The outer rectangular, doubly symmetrical shape of USB is a usability nightmare! You know what I'm talking about. Good riddance.
There are probably many ways to implement that. An USB concept for it: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/01/double-usb-plug-conce...
However, the problem is that the USB ports have no guide to lead the USB in so they stick on the edge and no matter how hard you push it just sits on the edge and makes you think you have it upside down. You would improve usability greatly if the ports just readily allowed the plug to slide in.
I've never had to make an effort to plug in a 3.5mm as the plug design complements the port design. You either miss or it's in.
Of course, if the slots are oriented vertically...
Also doesn't help when the lighting's not so good and you have a USB logo embossed in black plastic on a black plug with the manufacturer's logo embossed in the same way on the other side. Trial-and-error probably isn't as bad as squinting at it trying to figure out which side is "up"...
Of course, you can always just look at the end of the plug and orient it so the white plastic key is on the bottom, but where's the fun in that?
I assume most monitors will transition from DP to a Thunderbolt pass-through quickly, but in a daisy-chain situation, the monitor would be disconnected the least, meaning it would need to either be the first in line, or split off, allowing the other peripherals to be removed without re-connecting the monitor.
"[...] It is completely backward compatible with DisplayPort v1.1a and requires no new cables or other equipment [...]" - Bill Lempesis, VESA Executive Director.
A 1.2 device will work as a 1.1a device.
The features that you'll loose out on:
* Driving displays in excess of 2560 x 1600 x 30 bpp @ 60 Hz (Apple LED Cinema Display tops out at 2560 x 1440 currently).
* Multiple display daisy chaining (LED Cinema Displays only have a single Mini DisplayPort jack and as such cannot be daisy chained).
* AUX channel data transport at 720 Mbps (beaten by the PCIe transport layer rates within Thunderbolt, which when driving a LED Cinema Display at full resolution leave about ~2Gbps available for data).
* 3d stereoscopic display support (Aww, no Avatar 3D).
* Additional audio format support (mostly related to Blu-ray, which Macs still don't do).
It's sad, yes - but there's not much incentive for Apple (not sure about Intel) to support 1.2 currently. And since Apple is going to have exclusive use of the Thunderbolt interface until it starts showing up on other PCs in 2012, Intel only really has to meet Apple's requirements while they finish up the rest of the spec (optical cabling, etc).
Maybe they'll find time to add in 1.2 support by then.
(I guess they'll have a hard time with the 'Thunderbolt' icon when they go to optical, it makes even less sense for optical than for a low-voltage connector)
Once the technology is widely used, the name doesn't matter anymore I guess.
There is no kludgery involved when plugging USB cables into Ethernet ports. They just fit perfectly.
Sure, this very second, there's going to be no confusion between the two symbols, but if this catches on and the symbol becomes ubiquitous, it will muddy the discrimination of the safety logo.
This is simply irresponsible behaviour from a tech giant who intends for this symbol to become ubiquitous. All in the name of "oo, it looks cool!". Bad Apple!
Of course, it kind of messes with the third-party accessory market, but I'm sure they'd love another reason to get people to buy new stuff.
The big issue with replacing any iOS connectors with desktop standard connectors is power. Thunderbolt specifies 10W of power; USB specifies 2.5W; the Camera Connection Kit only supplies 0.5W. I doubt that Apple is going to ship anything that provides much more power than that.
So if anything prevents usage of PCIe in embedded devices it's added complexity, not power requirements. By the way electrical interface of most modern true-color TFT panels is identical on the lowest layer to PCIe (and SATA and who knows what else).
Is it royalty-free?
If the answer is negative, what are the licensing terms?
That said, Mini DisplayPort is free of hardware licensing fees... so there's a good chance.
No hardware developer in the consumer space charges developers to access their hardware. Spec owners frequently do charge other companies to implement their specs, though.
Intel has a mixed record on this - some specs - like USB - they have led but have been implementable licence free.
Other things they consider their propriety interfaces and have sued over - see the recent lawsuits between Intel & Nvidia over their memory bus.
So it is very reasonable to wonder if Nvidia and AMD are going to be able to implement this freely, or are they going to have to pay a tax to Intel. As far as I can see your answer doesn't address that question at all.
It might replace SATA eventually, but it will have to fight against USB.
So, twice as fast as USB 3.0 and compatible with existing devices. Doesn't seem like much of a fight. USB won't disappear overnight, but it's already obsolete.
Once the number of USB peripherals reached critical mass, the general PC market followed suit.
So, will Thunderbolt adoption more closely resemble that of Firewire, or USB?
(What’s nice for Apple is that this port isn’t exactly risky for them. If it doesn’t succeed their Macs have a glorified Mini DisplayPort with a lighting bolt symbol next to it. It might cost a bit more for them to add but that’s about it. It seems to me that only Intel has a problem if this fails.)
For some uses it's not just a matter of speed - USB2 and FW are similar in terms of speed but USB2 is pretty much unusable for multi-channel audio recording purposes.
Source: personal experience finding the drivers of most FW audio interfaces under $1000 impose outrageous CPU loads when doing many channels and using more than one device on the supposedly daisy chainable FW bus.
8 channels of 24 bit/192KHz audio is only 2MB/s which is basically nothing. I'm very surprised that you would see any issues.
