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  • Spazweasel - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    $50 too much for a cable? Psshh. Children these days don't remember $75-100 SCSI-3 and UltraSCSI cables. These things are expensive for good reason.

    You want the highest performance, you pay to play. That's always been the case.
  • tzhu07 - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    The phrase, "you get what you pay for" is generally true as a rule of thumb, but in the computer and consumer electronics industry, that has for the most part been untrue.

    Case in point: The high price of Monster cables having no performance advantage over the same type of cables one can find on newegg at a much lower price.

    Apple just has this technology cornered....for now.
  • tzhu07 - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Well, I should say untrue in the computer and consumer electronics cable market. Reply
  • darwinosx - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    The technology is Intel's not Apples. Intel determines the licensing fees. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Yes, but like SCSI, Apple was its only mainstream delivery vehicle. Back in the 80's and 90's, SCSI interfaces were reserved for servers, ultra high end workstations, and Apple computers. They always push the bleeding edge, which is possibly the only thing I respect about Apple. Reply
  • Justin Case - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    This has nothing to do with "pushing the bleeding edge". This has to do with giving Apple an "excuse" to remove USB ports from their iToys, thus locking out 3rd party accessory manufacturers (Thunderbolt is far too expensive to be competitive, unless you have a special deal like Apple has with Intel).

    The Mac hasn't been Apple's main focus for a long time; it's all about iOS and its ecosystem, now.
  • haley2011 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    ok Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    doesn't the article specifically say that thunderbolt is free to license.
    Isn't Promise Pegasus a 3rd part manufacturer. Do you have any source claiming that Promise has a special deal with Apple.
    Sony has thunderbolt ports in it's laptop as well.
  • Focher - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    Besides that you give away your bias of anything from Apple, TB isn't an Apple technology. It's an Intel one. What I find ironic is the USB versus TB arguments. First, it's a false choice. Even Apple has offered both FireWire and USB ports for years on their machines. It's only recently that FireWire has started to be removed from models. There's no current indication that USB will be dropped by Apple. Second, in specific regards to USB 3.0 I don't see the argument versus TB device availability. Neither have much market penetration yet, so only time will tell how each of them will do - and both could do fine or both could fail. Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    iOS devices are toys, but they already lack USB ports. They don't have any proper developer- or user-accessible I/O, so you think Apple's going to put Thunderbolt ports on them?

    NO. Apple has created a whole line of mobile devices that are ironically isolated from the world around them.
  • enthios - Thursday, July 28, 2011 - link

    "Ironically isolated from the world around them?" How about wifi and iCloud? With limited storage capacity, there's no need for anything more. iOS devices are simply thin clients - and they work wonderfully as such. Reply
  • NirXY - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Which is 0$ Reply
  • Exelius - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Yes, but in this instance, it's not just a dumb wire; there is an IC at each end of the cable. So theoretically, if Intel comes up with an upgraded Light Peak spec, there may well be cables that are capable of faster speeds. I also imagine longer cables become more difficult, and may in fact require fiber optic transceivers built into the cable. This cable also likely costs significantly more to manufacture than a crimped cable, since there's a tiny IC and micro soldering that needs to be done on each cable.

    But yes, in one sense you are right that in a digital bus, higher quality cables do not provide better performance (though I have run into very low-quality HDMI cables that work fine at 720p but refuse to carry a 1080p signal.)
  • repoman27 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    At the moment, i’m not sure the Thunderbolt host controller has any real legs on the cable. That host controller is already pumping data to each port at the same speeds as the DMI link between the CPU and PCH. Everything in the chain that is connected to it needs to get faster for Thunderbolt to get faster, i.e. PCIe 3.0, DMI 3.0, DP 1.2.

    Also, I’m pretty sure it’s not those little ICs that are making Apple’s Thunderbolt cables cost $49. Like many retailers, Apple knows that cables and accessories (and RAM upgrades) are a great place to stretch profit margins. A quick search of the Apple store for cables and adapters will turn up dozens of genuine Apple offerings ranging in price from $19 on up to $99. So, taken in context, the Thunderbolt cable is actually a mid-priced cable from Apple, not an expensive one. It also means that cheap unbranded alternatives could quite realistically be sold for around $15, ICs and all.

