MBP vs. MBA Thunderbolt speed

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by westislander, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. westislander macrumors member


    Aug 17, 2011
    Montreal, Quebec Canada
    I read somewhere, probably on MacRumors or Engadget that the Thunderbolt speeds are slower on the MBA versus that of the MBP.

    Is that true?
    Can someone clarify that to me?
  2. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I believe the Thunderbolt port on the MacBook Air has only one set of 20Gbps channels, while the Pro has two sets. Thus, theoretically, the Pro can handle twice as much data. However, for existing peripherals (e.g. LaCie drive, Sonnet Echo, RAID hard drives), this likely won't be an issue.
  3. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    No way to really know until there is a damn thunderbolt drive available to use! And no, I don't consider a $1200 raid a usable drive!
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    It's not slower, but it has half the bandwidth. Either way, there isn't anything out yet that would max out the Air's Thunderbolt bandwidth (maybe if you daisy chained enough Pegasus R6's). At this point I wouldn't be concerned.
  5. eagandale4114 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2011
    The MBP used the same chip used in the iMacs. Those chips can support two TB ports (27" iMac has 2 of them) while the MBA needs only one and does fine with a lower end chip that was released after the TB controllers for the MBP were released.
  6. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    To put this into perspective: The MBA Thunderbolt has 10Gbps upstream (1 channel) and 10Gbps downstream (1 channel). Anandtech mentioned that a 27" Thunderbolt display needs about 7Gbps of upstream capacity, which still leaves plenty of bandwidth for other things like e.g. Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbps), Firewire800 (0,8Gbps) etc.

    Biggest limitation is that you can only connect one external display to a MBA, which is not only due to the lower number of channels (2 on the MBA vs 4 on iMac, MBP, Mac mini), but also simply because the graphic solution inside the MBA (Intel HD 3000) supports only 2 displays, one of which is the internal Notebook display.

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