“The first Thunderbolt compatible peripherals—Promise’s Pegasus RAIDs—starting shipping on Tuesday. Using the RAIDs with a Thunderbolt equipped Mac,” Chris Foresman reports for Ars Technica. “Promise’s RAIDs do not come supplied with a Thunderbolt cable. Instead, users are directed to buy a Thunderbolt cable directly from Apple, which costs $49 for two-meter length. We contacted Promise to find out why a Mini DisplayPort cable could not be used in its stead, since the Thunderbolt port is based on Mini DisplayPort. A support technician told Ars that Apple’s Thunderbolt cable is a ‘smart’ cable that ‘has firmware in it.'”
“A source within the telecom industry explained to Ars that active cables are commonly used at data rates above 5Gbps,” Foresman reports. “These cables contain tiny chips at either end that are calibrated to the attenuation and dispersion properties of the wire between them. Compensating for these properties ‘greatly improves the signal-to-noise ratio’ for high-bandwidth data transmission.”
Foresman reports, “Our friends at iFixit made a trip to a local Apple Store to find out what hardware powers Apple’s Thunderbolt cable. CEO Kyle Wiens told Ars that Apple’s cable contains two Gennum GN2033 Thunderbolt Transceiver chips to facilitate Thunderbolt’s blazing speed.”
Read more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]
Apple releases $49 Apple Thunderbolt cable – June 28, 2011