I have about 3 or 4 devices in my FW chain (including disks and scanners) and my sub $1000 FW audio interface works just fine.
I chose FireWire over USB because of all the complaints I saw in the Amazon reviews for every USB audio interface I looked at; many of the FireWire audio interfaces had absolutely glowing reviews.
I've had similarly excellent experiences with disks connected via FireWire.
I still use a USB 2.0 MIDI controller and the latency is absolutely killer. Press a key, a beat later, see the note appear on piano roll...
1) USB3 has a 1 year lead - check out how many products are out already
2) 5Gbps vs 10Gbps. There are just a couple of SSDs that need SATA III (6Gbps) because the 3Gbps isn't enough. You just don't need the speed for disk I/O. What for then? Current DisplayPorts 1.2 has 17Gbps so I don't really see the Thunderbolt replacing it.
also Firewire 800 was substantially faster in theoretical and particularly in practical throughput
The real reason USB "won" is because Intel really pushed it and integrated it into every one of their chipsets. Possibly even licensing it to the other PC chipset makers for cheap/free up front.
Given that Intel is backing Thunderbolt, it stands a good chance at achieving the same widespread usage.
I don't have anything that plugs into thunderbolt.
I couldn't and wouldn't buy a computer without USB. I can live without Thunderbolt.
Does anyone know if Thunderbolt is similar to FireWire in this way?
For those that don't know, the SGI Altix has a special chip that intercepts memory accesses and maps other systems memory to be seen as "local" on each system. If thunderbolt is just pci-e on a wire, you may be able to connect a few systems together and just map memory across systems. It'd take some trickery, and wouldn't be quite as fast as infiniband, but the thought of building a ghetto supercomputer would be useful to many people.
Thunderbolt the phone, however, can be expected to have a much shorter lifespan than a new connector like this.
I don't know what that means though. Does the newly released MBP support both or only one?
(Not that I hate copper or anything, it is just that they designed it for fiber from the beginning and then suddenly bailed out)
Intel's page on Light Peak (not the same as theirs on Thunderbolt): http://techresearch.intel.com/ProjectDetails.aspx?Id=143
Wikipedia has a very informative article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Peak
Obviously the OS would have a long way to go to support that kind of thing, but I would be surprised if in five years your typical "home directory" isn't either entirely cloud-based or uses a scheme like this.
Besides, Thunderbolt = 10 G_b_ps, PCIe x 16 = 8 G_B_ps. No idea on latency/transfers per second, though. (http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express)
> Intel's Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable.
Isn't that basically UHCI?
I have been excited about Light Peak/Thunderbolt for a year or so now, but in that time it seems the ambitions have become smaller, and the competition has developed as well.
Edit: Whoa. I just re-read parts of the Intel documentation, and it seems there are indeed two independent downstream channels. My bad. It also looks like there is no provision for using both channels for a single device? I have no idea.
It lists 2560x1600x30bpp @ 60Hz as using just over 8Gbps, so any one consumer monitor will work fine over Thunderbolt.
The 17.28Gbps speed would only be needed for multiple monitors or a high-resolution, high-color-depth, high-refresh or 3D monitor. Thunderbolt and full-speed DisplayPort both have enough aggregate bandwidth for four 1080p streams.
2560 x 1440 resolution at 24 bits per pixel = 88,473,600 bits
At 60Hz, that's 5,308,416,000 bits per second. So a little more than half the claimed 10Gbit bandwidth of Thunderbolt. I guess you're not going to be running two of them on the same port.
If I was editing movies it'd be a different story.
In fact, I'd probably take all of my current DAS and add it to the NAS pool as well. It would make my home office much quieter if I could hide all the spindles in another room and still have fast storage access.
Why do you say that? Are there more USB 3 things on the market than I'm aware of? With Intel and Apple behind it, I wouldn't say Thunderbolt is a sure thing, but it seems promising.
This is actual support for dual monitors, without compromises.
USB2DVI is nice but USB 2.0 is too slow. USB 3.0 is solving that problem already and thunderbolt will too, i am sure. DisplayLink is already working on USB2DVI for USB3.0 which makes stutter free 1080p playback etc over USB possible and thunderbolt is alot faster.
Snarky I know but I just couldn't help myself.
TDM is supported in Thunderbolt, to my great glee. Terrific Firewire feature.
I believe Thunderbolt will make this dream true, since the Intel page mentioned "workstation performance expansion".
This is feasible and would be a good future, just like the future we live in now where USB has replaced serial ports, parallel ports and PS/2.
Even many major consumer electronics are still developed via a serial console. Sure they have fancier connectors to talk to your PC and the network but serial is so simple it's practically idiot proof. So it breaks far less often, makes new hardware much simpler to bring up, and it allows you to debug the fancier interfaces without interfering with their operations.
Still not crazy about it as yet one more connector for mass-manufactured devices, though.
I know, I know: Thunderbolt is the last time people will have to throw out all their things and start over. This time really will be the last time because it is a new standard to rule over all, just like NuBus was.
And it's definitely not going to be dead on arrival like PCI-X, or not supported by drivers on the Mac for most peripherals like PCI-e. No, Thunderbolt is going to be truly universal and forever lasting world without end. If only you believe, amen.
No need to replace your peripherals.
This will probably replace FireWire sooner or later.