Gigabyte doubles down on Thunderbolt ports

A single Thunderbolt port has an obscene amount of bandwidth: 10Gbps in each direction per channel, with two channels per port. The interconnect standard also supports daisy-chaining with up to seven Thunderbolt devices. You’d think one port per motherboard would be sufficient. Nope. Gigabyte is rolling out a couple of new motherboards with dual Thunderbolt ports. The boards use a four-channel variant of Intel’s Cactus Ridge controller, which has the same PCIe 2.0 x4 interface as the two-channel flavor. Even if has to share bandwidth with a twin, the extra port at least increases the number of devices and displays that can be connected to the motherboard.

The press release’s imagery is a little low-rent, but we have some pictures left over from last month’s Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan. Gigabyte had the Z77X-UP5 TH and Z77X-UP4 TH on display, and those are the two models being introduced formally today. Here’s the UP5:

When we snapped these pictures, the boards had yet to pass certification. They now have Intel’s official blessing.

Both models target Ivy Bridge processors and are based on the Z77 Express chipset. The UP designation denotes Gigabyte’s fifth-generation Ultra Durable family, which adds exotic MOSFETs from International Rectifier to the usual mix of higher-quality components and weightier copper layers.

The UP4 pictured above is a little less exotic than the UP5, with fewer power phases and no onboard buttons or POST code display. You still get an integrated mSATA slot and three physical PCIe x16 slots, though.

There’s no mention of pricing, but Thunderbolt typically adds $30-35 to the cost of a motherboard. Interestingly, Gigabyte told us the four-channel controller is only marginally more expensive than the two-channel version. Not that Thunderbolt is for the cost-conscious; a single cable costs $54 online.

Comments closed
    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    what I hope to see in the near future … motherboard with ethernet jack and 2 TB ports and nothing else. I should be able to connect both TB to my monitor, which can be daisy chained, where the monitor provides wireless connectivity to mouse and keyboard and sound as well as several USB ports.

    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    Sheesh,

    Peripheral interfaces are serious business!

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      Yes, yes they are. I’ve down voted everyone hating on TB on this thread. I did my part, now it’s your turn.

      Adi

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I did not realise that a Thunderbolt cable costs $54.

    I just lost all interest in Thunderbolt. It doesn’t have a killer peripheral yet. In fact, at present it has almost nothing to justify its existance, other than lazy people who prefer one cable instead of two.

      • barleyguy
      • 7 years ago

      The cable price is temporary. Give it a year or so, and there will be $10 Thunderbolt cables at Monoprice and NewEgg. That’s also about how long it will take to become relevant.

      I’m very interested in Thunderbolt. It allows external video cards (including multiple monitors and gaming) on laptops. It allows downward compatibility to Firewire (and any other bus standard) to keep that from disappearing. It has enough bandwidth to daisy chain devices or use hubs and not have a noticeable decrease in speed.

      Whereas USB is really just for data transfer, Thunderbolt is like having a high speed PCI bus available outside the chassis of your computer. What’s not to like about that?

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        I know the early adopters get their wallets raped, but even when the price comes down, it seems like an expensive solution (with extra unnecessary controllers) to a problem that doesn’t exist.

        By the time the problem does exist, manufacturers will likely choose external PCI express because there’s less additional silicon required to untangle the interface from displayport a la Thunderbolt. It’s also joint licensed by Intel/IBM/HP/Dell and therefore likely to be much more common (and therefore cheaper in the long term) than the Intel/Apple joint venture that is Thunderbolt.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Thunderbolt, but it seems to be a trademarked interface that does nothing two existing interfaces don’t already do, (only it needs extra silicon that Intel would just [i<]love[/i<] to sell you). I want my laptop to use an external GTX680 as much as the next guy, but I don't want to support a new standard that just adds to the number of competing standards in order to do so.

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    “A single Thunderbolt port has an obscene amount of bandwidth: 10Gbps in each direction per channel, with two channels per port. ”

    A lot faster than sata 3.0, maybe they should mothball sata, and put tbolt headers on mobo’s and SSD’s

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      SATA Express is coming out with a 8 and 16Gb/s variants later this year. They’ll be backward compatabile with SATA and also act as a native PCIE pipe the same way TB does. The difference being TB isn’t backward compatabile with anything, requires expensive cables and chips, and doesn’t take advantage of newer versions of PCIE. SATAe will scale up and down with newer and older variants of PCIE. The

      [url<]http://www.sata-io.org/technology/sataexpress.asp[/url<]

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        I’d be extremely surprised if 16Gb/s would become a reality this year. I mean, PCIeG3 just got into the market, and AMD won’t even have a platform solution for it until next year.