    Regarding your HDMI cable experience, Category 1 or “Standard” HDMI cables are only rated for 1080i60, whereas Category 2 or “High Speed” cables will do 1080p60, 4K, 3D, Deep Color, etc. Older cables weren’t marked as such, and thus YMMV.
  • snakeInTheGrass - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Yeah, the SCSI cables were $75+ easily, you needed terminators, and do you remember the fine SCSI1/2/3 connector differences so you needed adapters or cables with different ends depending on the devices. I still have probably what WAS $500 of cables in my closed.

    Inflation adjusted, these $50 cables are about the equivalent of $15 cables back in those days, so frankly they don't sound too bad, especially considering the fact that it's industry leading performance right now.

    As for comparing to Monster cables, these Thunderbolt cables have controllers built into them and presumably do have to meet tighter tolerances than USB, particularly as they carry 2 x 10Gbps data streams. But you're right that Monster cables are a rip off.
  • flowynn - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    I remember those days well. My need for speed SCSI habit was insanely expensive. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    It reminds me of FB-DIMMs, an expensive solution that uses additional energy, and the components cost more than devices it replaces. Controllers in the cables AND on the motherboard and peripherals? Maybe the optical solution will make more sense. Reply
  • CrimsonFury - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I thought the initial copper cables didn't need any controllers in them? The impression I got from earlier articles was that Intel said their Thunderbolt implementation could scale to optical in future for greater speeds by releasing optical cables with a copper to optical controller in each end of the cable once controller costs had come down from mass production. Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    No, they need optical in the ports and wires.

    By reneging on the light in "Light Peak", Intel effectively killed it. Who knows why they're playing dumb in pretending that they're going to get the industry to adopt Thunderbolt and then turn around and adopt an optical solution right afterward. Just idiotic.
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    I find it especially funny considering that all current Thunderbolt solutions (A/V equipment or storage enclosures) are all in excess of $999 to begin with. Reply
  • darwinosx - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    All two or three devices? By end of year there will be a flood of consumer devices with Thunderbolt ports. Reply
  • epobirs - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Not if apple remains the sole platform including it. Niche markets can be expensive. Until Thunderbolt is an option in Windows systems the numbers just won't be there for the consumer market. The devices will continue to be expensive for most non-professional Apple users as well, making this a very expensive product category.

    Consider the premium USB 3.0 is still carrying almost a year after it started being included in shipping systems and widely available as an upgrade via PCI-e board. This past week was the first time I saw a USB 3.0 flash drive priced low enough to be worthwhile. Frys had a 16 GB Corsair unit for $20 after rebate. Note that this unit is almost 50% larger than the USB 2.0 version and so may not be acceptable to all.

    Next year, as motherboard chip sets with native USB 3.0 support enter the mainstream the transition should pick up steam. It's taken more than three years since the first controllers became widely available. So try toimagine the glacial growth rate for Thunderbolt outside professional applications if it doesn't get a decent footprint beyond the Mac.
  • iwod - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    AOC recently announce a Monitor that can be powered by 2 USB, roughly 9W. Which means it it really did worked out. A Thunderblot version could be possible, having an external monitor with just 1 cable!!!. Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    And at least Thunderbolt is an appropriate conduit for video, which USB is not. Reply
  • cactusdog - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Haha the motherboard makers are gonna run out of space putting all these different connections. Maybe they can retire some like firewire....

    Anyway, any chance of a review of the Samsung S27A950D 120Hz monitor? Alotta people are interested. Thanks.
  • xype - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Retire FireWire, but leave the VGA, Serial, Parallel ports. That would totally make sense. Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    VGA still makes sense, on account to the large numbers of projectors in circulation making use of it.

    As for the others, not so much.
  • Anato - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Y, but it still could be substituted with Displayport/Thunderbolt and make an adapter for VGA/DVI/HDMI.

    I hate to see VGA as only option in computers costing 2000€ :(
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    You can already do that.

    All you have to do is pay through the nose for three adapters (VGA, DVI and HDMI) and carry them with you at all times.

