Thunderbolt expected to strike more frequently next year

Intel’s wicked-fast Thunderbolt interconnect has thus far been limited to Macs, but DigiTimes claims that will change next year. The site expects Sony to start offering Thunderbolt-equipped systems in 2012, and Asus will apparently integrate the technology into high-end notebooks. There’s also word that Gigabyte will put a Thunderbolt port on a motherboard in April of next year, probably as part of its Ivy Bridge lineup. The article specifically mentions Gigabyte adding Thunderbolt to compete with Asus and ASRock, which will presumably have similarly equipped mobos of their own.

Don’t expect Thunderbolt to take the market by storm, though. DigiTimes indicates that the required chip costs more than $20, which is about ten times the cost of the USB 3.0 controllers found on modern motherboards. DigiTimes’ sources say Thunderbolt will become cheaper to adopt, but not until the second half of next year. The price of the chip will have to fall precipitously for the technology to be viable for the sort of mid-range motherboards we prefer here at TR.

With USB 3.0 gaining in popularity, Thunderbolt faces an increasingly uphill battle. The SuperSpeed USB spec is more than fast enough for modern storage devices—SSDs included—and USB 3.0 ports are now available on even low-end systems and netbooks. The extra bandwidth offered by Thunderbolt has intriguing potential for other devices, but it could be a while before something comes out that makes Thunderbolt a must-have technology for PC enthusiasts.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    So… it will ‘almost’ be as popular as Firewire for all the good that does it.

    Seriously Intel, stop trying to push your wares. We’ve had the Tbolt debate time and time again. There is no reason to use Tbolt except for some sort of obscure monitor setup that allows you to use the monitor as a hub for other devices.

      • demani
      • 8 years ago

      Except that with Ultrabooks supposedly looking to be a large chunk of the market in the next year, that becomes a very large use case-not obscure at all if 25% of laptops could take advantage next year.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        Ultrabooks will be 25% of laptop sales? Here I thought ultrabooks were useless netbooks with giant screens and large price tags…

        Why would that make the market shift to it even if devices have it as well? I’m sure all of those ultrabooks will have USB, possibly even USB 3 for that price tag (although Intel is trying hard to keep manufacturers from easily adding that to their systems).

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    ARM will come out with a licensable version of Thunderbolt that will doom Intel…and that doom will last at least 5-10 years.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Thunderbolt’s main problem is it has [b<]no killer application[/b<]. USB 3.0 addresses USB 2.0 shortcomings with external HDDs (bandwidth and power). The vast majority of external peripheral devices do not need the bandwidth that comes with TB and USB 3.0. Thunderbolt and its intended optical-based "light peak" successor are going to remain connectors for niche markets (I/O interconnect for clusters, high-end A/V editing devices, mobile workstation etc).

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      USB 3.0 fails at providing enough power, 3.5″ drives still require a power brick so it did not “address” the power issue sufficiently.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        Are you sure about this and aren’t mixing it up with USB 2.0?

        The only USB 3.0 enclosures that need a power brick also have eSATA, Firewire and USB 2.0 support which would need it.

      • glynor
      • 8 years ago

      Thunderbolt does have a killer application if you use a laptop. Right now, my laptop has the following cords connected to it every day at the office:

      * Power
      * Network
      * Display Port
      * USB
      * FireWire
      * Sound

      Every day when I come in, I have to plug in all of those cords. Any time I leave my desk, I have to [i<]unplug[/i<] all of those cords. Not only is that tiresome and annoying, it leads to a giant tangle of cables on my desk, and wear and tear on all of the ports on my laptop. Plus, I'd really prefer to have an eSATA port for my hard drive docks, but my laptop doesn't have an eSATA port, so I have to use FireWire. If I had an external ThunderBolt dock like the one Belkin announced, I could have my external montor, my KVM, my hard drives, my Mackie mixer, my ethernet, and my cameras or card readers all connected/disconnected with one cable. Plus, if I buy the right "dock" I can get that eSATA port I really want. And, the dock isn't proprietary. I don't have to throw it away if I switch to a different laptop, and I can even use it with multiple different laptops. That's a pretty killer app to me.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        Just get a laptop with a docking station/port replicator next time? This isn’t a new concept…

          • glynor
          • 8 years ago

          Using a proprietary parallel connector that breaks all the time?

          Have you ever even used a docking station with a laptop? They’re basically all terrible. The only ones worth even considering are the ones from Lenovo, and they still crash stuff all the time when you dock and undock. And, of course, you still need a dock specific to the laptop.

          That’s a silly method.

          And, as speed improves, Thunderbolt will likely make it possible to have external GPUs for laptops and small form factor boxes, removing another reason to need both a portable and a separate gaming PC.

    • End User
    • 8 years ago

    I’d rather 10 gigabit ethernet devices dropped in price.

      • shank15217
      • 8 years ago

      The switches are way to expensive still, frankly cheap 10gbe would make TB and USB 3.0 sweat cause far more versatile.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      10Gigabit Ethernet isn’t going become cheap anytime soon. It took a while for Gigabit Ethernet to become affordable and widespread.

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        Gigabit Ethernet was cheap 5+ years ago.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          Gigabit Ethernet came out back in 1999, which means it took over five years for Gigabit ethernet to become affordable. So what’s your point?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Gigabit Ethernet is another standard that Apple jumped on with the AGP-equipped G4 towers and everyone wondered why. The cycle is just repeating.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            What does Apple have to do with the adoption of Gigabit Ethernet?

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Effectively nothing, that’s his point.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            0/10

            You can do better.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Right. They jumped on early and it had no effect at the time. Only in the last couple of years has everyone else discovered how “awesome” it is (relatively speaking). Within 6-7 years, everyone else will jump on Light Peak.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            They adopted it quickly.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            10GbE came out way back in 2002. Don’t you find it odd that it remains such a pricey bit of tech?