        The Gen4 spec [i<]might[/i<] get done by the end of the year, but we'll have to wait for products

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          I dunno… Things have started moving really fast in the storage sector since SSDs came around. I wouldn’t be surprised if they skipped right to 16Gb/s like you’re suggesting and PCIE 4 will hit sooner as there is actually a demand for it.

          The technology sector isn’t all that linear with the exception of a few big companies (like the major HD vendors).

        • clone
        • 7 years ago

        wow, I thought TechReport was talking about how the Sata developers were getting ready to walk away feeling the spec had done what was needed and had become redundant.

        guess not, Tbolt is too costly in comparison to most other specs, wonder if it’s why the Sata guys decided to stay.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah, SATA express doesn’t have a wikipedia entry yet so arm chair captains have to be a little bit more thorough before posting highly opinionated pieces on technology (not referring to TR, but the readers).

    • continuum
    • 7 years ago

    Good, now I have more to choose from than just Asus for Thunderbolt-equipped boards… (MSI’s boards don’t seem to pack enough USB 3.0 connectivity onboard compared to their competition)

    Now the other question, how do they overclock, and do they correctly report CPU voltage or not…

    • shank15217
    • 7 years ago

    Useless, there aren’t even 14 unique thunderbolt devices on the market.

    • torquer
    • 7 years ago

    Meh.

    Thunderbolt seems destined to become the Firewire of the current gen. Embraced by Apple, technologically superior, not widely embraced outside of specialized applications, financially prohibitive.

    For the majority of use cases USB 3.0 will be the clear choice. Thunderbolt is cool technology, but then again so was Blu-Ray.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    What’s the point in paying more for ports with nothing to plug into? I suppose you could derive some sort of satisfaction from the added cost by telling people that you’ve got a couple of TB ports at the back of your PC.

    • LSDX
    • 7 years ago

    With low enough latency and maybe additional bandwidth in next generations, I could see this as the potential standard for future gfx cards.
    Two huge advantages:
    – easier to upgrade
    – better thermal solutions: no major heatsource inside the desktop beside the cpu; with large enough single purpose boxes you can make any gfx card fanless

    • Neutronbeam
    • 7 years ago

    Here ya go

    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/07/why-thunderbolt-cables-will-be-expensive-until-2013/[/url<] 2m Thunderbolt Cable - M/M $48.99 USD [url<]https://www.startech.com/Cables/Thunderbolt-Cables/2-Meter-Thunderbolt-Cable-Male-to-Male~TBOLTMM2M[/url<]

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    I think Thunderpants will come into its own when 1) the second iteration is released (hopefully with optical) assuming prices are not as outrageous as they are currently and 2) ePCIe doesn’t eat its lunch in the next couple of years.

    I think there is a place for an external connection to your PCIe, but I think pricing it in the stratosphere and creating multiple standards around it are really just retarding the process of moving to it.

    I like Thunderpants, but I think USB3 is just better at present. And all the delaying by Intel on implementing USB3 to try and shore up Thunderpants was a waste of valuable time and effort. There was no way it was ever going to keep USB3 from becoming the defacto replacement for USB2.

    Thunderpants just costs too damn much. I wouldn’t mind a flash drive/SSD that connected via an external Thunderpants port and had speeds in excess of what our current SSD’s have over SATA, but I think the truly important thing an external version of PCIe could do is give us awesome Ultrathin/Ultrabook/x86 tablet docks that we can plug our external video cards into.

    Imagine buying a ultrathin/ultrabook/tablet with decent specs the same way we buy just a CPU/APU today. We then reuse our ultrathin/ultrabook/tablet’s CPU in a desktop-like scenario by docking it externally. Magic, presto-change-o, it turns it into a full-on desktop with more memory, more storage, more GPU muscle, better audio, connected to a kb/m, speakers, and monitor/HDTV, etc. Like Batman. Good if sleepy work tablet by day, awesome, batarang-throwing gaming desktop platform by night.

    Screw trying to match the high end gaming performance of a desktop in an ultrathin form factor and getting MacBook Pro overheating…

    Of course, this won’t appeal to the hardcore overclocker, but it WOULD appeal to a lot of people.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Why would fiber be cheaper then copper? When has this ever been the case in any technology in existence? What qualities does fiber have that TB could utilize in a desktop environment that would make it better then copper?

      PCI-E will eat it’s lunch. It already has as it’s been established for years and TB is built off of it. Sata express will nom whatever is left.

