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Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals appear on Mac store


June 30, 2011

Four new Thunderbolt-equipped RAID storage solutions from Promise and a proprietary Thunde...

Four new Thunderbolt-equipped RAID storage solutions from Promise and a proprietary Thunderbolt cable have now appeared in the Apple Store

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Although LaCie was quick to follow Apple's unveiling 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.

Thunderbolt technology - previously known as Light Peak - is described by Apple as: A new, high-speed, dual-protocol I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. Capable of delivering a blistering two channels of bi-directional 10 Gbit/s (1.25GB/s) per port of performance, Thunderbolt technology combines PCI Express and Display port into an interface using a single cable for connectivity to devices.

The Thunderbolt-packing R4 RAID storage solution from Promise

The cheapest of the new storage systems added to Apple's Store is the Promise Pegasus R4 4TB (4 x 1TB) RAID System at US$999. It features four hot-swappable drive bays, each with a 1TB HDD spinning at 7200 RPM. This ultra-quiet solution has two Thunderbolt ports and is said to deliver a sprightly 500MB/s bandwidth in a RAID 0 configuration, and also supports RAID 1, 5, 6 and 10.

There's a another, more expensive, R4 solution which features the same RAID support, disk spin speed and bandwidth as its sibling, but offers 4 x 2TB of storage for US$1,499.

The Promise Pegasus R6 system also comes in two flavors - there's a 6 x 1TB configuration priced at US$1,499 and a 6 x 2TB model which costs US$1,999. Both are said to be capable of a drool-worthy 800MB/s bandwidth, support the same RAID configurations as their cheaper cousin and the same number of Thunderbolt ports.

Apple's new Thunderbolt cable

None of the Promise storage solutions come shipped with a Thunderbolt cable, but Apple has released its own at a cost of US$49. As well as enabling a suitably-compatible iMac or MacBook Pro to connect to Thunderbolt-packing peripherals, the new cable can also be used to transfer data between two Macs with Target Disk Mode.

In an interesting development, the inquisitive folks over at iFixit have ripped apart a Thunderbolt cable and discovered two Gennum GN2033 Active-Cable Transceiver chips, other much smaller chips, and a boat load of resistors packed tightly into the metal connector.

This could go some way to explaining the somewhat high cost of the new cable.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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