can't see it at all. From a cable point of view it just seems like more of a mess. Second, you're talking about the same company that enabled the thunderbolt in your beloved mac in first place. Third, every single Apple adaptor i own is a) big b) bulky. Snap out of the RDF.

A lot of the times I only use the power connector on my display so I don;t have to reboot my screen. With a combined plug I don't have that option, I'd have to add a a power cable to my desk.
 

vitzr

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2011
2,766
3
California
They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.
Actually that couldn't be further from the truth.

However I can understand why maintaining that line of thinking fulfills your emotional needs to validate your choices. Nice work :)
 

vitzr

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2011
2,766
3
California
It looks like Sony implementation of Thunderbolt connector
Yes it does. It appears quite similar.

Apple has ignored building a good docking station for their MBP's and I miss it.

The ThinkPad docking stations are very handy. In a matter of seconds it snaps in place & immediately your monitor, printer, scanner, trackball or mouse & keyboard are all connected. It saves wear & tear, as well as time.

It's a lot cleaner since you can permanently route the cables nicely with tie wraps which give it a very nice look. If you buy the expansion dock it accommodates extra expansion like another SSD or Hard Drive, as well as other accessories.

I know that Apple is opposed to businesses, but to cheat the consumer out of such a valuable accessory is something that seems a bit absurd.
 

lilo777

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2009
5,144
0
Why make it difficult?! It obviously works with just one cable! Introducing proprietary formats (or connectors) just reduces its compatibility. It's not wise, and I'm sure Apple will never implement such a stupid solution.

Let's hope they just make it simple with just the Thunderbolt plug.

I'd be intrigued to know if there is really a technical reason for a second plug (other than power).
The whole thunderbolt tech is Intel's proprietary solution. Yet Apple decided to use it. They don't really have a choice for they do not have a know how to come up with an alternative solution.
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
4,551
Space The Only Frontier
Exactly, skimp out on quality just to get the product on the market faster.

----------



But apple is licensing Thunderbolt from Intel. They cannot sue the people they license the tech from. :)
I have a feeling there's more to this Thunderbolt technology being the sole invention of Intel. I think Apple has a part in there somewhere.
 

Westacular

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2007
120
4
Apple's own solution has been much simpler. Their Thunderbolt Cinema Display offers a single cable which splits into a Thunderbolt cable and a Magsafe power cable. The Thunderbolt cable carries USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Ethernet, and Video from your laptop to the monitor.
Simpler, but more expensive: in a pure Thunderbolt device like the Cinema Display, to support USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Ethernet, audio, etc, there must be controller chips for each on the Thunderbolt device itself.

It's not acting as a hub in a classic sense, "extending" those connectors from the laptop -- it's duplicating those types of connectors by including a full additional controller for each, and connecting them all to the laptop via PCI-e.

To put it another way: it's not acting like half-a-dozen extension cables all at once; it's acting like half-a-dozen expansion cards at once, because (for all intents and purposes) it is.

It's an elegantly versatile way of handling the age-old docking station problem, but it comes with a high price tag, because it means the docking station needs to be half a computer all on its own. For something like the MacBook Air, which doesn't include it's own Firewire or Ethernet controllers to begin with, that makes a lot of sense. But you can understand why PC manufacturers might want to save costs by avoiding some of that unnecessary duplication, which is presumably one of the features of this extended port.

(But then you're halfway back to the problems always posed by proprietary docking ports. Personally, I doubt this semi-TB docking system will really take off. In the long run, the costs of controller chips for Apple's approach isn't that much, and the resulting benefits in versatility are probably worth it.)
 

adcx64

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2008
1,227
42
Philadelphia
I have a feeling there's more to this Thunderbolt technology being the sole invention of Intel. I think Apple has a part in there somewhere.
I believe the only thing Apple had to do with it was the choice of the Mini DisplayPort connector.
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
Mpls, MN
Simpler, but more expensive: in a pure Thunderbolt device like the Cinema Display, to support USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Ethernet, audio, etc, there must be controller chips for each on the Thunderbolt device itself.
We'll see about "more". Docking ports have usually been very expensive if you ask me, upwards of $200. Belkin is making the first standalone Thunderbolt station, no price announced, yet. The CD was $999 before Thunderbolt, so that tells us nothing.
 

hleewell

macrumors 6502a
Oct 22, 2009
544
62
Even better solution for Thunderbolt connector is the one that includes power. I thought Apple is all about simplicity, all-in-one. I think MagSafe should be implemented on iPhone/iPad docks. It's a pain try to align the pins into that thin slot. While a magnetic connector would be self-guiding. Or use that metallic strip that are in 90% of all household cordless power docking station.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.