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            10Gbps Ethernet spent most of that time as fiber optical Ethernet which itself is very expensive when compared to UTP solutions.

            UTP 10Gpbs Ethernet is only possible with Cat6 on short runs. Cat7 still hasn’t been finalized.

            Other reasons include market segmentation (prosumers, enterprise) and [b<]lack of demand for it in the mainstream market.[/b<]

            • Sahrin
            • 8 years ago

            The spec calls for Cat6A.

            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10GBASE-T#10GBASE-T[/url<]

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Cat-6 cable was finalized back in 2002 with a 55 meter max length for 10Gbps Ethernet. I think Cat-6a (2008) extends that out to 100 meters for 10Gbps Ethernet.

            Consumer product such as the HD HERO2 are able to fill a 32GB SDHC card with only 4 hours of video. That adds up. Now a NAS on a fast network does not look so enterprise does it.

            • Sahrin
            • 8 years ago

            No, because data sizes have been roughly constant (with compression technologies) since 2000~ish. Also, the complexity of implementation of 10GBASE-T is much higher than 1000BASE-TX (higher, in fact, than the implementation of more complex endpoint tech like decompression algorithms). There’s also a cable limitation however this has mostly been overcome with 10GBASE-T.

            • axeman
            • 8 years ago

            You mean 1000BASE-T. 1000BASE-TX was a standard that never took off.
            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet#1000BASE-TX[/url<]

          • demani
          • 8 years ago

          Ironically, Apple standardized their towers on it about 10 years ago.

        • ImSpartacus
        • 8 years ago

        I agree. Frankly, it’s just not very impressive at this point in time.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          Like Thunderbolt, the problem with 10Gbps Ethernet is that there’s no mainstream use for it. You are hard pressed to find the need for a connection greater than what Gigabit Ethernet can yield for non-professional usage.

          Which means that 10Gbps and beyond are going spend most of their time in the prosumer/networking arena for backboning.

            • aceuk
            • 8 years ago

            Seagate’s latest 3TB Barracuda HDD has an average sequential transfer rate of [url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1232-page4.html<]150MB/s[/url<]. If you put just one of these drives in a NAS, surely Gigabit Ethernet would become a bottleneck?

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            NAS aren’t exactly a mainstream product. They usually fall into the realm of prosumers, SMB-types.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]NAS aren't exactly a mainstream product. [/quote<] Of course they are.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            External HDDs =! NAS

            A dedicated NAS box = headless network storage with remote administration (usually a flavor of *nix).

            Not exactly mainstream by any stretch of the word.

            It is clearly prosumer, SMB and hobbyists tier.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            You can by a NAS from almost any online retailer. They range from cheap to expensive. The general public use them. They are mainstream.

            I’ve had my trusty old DNS-323 since 2007. Windows Home Server was released way back in 2007. This notion of cheap NAS for the average joe has been with us for rather a long time in tech years.

            • Mime
            • 8 years ago

            My parents have one of those, but only because I gave it to them when their machine was about to die. I doubt average joe’s would have any idea what a NAS is let alone where or when to buy one, but now we’re picking nits.

            • demani
            • 8 years ago

            for suitably narrow definitions of “mainstream”.

            If your mom couldn’t set one up, then it isn’t mainstream.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Lets just say in addition to “prosumers” and “SMB-types”.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Any consumer laptop/desktop with an SSD will be bottlenecked by Gigabit Ethernet.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Which is a non-issue, because you are most likely are backing up data to a HDD which would be the bottleneck if you were doing it over a 10Gbps Ethernet connection. The STR of a modern HDD isn’t much higher than the maximum throughput of a 1Gbps Ethrenet connection.

            10Gbps Ethernet is still not a good value for the majority of desktop/laptop users.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]10Gbps Ethernet is still not a good value for the majority of desktop/laptop users.[/quote<] Er, ya. That was my lament when I made my original post. You seem to go out of your way to express a desire to maintain things as they are based upon users with the least need. The majority of consumers may not need 10Gbps Ethernet. This same majority most likely don't need/have Gigabit Ethernet so lets exclude them entirely. Gigabit Ethernet is now a bottleneck. Lets move on. [quote<]most likely are backing up data to a HDD[/quote<] Gigabit would severely hamper an SSD to SSD data transfer. Heck, even a good old HDD array would be bottlenecked by Gigabit.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            If you genuinely need more performance, you got to pay up. Its that simple.

            The demographics (prosumers, SMB, enterprise) who “need” the performance can easily justify the premiums. Time is $$$$ for them.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 8 years ago

          Uhoh…ImSpartacus is not impressed?!?

            • ImSpartacus
            • 8 years ago

            I know right? But it got Krogoth to make a legitimate response!

      • Joe Miller
      • 8 years ago

      Yet I was very surprised to find out my brand new laptop Dell 5110n has only 10/100 Mb Ethernet port.

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    Do you guys realize that thunderbolt is a space saving ‘connector’?

    One thunderbolt connector, support two display port monitors with a total of 7 devices (without any hubs)
    that can provide 10watt of power, over a cheap (by design, not yet at retail), long cable.

    USB fails at any of this. You need to carry self powered hubs if you want to use the connector to plug anything more then a mouse.
    The power is often not even sufficient to power an external HDD or optical drive…
    And if you use a hub you need to manage what is plugged where as speed degrade if you mix versions.

    When Apple release their docking system, I expect the PC industry to follow a year latter, putting thunderbolt on everything.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      That’s not true at all. I use a external USB DVD drive to setup servers and I only use the single USB plug, no external power at all. The same with my external SSD and external HDD. Both are in 2.5″ Vantec cases and only require a single USB connector.

      Hell I even have a 7″ USB monitor that requires no external power supply to work.

        • sschaem
        • 8 years ago

        I said “often”, as in more often then not. And your devices are not plugged on a hub but to an individual ports.
        Unless you have a powered hub you need a port per device.