      A external docking station can already be done with PCI-E.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Why would fiber be cheaper then copper?[/quote<] Fibre is very cheap to produce and with copper pricing inflating it is not hard to conceive that will become the connection material of choice because it allows for greater profit margins.

          • Airmantharp
          • 7 years ago

          I believe fiber is cheaper than copper per foot today at smaller lengths, and that it gets exponentially cheaper as distance increases.

          Imagine being able to run some future optical TB cable a thousand yards pushing 16x PCIe 3.0 (it could happen eventually)- I think we could find a use for that :).

            • demani
            • 7 years ago

            In my case, we currently use Cat5e USB and display extenders so we can have the workstations sit in a machine room, and the K/V/M sits in a quiet room with the user. Thunderbolt over optical would do that better than those extenders (flukey at best) and for a hell of a lot less. We ran an extra couple FC cables just in case this comes to fruition at some point).

            HTPCs could connect to a display from another room, but still give you USB and audio to the AVR in the living room. Certainly doable with long HDMI/audio/USB cables, but a single optical run would be simpler.

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            There are FC extenders too- I looked into this a while back, as we were trying to extend the dual-link outputs off of server-based Quadros to Dell U3011 monitors across a room.

            We wound up not pursuing that venture.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah… fiber does get cheaper when it starts falling into the realm of exponentially longer (that was supposed to be implied in my first post)… I think that starts falling under a different technology entirely though… ether something…

            In other words, it makes no difference if it’s fiber or not as it wont change anything. Stores will charge a premium for anything fiber related and the benefits of it wont be seen except for a few extremely niche scenarios, on top of TB being niche to begin with.

            If people want to invest R&D in something make ethernet technology more transparent in some scenarios. Running a video signal over cat5 is not the same as actually converting the data to TCP/IP and routing it through a network.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Go compare cable prices at your local store. And since you like to stipulate, a local store would be a WalMart and a optic cable would be one premade for any use (such as stereo).

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            I can already pick up fibre cables cheaper then a pair of patch cords of equal length.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I’m sure you can… have you ever looked at equipment for making your own fiber cables?

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Hilarious. You point has been refuted up and down and now you’re trying to take it down a different route that’s even more pointless. You need to learn to admit when you’re wrong.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            How did you get rated up for that? Your post contains no factual information and is just opinion aimed at cornering me.

            Did you read my first post before you made your reply… alll the way at the top? Or did you simply seek to try and make me look bad without actually reading any part of the conversation?

            Judging by the content of your post and based on my reply to his post which still pertains to the original subject matter, I think you’re simply aiming for a red herring on a stuck ego from a different argument we’ve had.

            (In hindsight this is a post I shouldn’t have even replied to.)

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          The cost of an optical TB cable would be significantly higher because it needs to have the electical-optical-electrical interface electronics in it – the price of fiber doesn’t really matter much

        • GTVic
        • 7 years ago

        You don’t seem to understand Thunderbolt, it doesn’t compete with PCI-E and is not built off it. Maybe read up on it first.

        • mnecaise
        • 7 years ago

        If it’s just a fiber cable then it will be cheaper than the current copper Thunderbolt cable with the smart connectors containing embedded decoding and amps.

      • blastdoor
      • 7 years ago

      If Intel really intended TB to be a competitor for USB3, then Intel was delusional. But I never had the impression that was their intent. Am I wrong about that?

      TB strikes me as perfect for two things:

      1. single cable laptop super-dock

      2. Very, very high end connection to external peripherals for desktops/workstations

      In other words…. it’s perfect for Apple customers; makes less sense for everyone else.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what Apple comes up with for the next Mac Pro. I’m guessing TB is going to be a big part of the design.

        • End User
        • 7 years ago

        Intel has stated that Thunderbolt is a complementary technology to USB 3.0.

        [url<]http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20053639-64.html[/url<]

        • axeman
        • 7 years ago

        Would be really nice for a kind of universal dock, unlike current situations where even laptops from the same vendor can require different docks. Personally I’d like to have one standard cable for everything, too, instead of drawers full of every conceivable connector. Need a cable to connect your printer? TB. Need a cable to connect your monitor? TB. Maybe just a pipedream?

      • axeman
      • 7 years ago

      +1 for the word “Thunderpants”

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        That’s childish. I would expect to read something like this on Semiaccurate, but Tech Report folks should be a bit classier

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Thank you for once again informing us of how obscenely high the bandwidth is in comparison to USB 3s pittance of 5Gbit. Now if only the price, lack of peripherals, the lack of integration with current USB architecture, and over priced cables weren’t also obscene.

