The Thunderbolt Devices Trickle In: Magma's ExpressBox 3Tby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 7, 2011 1:30 PM EST
Intel's Thunderbolt interface is frustratingly fast. The frustration comes from the fact that there just aren't many Thunderbolt devices out on the market today, not to mention that the vast majority of systems don't support the interface.
As a quick refresher a single Thunderbolt link supports 10Gbps of bandwidth in each direction for a total of 20Gbps per link. The Thunderbolt interface itself can carry both PCI Express and DisplayPort signals and you can daisy chain multiple devices together, all sharing the bandwidth of the interface. One potential usage model is for a notebook to connect to an external box offering PCIe slots. It's this usage model that Magma hopes to target with its ExpressBox 3T.
The ExpressBox 3T features three PCIe 2.0 expansion slots in an external chassis. No word on the width of each slot (x4? x8? x16?). The box has an internal 220W power supply and there's no support for auxillary power connectors so you can forget about installing a beefy video card.
Magma hasn't announced pricing or availability or any other details for that matter. I've been hearing that it's tough to get Thunderbolt projects off the ground because of a lack of cooperation from Intel. That may all change next year when Thunderbolt is going to be available as an option for Ivy Bridge platforms. Here's hoping that we'll see more of these boxes in the future, it may be the key to enabling notebook as a desktop usage models for gamers.