        FACT:

        “A device may draw a maximum of 5 unit loads (500 mA) from a port in USB 2.0; 6 (900 mA) in USB 3.0”
        Thunderbolt is 10watt (2 AMP)

        With USB you need a hub if you need to plug more then one device on a port
        Thunderbolt support daisy chain, no need for a separate hub

        USB hub need separate power (without a power brick its next to useless)

        Side effect of this requirement: Slow device make the HUB slow down all connected devices.

          • Farting Bob
          • 8 years ago

          Yes thunderbolt has better specs when it comes to power delivery in particular, but its bloody expensive and so will only appear in high end boards and products for the foreseeable future. Even if you do get a overpriced motherboard just because it has TB, so few devices will support it natively its kind of a waste of money right now. If it does gain a foothold in some areas and the price drops to the point they start including it in mid range boards then devices might support it, but it will take a while for the ecosystem to build. Right now, only the highest end boards will bother with it, $20 for the controller on a $80 board would be suicide for any company to release.

    • Geistbar
    • 8 years ago

    I believe I remember reading that the original intention for this interconnect was not a USB-esque protocol, but something aimed more at replacing all the various internal buses. Instead of having to keep SATA, PCI Express, HyperTransport and so on all up to date, you’d have a single high speed and high bandwidth connection that was able to deal with the needs of all internal transfers.

    Has this been scrapped for some halfway point between eSATA and USB? Am I remembering wrong? Is that still the long-term goal here? Something else entirely?

    When I looked at it through the lens of replacing all the various internal connections, I saw it much more positively than I do with it’s current incarnation. It’d be a lofty, complicated goal, for certain, but I imagine in the long term, if managed properly, such a change could be as positive for internal devices as USB was for external devices.

      • Shambles
      • 8 years ago

      You are thinking of lightpeak. Thunderbolt is the bastard red-headed child instead that has no use and only serves to further divide the market in order to push Apple and Intels agendas. It won’t even reach the level of utilization that firewire did.

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        Ah, that’s right, lightpeak!

        I know thunderbolt is somewhat separate from it, but it was my understanding that thunderbolt is the copper version and lightpeak was the (yet unreleased) fiber variant. The way thunderbolt is being handled implies, to me, that they might have abandoned the original goal for the stupid no-market product we have now. I’d love to see a successful version of the idea I stated though- even if lightpeak isn’t aiming for that, something doing to internal connections what USB did to external connections would be wonderful, I feel.

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 8 years ago

        Incorrect, Thunderbolt and Light Peak are the same, just a different branding name

          • Stranger
          • 8 years ago

          Kinda… Light peak was originally envisioned as using Intels new optical tech. When that didn’t pan out intel and apple switched to copper. While they both the original project and the newer one both went under the Light Peak project name they used distinctly different technology.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            Optical is further down the path. Current Light Peak solutions will work once it goes fiber, it’s just a matter of it being more cost effective. The core ideas and functionality remains the same, and speed is still far beyond USB 3.0 even with copper.

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        Thunderbolt = Lightpeak

        [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)[/url<] Light Peak was always about using their chipset monopoly to drive extra revenue for Intel (over USB). Everyone involved in TB (at this point Apple and Intel) has their own interest in the technology. It pisses Intel, serial anti-trust violator, off to no end that they have to design the UHCI for USB every generation, and get zero revenue out of it. Apple has a persistent fantasy that a DisplayPort cable and a USB cable are simply too many to run to a monitor, and that users 'can't handle' doing it. Intel's reward for designing TB and then forcing it on the unsuspecting market via their chipsets (Intel sells 80% of the world's chipsets, and would simply raise the price by $10 and justify it by saying "TB is 1337") would be the extra revenue. Apple gets to continue to be slightly insane, and would be able to force users to buy more proprietary protocols that aren't interoperable with PC's. It bothers *Apple* to no end that people prefer PC's to Macs, even when they still buy iOS devices. Apple doesn't want their good, clean, Darwin-based mobile OS interfacing with filthy Windows machines.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      They tried making a cure all when the eggs are already made.

      People aren’t just going to switch to something because it’s been deemed better without reasons to do so. It has to offer intrinsic benefits that would make people want to replace sata, pci-e, USB, and everything else under the moon. Just creating a spec that is just as good as everything we have now only universal won’t make anyone switch to it.

      USB was in the correct place at the correct time. Peripherals fall all into their own category, just the same as HDs and expansion cards do.

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        I didn’t imply that it would be easy, or would be as beneficial as USB, but if it could be accomplished I still think it would be quite a nice change.

        SSDs, on an imperfect NAND implementation, are already bumping up the needs for SATA quite noticeably. It doesn’t seem far fetched that add-in cards and storage devices could co-exist on the same transfer technology. I’d love to only have to worry about one or two different connection types across my entire computer. Then the expandability and ease of mucking around with the interior of computers would be improved.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          I agree to the point that if we lived in a perfect world we could swap everything out for Tbolt and we’d all better off. But we don’t live in a perfect world with devices that can magically switch their interconnect on a whim.

          If Intel wants to usurp USB or any of the other interconnects they must first develop bridges and converters and bundle them for free with devices to seed the market. They haven’t done any of this. They’ve simply developed the technology, partnered with Apple for prissy crowds, added in some marketing, and expect it to catch on in a market that doesn’t need their technology.

          As it stands right now, Tbolt is going no where; Especially not where USB has been backwards compatible and improving for the last 15+ years.

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            I think you might be misconstruing my statements. I don’t want thunderbolt to perform this task specifically, and I’m doubtful that it could. Some future interconnect would be nice for that, and it’s not impossible for devices to support multiple protocols or have a diversified product line, so long as implementing such is sufficiently cheap or advantageous to do so; you can still buy PATA hard drives, monitors will ship will ship with various connections, including VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI, you can even get AGP graphics cards as recent as AMD’s 46xx series.