    So totally worth the $400 price tag that board will command.

    “Even if [it] has to…”

      • designerfx
      • 7 years ago

      You mean paying 10-20x as much just for a cable to be able to obtain 4x the bandwidth? Surely you jest, sir. It’s not like thunderbolt *devices* are expensive as well!

      /sarcasm

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        No I do not! If only motherboards started coming with infiniband on board we may have a contender for the TB throne!

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Comeon, no one gave me props for comparing TB to Infiniband?

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        You must not be familiar with the world of business hardware. Even the smallest, most pitiful feature will have a massive price premium.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          You must not be familiar with sarcasm.

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    Anyone here have any plans to make use of TB on their desktop?

    I’m not seeing the need for it myself unless monitors start sprouting ports of different kinds (USB, eSATA, etcetera) and then I suppose I’d move the computer to the floor or something. But then I’d need to buy a monitor! Don’t really want to do that.

    Laptops is another story.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      i don’t. no point.

      maybe in a few years once they have a SINGLE standard and actual things to support it.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        there will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be a single standard.

          • Arclight
          • 7 years ago

          But there will always be a single, widely accepted standard for a particular application 😛

          eg.: USB widely used as opposed to firewire by home users and not only.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            I think SSK was talking about Sony’s TB connector vs. Apple’s Mini DP connector.

            • demani
            • 7 years ago

            Isn’t really Sony’s connector vs. the mDP one everyone else is shipping?

            And are we surprised Sony did something different from everyone? They are almost as bad as Apple (sometimes worse).

          • stdRaichu
          • 7 years ago

          Oblig.: [url<]http://xkcd.com/927/[/url<]

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          that’s not exactly true. there may never be a TOTAL ALL ENCOMPASSING COMPLETE EVERYTHING standard, but actually, i think there will probably be one one day, but i obviously meant a single tb standard. have 2 competing ports for the same thing is dumb. USB was pretty damn close to a complete standard for most things. It’s done well. obviously this does theoretically more, but in it’s current implementation, it’s retarded.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            There is only one port you FUD loving hack.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Sony has a different port they used. Not fair to call SSK a FUD-loving hack just because you choose to ignore the truth.

            • adisor19
            • 7 years ago

            That is NOT a standard TB port. As per the final spec, the TB port is the MiniDP one.

            Adi

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Doesn’t make it not exist.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Cripes. You are really grasping at straws now.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            I cried when I read your post.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Sony’s product is outside the spec. It is not Thunderbolt. SSK choose to ignore the truth. Pure FUD.

            Heck, the fact that you suggest that Sony’s tech is Thunderbolt is rather bizarre.

        • End User
        • 7 years ago

        Thunderbolt is a single standard. Sony is not following the standard.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          you’re just making that up. there is no agreed upon port by all parties. intel has demoed it using USB ports, and apple has gone display port. the usb consortium has said they don’t want USB ports messed with, but intel has never gone on the record stating WHAT the standard is, as far as i know.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Seriously, get a clue. The only port is Mini DisplayPort based. The Thunderbolt standard does not use USB based ports.

            Intel’s Thunderbolt site has a picture of the connector (hint: it is not USB) [url<]http://goo.gl/mOtei[/url<]

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            thanks for the link! i see they have decided. I’d always seen it demoed by intel on USB ports, and the wikipedia page did not state they had decided on display port.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            The Wikipedia page clearly states “Connector Mini DisplayPort” (as it has for the past 17 months)

      • Krogoth
      • 7 years ago

      Outside some high-end HDD enclosures (Nested RAID in a box) and A/V devices.

      There isn’t really any use for TB on the desktop.

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        Didn’t ask that. Shall I assume your answer to be “NO”?

        • stdRaichu
        • 7 years ago

        Problem is, IMHO if you’re going to buy a box full of hard drives and a disc controller, I don’t see the point in limiting it to a point-to-point connectivity protocol such as thunderbolt when you could just use a SAN/NAS approach instead.

        If we take the apple classic example of video production and editing with the raw files stored on a thunderbolt array and so some post-prod work on it… great, so thunderbolt gets me 400MB/s sequential throughput whilst my dual-giganic NAS only gets me 200MB/s… but I’ve yet to see a single computer that can get through any level of video processing (apart from muxing/demuxing) eating through disc I/O at even 150MB/s, even simple video processing.

