Maccast Members 2011.05.22 - Thunderbolt
V What is it?
V In development at Intel since 2009
* Code-named Light Peak and branded a Thunderbolt when Apple announced it on new Macbook Pros earlier this year.
* Originally a fiber optic technology
* Also added a copper variant (which is what Apple is currently using) to support power via the connector.
* Intel worked with Apple to help develop the technology. It's believed Apple influenced or asked for the Mini Display port compatibility.
V 10Gbps full-duplex data transfer speeds (meaning it allows 10Gbps of data per second both into and out of each port, simultaneously)
* Intel claims it will get the technology up to 50Gbps by 2015
V Integrates support for the DisplayPort and PCI Express 2.0 standards.
* Intel's controllers handle all the necessary protocol switching between PCI Express and DisplayPort, which enables simultaneous transmission of data via both protocols over the same cable.
* Combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into a new serial data interface
V Uses same connector as MiniDisplay Port
* Mini Display Port is a connector developed by Apple, but made available for a free license.
* Likely a good choice because DisplayPort supports speeds up to 17.28 Gbps in cable lengths under 3 meters.
* Really just a connection that combines the two in one port.
V Powered
* up to 10W total per port. Furthermore, powered devices in the chain can pass 10W of power further down the chain if needed.
V Can daisy chain of up to seven Thunderbolt devices
* Plus two high-resolution displays using DisplayPort.
* Displays need to be at the end of the daisy chain.
V Who owns Thunderbolt?
* Apple owned the trademark on Thunderbolt, but reportedly transferred it to Intel.
* Intel is currently the sole vendor of the necessary Thunderbolt controller chip.
V Intel doesn't seems to be giving PC vendors the option for Thunderbolt supported motherboards, but has said Apple didn't pay for any exclusivity.
* Expected in PCs in 2012
* Unlike Firewire, there’s no per-port licensing fee or royalty for peripheral manufacturers to use the port or the Thunderbolt controller.
V Advantages of Thunderbolt
V External storage access as fast as internal.
* 6/Gbps SATA 3.0 are the fastest HDDs you can get at the moment?
* High speed HD and video transfers.
* extremely low-latency. Connected devices can be clock-synchronized to within 8 nanoseconds.
* Thunderbolt isn't a protocol, but instead simply provides a new physical layer for existing connector protocols.
V Anything that can be used with a PCIe expansion slot could work as a Thunderbolt device
V This is because you can tunnel a PCIe lane over the link connection.
* It is in essence it becomes like an external PCI slot
* Think of it like brining back the Express 34 card slot on the Macbook Pro.
* Cables, adapters, external video cards.
V Chaining different devices doesn't effect the bus
* If you chain in other technologies you need to be careful about how.
* Don't want an older FW 800 drive in the middle of your Thunderbolt chain.
* Will see hubs and adapters to deal with branching chains.
V What about USB 3.0?
V Intel doesn't yet support USB 3.0 natively on its motherboard chipsets.
* Intel has said it will feature native support for both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 standards in chipsets using its next-generation "Ivy Bridge" CPU architecture.
* USB 3.0 features 5Gbps maximum data transfer speeds--half that of Thunderbolt
* USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices.
* USB 3.0 does not feature native support for any video bus or display standards.
* USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt aren't necessarily competitors.
V What can I do with my Thunderbolt port?
* At the moment connect a Display Port monitor
V No Thunderbolt-based peripheral devices on the market yet, but lots announced.
* Apple has said to expect them "this summer".
V Some Announced Thunderbolt Devices
V Storage
* Promise Pegasus R4 and Pegasus R6
* LaCie Little Big Disk
* Sonnet Fusion RAID
V Video Capture
* Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D
* Matrox MX02
* Avid HD I/O box
V Adapters
* Promise SAN Link Fibre Channel adapter
* Sonnet Allegro FireWire 800 adapter
* Sonnet Presto Gigabit Ethernet adapter
* Sonnet’s Echo™ Express PCIe 2.0 Expansion Chassis (external PCIe card box).