            The way thunderbolt and lightpeak are being spoken up now leads me to believe that Intel abandoned the internal interconnect idea, or that I remembered wrong and they just never intended for it. Something else could do such, however. It’d have a lot of obstacles in it’s way, as I said, but I don’t think it’s implausible. I’d say the best bet for it happening would be whenever they do a full-bore replacement of PCI-E or SATA in the future.

            So, I don’t disagree with you on thunderbolt, but that’s not what I was hoping for anyway.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            It’s entirely possible for someone to bring up points that don’t directly relate to your initial post and tie them in to support the overall topic or their point… I don’t think I’m misconstruing anything.

            That aside, like I said if we lived in a perfect world everyone would switch over. We don’t live in a perfect world and Intel isn’t going out of their way to seed their technology besides cracking a deal with Apple to put their product on their computers. This applies to both Tbolt and LP.

            TB/LP are solutions to a non-existent problem. PCI-E, SATA, and USB have no real issues.

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            Your misconstruing it because the basis of your responses aren’t addressing the points I am. I don’t disagree with you at all about thunderbolt here- well, I’m sure I could nitpick if I wanted to, but the general idea, sure- I’m talking very generally with the idea. I don’t care if Samsung, IBM, Intel, AM or the resurrected corpse of DEC designs and implements what I’m proposing. You can bring up other points just fine, yes, but you seem to be replying to my post as if I’m saying something specific about thunderbolt for my idea- which would be misconstruing my post.

            According to your perfect world and non-existent problem points though, someone could very easily have said the same thing about USB before it was implemented. Thunderbolt isn’t going to be a good USB replacement, sure, but you can’t imagine possible benefits for a single connection and transfer protocol for internal devices? Just because something is sufficient in it’s current incarnation isn’t a good enough reason to not improve upon it!

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            …yet you are saying specific things about LP and TB in your posts… Just because it’s a hypothetical scenario that is general doesn’t mean it’s not specific.

            They already are improving upon it… that’s what USB3 and PCIE 3.0 are… SATA 3 still has plenty of headroom for SSDs. I misconstrueingly mentioned this in my first response btw.

            I don’t think this is nearly the same as the debacle with USB. USB fixed the problem of peripherals using all sorts of different types of connectors. There were a half a dozen different connectors outside of the computer. They made a sturdy design and expanded off of it quite fast, adding plug and play which is so common people don’t even remember when it wasn’t, and powering external devices.

            But “what” you say, “that’s exactly what Intel wants to do with the entire computer!”. It’s not. Intel is merely copying USBs ideology, they’re attempting to make a solution for everything, yet there isn’t a need for it. There isn’t a clusterfuck of ports outside of your computer anymore for peripherals, with the exception of esata and the zombified remains of firewire.

            Not only that, but the entire industry has moved to the USB standard. You can get everything in USB and people will want it backwards compatible for years to come. They aren’t going to go out of their way to buy a device with a TB interconnect unless it offers something worth going through the hassle to use it.

            There isn’t anything TB or even LP offers besides consolidating everything!

            TB/LP would’ve been cool if it came out instead of USB, but it didn’t. It missed it’s shot at the sunshine and somehow got pushed through Intel and out the other side without anyone wondering how actual people would react to the product. Intel has extremely good engineers, but engineers aren’t all that great at understanding people.

            • Geistbar
            • 8 years ago

            OK, so you really are misconstruing me more and more here. Apparently I can’t word it in a way for you to gather what I [i<]am[/i<] talking about, so I'm just going to call it quits. I gave it a good try, at least.

      • Mime
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Has this been scrapped for some halfway point between eSATA and USB? Am I remembering wrong?[/quote<] Probably not, but I would say it's one of those recurring ideas which never seems to work out. Infiniband was supposed to be the "one bus to rule them all" also, and it might have worked if we had tossed out all the old hardware and started over. PCI Express was also developed in part to help standardize interconnects between devices, but the point is that getting only part way there is as far as we're ever going to get.

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t think it’s particularly impossible- you mention PCI Express as an example against, but it managed to merge two different buses- PCI and AGP- while more or less killing another- PCI-X- [i<]and[/i<] has become an internal bus for some functions of many chipsets. Depending on how much credit you want to give it, that's at least two mergers, and possibly four (though I'm being a bit sloppy with counting internal chipset buses as just one). If another bus can pull off the same thing- merge SATA and PCI-E, for example- we'd, effectively, nearly be completely there. So I don't see it as implausible. I won't deny for an instant that it's a difficult goal, and not easily accomplished, but many things are difficult. Many of those are still worth doing, and many (worth doing or not) get done all the same. I feel a universal internal interconnect would fall under the "worthwhile" category, and would like to hope it eventually falls under the "has been accomplished" category.

    • blastdoor
    • 8 years ago

    Two things.

    First, I think thunderbolt is all about the “trucks” in Jobs’ “trucks vs cars” analogy. That means it isn’t a competitor to USB3, nor is it likely to be of interest to people who use their PC to play games, rip DVDs, and fold proteins (aka, “PC enthusiasts”). And it will never be of interest to people who use computers to check e-mail, browser the web, manage photos, and play “casual” games (aka, the people Apple wants to sell iPads to). In other words, this is for genuinely high-end users, not poseurs or grandma.

    Second, I think thunderbolt is about a vision of the high-end that is built on modularity. I suspect that Apple does not see a clear path forward for profitably selling Mac Pros as they currently exist (and we know they saw no path forward for XServe). Yet, I also suspect that Apple doesn’t want to let go of their high-end users. My guess is that Apple sees modularity as a way to have their cake and eat it too, and thunderbolt could be the key technology that enables such modularity. So, instead of selling a monolithic tower, sell smaller modules, each of which is appealing to a broad range of customers, but certain combinations of which might be appealing to only very limited niches. Cake both had and consumed.

    • Firestarter
    • 8 years ago

    I’m not buying it.

