So is it safe to say Thunderbolt has been ... Underwhelming thus far?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Adamantoise, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I mean, I'm really sick of seeing Apple adopt new standards/technology and not dedicate themselves to it.

    Sure, we've got the Thunderbolt Display ... But I really doubt anyone is going to pay $1,000 for a docking station (It effectively is just a docking station if you already have a monitor, and most people already do).

    Why can't Apple support the technology instead of just leaving it to 3rd party people to do what they please with it.

    Where are the external graphics cards? portable hard drives that are affordable? networking chipsets?

    It's got so much potential yet no one is doing anything with it. Shame on Intel too, it's their tech, least they could do is make it a networking platform.
  2. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2009
    Belfast, UK
    Thunderwhat? :D

    It'll not take off until big hitters like Dell and Sony take it onboard and start fitting it to their high end laptops.
  3. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    Dedicate themselves to it? I think you mean third-party manufacturers dedicate themselves to it.

    The tech is there for them to use or not use if they want. So far, they're adopting at a slow and steady rate. Same thing happened with USB 3 and other evolutions of standards.

    If you're suggesting, on the other hand, that Apple hasn't been dedicated with their own products, I'd look at all of the updates to their laptops and displays.
  4. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    While Thunderbolt is not exactly on fire, taking the world by storm, the good news is it is in the pipeline for those manufacturers who will be adopting it at some point in the future.
  5. Adamantoise thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Well releasing a new laptop or desktop isn't what I'd call dedication. After all, Apple is in the business of making computers.

    I'm talking about giving people reason to want Thunderbolt on their machine. If I'm buying a computer today, I honestly wouldn't care if it had Thunderbolt or not because it's simply not being used by the average consumer.

    I don't need a $1,000+ RAID solution, nor do I need a $1,000 docking station. I guess I just thought Apple would be the ones to get people excited about Thunderbolt. You know, have something going with ATI where they get external GPUs into some enclosure, or have something going with SSD manufacturers to actually implement a bus powered external hard drive.

    Right now there's not a single Thunderbolt accessory that can be considered useful to the average consumer besides the LaCie Little Big Disk.

  6. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    This isn't really Apple's fault. Third party vendors should be looking at building some reasonably priced PCIe cages, that screw in very politely to the VESA mount on the back of my LCD monitor. Instead they are offering what's essentially an extended 4x PCIe riser card on a TB cable for $1k.

    I suspect Apple has ulterior motives. I'm waiting for them to announce that they have built a TB hub that will let you cluster Mac computers. The longer they delay releasing a Mac Pro refresh the more suspicious I grow...
  7. samcolson4 macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2011
    I'd love to see an affordable TB storage solution.

    At the moment, Apple could make this affordable and still make a tonne of money. If they released a 1TB and 2TB version for £100/£200 respectively, with another ThunderBolt port on it (for daisy chaining) I bet they'd sell seriously quick.

    Also - because no other computer is really utilising it at the moment it'd basically be something you would already have to own a very modern Mac for - therefore they've already made one massive pile of cash from people buying those laptops.

    I also think it would be a great incentive to upgrade...
  8. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2011
    If I were a betting man I'd say Intel made it very "compelling" for Apple to adopt Thunderbolt tech. Most likely some deal made on a golf course between two senior VP's that included future CPU chip supplies.

    We'll never know.
  9. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    There's a lot more to come, I have a feeling the half speed TB port in the macbook air is going to have something to do with a docking kind of station for the MBP that the air won't be able to use
  10. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Nobody will make Thunderbolt devices for Apple, because Apple is a very small market and companies have to pay Apple tax. ( There is a reason why Firewire HDD costs so much more than USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, it's because those companies have to pay Apple )

    When Ivy Bridge hit, PC laptops will also have Thunderbolt and then you'll see Thunderbolt devices appearing.

    For now, Thunderbolt is useless.
  11. Weaselboy, Nov 7, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Apple does not charge a licensing fee for Firewire. Read here. Firewire costs more because a Firewire controller chip is more complex that a USB controller due to the Firewire controller handling the processing of the transfer where this is handled by the CPU with USB.

    While Thunderbolt (TB) may not be useful for you at this point, new Macbook owners are happily using TB to connect their Apple Thunderbolt Display. It is a nice setup if you want a laptop with an external monitor. I do concede TB devices certainly are not as widespread and inexpensive as one would like.

    Also, according to Anandtech, there is no Apple licensing fee for Thunderbolt.
  12. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000


    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    I agree with the OP in some ways. Thunderbolt technology had great potential, but there is no use leaving that potential by only providing Thunderbolt connectivity on devices. There needs to be hardware that takes advantage of that connectivity. Whether this is the fault of Apple, Intel or 3rd party manufacturers being unwilling to adopt the technology into their devices (I don't know), but what is for certain is that something needs to be done. Right now the marketing by Apple of their Thunderbolt ports in their devices such as the MacBook Pro seems nothing more than a gimmick to the average user.

