Thunderbolt card for Mac Pro 4,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Ben1l, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Ben1l macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2006
    I have a Mac Pro 4,1. I just wanted to know if there is any way of installing a Thunderbolt card in the machine?

  2. pastrychef, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  3. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    There are currently no PCI-E Thunderbolt cards for the MP. If you use the forum search you will see other discussions about this.
  4. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    Apparently there never will be one either.
  5. 3dadd macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2012
  6. axy60 macrumors newbie


    Sep 7, 2012
    near equator
    a new Thunderbolt option for the HP Z820 & Z620

    Not sure how this option for a PC would help a MP user... (?)
  7. cliffa macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2013
    I think he's trying to explain *why* there will never be a TB card for a 4,1 MP
  8. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    Unfortunately there never will be an option to retro fit thunderbolt to a pre nMP Mac Pro as it requires support in the logic board itself (the chipset has to be thunderbolt ready so to speak).

    I guess its like trying to add fingerprint support to the start button on an iphone 4 - the hardware just cannot support it, as it needs to be baked in at manufacture.

    Its a shame, and is a big factor in why I am selling my beast to get a nMP or new iMac, we have thunderbolt storage that my main machine cannot fully utilise :(
  9. serr macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2010
    Lots of comments back from 2013 just reading every single TB pci expansion card the riot act and even claiming such a thing can never be built to be reliable. Sounds pretty dramatic...

    Fast forward to 2017.
    What options do we have today and is one of them recommended by anyone?
  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    There are no options. It is not possible, as people have said many times now, including this thread.
  11. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
  12. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Nothing has changed since the bunny spoke.
  13. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    Even on PC's for thunderbolt to work the mothboard has to have a thunderbolt header (plug) for it to work. That era Mac Pro does not have that header as it predates thunderbolt.

    Even if you installed a thunderbolt card. The computer can't talk to it.
  14. warragul macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    If you'd like to McGyver it you could pick up a cheap Mac Mini (the later ones have TB) and start it in Target Mode, hooked by FireWire/USB to your cMP. I don't know how fast it would be but you'd have connectivity (of a sort).
    Wish I'd thought about it when the local pawn shop had a couple of WD 4Tb TB drives. But for 4Tb drives they wanted too much.
  15. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    Most thunderbolt items have a USB 3 port as well. May as well just plug in USB.
  16. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    Ironic that the machine Light Peak was developed on, never got it officially.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 7, 2017 ---
    I know you can chain FW800 to FW400 by having a machine in the middle with both. Has to have power but doesn't actually have to be on. Wonder if it's the same for FW to TB..
  17. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Thunderbolt is useful in a sealed system - albeit a clunky and expensive way of adding peripherals. In a cMP, you have direct access to the PCIe buses, so is TB really that big a deal when you can readily swap out graphic cards, USB cards etc?
  18. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    He may want it for things like external hard drives.
  19. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Same thing applies. With USB3 or eSATA or internal nvme adapters what is the real benefit of TB?
  20. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    If you need to move large files or lots and I mean lots of files from a computer to an external drive or vice versa really quickly. I was watching a video of a photographer who when backing up his files at the end of a location shoot from his laptop to a external drive he said thunderbolt sped his transfer time from 30 minutes with usb to 5 with thunderbolt.
  21. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Putting a Mac Mini, or any thunderbolt equippped Mac into target disk mode will not provide any thunderbolt connectivity to a Mac Pro.
  22. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That kinds of difference most likely is coming from the drive (e.g. SSD vs HDD), but not the connecting method.

    Even a $20 PCIe USB 3.0 card can let a cheap SATA SSD write at ~500MB/s. 6x faster means 3000MB/s. Do you think it make sense? Which "normal price" external drive has this kind of speed?

    I don't know which video you refer to, but may be he compared a USB HDD to a Thinderbolt SSD. In this case, ~100MB/s vs ~550MB/s. Very close to that 6x improvement.

    If he actually used a USB 3.0 SSD. 500MB/s, write for 30min.

    500x60x30 ~ 900GB. Which also doesn't sounds right for normal photos work.
  23. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    I think the same as h9826790. This sounds like a comparison of USB 2.0 to TB or some similar mismatch.
  24. William Payne macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2017
    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    The photographer I was talking about is working with 100 megapixel phase one medium format files.

    I may have either miss quoted his times or he was exaggerating to make a point.

    Not sure what drives he was using in the past, but the photographers I pay attention to are thunderbolt users and all use thunderbolt for that purpose, fast file transfer between devices externally.
  25. carpsafari Suspended


    Sep 13, 2015
    the Netherlands
    Well for that we have the flashSSD, or 4x on an Amfeltec card, to speed up things, even faster than TB3 can.
    Using a flashSSD as Scratchdisk will illiminate the need for TB.
    Backing up to a HDD is no problem, because by then you finished your project.

    ps, when I move a folder with dslr clips from my scratchdisk (SM951) it takes less than 30 seconds for 32Gb.

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