        And if you have the sort of (single-node) video editing rig that’ll regularly consume 400MB/s of I/O without breaking a sweat (presumably in a laptop format, since a workstation for those requirements would already have a bunch of platters/SSD’s for storage and scratch space), you’re already well within the territory of 10Gb NICs or SAS/fibre arrays – which have the advantage that they’re highly scalable both in capacity and the ability to add many workstations. Yet I still see dozens of people proclaiming that thunderbolt’ll become the “go-to” standard for video editing and all other high-I/O work simply because it’s faster (or rather has the potential to be faster) than USB3 or eSATA.

        Sadly, at the moment I just see thunderbolt as a solution in search of a problem out side a few highly limited niches.

          • Airmantharp
          • 7 years ago

          Without getting into arguments concerning bandwidth, processing power, or usage, one thing TB has over literally everything else is that it’s an external PCIe interface. Let’s assume for a moment that TB can be expanded both in speed as faster PCIe connectivity becomes available and in width, either by multiplexing interfaces or by pushing more lanes across the interface, and then the only questions that remain are price and product availability.

          Remember that processing power, memory capacity, storage throughput, and workload demands are ever-increasing over time. SSDs are already limited by the SATA3 standard, and 4k video is just one step in the already-planned evolution of video recording and playback.

          Also, while SAS/Fibre is definitely fast, TB has the potential to be both faster and lower latency, and easier/cheaper to implement across the board.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      I will use it to funnel PCI-E to my monitor which will have a USB 3 hub, printer, fax, T3 line, keyboard, mouse, video card, external sound card, external tuner, and a external raid enclosure all connected to it cause putting components in your computer was so last year. Oh and a joystick for good measure.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        I assume you’re being down-rated for sarcasm, but I seriously like some of your ideas. WHAT IF your motherboard was just a bunch of TB ports, with no PCIe lanes assigned to slots? Even a gaming-grade external GPU would be feasible, and everything else already works, right?

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          What if your TB motherboard was a bunch of PCIE lanes? :O

          There isn’t a standardized connector (plenty of proprietary ones), but PCIE has been hot pluggable since v1.0. I understand the notion of being able to plug in high bandwidth devices externally, but PCIE is capable of accomplishing that once a connector gets ratified. It would then scale with PCIE gen and there wouldn’t be any tomfollery involved with more then one standard inter-operating with each other.

          Why would someone go out of their way to over complicate things besides TB being available? If it makes you feel better, they could simply strip out everything TB and just use the cable (with the active components removed) as a bus for PCIE.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      I based my latest build around a P8Z77-V PREMIUM (one Thunderbolt port).

      I have a MacBook Air connected to my Thunderbolt Display at home. When I bring the Air to work I’ll connect it to our Gigabit network via the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

      I will admit that after upgrading to a 2012 MacBook Air I thoroughly enjoy making use of my USB 3.0 sticks/drives.

      Thunderbolt is cool but we need way more devices.

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 7 years ago

      Thunderbolt on a motherboard doesn’t make much sense, because it already has PCI Express slots for expansion. But…for all-in-one systems and laptops, thunderbolt is truly awesome – enabling capabilities that USB3 was simply never designed for.

      Apple’s Thunderbolt display is an excellent example – docking MacBooks to a large display, gigabit ethernet, firewire and USB devices, *and additional thunderbolt devices* all through one connection!

      It’s expensive technology, but most new technology is. I think Thunderbolt is here to stay and the price will slowly come down, just as it did with SSDs, Give it some time.

        • kc77
        • 7 years ago

        Even for All-In-One’s you have to try really hard to make it viable there. The only space that it makes some sense is for really small form factors like those of laptops, and even when you consider this:

        [quote<] docking MacBooks to a large display, gigabit ethernet, firewire and USB devices, *and additional thunderbolt devices* all through one connection! [/quote<] If you look on the bottom of any business class Dell laptop there is a single port that connects to a dock which drives all of the things you speak of at probably a far cheaper cost. Dell, Lenovo, and HP all have business class laptops with this feature. They've had it for decades. It doesn't matter how you look at it Thunderbolt is a technology looking for a problem. USB 3.0 has enough [url=http://www.everythingusb.com/hp-compaq-l2311c-notebook-docking-monitor-21455.html'<]bandwith to drive a monitor [/url<] it can also saturate a SATA III device (and if they are mechanical then you'll need two) and to top it all off it's backwards compatible and the cables don't cost $50 bucks. Sorry I'm just not seeing much use for this technology.

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          It is all about bandwidth. Your monitor example is only 1080p. USB 3.0 has a max bandwith of up to 5Gbps. A 2560x1440x32bp display alone will consume 6.75Gbps of bandwidth. One Thunderbolt port has 10Gbps in either direction for a total of 20Gbps.