      • btb
      • 8 years ago

      Well if ASUS and Gigabyte starts building it into their motherboards, you probably will end up with it sooner or later, wether you want it or not :p

        • Firestarter
        • 8 years ago

        Probably, but for the time being it’s not on my short-list of must-have features. I’m not spending extra to get it, up until I need some killer peripheral with only a Thunderbolt interface. Maybe then I’d get some plugin card for Thunderbolt.

        edit: or *gasp* a USB3 -> Thunderbolt adapter XD

    • Sahrin
    • 8 years ago

    Man, Thunderbolt sounds like a raw deal. It sucks there isn’t a mass market alternative that provides essentially the same features for a fraction of the cost, and is an open standard.

    Wait.

      • EV42TMAN
      • 8 years ago

      look at it this way. in the speed and cost order
      cheaper/slower
      usb
      thunderbolt
      external raid solution
      fibre channel
      infiniband
      expensive/faster (note depending on how you set it up external raid solution could be switched with fibre channel)

      considering the speed and through put of thunderbolt the cost is about where it should be, once the PC parts suppliers can make the parts cost will come down some as well. Again apple’s hijacking of it screwed everything up. And when you only control 6% of the market it means your prices are going to be higher.

        • demani
        • 8 years ago

        Again with that rant: Apple didn’t hijack shit- Intel screwed it up. Hikjacking means they forced someone to do something they didn’t want, and there is no way Apple could have forced Intel to do something they didn’t want. Intel chose to push it a year too early, and that is their own damn fault, as is their agreement to let Apple have it for a year before widespread adoption. Apple couldn’t take that- it had to be given.

        And it may be quite possible that Apple was the only company willing to sign on to purchase a certain minimum amount of controller chips, and it happens to be aligned very well with Apple’s thin and light mantra. But if intel wanted it to be widely adopted they would 1) sell the chips near cost 2) sell it to everyone and 3) make sure someone had cheap cables for sale. Remember Intel stands to benefit from royalties/chip fees if/when it becomes widespread. Plus it is a potential differentiator from AMD if they (intel) integrate it into the chipset.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 8 years ago

      Thunderbolt is an open standard, there is no license fee with the connector like there is with USB, nor does it have its usage restrictions.

      The cost of TB will come down, just as it did with USB and Firewire.

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t know what’s worse, that you openly lied in a public discussion or that someone upvoted you for the lie:

        [url<]http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-20036033-76.html[/url<] (Read question: "How much will it cost?" Excerpted here for concision): "Because Thunderbolt is not an open specification, that means companies cannot simply make their own through a license, though that could change once we're into the lifespan of the product." It's not an open standard, and Intel isn't going to make any money on license fees anyways (the fee for USB, eg, is to the USBIF, not to Intel or anyone else - it pays for marketing programs, which is fine if a little redundant). When you sell a chipset and cable that costs 10x a USB chipset and cable, all of that extra money goes to Intel because Intel is the only source. Even if it was 'open' if Intel is the only company making the devices, Intel makes all the money.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 8 years ago

          That is awfully dramatic language, a simple correction would have sufficed.

          In any case, part of my point regarding USB and Light Peak still stands, there are restrictions in place that prevented Light Peak from using a USB connector in the first place.

          [url<]http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/17/sonys-thunderbolt-implementation-hiding-in-plain-site-uses-usb/[/url<] [quote<]"USB connectors are not general purpose connectors and are not designed to be used in support of other technology applications or standards or as combo connectors."[/quote<] This means that there are active limitations placed upon USB functionality, and it is why Intel and Apple went with the open and royalty free (really) mini-DisplayPort connector instead of the USB connectors that they first demonstrated Light Peak on several years ago. Sony must have made a deal to use USB connectors, and even then they aren't allowed to say on the box or laptop that it uses Thunderbolt technology. Seems like a lot of hassle to use a proprietary dock and USB connectors that won't be compatible with other Thunderbolt devices, but that's standard Sony. Either way, the argument on current prices doesn't sit well with me. All bleeding edge tech costs more, and it costs more intially. The fact that it is faster and cheaper than fibre to begin with is pretty great, and it'll only get cheaper going forward. It reminds me of when people were complaining that Blu Ray was so expensive back in 2007. It is such a short sighted argument given that they hit DVD prices only a few years later. It's happened before with numerous other new tech, but people are so happy to just complain about the present while ignoring the benefits and reduced cost going forward. It is very one-dimensional thinking.

      • bwcbiz
      • 8 years ago

      But remember, in Apple’s eyes a closed architecture is a feature. One element of their philosophy that hasn’t changed in decades.

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    Enough already with the ports.

      • forumics
      • 8 years ago

      yeah! whatever happened to firewire?

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        It slowly died off.

        USB 2.0 pretty much killed it, while USB 3.0 was the final nail in the proverbial coffin.

          • Sahrin
          • 8 years ago

          And yet there are still Apple fanatics who insist it is better. Like Betamax, only more obscure because even the content industry won’t use it.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Firewire has always been technically superior to USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (less CPU overhead).

            The problem with Firewire has always been bottom-line cost.

            • Sahrin
            • 8 years ago

            I would consider “the amount of devices it can connect to” and “cost” to be technical advantages, and one that wipes out any marginal bandwidth and power differences.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Amount of devices per controller is a trivial advantage, since both support absurd amount of devices (127 versus 63), which will never happen in a real-world setting.

            The cost difference isn’t that much to customers, but for motherboard and peripheral vendors who are on razor-thin profit margins that difference is enough to be decisive.

            That is why USB “won”, not because of some technical merit.

            • Sahrin
            • 8 years ago

            “Amount of devices per controller is a trivial advantage, since both support absurd amount of devices (127 versus 63), which will never happen in a real-world setting. ”

            No, the amount of “devices” that can be supported. FireWire never approached the level of support of USB.