    Personally I wouldn't buy a notebook without native VGA output, preferably coupled with HDMI.
  • repoman27 - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    OK, I recognize that most A/V equipment isn’t refreshed as often as PCs are, but the industry started the switch to digital display interfaces 12 years ago. If you really can’t part with your equipment that predates DVI, you can pick up an Apple mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter for $29, or a generic one for $5. It’ll fit in your pocket, and yes it will work with the Thunderbolt equipped Macs. And hey, now that you’ve got an analog signal, it’s no problem to use a passive adapter to convert to s-video or composite video, and then you can attach it right to your RF modulator and drive any TV made since 1941. Complete backwards compatibility for under $15 that will fit in your pocket (although you’ll probably need cargo pants for the RF modulator.)

    If you can confine yourself to connecting to displays manufactured in the last 10 years or so, you can get an Apple DisplayPort to DVI adapter for $29, or a generic one for $5. It’ll fit in your pocket, and yes it will work with the Thunderbolt equipped Macs. Combine that with a DVI to HDMI cable for an additional $2, and now you can connect to any display with a digital interface except those requiring dual-link DVI. If you want audio as well as video over HDMI, you can get a mini DP to HDMI adapter such as the super slick Griffin GC17096 with Audio and DVI for $27, or go generic for far less.

    The only cumbersome and expensive conversion on the newer Macs is when you absolutely have to go the dual-link DVI route. This requires an active adapter that has to regenerate the video signal. The apple version will run you $99 (see, those TB cables aren’t so expensive after all). However, Thunderbolt may actually allow for cheaper and more elegant solutions due to sufficient power being available on the port. Then again, dual-link DVI only displays are cumbersome and expensive in and of themselves, so it shouldn’t matter too much to those who actually own one.

    The whole point of Thunderbolt is that it’s NOT yet another connection, it’s a radical extension of the capabilities of one you already have—the video out port. The only digital display interfaces that are even remotely as versatile, capable or compact as mini DP are mini/micro HDMI, but their consumer electronics heritage presents some drawbacks for PC applications. Not to mention that it is the packetized nature of the DisplayPort protocol itself that allows it to be combined with PCIe on a single link to create Thunderbolt. VGA ports are literally 8 times the size of mini DP ports and DVI are larger still. By forcing those who need to connect to 10 year old equipment to carry a $5 adapter in their pockets when they might need to do so, manufacturers are able to give everyone an additional 15 minutes of power when running on battery.
  • darwinosx - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Hardly anyone uses projectors so VGA ports should only be on business class laptops. Reply
  • Zok - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Can't say I agree with you there. Despite being issued a corporate laptop, I use my personal one for most of my work, including (VGA-requisite) projector presenting. Reply
  • cacca - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    some questions:

    Does USB 3 port do the same?

    Does the PCI-E external do the same?

    Does External SATA do the same?

    Thunderbolt is just another PROPRIETARY standard that competes with others.

    It reminds me RAMBUS.

    were cost and compatibility matters. Is faster but....

    We will ever seen a review of something from Intel that points out the shortcomings?

    or this place is ADDtech instead of anandtech?
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Rest assured that USB 3.0 does NOT in any way or form do the same as Thunderbolt.

    The protocols are very different, as in, USB 3.0 nearly doesn't support any and Thunderbolt being an extension of a 4 x PCI-Express slot does support heaps of features, like Target Disk Mode, S.M.A.R.T.-status, Native Command Queuing, daisy-chaining (with very low latency) making it ideal for many professional applications (Audio/Visual devices), bi-directional bandwidth, DisplayPort, 10 Watt of power and native software driver support.

    Just to name a few.

    External SATA doesn't do the same either.

    Thunderbolt is a multi-purpose connector, not limited to only storage or transfer of files.

    If you for a minute think that USB or E-SATA does the same as Thunderbolt, then you need to educate yourself.

    It has the potential to replace all other external connectors. One cable to rule them all, instead of legacy cables that clutter up the backside of your computer and collect dust.
  • Anato - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    And one controller (maker) to rule us all. Thats a big problem in PC, but not necessarily in Mac. Reply
  • Jaybus - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    Not really. Light Peak is essentially protocol agnostic. It tunnels PCI-E. The PCI-E-to-whatever bridge is built into the cable and/or dongle. In other words, a USB 3.0 adapter/hub that plugs into a Light Peak port is possible and even likely.While Intel may control the Light Peak controller, which will no doubt be integrated into motherboard chipsets, I don't think that will give them a monopoly on the bridge chips that make LP actually useful. Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Cue 'potential'.

