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Data Storage Networking Apple

First Thunderbolt Peripherals Arrive To Market 259

MojoKid writes "Promise Technology recently launched the first Thunderbolt-compatible devices; the company's Pegasus RAID R4 and R6 storage solutions can now be ordered from the Apple Store. There's a catch, however. In order to use either storage array, one must first purchase a cable directly from Apple. The company has priced the two-meter cable at $50. As it turns out, Thunderbolt uses what's called an active cable. Inside the cable there's a pair of Gunnum GN2033 transceivers. The GN2033 is a tiny, low power transceiver chip designed to be placed inside the connectors at either end of a Thunderbolt cable, enabling dual bidirectional 10Gb/s concurrent links over narrow-gauge copper wires. The cable's $50 price may be justified, but it's also a further reminder of why Thunderbolt may follow FireWire's path into obsolescence. Apple is the only company currently selling Thunderbolt cables."
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First Thunderbolt Peripherals Arrive To Market

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  • Re:or maybe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:00AM (#36630876)

    Yep, not knowing about firewire's use in a niche market certainly makes someone a retard and a moron.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:08AM (#36630906) Homepage Journal
    well, at least part of it anyway. With the departure of the XServe from Apple's lineup and their promotion of the mac mini server, it's obvious Apple is really trying to go for the small-medium business market with their server offerings. As part of that, Apple has been trying to convince owners/IT people who work at said businesses that you can essentially create the same "infrastructure"(hardware/software/workflows etc) as the big enterprises do without having to spring for enterprise level hardware. Even with the cable, this RAID is still cheaper than a fiber channel card, and of course actually allows people to connect real storage to the mini-server(provided they throw a thunderbolt port in the next mini, which they would have be insane not too).

    While I certainly don't see anything that requires a $50 cable to totally usurp USB anytime soon, that doesn't mean it won't be successful or fit in well with the type of product lineup Apple is trying to build.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:27AM (#36630990)

    but why the chips are not part of the devices?

  • Re:or maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:29AM (#36630994)

    The summary says it's currently being used for RAID configurations. That's a sensible use. But I doubt it will make much headway with consumers.

    How about some high-bandwidth situations? Like perhaps having a nice mobile device with Thunderbolt with long battery life, then plug it into your Thunderbolt dock and you suddenly have kickass gaming graphics and all that fun stuff?

    Hell, perhaps we'd see stuff like GigE network dongles and stuff - if you're mobile and using WiFI all day, then plug it in at home and you have gigabit connectivity.

    Right now, people use it because it's crazy fast for drives. But it's likely Intel sees it as the future of mobile devices - optimized highly for mobile use with long battery life by keeping all the power hungry stuff in a dock - high-end graphics, wired networking, etc.

    It's basically a cable-ized version of PCIe.

  • by nonsequitor ( 893813 ) on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:53AM (#36631064)

    Putting the transceivers in the cable itself could mean that upgrading the bandwidth is as simple as getting a better cable and upgrading the thunderbolt driver.

  • Re:or maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Relyx ( 52619 ) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:22AM (#36631384)

    You are thinking of Betacam, which is the high-end off-shoot of Betamax. Nowadays though HDCAM and HDCAM SR tapes will have taken over for HD footage.

  • by hile ( 110782 ) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:42AM (#36631440) Homepage

    What I would like to have with thunderbolt is fancy magic breaker box, which would for example include:
    - 4 firewire 800 ports
    - 8 USB2 / USB3 ports
    - 2 ESATA ports for disks
    - maybe connector for external display as well

    Connecting such box to your laptop might sound silly for most users, but my use would be to hook this to my music hardware rack, having all of the audio hardware connected to your gig laptop with one cable. Like, all various MIDI controllers (usually USB), audio recording interfaces (usually firewire), instruments (my line6 guitar amp has USB) and external disks for recording.

    Usually you only use one or two of these devices at a time, but the cables can be really a PITA: having one magic box bolted to your audio rack, connecting everything there permanently makes things so much simpler. Of course, I would like the magic box to come in 1U form factor, or with rack mounting kit.

    If such box is made available, I seriously might be tempted to get a new MBP, just to be able to use it.

    This is not going to make thunderbolt a must for all users, but it's wonderful technology to replace firewire (which is certainly not dead yet in pro audio market!). Everything doesn't have to be The Big Thing for everyone. I'm not sure about USB3, but I though it still has latency issues like USB2 for multichannel audio (like 32 channels, not your average gaming rig...), which are not solved by higher transfer rates. Might be wrong of course regarding USB3...

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