          Thunderbolt dwarfs USB 3.0 in a bandwidth fight.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            [url=http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=17&qptimeframe=Y<]Do you know how many people have 1920x1080 monitors? [/url<]Try just 4.77%. Guess how many have 2560x1440? The answer... 0.52%. We are not anywhere close to representing the average consumer. 1080P hasn't even caught up to the ubiquity of 1024x768. If one of us is going to run at those kind of resolutions you can bet dollars to doughnuts we are using a discrete which means.... no ThunderBoit ports for you without running additional wiring just to use the TB port. Doing something like that just to make use of the TB port is well...... stupid. This means that computers that will utilize the TB port will be using the IGP. Now how many people who use IGP's run at a resolution of 2560x 1440? I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the answer is probably very close to zero. So who is TB meant for? The graphic artist that's running Photoshop off a HD 3000/HD4000? The fact that TB has more bandwidth than USB 3.0 has never been disputed. The problem is what device alone will be able to push the type of bandwidth where spending the extra money for TB makes sense. There isn't a single consumer device (other than super high performing SSD's) which will benefit from it. This means that TB is a $50+ solution for cable management...just as long as you don't have a discrete video card or a discrete sound card.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            I thought we were talking about bandwidth. Oh well. Nevermind.

            [quote<]We are not anywhere close to representing the average consumer.[/quote<] Who said anything about the average consumer? [quote<]the ubiquity of 1024x768[/quote<] Who said anything about the ubiquity of 1024x768? I can't believe you even mentioned that. [quote<]The fact that TB has more bandwidth than USB 3.0 has never been disputed.[/quote<] Hmmm. Well, you certainly went out of your way to push that fact aside. [quote<]Do you know how many people have 1920x1080 monitors? Try just 4.77%. Guess how many have 2560x1440? The answer... 0.52%.[/quote<] The only stats that are useful are the ones that are relevant to me directly. At my work we are 100% 2560x1440. At home I've got 3 2560x1440 displays and one 1920x1200. I haven't used a 1024x768 display in over 17 years. [quote<]There isn't a single consumer device (other than super high performing SSD's) which will benefit from it. [/quote<] My MacBook Air and Thunderbolt Display strongly disagree with you. I hate to break it to you but [quote<]super high performing SSD's[/quote<] are commonly available consumer products that can saturate USB 3.0. I wonder how that data transfer would impact your USB 3.0 display?