    It's not hard to foresee another Firewire or mini-DP in the making, or a Beta if you prefer going old-school.

    Coupling Light Peak technology with mini-DP was a mistake. The technology is new, unproven and offers precious few usage scenarios with non-existent device support. Piggy-backing it on mini-DP, which suffer from pretty much exactly the same issues, won't help adoption rates.

    Choosing USB over mini-DP as the 'legacy' interface would have been a much better choice.
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Except that the USB connector is only allowed to be used as an USB connector.

    DisplayPort is also vastly superior to any other display cable standard, so I cannot see the problem in that regard. Mini-Display is already shipping in millions and millions of computers, as well as Mini-DisplayPort. The same can be said by Thunderbolt, even though it is only Apple who have fully embraced the technology.

    As a professional in the audio/visual segment I can hardly see the problem with it being a repeat of FireWire, because my market usually adopts the better technology despite of a small price increase. Of course, it helps that we only use Apple computers to begin with and have already ditched all the back-alley, legacy connectors.
  • Uritziel - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Heh, yet another continuation of the myth that media professionals only use macs... Reply
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Kindly don't put words in my mouth ;)

    I didn't say media professionals only use Apple computers, I said my company only use them.

    As for now it only makes sense to discuss Thunderbolt and Apple computers as Apple are the only ones who has it currently.

    But you just have to look at the companies that are releasing Thunderbolt enabled devices to understand that this connector is really something professionals are going to use. Next year the market will open up when PC vendors finally, if they so choose, to embrace the technology.
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Point being, they have no reason to do so.

    What possible use is Thunderbolt to consumers?

    Had LP been piggybacked upon USB instead it would have allowed for both back- and forwards-compatibility with a huge market of devices and could have slowly permeated said market until it had become a de-facto standard.

    The choice of using mini-DP may well have condemned it to being yet another Firewire.
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Mini-DP isn't vastly superior to any other display interface.

    The differences between DP 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a are at best a trade-off, with the latter being the better choice for consumers - even disregarding the huge difference in market penetration.

    Computers currently shipping with mini-DP - Apple Macs and those equipped with discrete AMD 5- and 6-series graphics cards.

    Unfortunately that's not the main issue, which is the distinct lack of /displays/ using the standard.

    Displays shipping with mini-DP - Apple Cinema displays. The end. A few other high-end professional displays ship with full-sized DP but you can't argue it's got any significant market penetration.

    Then there's HDMI, which is pretty much ubiquitous in the consumer electronics world, seeing rapid adoption for computer displays and is also used in modern projectors.

    Anyway, that's pretty much an aside - the real gist of it is what I already mentioned regarding USB/LP being the vastly superior choice.

    As for USB connectors only being allowed to be USB connector, that's not a physical limitation - it's a matter of licensing and what they choose to name the standard. A theoretical USB/LP standard could just as well have been named 'USB 4.0' or whatever.
  • Focher - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    Not sure what your point is here. Is it just about the connector type? USB and Thunderbolt are different technologies. TB needed a display standard. DP was chosen because 1) Apple participated in its creation and 2) it isn't saddled with the restrictions and costs that HDMI licensing does. Reply
  • repoman27 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    Mini DisplayPort IS DisplayPort, just using a smaller connector. The size of the connector is irrelevant to the interoperability of the devices, you simply connect them using an appropriate cable.

    A quick search of Newegg shows displays available from Asus, BenQ, Compaq, Dell, HP, Lenovo, NEC, and Samsung all with DisplayPort connectors.

    ATI/AMD has been shipping cards with DisplayPort connections since early 2008, and DP is native to the GPUs used for every 5 and 6 series device. Intel began including DisplayPort capability with GMA 4500 in 2008 and currently ships it to you in every CPU with integrated HD graphics. NVIDIA is the only major player who seems to be lagging on DP adoption, but there are still plenty of Fermi based cards on the market rocking DisplayPort.

    HDMI was developed for consumer electronics, i.e. televisions and home theaters. DisplayPort was developed for PCs. The lineage is distinct and continues to this day as the two evolve. DP is packet based so that multiple displays can be daisy chained off of one port, which is not a common usage model for TVs. Newer HDMI specs include such home theater relevant features as support for 3D formats, 100 Mbps Ethernet and an audio return path—something that makes no goddamned sense in the PC context. DP originally supported high-resolution displays but not audio, whereas HDMI included audio from the outset but could only drive a 1920x1080 display because that’s all that HDTV required. DP 1.2 has an AUX channel that can be used to provide a USB 2.0 connection to the display over the same cable as video and audio, as well as offering more than twice the total bandwidth of HDMI 1.4.

