Thunderbolt-equipped Mac: You’re so going to want this

“With the recently updated iMac and MacBook pro lines receiving Thunderbolt updates, nearly half of Apple’s Mac fleet has now made the transition to the new technology,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP.

“The next Mac on the update roadmap is the Mac mini,” Reschke writes. “But regardless of which Mac is next, Thunderbolt is an absolute game changer, and here’s why:”

1. Thunderbolt is a quantum leap in throughput.
2. Thunderbolt is going to drive demand of SSD external storage.
3. Devices are going to quickly adopt Thunderbolt.
4. One cable, one pipe, one chain.

Reschke writes, “Oh, one more thing. Intel’s developed Thunderbolt and is supporting the technology in all of their forthcoming designs, but has very little motivation to support USB 3.0. Any questions? Didn’t think so. You’re so going to want this.”

Much more in the full article here.

37 Comments

  1. For the moment, Thunderbolt remains only a curiosity on my MBP. It’s there but there aren’t too many peripherals that are compatible with it. What would be nice though is a Thunderbolt compatible external storage drive of which most if not all are in proof of concept stage only. It’s a complete waste of time at the moment.

      1. Actually, eggs predate chickens by millions of years. The ancestors of chickens have been laying eggs long before any species that could be considered a chicken (or even a bird) existed.

    1. Yes, it is a curiosity on my MBP at the moment, but I’d much rather it was there. Peripheral manufacturers will catch up with Apple ……. eventually.

    2. Curiosity?? Just this week I hooked my new MBP up to an Hitachi projector. It worked immediately with no setup or parameter poking. All you need is a VGA dongle.

  2. I’m excited about it, but I can’t help seeing the parallels to another great, but unfortunately largely ignored technology called FireWire. Only time will tell, I suppose.

    1. This will be more like the great and at-the-time-Apple-put-it-on-the-iMac, largely ignored technology called USB that Intel was pushing.

      THIS really is the next big thing. And it’s the long-term future once it’s goes optical.

    2. Like the article said, FireWire 400 was displaced by USB 2.0 and by the time Apple introduced FW 800, USB had taken over the market.

      This TB technology is way more significant than FW and I couldn’t disagree more with Ballmer’s Left Nut.

      To state this new tech is a waste of time is like saying, an unfinished book is a complete waste of time.

      It’s wish-list time, dream time, saving time, and planning time, not a waste of time.

    3. Largely ignored???
      FW400 was displaced by USB2??? (G4Dualie)

      U guys never moved anything more than your daily emails between hds it seems. FW400 runs circles around usb2 when it comes to true throughput, not bogging up the cpu all while letting u daisy chain 15 drives, unlike the ridiculous lo end usb c…p.
      For mice, I guess usb2 is (semi) ok, but I´d take FW (800 or 400) over usb for transferring and connecting data devices any day.

      1. I think most people are content to hang around for several hours moving video files between devices. Like you, I’ve been loving FW800 and can’t stand USB. Even my pocket HDs are FW800. Will give Thunderbolt/Lightpeak until 2012 before I buy anything.

      2. I didn’t stutter and your ears don’t flop! And you don’t know what we move.

        Yes ignored, if the market is any indication.

        I prefer FW over USB of any flavor, but the fact is USB was cheaper to license than FW 400 and it’s safe to say, USB peripherals outnumber FW by 10 to 1.

        I rely solely on FW800 for video and 3D animation anymore but, as soon as Toshiba starts making Thunder drives I’ll replace my five externals.

    4. The reasons why Firewire was hamstrung and did not gain the acceptance of USB are 1) stupid licensing fees, 2) switch of connector at 400 to 800 and above transition, 3) perception that Apple was the *only* company supporting it, a 4) perception that because Apple was 100% in control of the specification that Apple could change the rules at any time thus obsoleting any non Apple hardware at any time.

      In the early days Apple’s licensing scheme was a hefty up front fee from each company PLUS a $1 per connector fee. Thus a company that made Firewire cables had to pay the up front fee plus $2 per cable. Until Apple changed the licensing fees (and they eventually did) Firewire was doomed.

      Firewire just started to move forward with 400 Mbps when the 800 Mbps version came out — and the 800 Mbps required a completely different connector. While seemingly a small thing to most people it meant that old cables don’t work. It meant that manufacturers need to put different connectors into their systems. AND 1600 Mbps and 3200 Mbps Firewired, at the time, were fiber optic only. When 800, 1600 and 3200 were introduced there were three different connectors: one for 400, one for 800 and one for 1600/3200. (Eventually a variant of Firewire was approved for 1600/3200 that used the same connector as 800. But by then most of the world had given up on Firewire.)

      In reality Apple did not push Firewire to any company other than a very select few. Apple did not *push* firewired to the other PC manufacturers. Apple did not *push* Firewire to the motherboard makers.

      Apple did retain control over Firewire. Even after it became an international “standard” Apple retained very significant control over the specifications. In the early days Apple had 100% control. In those days very few manufacturers trusted Apple. Even for hard drives in the Apple world SCSI ruled.

      Why will Thunderbolt be different?
      1. The licensing is very different.
      2. The current connector has to ability to support double or even possibly 5x data rates. (To go to 100 Gbps it *will* take fiber.)
      3. Intel is pushing it to many more vendors than just Apple.
      4. HOPEFULLY Intel will truly turn Thunderbolt into an open standard not controlled by Intel. It hasn’t happened yet, but it definitely needs to happen.

      The real fly in the ointment is that Intel has quietly been talking about a follow on to Thunderbolt. It starts at 50 Gbps (not 10) and is really fiber based. Additionally, the replacement to Thunderbolt is supposed to scale beyond Intel’s stated limit of Thunderbolt of 100 Gbps. Intel says to expect this followon by 2015. So if Thunderbolt is going to be replaced in four years and USB 3.0 is “fast enough” for now, then why jump onto the Tunderbolt bandwagon?

  3. I want Thunderbolt networking to replace the current networking. Then I can network way faster than I do now, and the NAS I store stuff on would be like it was connected inside the computer.

  4. the next computer to get it is the MacPro not the Mac Mini

    the Mini will be LAST in line, even later than the MacBook Air.

    personally, the MacPro doesn’t need it yet, as they have other options for fast thruput…The Macbook Pro’s are the ideal system to have this port though and docking stations are bound to start showing up this Fall.

    a full dock with one cable to attach to a desktop monitor, extra media drives, the USB/Firewire hubs

    This will only extend the usefulness of the MacBook Air also.

  5. Yes, and I remember when the DVI connection on my TiPB was a curiosity too, since there were so few monitors with a DVI connection. I actually had to go to Staples and connect to each monitor to see if it would work, since not all DVI connections were alike.

  6. I like the idea that one TB port can drive displays and external storage over such a thin cable. It may be a new standard without a lot of peripherals available right now, but I think it should have a great future. I kept wondering why Apple wouldn’t go with eSATA which seemed to offer a lot of speed advantage, but I have no complaints at all with TB. Even if I have to buy new cases and such, I think it’s definitely worth the change.

  7. There’s no point to a Thunderbolt port on a Mac Mini unless there’s two of them or at least a Thunderbolt port and a Mini DisplayPort. Will the lowest cost Mac get two before the most expensive, the Mac Pro, gets even one?

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