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Who said anything about the average consumer? [/quote<] That's what any manufacturer is going to base their spec on. They aren't going to mass produce for niches first. [quote<]The only stats that are useful are the ones that are relevant to me directly.[/quote<] OK. I don't believe that's going to matter. But OK [quote<]At my work we are 100% 2560x1440.[/quote<] You're probably also 100% DP/HDMI as well. TB display only came out last year. If they are standard on TB then that's good for them. Apple only has 6.7% of the market. So 93% of the users worldwide are likely using DP or HDMI. Add to the fact that TB can only do 1 monitor at 2560x1440 per connection. [quote<] My MacBook Air and Thunderbolt Display strongly disagree with you. [/quote<] Great now when everyone uses Macs that will mean something. [quote<]I hate to break it to you but super high performing SSD's are commonly available consumer products that can saturate USB 3.0. I wonder how that data transfer would impact your USB 3.0 display?are commonly available consumer products that can saturate USB 3.0.[/quote<] Nope USB 3.0 maxes out at 625 MB/s. That's bytes not bits. Even the latest SSD's max out around 500 MB/s. There are some slightly faster but those aren't any way the majority and that speed is only achieved on sequential data. The average is MUCH MUCH lower.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Nope USB 3.0 maxes out at 625 MB/s. [/quote<] Ah, now you are quoting the theoretical maximum of 5Gbps. Ok, lets roll with that. In real world testing [url<]http://goo.gl/ePsxo[/url<] Thunderbolt can handle a 2560x1440 display (6.75Gbps) plus an additional 7.2Gbps. Impressive to say the least. If you need the Gbps then Thunderbolt rules. [quote<][quote<]The only stats that are useful are the ones that are relevant to me directly.[/quote<] OK. I don't believe that's going to matter. But OK[/quote<] If you hit USB 3.0's performance wall then you would begin to take an interest in Thunderbolt. [quote<][quote<]Who said anything about the average consumer?[/quote<] That's what any manufacturer is going to base their spec on. They aren't going to mass produce for niches first.[/quote<] Hey. You are right! Well, at least as far as Apple is concerned. Mac mini/iMac/MacBook Air/MacBook Pro - all of their average consumer products.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Ah, now you are quoting the theoretical maximum of 5Gbps. Ok, lets roll with that. In real world testing [url<]http://goo.gl/ePsxo[/url<] Thunderbolt can handle a 2560x1440 display (6.75Gbps) plus an additional 7.2Gbps. Impressive to say the least. If you need the Gbps then Thunderbolt rules.[/quote<] Why wouldn't I quote theoretical maximums? Oh I get it now. You believe that this is a red vs green, green vs blue, pc vs mac argument. I could give a rats behind on who made it. We are talking about the usefulness of the technology, not TB roxxorz. We all know it's faster. The question is how is this MORE useful than the many ports that appear on your average desktop today? TB daisy chains. Great so does DP. TB can carry audio and video. Great so does HDMI and DP. It offers more bandwidth than most HDD/SSD's. Great so does SAS, SATA III and USB 3.0, etc. So far the only use for TB we've been able to come up with collectively is the possibility of standardizing the bottom dock port on a laptop and cable management.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]So far the only use for TB we've been able to come up with collectively is the possibility of standardizing the bottom dock port on a laptop and cable management.[/quote<] That is what YOU came up with. USB 3.0 is awesome. I love it. But it has it's limitations as far as bandwidth goes. You quoted the theoretical maximum of USB 3.0 which we all no it will never hit. Current gen SSD's already blow past what USB 3.0 offers. If you don't need the speed (and it sounds like you don't) then don't even waste any time over Thunderbolt. Those of use that are hitting the limits of what USB 3.0 offers can move up to Thunderbolt and enjoy what it offers.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            You’re acting like USB 3.0 is the only standard out there. There’s eSATA, SATA 6G, SAS 6G, DP, HDMI, and USB 3.0. TB is trying to offer a solution for something that’s not really a problem. And current SSD’s do not “blow past” the theoretical limits of USB 3.0. As I said before 99% of them top out at 500 MB/s.That’s within USB 3.0’s limits easily. There’s one SSD that’s a true TB SSD and that hasn’t even been released yet and [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/5577/lacie-2big-thunderbolt-series-review<]there's one enclosure [/url<]that can breach the 650 MB/s limit on USB 3.0 and that only does it by a "whopping" 23 MB/s using an external enclosure with 3 SSD's in RAID 5. Guess what? The same data rate is possible using SATA 6G, eSATA and SAS 6G. Please feel free to list the many areas that you think TB makes sense.

          • demani
          • 7 years ago

          The one note about those is that the dcks were usually proprietary: that dock was only good with certain laptops. Thunderbolt means having the opportunity to use one that suits you (i.e. a full Apple Display, or the lower end ones from Belkin or …Matrox? don’t remember).

          It is niche, but having it on a desktop is great if you are also using it on a laptop so you can move peripherals between the two. And a $50 cable is less expensive than two 10GB nics plus a 10GB switch to connect them directly.

          • Washer
          • 7 years ago

          Thunderbolt could help the docking situation immensely.

          Docking stations are not even universal among manufacturers. You could have bought say a Lenovo T400 and upgraded to a new T430 and you’d be forced to buy a new station. Which sucks because those can be costly and have very low resale value.

          Docking stations are not always designed well. Thunderbolt gives an opportunity to open this market fully to third parties. I bet some really unique and useful designs become available. It would also drive costs down.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            It’s doubtful that HP, Dell, and Lenovo are going to standardize docking stations for your benefit. Standardizing them means less revenue for precisely the example you give…. when it comes time for you to upgrade.

            Now I’m not going to say that they will never. But it’s unlikely.

            Not to mention there’s nothing stopping the aforementioned manufacturers from standardizing them now. You don’t need TB to standardize on a port. All things lead to PCI-Express in the end so it’s not like they lack bandwidth to do this now.

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            They could always choose to compete with each other by putting TB in their systems and then making interchangeable ‘docking arrays’. You might find yourself with a Lenovo laptop and an HP docking array, or some such.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            With Thunderbolt they won’t have a choice. Anyone could make a universal dock that only requires a single connector.

            I can’t tell if you intentionally missed the point…

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            The point wasn’t missed. Your assertion is that somehow all of the manufacturers are going to use TB and then standardize on TB for their docks, all on their own, for your benefit, and intentionally lose revenue.