    USB is a shared serial bus based on a tiered-star topology. It’s great for connecting lots of relatively slow devices that don’t require much bus power or tight timing. When you try to use it for devices that require lots of bandwidth, like high speed external storage, things go downhill fast. Even with a single device connected to a USB host controller, you’re lucky to get throughput equal to 60% of the oft touted “480 Mbps” or “5 Gbps” due to insanely high protocol overhead. Although it’s finally moved beyond half-duplex and added better support for bulk data transfers, the cluster that is USB 3.0 tops out at around 385 MBps in best case scenarios. To create backwards compatibility with 2.0, they merely created Siamese Frankenconnectors, doubling the dimensions of the B connectors in the process, and added more conductors to the cable. How would bastardizing this poor port any further be a good idea? The differences between Thunderbolt and USB in architecture, implementation, and intended use are vast. How would the average user make this distinction if they were somehow cobbled onto the same port?
  • taltamir - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    it doesn't have such potential, because it is an active cable that costs 50$ per cable.
    Daisychaining doesn't help reduce the amount of CABLES you need, you still need one cable per device. It just reduces the amount of ports you need.

    So I will stick with my 5 cables for 2$ each instead of 5 cables for 50$ each.

    Now, if they made a thunderbold cable that is passive and cheap as hell, and integrated the controller into southbridge, then it will have the potential to replace all other cables.

    Not having royalties and being an extension of PCIe are very powerful features as you said yourself.
  • HW_mee - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    I though the unofficial Apple slogan was "It just works", but after reading the description for using an Imac as secondary display, that slogan seems like a joke. You have to boot up the Imac, own a recent keyboard and press a slightly odd key combination, that does not fit my impression of something that "just works".
    You use the Imac as a screen and Displayport is part of the cable, why could they not just have a on/off switch for the screen and one for the complete Imac, the screen switch can only control the screen and the Imac switch starts screen and computer, if the Imac is on, the screen switch is deactivated, not exactly advanced science.

    Reading the review I also got the impression that Apple have given up on security, is there no password protection or something similar in "Target disc mode"? Can you just buy a Thunderbolt cable for a new Macbook pro and start stealing data from other Thunderbolt equipped Apple computers, just by connecting the cable and holding down t when the "victim" is started?
  • HW_mee - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Replying to myself :-/

    Target disk mode is seriously a horrible feature, from a security view, it even works with FireWire and I can not find any references to any security.

    Remember kids, a login password protects you data, unless the bad guy remembers a 4$ cable.
  • xype - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Uhm, as soon as someone has physical access to your computer (which Target Disk Mode implies), short of encrypting your whole disk (with, say, or any other encrypting software), you can kiss your data goodbye.

    Also, how’s Target Disk Mode any different than an USB key? If anything, the latter is easier to deal with, since you can just plug it into a running machine and off you go. Target Disk Mode might annoy you with stupid things like a Login and whatnot.
  • Penti - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Physical access is physical access. Just set up a EFI/BIOS password if you want false security. If your concerned about your noisy friend with another mac and firewire/thunderbolt-cable. Or whatever. If you like to protect your data, then encryption is not really enough either, but it helps. It does protect against someone stealing your shut down computer. If you have it on, they encryption key is in memory however. When you have physical access it doesn't really matter what the firmware tries to do, passwords and lojack can all be circumvented, and of course you could just remove the drive from the computer when it's not encrypted any way. Computers don't have protection from and are never protect from physical access. You need physical security for that. Reply
  • HW_mee - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    It is one thing if the thief steals the HDD/computer, learns a password or hacks the computer using some piece of software, as this often takes time, requires a lucky break or leaves obvious traces.
    Another thing is if someone can just hook up a cable turn the computer on and press T to access everything.
  • takumsawsherman - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    You mean like booting from a CD or USB flash drive and copying files to a very small, hideable storage container?

