Internal Thunderbolt on new MacPro

ekwipt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 14, 2008
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Not sure if it's been discussed or not but a good idea for Apple would be to release an internal Thunderbolt 4 drive chassis able to be raided, it would really push the MacPro ahead of the other manufacturers (Dell & HP) and maybe use internal mSSD or chips similar to the MacBook Air for the boot drive, either that or a an option for an oem version of the OCZ PCIe SSD cards, slight redesign case to match.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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What would be the advantage of an internal TB chassis in a Mac Pro, which currently has an S-ATA 3.0 Gbps (S-ATA II) interface for all internally connected storage devices? Most likely, the new MP will get S-ATA 6.0 Gbps (S-ATA III) for those, thus there is no real need for an internal TB chassis, unless I am understanding you wrong.
Your post could use some punctuation, as it reads like a run-on sentence.
 
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Inconsequential

macrumors 68000
Sep 12, 2007
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Not sure if it's been discussed or not but a good idea for Apple would be to release an internal Thunderbolt 4 drive chassis able to be raided, it would really push the MacPro ahead of the other manufacturers (Dell & HP) and maybe use internal mSSD or chips similar to the MacBook Air for the boot drive, either that or a an option for an oem version of the OCZ PCIe SSD cards, slight redesign case to match.
What on earth for!?!?!?

What a random suggestion :/ :confused:
 
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initialsBB

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2010
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Although one can question the need for Thunderbolt in a Mac Pro, I feel the real issue is compatibility with the ever increasing range of Thunderbolt products.
 
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theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
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Although one can question the need for Thunderbolt in a Mac Pro, I feel the real issue is compatibility with the ever increasing range of Thunderbolt products.
Yes, the 2012 Mac Pro simply must have a thunderbolt port, but the original post is something else entirely and does not make any sense.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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Not sure if it's been discussed or not but a good idea for Apple would be to release an internal Thunderbolt 4 drive chassis able to be raided, it would really push the MacPro ahead of the other manufacturers (Dell & HP)
It is doubtful this will become a wide spread practice among system vendors. Part of the usefulness of Thunderbolt (TB) is to transform internal system signals (PCI-e ) into something that can be used to communicate between boxes. If you put the external peripheral box inside the original computer system box, it is now internal. The normal internal connectivity is both cheaper (there are already PCI-e lanes inside the box) and less complicated.

Indeed many of the initial TB products are either PCI-e cards wrapped in a "new" package or PCI-e cards + old external box (e.g., an eSATA PCI-e card moved to the external box). If go the other way there is no need for TB or the external boxes "inter-box communication" infrastructure.


Very similar rationale as to why there will never be native TB drives. You'll have either PCI-e or SATA drives but there aren't going to be "native" TB drives ( or likely any other perhiperal for that matter. ) TB will always be hooked to something that is PCI-e or DisplayPort "native" or has in standards based , inexpensive controller that makes it PCI-e or Display Port "native" (e.g., SATA-PCIe controller. ). TB isn't going to "Drive out" the older standards. It will make them useful in more places which only means they will continue; not disappear.


PCI-e is faster than TB if lash up sufficient lanes. It always will be. There is no "speed" advantage to a TB drive versus one on PCI-e.


and maybe use internal mSSD or chips similar to the MacBook Air for the boot drive, either that or a an option for an oem version of the OCZ PCIe SSD cards, slight redesign case to match.
Actually more the case of a internal SSD similar to that of the XServe. The XServe has a SSD boot drive option long before the MacBookAir did. Probably would want to use standard mSSD drive at this point though as opposed to the custom drive that Apple used in the XServe.

There are a couple of features from the XServe: easier horizontal rackmount, front accessible drives that lock in place , and this SSD boot drive that could be moved down to the Mac Pro to expand its usage range without significantly impacting the historical primary usage profiles.

A front panel with two lockable 2.5" drive sleds might kill two birds with one stone ( front drives and SSD ).

As far as mid-full size SSD drive card though. There is no pressing need for Apple to do that in a standard or even BTO config. Apple should work with vendors to see that they work, but an "Apple labeled" one isn't necessary. Neither is an Apple labeled RAID card. It is time for Apple to leave that too (single or dual SSD, SATA III drives are going to replace a large fraction of the internal "need for speed" RAID set ups and external RAID set ups have lots of competitive offerings to choose from when need external bulk storage. ). Given the internal core chipset has more than a few high speed SATA lanes and decent RAID abilities, an additional card doesn't have alot of traction when targeting the internal drive sleds.
 
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deconstruct60

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Mar 10, 2009
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Yes, the 2012 Mac Pro simply must have a thunderbolt port,
The 2012 Mac Pro needs a Thunderbolt port about as much as the 2008-2010 models needed an ExpressCard port.

It is largely an over hyped market. There are extremely few $1,800 and up workstations with ExpressCard ports on them now.

A large fraction of the "work" these TB products do is covered by PCI-e cards that many users already own. So a new boxes with PCI-e slots will likely be utilized to reuse those cards. TB is going to have far more traction in markets where the system couldn't do the work before because there was not enough PCI-e bandwidth to get the job done than in markets replacing functionality that users already own.


Apple could add Mac Pro systems with discrete video cards and TB, but that will only drive costs higher. That is not "needed" as the Mac Pro already struggles with pricing pressure relative to the entire PC market. They would need either custom cards or embedded graphics which will drive up costs if made a standard feature.
 
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goMac

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Apr 15, 2004
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Internal Thunderbolt does not provide any speed improvements over four discrete SATA-3 ports.
 
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theSeb

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Aug 10, 2010
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The 2012 Mac Pro needs a Thunderbolt port about as much as the 2008-2010 models needed an ExpressCard port.

