Thunderbolt Cables

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by lugesm, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. lugesm macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2007
    I now have two Apple computers with Thurderbolt output, and I bought a couple of Seagate Thunderbolt adapters for 2.5" drives.

    Looking for a REASONABLY priced Thunderbolt cable, I find none. None. I would have thought there would be a Chinese knockoff by now. Is there a patent issue that prevents anyone other then Apple making these without a patent license ? If that is the case, we might never see these cables at reasonable prices.

    Discouraging. I can buy a 500GB drive almost as cheap as I can buy the d..... cable.
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Thunderbolt cables have embedded active electronics, which raises the price.
  3. lugesm thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2007
    Thanks. I am aware of that, and I would never expect the cables to get as inexpensive as USB cables.

    But . . . . $50 ! ! ! !

    Integrated circuits are not that expensive these days. I still suspect the semi-proprietary nature of these cables allows for much greater PROFIT for Apple and licensees.
  4. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    It's not just the electronics within each end of the cable that is driving the cost, it is also the labor and testing to build each cable.

    Unlike slower speed cables like USB 2.0 where the technology and build process is mature, Thunderbolt cables (and USB 3.0, too) require a more precise build process to assure problem-free performance.

    For Thunderbolt, there are active components as well as customized trimming for each built cable. It is not simply stripping some wires and soldering to a connector. Instead the tolerances are very tight; just look at the iFixit photos which indicate the tolerances and complexity. To assure repeatable high-speed performance, everything must be perfect; there is no room for error and mistakes that might be tolerated in slower speed USB 2.0 cables.

    Similar practice is required for USB 3.0 cables, though without the active components within.

    To build a reliable cable requires tight tolerances, quality components, careful skill in assembly and soldering, and testing/calibration to assure proper performance in all DisplayPort and Thunderbolt configurations.

    So, at this time, all this attention adds cost, resulting in a $49 cable. Will it be less expensive in the future? Perhaps. So, if you need to get work done today, you'll need to pay that $49. Waiting, may make it available at a lesser price, but you'll be paying in other ways today with slower solutions.:)
  5. Primus84 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2005
    Is it not just supply and demand? Because so few are made costs remain relatively high?
  6. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I've also read some articles that dissected the cables calling them miracles of engineering, so I'm guessing they are pretty expensive to design and manufacture.

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