    Perfectly possible, and in fact I find myself doing this frequently (though copying the data in the other direction typically) when disinfecting PCs. I do this multiple times per week, removing data stealing trojans and rootkits.

    Compare with Thunderbolt, where you will "sneak in with only a laptop and a cable and reboot and press T, and ZOMG yor datas are hax0red! Ha HA ha stupid Apple!!!111oneonewonwon"

    Leaves obvious traces? Exactly what traces did the Boot CD leave?
  • Penti - Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - link

    As you can password protect (which can be bypassed with physical access any way) the firmware it doesn't matter if it is Firewire/Thunderbolt-target or USB-stick/HDD that access and or copies the files or simply a CD that changes your password so you can just log in an access everything without any effort at all. If you don't have limits on the firmware/bios any way you can just set up whatever, and access anything without any effort, less so then using slow target disk mode, even through network boot is possible which might be on in a corporate/university environment any way.

    Just disable the good damn features you don't like, it don't make your computer safe but I'm sure it will quit you whining for nothing.

    You will just access everything by running the system rescue tools on the install CD for OS X any how. Windows computers are essentially unprotected any way. So I really don't see how it's any worse then plugging in a USB stick to access everything or change the password (SAM) to blank/whateveryoulike. Screaming about a ten year old feature is just dumb. Just set up a firmware password and it stops people from simply booting a CD, USB-drive, HDD-drive, using target disk mode and network boot any way. It's simply not more vulnerable then PCs any way. It's quite easy to restore the firmware-password thus bypassing it on say an iMac any way, I could easily do it on older macs without taking the entire computer apart. And on a PC of course resetting CMOS password is often troubleless and manufacturers often has master passwords you get by calling the support any way. Later macs has got better protection from resetting the firmware password though. So just set the damn password.
  • Penti - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    They are not driving the screen with a separate control-board. That's why target display is so awkward. You can expect third party stuff (and older macs) will work when Atlona has designed and released an Thunderbolt-compatible adapter/switch/converter/scaler though. It a integrated solution not a screen and a computer separate. The screen is when used normally connected directly to the ATi/AMD 6000M GPU. That's why you can't adjust the screen in Bootcamp/Windows without their software tool too. Reply
  • HW_mee - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    That makes sense, not much you can do to separate the two things if the screen is "merged" with the computer. I expected the computer part and screen part was seperate and the display input could be used in the same way as with most multiple input screens.
    If that was the case, a simple power circuit could control the screen and computer separately.
  • youngjimmy - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    'Failing to do so will give you this all-*to*-familiar error' (bottom, The Pegasus: Software) Reply
  • Kimbie - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    You made mention about connecting up a monitor to the last port on the chain, by plugging in a thunderbolt cable into the imac and used it as a second screen.

    Does this still work if you use a mini-display port to DVI adaptor and into a bog standard DVI monitor?

  • Focher - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    Just to clarify, the last connection in the chain to a mini DisplayPort monitor does not require a Thunderbolt cable. You would just use a mini DP cable. Reply
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Does it support JBOD?

    Would be really great for us using ZFS+ arrays, although I would have preferred at least 8 bays.
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    The performance is impressive, though nothing like what you'd get transfering a large number of smaller files obviously.

    That said, for 2000 USD why wouldn't I simply build a high-end desktop /with/ 12TB of storage?

    It'd still be cheaper and I could put the remainder towards a gilded sticker for the case saying 'cheap-ass NAS'.
  • André - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    It would appear that is the solution for you, building your own NAS.

    This enclosure is, however, not a NAS.

    It enable users that need high disk performance to get easy access to precisely that in a mobile package you can take on the road with you and edit in the field.

    Think large Final Cut Pro (or any other NLE), Logic Studio and Photoshop projects.
  • Conner_36 - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Or even in the office, to able to take your entire project and move between the rooms carrying ALL of the data? That's unheard of!

    From what I understand with HD movie editing I/O is the bottleneck.

    All we need now is an SVN hardware device with thunderbolt to sync across multiple thunderbolt RAIDs. Once thats out you could have a production studio with some real mobile capabilities.
  • Exodite - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    I wager pretty much any usage scenario can come up with a high-performance 12TB storage solution for significantly less than 2000 USD.

    You're right though, it's definitely not the solution for me.