            If there’s a TB port on it and it’s on the [b<] side[/b<] of the laptop which connects to an external breakout box, then [b<]that's not a dock.[/b<] That's a breakout box. A dock is usually something that sits directly under on into another object. Obviously the port on the bottom is going to be what the manufacturer desires. Generally, standardized ports means less money for them, not more. Could it happen? It could. Will it? Doubtful, not without some external force, like Intel giving them money to do it. Otherwise standardized ports for docks means anyone could make a dock, which means less money for them. That's one problem. The main problem is, why? The current solution for docking laptops aren't constrained by bandwidth in any meaningful way. You're asking them to invest into a new interconnect strictly because it's new and I guess because Intel made it. That's not too good of a reason.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]not without some external force[/quote<] Like competition?

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            From whom? Themselves? They already have a monopoly on whatever port they are using for docks. They don’t need TB to have a faster interconnect.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            You’re being ridiculous. A dock is about functionality, it isn’t about placement. It’s impossible to have a conversation like this if you’re going to be narrow minded and unable to think beyond the obvious and already available.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t think I am. We’ve all agreed that the use for TB has relatively few use cases. Some have said it could be useful for docks. I originally have been talking about the port on the bottom of laptops since the very beginning. I then said that port (the one on the bottom) isn’t going to standardize.

            I’ve also said that of course if TB is anywhere on the laptop it could be used for a dock-like device but that still doesn’t mean that manufacturers are going to all standardize around TB just for the hell of it.

            I think they are all quite sensible statements. This is before we even discuss that TB in it’s current form has bandwidth limitations of it’s own.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]This is before we even discuss that TB in it's current form has bandwidth limitations of it's own.[/quote<] I'm waiting.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Question, is the Power Media Dock Sony sells to… dock their Vaio Z not a dock because it doesn’t fit your narrow definition?

            [url<]http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=8198552921644570897[/url<] Once Thunderbolt starts appearing on more laptops third parties accessories that do similar functions will be possible. Sony, being typical Sony, right now is innovating while rejecting the standard connector but it's still Thunderbolt internally. Thunderbolt has problems, no doubt, but it offers some seriously cool possibilities.

            • kc77
            • 7 years ago

            You mean the dock with the proprietary CONNECTOR??!!?!!? Are you sure I’m the one being ridiculous here?

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Hey, talk to Sony about that one. It has nothing to do with Thunderbolt.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            It’s proof of exactly what Thunderbolt can do. Sony didn’t have to use a proprietary connector, that’s just typical Sony style and a significant part as to why they’re slowly failing. As Thunderbolt spreads, and it certainly is doing that, they’ll be forced to use the standard connector as well (look at them being forced to include both their stupid proprietary flash format and SD slot).

            It blows my mind why this is so hard for you to grasp.

            • EJ257
            • 7 years ago

            The docking station situation couldn’t be more true. At my work when we upgraded our laptops from the old HP Compaq nw8440 Mobile Workstation to the new HP Elitebooks we had to get new docking stations for everyone. The port on the bottom was different, it had different number of pins. The guide posts and latches that help you center the laptop and keep it docked were also physically incompatible. What a pain in the ass. We should just move away from the proprietary port on the bottom.

            Apple started the ball rolling with TB and I give them credit for that. Using the display as the “docking station” like Apple did with their TB display is one idea but it’s not really an ideal solution for everyone.

            Something like these would be imo the ideal solution. Get a laptop with TB on it. Get whatever TB compatible docking solution you want. This way your no longer locked in and at the mercy of the computer OEMs anymore.

            [url<]http://www.belkin.com/thunderbolt/[/url<] [url<]http://www.matrox.com/docking_station/en/ds1/[/url<]

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            You can do docking with PCIE. Hot plugging has been present since version 1.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      I may not make immediate use of it, but if price is similar, having it is obviously preferable to not having it.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Way to ninja edit your post adding your opinion after you got responses. If I remember right this is actually against the forum rules.

      His original post was just:

      “Anyone here have any plans to make use of TB on their desktop?”

      He added:

      “I’m not seeing the need for it myself unless monitors start sprouting ports of different kinds (USB, eSATA, etcetera) and then I suppose I’d move the computer to the floor or something. But then I’d need to buy a monitor! Don’t really want to do that.

      Laptops is another story.”

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Holy smoke! This must be one of the most replied-to posts ever here at TR!!

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        It’s on a highly contested option. I think Geoff put up this news snippet on Friday for some interesting commentary knowing people would argue for and against TB.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      Not this generation but in the next couple of years – yes. Thankfully outboard audio devices (pro and prosumer) are headed to TB and away from USB 2.0 (often too slow) and Firewire (dead, useless on the PC side. Mostly have to use TI chipsets but even then not a guarantee).

      I’ll be glad when (or if) it becomes a real standard and ubiquitous on the audio side.

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