    Yes, they do have their new Thunderbolt Displays, but most of us don't use/want/can't afford an external monitor. I don't mind having an external monitor, but the hefty price tag on the monitor means I can't afford it. I'm speaking from a personal point of view. What I would like to see is more 3rd party devices taking advantage of Thunderbolt. It seems to me that USB 3.0 is becoming more and more integrated into the market and so it is difficult for Thunderbolt to pick up pace. Yet what is also a key problem is that there are not enough devices that have Thunderbolt ports. At present, it seems that Apple and Sony (I may be wrong here) are the only companies to have incorporated the Thunderbolt interface (relying on Wiki) - this isn't appealing to the mass market and won't be a wise decision from a business perspective in targeting a smaller market. USB 3.0 seems to be replacing USB 2.0 and its backwards compatibility with 2.0 is what makes 3.0 ports appealing to manufacturers and customers.

    In summary, there needs to more manufacturers adopting the Thunderbolt ports in their devices which would, in my opinion, help encourage manufacturers to implement Thunderbolt technology into their devices.

    Just my two cents from what I've read on these forums. ;)
  13. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Of course there isn't. Thunderbolt is intel's technology.
  14. Kafka macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2011
    Damn I was going to do this :)
  15. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I think YES it is definitely save to say that Thunderbolt was next to useless for almost anybody, but that was to be expected.

    And there is a very similar problem with Thunderbolt. Just look at those controllers on the MBP logic board. That thing is huge. The smaller one is half the size but still really big compared to USB controllers than take up next to no silicon today. A USB controller costs nothing.
    Thunderbolt is really expensive and for anything but docking stations and external GPUs or something like very fast raid storage where money doesn't matter it just isn't worth the price. And this won't change in the near future.
    Thunderbolt won't take of for another 2 or 3 years at least.
    There will be some stuff like external GPUs and docking stations but they just don't have any appeal to the masses. That is stuff for enthusiasts, which is why adoption is slow. The market is just very small. I am guessing for the price they can offer it the market is even smaller which makes it almost none existent or not worth a whole lot R&D costs. Stuff will eventually show up but it is not worth to hurry and spend loads on R&D to be first as there isn't a whole lot of money to make.
  16. tbear1 macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2007
    Promising technology but very underwhelmed on the introduction.

  17. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Quote below from the article I linked. If you have some citation that shows Intel is charging a licensing fee please post it. The Anandtech article seems to say there is no fee from either Apple or Intel.

    Thunderbolt was developed jointly by Apple and Intel.

  18. Nychot macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2011
    i care so LITTLE about TB that i am downgrading to snow leopard my early 2011 mbp that came with lion. i see no use for TB at this time and in the near future plus i need SL for software not compatible with lion.
  19. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Not enough devices to say at this point. It needs to hit on the consumer side before it takes off.

    I have a Promise Pegasus on the way. It will be tethered off my new mini server (replacing the old school fat boy). Should be good from the reviews I have seen.

    To qualify: I mean devices more accessible to consumers (not 4 drive RAID arrays and more readily available in common retail outlets, even the Walmarts).
  20. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Adoption so far may be underwhelming, but the tech is not. In the next few months, a number of vendors plan to or have already release accessories like GigE adapters, external PciE enclosures, docking stations even FW800 and esata adapters. I have no idea is TB will ever take off, but remember Apple has a year of exclusitivity. Once intel starts putting it in mainstream chipsets, things may change. Macs may even see tb > USB3 adapters for commercial products that don't support tb.
  21. psykick5 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2011
    I need affordable external hard drives using TB. I'm talking like 1TB and 2TB non-RAID.
  22. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    I am guessing you don't find this afforable?
  23. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It depends on what you consider affordable. There aren't a lot of TB drives on the market yet, so the prices are higher than they will be when there's more competition.
    Affordable, if the buyer has the money and wants to part with it. Considering you can get a drive of the same capacity with interfaces for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB2 & eSATA 'Quad Interface' for less than half the price, I wouldn't exactly call that drive a bargain.
  24. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Apple's followed through just fine. Near as I can tell, all the machines it's introduced since TB first hit the market have included TB.

    It's the peripheral manufacturers that have taken their sweet time.

    This is a technology that's very much worth the wait. It is a wire extension of th PCIe bus, so it allows all the elements of a computer to be distributed around the room. Graphics processors, storage, processing units... you could, in principle, carry around a featherweight Macbook Air, then plug in your Thunderbolt cable and have it hook up to additional CPUs, graphics engines and storage resources. This has the potential to totally eradicate the division between laptop, desktop and high-powered workstation computers.

    Some vendors have been kvetching that the cost of TB, but that's clearly manageable too, considering Apple is able to shoe-horn it into cost-effective laptop computers without hiking their price.

    The advantages of Thunderbolt are very compelling. It'll happen. It's happening.

    And: personally, the moment Western Digital or some other manufacturer comes out with a bus-powered TB portable drive similar to WD's Passport drives, I'm upgrading my whole system. I use FireWire-equipped Passports for virtual machines, and Thunderbolt will do wonderful things for that setup.

    I'm chomping at the bit and hope the vision fleshes out soon.
  25. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I don't think it is a bargain either, I was just wondering.

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