    Or anyone I know, or am likely to ever know. *shrug*
  • Zandros - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    What happens if you try the Macbook Pro -> Pegasus -> iMac in Target Display Mode -> Cinema Display connection chain? Reply
  • Focher - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    Pretty sure the DP monitor has to be the last device in the chain. Maybe that is just a current limitation because there are no Thunderbolt displays. Reply
  • Zandros - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    AFAICT, the iMac is a Thunderbolt display, since it does not support Target Display Mode from Display Port sources with Display Port cables. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    Is there a way to make it shut off the drives after idling for a while? Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    But when you saw the file creation maxed out at 9TB, on 10TB array..

    Since.. uh, Snow Leopard, Apple changed file and drive sizes to display decimal bytes as used by the manufacturers, which is the same as the 10TB array.
    However every other thing ever reports in binary bytes, such as windows describing "gigabytes" even though it means gibibytes in reality.

    Ugh, anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that maybe you did infact fill the array. That said, the thing shouldn't have fucked up..
  • CharonPDX - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    If I had way too much money, my usage model for Target Display Mode would be to use the iMac as a Virtual Machine host/server, connected to either a second iMac or a MacBook Pro as a dual-screen workstation.

    With the minimum 27" iMac, you're basically buying a 27" Cinema Display plus a $700 Mac mini-on-steroids. If you want a second Apple display for your iMac or MacBook Pro, and want a Mac Mini to use as a server, that is an excellent value to instead just get a second iMac. (That value may drop depending on the next Mac Mini update, of course.)
  • etamin - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    in the block diagram on the first page, why is the Thunderbolt Controller connected to the PCH thru PCIe rather than to the processor? I thought PCIe connections came off the processor/NB? Reply
  • repoman27 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    The lanes that come off the processor/NB are usually used for dGPU. On the new MacBook Pros, Apple borrowed four of them for the Thunderbolt controller. Apparently on the new iMacs, however, they decided to give all 16 lanes from the CPU to the graphics card and pulled four from the PCH instead. Reply
  • etamin - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    hmm, I think I'm missing something here. Are you saying that the new MBPs have 12 lanes to the dGPU because 4 have been borrowed (on demand?) by the TB controller? or does the PCH has its PCI lanes? if so, how many? Thanks for the reply. Reply
  • repoman27 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    Anand explained it in his review of the mid 2011 iMac, here: Reply
  • etamin - Monday, July 11, 2011 - link

    I see...I never noticed the PCH/SB always had PCI lanes of its own Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, July 09, 2011 - link

    "At the end of a Thunderbolt chain you can insert a miniDP display, currently the only option is the 27-inch LED Cinema Display but in theory other panels that accept a miniDP input could work as well."

    Any DisplayPort enabled display will work, and there's plenty of those. You just need to use an asymmetrical cable. Just like you don't need a display with a mini/micro HDMI port to use the mini/micro HDMI out on the devices that have those. Or a PC with mini/micro USB ports.
  • mAxius - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    intel and apple will have thunderbolt the rest of the planet will have external pci express and usb who will win
  • Focher - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    According to that article, their standard is due for mid 2013. It's slower than TB and it's not even real. They've just announced plans to make something. Reply
  • repoman27 - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    “I'm not entirely convinced that we're limited by Thunderbolt here either - it could very well be the Pegasus' internal controller that's limiting performance.”

    I’m pretty sure what you’ve gone and done here is bumped into the ceiling imposed by the CPUs in those Macs only supporting a PCIe maximum TLP payload size of 128 bytes. You achieved a little better than 80% of the total 10 Gbps bandwidth available on one Thunderbolt channel in actual data throughput, which is surprisingly good. Even though that bandwidth is exclusive of PCIe’s normal 8b/10b encoding overhead, there’s no getting around the additional overhead inherent to any packetized protocol. A Thunderbolt controller paired with a northbridge that supports 4096 byte payload sizes could theoretically achieve around 99% of the full 10 Gbps.

    You’ve also shown that one device using a single Thunderbolt channel can use > 50% of the bandwidth of the 4 PCIe 2.0 lanes connected to the Thunderbolt controller. Thus if you connected one 4-drive SF-2281 Pegasus R6 RAID-0 to each of the Thunderbolt ports on the 2011 iMac, you still shouldn’t expect more than 12,833 Mbps combined throughput.