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 8 years ago

            that’s an effect of it’s failure, not a cause.

            • axeman
            • 8 years ago

            We have so much CPU power now that the overhead of USB is irrelevant, so that’s part of it. But if Apple had made the license free sooner, it might have been different.

            • bwcbiz
            • 8 years ago

            Betamax vs. VHS, revisited. Whatever the technical merits of Firewire. USB 2.0 was “good enough” for almost everybody. But yeah, if the cost of the controller is too high, that limits the appeal to manufacturers. A lot of folks will take 800 MB/s at $1 vs 1GB/s at $10

          • bwcbiz
          • 8 years ago

          USB 3.0 has a good chance of killing off eSATA, too, thanks to the integrated power conductors. There’s talk of monitor hookups as well, but I’m a bit more skeptical about that.

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        It is still with us although the high price relegated it to a niche. Its glory days are definitely behind it.

        I have FireWire 800 cards in my PCs and it came built in on my Macs so I definitely live in a FireWire 800 universe as far as my portable drives go. I use [url<]http://goo.gl/s8TuZ[/url<] formatted as exFAT. Ideally Western Digital will release a USB 3.0/Thunderbolt drive in the not too distant future. We shall see. If Thunderbolt does not deliver portable storage options then I'll switch over to USB 3.0 for my portable storage.

          • Mr. Bamboo Head
          • 8 years ago

          If they want TB to take off they need to make ubiquitous. Slap it on everything and do it a loss. Only way they’re going to gain traction with any amount of speed.

          Heck I’ve had firewire on my last 5 motherboards and I’ve never used it. And not because peripherals are slightly more expensive, but because not every computer has firewire. Why am i going to buy a firewire external hdd at a price premium when I’m largely the only one who has it?

          Same deal with TB (and usb 3.0- which my current mobo has, but I’ve yet to actually use); I’m not going upgrade my existing usb 2.0 externals (i have 4) until there’s a universal reasonably priced alternative. Not saying TB is limited solely to external storage solutions, but the same idea applies to other peripherals. Sure I’d use a TB display port to connect to my monitor, but not until my next vid card (next fall winter likely) and monitor (when mine dies).

          Only way for it to catch on is to put it on everything at little additional cost over other alternatives (usb 3.0, display port etc)

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 8 years ago

        Firewire ruled, that’s what. The external drives on my PC are all FW800, wouldn’t settle for anything less. USB 2.0 is trash in comparison. By the time I upgrade later next year, I’m hoping that Thunderbolt prices have come into line. If so, I’ll be getting those, otherwise if I get new external drives it’ll be USB 3.0.

        I want more speed, so crossing fingers for TB.

          • Bensam123
          • 8 years ago

          Guess you never heard about esata. :l

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            Terrible for mobile purposes. Two cables, one for data and one for power, instead of just one. Gross.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    Thunderbolt is baffling to me because a year later there are no PCIe cards or anything of that nature. It’s just buy a $1,000+ laptop with it (which will not change even when other brands have it), or nothing. What a terrible business “strategy.”

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      TB was originally suppose to come out around 2014 as a fiber connection with 10gb and 40gb variants.

      Apple offered Intel a bunch of money to use an unfinished version “now”. The protocol is complete, but the physical isn’t.

      The early release has been causing a lot of confusion because it isn’t a huge increase and isn’t being pushed in any market outside of Apple.

      I bet 2014-2016 will have TB show up in its full glory and being integrated into everything. Then it may be useful.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        Intel themselves were the ones making claims like expansion cards in 2011, a fiber version to follow immediately, that they’d use USB connectors…

        And all of that talk just conveniently vanished once they missed previously stated expectations, never to be mentioned again.

        The only confusion is over why they are squandering it. There are still other ways it could be put to use, in its existing form, but they apparently have decided to relegate it to high end laptops. It doesn’t even need to be super fast or fiber. It just needs to not be…stupid.

          • bcronce
          • 8 years ago

          What I was really hoping for is that Intel will make these commodities, so there will be lots of cheap 10/40/100gbit fiber ports that can be cheaply used for switch/router interfaces. There are two parts to Thunderbolt, the Layer2 and Layer1. PCIe runs in Layer3. If the layer1 took off, it could be used in many more products than just Thunderbolt.

          Not sure if this would ever happen, but it sounds useful.

          • End User
          • 8 years ago

          I’ve not given up on Thunderbolt just yet. If Thunderbolt starts appearing on motherboards in 2012 then we may seen an uptick in peripherals.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            It will be around in certain niches, but will die once the optical flavor (intended version) comes out.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Thunderbolt will replace Thunderbolt?

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Light Peak = Optical version

            Thunderbolt = Copper version.

            Intel decided to push out copper version first so they can beta-test the protocol and platform before they would release the optical version of the standard. I suspect that cost and durability issues were the primary reasons why Intel held back on the optical flavor.

            • Stranger
            • 8 years ago

            I got the impression that light peak was the project name that covered both the electrical and optical versions of the spec. i.e. light peak was originally envisioned as using intels new “cheap” optical tech but when that didn’t pan out they created a complimentary electrical spec. Thunderbolt is just apples brand name of the specification similar to firewire and ieee 1394

            • Sahrin
            • 8 years ago

            Thunderbolt is the brand name of Light Peak, which was the development name of the new PCI Express + DisplayPort interface. It was always intended to start on copper and transition to fibre.

    • xtalentx
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t see Thunderbolt gaining traction anytime soon (if ever). USB is more than good enough and so deeply entrenched that it would take a very compelling reason to leave it – Thunderbolt has no such compelling reason.

      • Price0331
      • 8 years ago

      While i’m against intel owning this standard, it would at least be an improvement over USB in the way you plug it in. I can never seem to plug in a USB right the first time because of its damned rectangle shape.