It is largely an over hyped market. There are extremely few $1,800 and up workstations with ExpressCard ports on them now.

A large fraction of the "work" these TB products do is covered by PCI-e cards that many users already own. So a new boxes with PCI-e slots will likely be utilized to reuse those cards. TB is going to have far more traction in markets where the system couldn't do the work before because there was not enough PCI-e bandwidth to get the job done than in markets replacing functionality that users already own.


Apple could add Mac Pro systems with discrete video cards and TB, but that will only drive costs higher. That is not "needed" as the Mac Pro already struggles with pricing pressure relative to the entire PC market. They would need either custom cards or embedded graphics which will drive up costs if made a standard feature.
I should have posted a more detailed response. The reason that it needs it is purely for compatibility and uniformity with the rest of the range. Let's say I work in the field with a MBP and use a TB drive. I want to be able to plug in that TB peripheral into my mac pro when I get home or back to the office.
 
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derbothaus

macrumors 601
Jul 17, 2010
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Thunderbolt = 2x10Gb/s (i.e. 20Gb/s)

SATA 3.0 = 6Gb/s
Yes but the reference was for "discrete". So really,

SATA 3.0 x4 = 24Gb/s


Single drives on each bus will not saturate either connection. So what is the point?

Put in 4x HDD's and the throughput is exactly the same in RAID0. TB gives no advantage. TB gives no advantage to SSD's either. Maybe next generation of storage. When each SSD/ (whatever) can transfer over 650MB/s. But SATAIV will be out at probably 12Gb/s. So again, why pay for the extra cost and implementation for the HD shopping limitations having internal TB would bring you.
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
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Yes but the reference was for "discrete". So really,

SATA 3.0 x4 = 24Gb/s


Single drives on each bus will not saturate either connection. So what is the point?

Put in 4x HDD's and the throughput is exactly the same in RAID0. TB gives no advantage. TB gives no advantage to SSD's either. Maybe next generation of storage. When each SSD/ (whatever) can transfer over 650MB/s. But SATAIV will be out at probably 12Gb/s. So again, why pay for the extra cost and implementation for the HD shopping limitations having internal TB would bring you.
I wasn't implying that one is better than the other, just clarifying the situation.

The fastest SSDs are already very close maxing out SATA 6Gb/s. Remember that SATA uses 8b/10b encoding scheme, so there is 20% overhead. That drops the maximum to 600MB/s when excluding other overheads such as latency.

Thunderbolt provides no gain because all drives are still employing SATA interface. Yes, even PCIe ones (the controller has a SATA interface, that's why. Most PCIe SSDs employ several controllers to achieve greater speeds, but that's same as RAIDing regular SSDs). OCZ/Marvell are coming up with a native PCIe controller which will eliminate the SATA bottleneck though.
 
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goMac

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Apr 15, 2004
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Isnt thunderbolt 10gbps where sata3 is only 3gbps???
Does it matter? No single drive on the market or anywhere on the horizon is faster than SATA3. You'd be wasting Thunderbolt on a single drive that wouldn't support it.

Sure, you could run a RAID off a single Thunderbolt port, but if it's going to take up two drive bays, might as well use two SATA3 bays. It's much less wasteful than the power and heat needed to put Thunderbolt controllers on two ends of a connection literally less than a centimeter apart.
 
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derbothaus

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Jul 17, 2010
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Umbongo

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Sep 14, 2006
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Apple could add Mac Pro systems with discrete video cards and TB, but that will only drive costs higher. That is not "needed" as the Mac Pro already struggles with pricing pressure relative to the entire PC market. They would need either custom cards or embedded graphics which will drive up costs if made a standard feature.
But the alternative is Apple continuing to have separate Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt connected displays or no longer supporting the Mac Pro with their display line. May be fine for their current generation of 27" displays, but I can't see them doing it again next time.

I'll be a little surprised if Apple don't have Thunderbolt out through the graphics card. I don't know enough about how hard it would be for them to implement in that way though.
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
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Looks interesting but my shopping concerns are still valid. Putting 6+ TB ports internally on a Mac Pro this year would be unsound. Unless you like spending the extra cost on the Apple branded HD you'll be a slave to. Random read and writes (pure bandwidth, yes) are still nowhere near saturation speeds on these links regardless of SSD - right now.
Again, I wasn't implying that Thunderbolt is the way to go, just showing that there is something faster than SATA 6Gb/s. Internal TB ports sound stupid because you would need several TB controllers, all eating up precious PCIe lanes. Besides, the real usefulness of TB lies outside of regular storage solutions.
 
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goMac

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Apr 15, 2004
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Again, I wasn't implying that Thunderbolt is the way to go, just showing that there is something faster than SATA 6Gb/s. Internal TB ports sound stupid because you would need several TB controllers, all eating up precious PCIe lanes. Besides, the real usefulness of TB lies outside of regular storage solutions.
It it faster than SATA3? The article said the drive has a Thunderbolt connector, not that it's faster than SATA3.

Edit: From the claimed speed the article gives, this drive would run just fine on a SATA3 bus.
 
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Hellhammer

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Dec 10, 2008
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It it faster than SATA3? The article said the drive has a Thunderbolt connector, not that it's faster than SATA3.

Edit: From the claimed speed the article gives, this drive would run just fine on a SATA3 bus.
750MB/s > 600MB/s

It would of course run on SATA 6Gb/s, but the SATA interface would be bottlenecking it.
 
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derbothaus

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Jul 17, 2010
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Again, I wasn't implying that Thunderbolt is the way to go, just showing that there is something faster than SATA 6Gb/s. Internal TB ports sound stupid because you would need several TB controllers, all eating up precious PCIe lanes. Besides, the real usefulness of TB lies outside of regular storage solutions.
Agreed. Future looks promising.
 
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