    The Target Disk Mode results are disappointing, although you’re always limited to the speed of the slowest drive that you’re transferring to/from. You didn’t mention what the iMac was packing, but if it’s still just the 1 TB 7200 RPM Seagate that was in the model you reviewed earlier, that would be the limiting factor. Did you check to see what you could pull using FireWire Target Mode between the two?

    “simply displaying an image at 60Hz on the 27-inch Cinema Display requires over 6.75Gbps of bandwidth (because of 8b/10b encoding)”

    I’m guessing that the 8b/10b encoding overhead is once again not present in the 10 Gbps per channel Thunderbolt bandwidth figure, just as for PCIe packets. Otherwise Thunderbolt would not be able to fully support the DisplayPort 1.1a spec which calls for 10.8 Gbps when including the 8b/10b padding.

    “Apple claims that one of the channels is used for DisplayPort while the other is used for PCIe.”

    This still flummoxes me. Does that mean that if you daisy chained 2 4-drive SF-2281 Pegasus R6’s to the Thunderbolt port on the MacBook Pro that you would achieve no better than 8021Mbps combined? That neither device could use the bandwidth of the second Thunderbolt channel even with no DisplayPort device present? Also, although Thunderbolt ports only support DisplayPort 1.1a resolutions, might they still support DP 1.2 features such as MST and daisy chainable displays? Or is the only way to connect multiple displays to one Thunderbolt port by using a DP 1.1a multi-display hub and thereby limiting the resolution of at least one of them to less than 2560x1440?
  • LedHed - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    By the time we have a decent amount of devices starting to use the Thunderbolt interface this will be outdated with the 2nd revision. Once again Apple is raising the price for no gain in anyway. Reply
  • LedHed - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    Also calling that huge array box mobile is hilarious in itself. Reply
  • xrror - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    So Apple will fix all the nagging issues with Thunderbolt connectivity when... they transition to ARM. Begone evil PC people, I'm sure Apple hates it thoroughly that iMacs and MBP can be "perverted" to x86's domain of Windows.

    So when MacOS basically is superseded by iOS for their "non-handheld mobile devices" and they finally eliminate iMac and MBP since "people who didn't transition to our new taint-ARM/Apple specific processor" line of devices are obviously just lame, as proven by the poor saps holding on to their PowerPC macs. Yea it's coming full circle.

    Ugh... I really hope I'm just being paranoid/joking. But...
  • PrincessNybor - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - link

    I'm actually looking forward to using Target Display Mode when I pick up my new 27" iMac this month (just holding out for Lion). My work computer is a 15" MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt, and while the display is good for a portable, I'd love access to a 27" display! Some of the applications I work with won't be installed on the iMac, since that will be a personal desktop and not a work machine. This is a good solution for others in my situation. Reply
  • osteopathic1 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I just plugged in my old 23" Cinema Display DVI into a $6 minidisplay port/DVI adapter and it worked like a charm. Reply
  • wanlewanle - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    Come go and see, will not regret it Oh look
  • onebear - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    Please see this discussions from Apple Support forum.

    It is not working with iMac 2011. And having many unsolve issues.
  • - Saturday, January 07, 2012 - link

    there are lots of known problems and promise won't answer or react on any of them.
    see a roundup of problems here:

    also there are other issues as reported in the apple forums:

    the only thing we can currently do is to boycott promise until the give an official statement and release a bugfix to support larger HDDs and address the issues/bugs (drive-ejecting bugs, etc.)
  • Rdubs - Friday, April 20, 2012 - link

    Anyone know if I can throw in 4x 4tb 3rd party drives into a R4?
    What's the limit? Can't find a list of what mfg' s hard drives play well
    with R4.

    Many thanks
  • frabber - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    anybody know whether this is possible? with some kind of thunderbolt enabled motherboard? Reply
  • odedia - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    WD RED 4TB drives are pretty affordable now, for the price of the 8Tb R4, I can get a diskless R4 and 4 red drives, resulting in 16tb total. They question is, would the RED drives match the performance of the R4? They are 5400 rpm drives, though quite reliable (much better than a green drive). Reply
  • badex - Thursday, December 31, 2015 - link


    Have had my pegasus R4 for a couple of years. its been effective but i think i'd like to take a step up to using SSD drives. what SSD drives would you recommend for the pegasus R4?

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