MBP vs. MBA Thunderbolt speed

westislander

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 17, 2011
66
27
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?
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,516
3,057
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?
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.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
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?
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.
 

eagandale4114

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2011
1,011
1
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.
 

Neodym

macrumors 68000
Jul 5, 2002
1,944
519
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.