        • EV42TMAN
        • 8 years ago

        why are you against intel owning it. THEY INVENTED IT!!! intel made it, then apple paid them a ton of money so they were the only one who could use it for the first year. Then when apple got their hands on it they gimped it by switching it to copper from fibre. Then in true apple fashion they over priced everything that uses it and killed it. So long short if apple didn’t get involved it would have had a chance.

          • wierdo
          • 8 years ago

          It should be an open standard, stuff like this shouldn’t be owned by a specific company, it can create uncertainly in the marketplace, the same way Intel ended up killing off x86 competition and wont license x86 anyone else in a reasonable manner, it locks the market into a monopoly that can hurt innovation and market options.

          An open standard would mean any company can jump in and play with a technology on a level playing field, thus prices go down, options go up, and innovation can potentially come from many directions, example is USB.

          And it wasn’t Apple that switched to copper, the technology was intended for fiber but it came out too early, the only practical alternative to expensive and experimental fiber was copper, and Apple got what was realistically available, the fact that people still think it’s expensive, and I think rightly so, is just further evidence against jumping to something even a harder sell at the moment.

            • Price0331
            • 8 years ago

            You said it better than I could, +1.

            • Farting Bob
            • 8 years ago

            TB was very expensive to develop for Intel, if they open it up to anybody to use and adapt then they are unlikely to make back the many millions invested in it. Companies first goal is always to make a profit, benefitting mankind isnt high up on the list of most companies.

          • adisor19
          • 8 years ago

          Wow, why the heck are you getting thumbs up for that lie ! Apple DID NOT gimp the standard by forcing intel to go copper. It was intel that went the copper route as it was becoming clear that optical cables were not yet affordable enough.

          Adi

            • A_Pickle
            • 8 years ago

            But Apple did manage to convince [i<]someone[/i<] to let them keep it to themselves for a year. That was awfully good sported of them.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed. And if there was any doubt:

      [quote<]DigiTimes indicates that the required chip costs more than $20, which is about ten times the cost of the USB 3.0 controllers found on modern motherboards.[/quote<] => DOA

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        I dunno about “DOA”, but certainly niche for quite some time to come… Either way, would this not qualify as a valid argument for Wintel-land having had to help along an essentially ‘stalled’ technology for Apple/Intel, much as Apple fanboys love to reinvent USB’s history? ::evil grin::

      • LocalCitizen
      • 8 years ago

      totally agree. System makers care about the cost of controller chips. Consumers care about the cost of cables. USB cables are about 1 or 2 dollars; display port cables are about 10. It will take years for DP prices to come down.
      USB is deeply entrenched. It’s used not just for data transfers, but almost all cell phones are charged with USB. As long as systems come with USB, it will be a competitor against DP.
      PS/2 port is approaching 25 years old, and unlike USB, it’s not improved, yet, it’s still available on modern motherboards. I believe USB will last longer.

      edit: by DP I mean TB. had too much egg nog

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        Good points, although I don’t see the cost of TB controllers alone stopping TB adoption. Unlike Apple-land, system makers have the option of reserving them for higher end systems/mobos and charging more for them. Apple OTOH has no low end devices(yet) that use TB. It appears to be more of an imperative for Apple that it succeeds than it is for Wintel-land. As far as Intel is concerned, how much you wanna bet they’ll end up using TB controllers as something of a loss-leader or otherwise incentivizing system vendors into continue paying Intel’s asking price for Ivy Bridge?

        Consumers care about cable costs, but I suspect these will come down more rapidly then you might think (at least the copper ones).

        • Yeats
        • 8 years ago

        If consumers cared about cable costs, Monster Cable would be out of business.

          • LocalCitizen
          • 8 years ago

          true true. can’t underestimate the stupidity of the populace

          edit: thanks to Anomymous Gerbil, typo fixed

            • Anomymous Gerbil
            • 8 years ago

            Err… “populace”.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      Thunderbolt basically takes four PCIe lanes and turns them into a cable. Obviously it doesn’t compete with USB for peripherals, but there’s plenty of compelling reasons for it to exist. That’s a lot of freaking bandwidth for external storage.

        • btb
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, wouldnt mind having a TB connected qnap box. 10gbit ethernet is too expensive.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      WHAT!? when i said the same thing 6 months ago I got “extra bandwidth and daisy chaining = MASSIVE WIN!!!!!!1111 SSK IS AN IDIOT!!!!”

      how the times have changed….

      • Mime
      • 8 years ago

      At least there’s some benefit to thunderbolt, unlike the Mini-DVI connections also exclusive to Macs.

      “Hey, do you have an adapter for my laptop? It has the mini connector.”

      ARG!

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 8 years ago

      USB has never been good enough IMHO. I only use Firewire with my desktop and laptop, and I’m more than happy to get even more speed with Thunderbolt.

      Since when was slower acceptable, I thought this place was about bleeding edge hardware

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Since when was slower acceptable, I thought this place was about bleeding edge hardware[/quote<] While I want Thunderbolt to succeed I have a rough idea as to why some readers have a negative view of it: 1) Apple's involvement turns people off 2) USB 3.0 is good enough 3) Price

