The flow of Thunderbolt
peripherals onto the market definitely seems to be building steam with this latest example from Sonnet bringing expanded connectivity options to those with machines packing Apple's new I/O technology. Sonnet's US$150 EchoExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter uses a PCIe interface to link a range of existing peripherals such as USB 3.0, FireWire 800, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet and high speed memory cards through a single Thunderbolt port.
Thunderbolt definitely seems to be gaining momentum with another peripheral for the high-speed interface rearing its head. Spotted by DailyTech at this week's 2011 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, the Thunderbolt Express Dock from Belkin connects with a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to provide the same docking station capabilities found on Apple's recently announced Apple Thunderbolt Display
(but without the 27-inch monitor).
Aside from moving around large backup files in a spritely fashion, one of the areas most likely to benefit from the new Thunderbolt
interface is video editing. Which is why it's not all that surprising to see that one of the first Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals to appear following a number of external HDDs
that have started to trickle onto the market is the EUR209 Intensity Extreme video capture and playback device. The unit from Blackmagic Design offers 10-bit HDMI and analog video editing in SD and HD, with its 10 Gb/s Thunderbolt port providing data transfer speeds up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and up to 11.5 times faster than FireWire 800.
On Wednesday, Seagate announced it was shipping the world’s first 4TB external hard drive in the form of the 4TB GoFlex Desk Drive, which offers a high speed USB 3.0 interface. Obviously looking to steal a bit of Seagate’s thunder – or should that be Thunderbolt – the very next day Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST) demoed its own 4TB external hard drives at IBC 2011 in Amsterdam in a two-drive, 8TB, RAID 0, G-RAID unit with Thunderbolt, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports.
Just in case the release of OSX Lion and the unveiling of the updated MacBook Air
isn't enough to satisfy your Apple cravings today, the company has also taken the wraps off its first Thunderbolt equipped display and revealed a beefed up Mac Mini line-up.
An update to the MacBook Air line-up is among a raft of new releases announced by Apple today. The new 11-inch and 13-inch models get Mac OS X Lion (which has also just landed), the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors, Thunderbolt ports and a backlit keyboard.
Although LaCie was quick to follow
of Thunderbolt in February with a new HDD supporting the technology, there have been few ripples in the new I/O pond since. Now, after a brief false start
, some new Thunderbolt-equipped RAID storage systems from Promise and a Thunderbolt cable from Apple have appeared in the Apple store.
Apple's desktop lineup has typically pushed users requiring plenty of fast I/O towards the Mac Pro - but the latest iMac refresh has broken the tradition. While quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs and faster ATI Radeon HD GPUs are welcomed, it's the addition of Thunderbolt
ports (one in the 21.5-inch and two in the 27-inch) that really ups the ante for a number of professional users.
Many have decried the lack of USB 3.0
connectivity in Apple’s latest MacBook Pro lineup
, with the company instead opting for the new Thunderbolt
I/O interface. Despite the lack of USB 3.0 connectivity in Apple’s current laptops, the unearthing of a patent granted to the company for a hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 high speed dock connector suggests support for the high speed connection may be making its way into the next generation of Apple’s iOS devices. And with Thunderbolt using the Mini DisplayPort connector, Apple may finally be answering the call for greater connectivity options for its mobile devices.
I've had plenty to say about Apple's bizarre, pro user-hostile MacBook Pro I/O roadmap over the years - like the shock removal of FireWire 400
in late 2008 and the removal of ExpressCard from the 15"
in 2009 - so it's incredibly refreshing to write about the inclusion of Thunderbolt, a decidedly "Pro" I/O interface with seemingly no downside, in the latest refresh.