          • A_Pickle
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]1) Apple's [i<]exclusivity[/i<] turns people off[/quote<] Fixed that for you. The rest of your post is spot-on -- I like speed, I also like spending my money in a sensible manner. If Thunderbolt is going to be relegated to a $150+ motherboard, then I won't be buying it. My motherboard in my current system cost me $130, and that was a stretch for me (the 880G's weren't out yet). Also, the fact that [i<]if[/i<] I were to need it, I'd need to buy a whole new goddamn system (motherboard) just pisses me off. I want Thunderbolt to die. The fact that I can't even drop in a PCIe add-in card if I later need that functionality is antithetical to the PC ecosystem, and should be shunned by consumers. Upgradability and open standards are why I don't buy Macs. If I was content to replace my entire system when a new shiny comes out, I'd be on that side of the fence.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]If Thunderbolt is going to be relegated to a $150+ motherboard, then I won't be buying it. My motherboard in my current system cost me $130, and that was a stretch for me (the 880G's weren't out yet). Also, the fact that if I were to need it, I'd need to buy a whole new goddamn system (motherboard) just pisses me off. I want Thunderbolt to die.[/quote<] You're really cheap and for that reason you don't want top end connectivity to gain traction, not even in time for several years down the road when Thunderbolt will be attainable even in motherboards in your price range? Ok.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Your options are limited. Mine are not.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]1) Apple's involvement turns people off[/quote<] Fanboy reasoning that I don't agree with, especially since they're generally the first to accept new standards that later filter out everywhere else. It's a pain for Apple customers sometimes since old and well established standards are sometimes replaced with little warning, but that's the tradeoff against slower, more measured adoption. [quote<]2) USB 3.0 is good enough[/quote<] It is still slower and less functional. Give me a choice and Thunderbolt sounds much more appealing to me going forward. [quote<]3) Price[/quote<] New standards are always initally more expensive. I remember paying $400 for a DVD burner back in the mid-90s. Prices fell quickly. Firewise and USB were also very expensive at first. Hell, current fiber solutions that are [i<]slower[/i<] than Thunderbolt are currently more expensive. Prices will drop, adoption among PC motherboards will flourish, 2011 arguments won't hold much water.

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          I don’t care for TB.

          I’m merely stating why it never gain any traction in the mainstream market until a killer application comes along that takes advantage of it, while making USB 2.0 and 3.0 woefully inadequate.

          The cost/benefit doesn’t exist for mainstream users to upgrade and deal with the teething issues of an immature technology.

          IMO, wireless interfaces are the future in the mainstream market.

        • clone
        • 8 years ago

        slower is fantastic when it’s inexpensive & faster than what will use it….. this is why ppl see USB as good enough.

        USB 3.0 is faster than what will use it while inexpensive & backwards compatible.

        Thunderbolt is faster than what will use it, expensive, while not backwards compatible.

        USB 3.0 all the way and when that fades USB 4.0 and when that fades USB 5.0.

        Firewire failed horribly in the market for the same reasons Thunderbolt likely will, no PC vs Apple vs fanboy about it, the more costly proprietary interface loses every time when it offers no tangible gain except in the Apple verse of course where the Steve Jobs distortion field still exists.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 8 years ago

      USB doesn’t fit enough users’ needs. Even USB3 doesn’t fit enough users’ needs. USB3 cannot (easily) replace all forms of external connectivity from the back of your computer.

      Thunderbolt is meant to replace all forms of external connectivity. It can already replace video (very high transfer rates) and storage (second highest compared to video). Getting it to replace networking, sound, etc will be trivial. Intel’s single storage connector has a lot going for it (over usb3) and the price coming down will only help its adoption.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        What world are you from?

        USB 2.0 and 3.0are more than sufficient for mainstream users.

        Thunderbolt and other ultra-high bandwidth interfaces only make sense for prosumers, SMB-types and enterprise users that have a “need” for them.

        Replacing Video? Displayport has already taken over. Unlike Thunderbolt, it is completely royalty-free.

        Storage, USB 3.0 is sufficient for external HDDs. Anything more ends being a NAS device or be part of SAN which would be riding some kind of Ethernet, if the bandwidth demands are high enough it will be 10Gbps Ethernet.

        Sound? HDMI and Displayport already beaten it to the punch and is supported on existing A/V receivers. TB will end-up being some high-end A/V editing devices like its spiritual predecessor Firewire.

        The only thing that TB has going for it is replacing Fibre Channel and other high bandwidth interfaces that are used in computing clusters and daisy-chaining/docking station on a high-end laptop/DTR.

          • StashTheVampede
          • 8 years ago

          The point of ThunderBolt is to be sufficient to replace all forms of external connectivity from the back of one computer (much like USB was for parallel, serial, PS/2). All of the other interfaces you listed are physically incompatible with each other. ThunderBolt can power multiple monitors (with audio), a NAS, networking and USB 1/2/3 from a single cable.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Doesn’t sound that much different from an USB hub.

            It sounds more like TB is just USB with a crapload more bandwidth thrown in.

            The only problem is that “need” for that bandwidth only exists within certain niches.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            Ok. Fine. You don’t need it. Understood.

            Some of us do.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            Where did I say that TB was useless or worthless?

            I’m just saying TB’s chances at replacing USB are very slim, because there’s nothing in the mainstream market that “needs” it to warrant all the cost and pain associated with moving onto a new platform.

            It seems you cannot wrap your head around that fact that the demand for high-bandwidth interfaces only exists within certain niches.

            • End User
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Where did I say that TB was useless or worthless?[/quote<] You didn't. I said you did not need it. I guess I was wrong. [quote<]I'm just saying TB's chances at replacing USB are very slim[/quote<] Who said anything about Thunderbolt replacing USB? Intel states that USB and Thunderbolt are complementary technologies. Heck, even Apple has USB on its Thunderbolt display. We are not at war with Eurasia. [quote<]It seems you cannot wrap your head around that fact that the demand for high-bandwidth interfaces only exists within certain niches.[/quote<] While you are off huffing and puffing about niches Apple keeps selling millions of Thunderbolt equipped computers per quarter (starting at $599). The MacBook Air in particular has sold like gangbusters. I would not be surprised if Apple offers a Thunderbolt option for its iOS devices in the not to distant future. Intel will soon begin its Thunderbolt push and from what I have read it looks as if they will be adding Thunderbolt to the ultrabook spec. If, and I admit it is a big if at this point, Thunderbolt starts appearing across a wide range of products (iPods, iPhones, iPads, data sticks, card readers, external drives (2.5" in particular), monitors, GPUs, docking stations, etc.) it will become mainstream very quickly.

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      Sound like the same crowd that said the ipad would be a failure… very, very short sighted.

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