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are there PCI thunderbolt cards for mac pro 3.1?

76406 Views 100 Replies Latest reply: Feb 18, 2014 3:05 PM by Kung-Foo-Kamel RSS
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drfzzz Calculating status...
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Dec 13, 2011 6:33 AM

are there PCI thunderbolt cards for mac pro 3.1?

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,470 points)
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    Dec 13, 2011 6:41 AM (in response to drfzzz)

    I've been looking, too. There doesn't seem to be any yet.

     

    Some tech sites and magazines I read say they're coming, but don't seem to be in any real rush. Mostly because Thunderbolt devices, which you would need a port for, are still fairly rare.

     

    Right now, it's mainly a few monitors (can you say Apple?), who's newest line have Thunderbolt ports, and external RAID boxes. I've also seen external PCIe boxes where you add your extra video or I/O cards to.

     

    I do know what you mean, though. Those are all only useful if your Mac already has a Thunderbolt port. Hence the need for a PCI card first.

     

    RAIDs have a use as far as speeding up disk reads and writes on an external Thunderbolt box, but for single drives, it's overkill. Even the fastest drives can't read or write at anywhere near the data rate a Thunderbolt connection can handle. At the moment, if an external hard drive is what you're looking for, a FireWire 800 drive is still the current best choice.

  • Ricks ricks@macgurus.com Level 6 Level 6 (11,515 points)
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:05 PM (in response to drfzzz)

    For the most part, external storage on a PCIe equipped MacPro will still be cheaper and better performing using your regular  PCIe attached SATA/SAS RAID or HBA card than you can get with Thunderbolt RAID/storage devices. Cheaper because PCIe cards are mature and very common.

     

    Thunderbolt is just PCIe over a cable - you still need the SATA/SAS/Fiber or whatever chipset at the other end along with a Thunderbolt bridge chip. It will cost more since you are also adding those fancy new Thunderbolt chips at both ends. And the only thing you accomplish is you put the SATA/SAS/RAID chipset inside the enclosure instead of inside your MacPro in a PCIe slot.

     

    One Rev2 PCIe slot is still several times the throughput of an entire Thunderbolt bus. So performance is not going to be bettered over Thunderbolt.

     

    Thunderbolt is VERY convenient. Lots of stuff will just plug in and chain off. And it puts the iMac, Mini and MBP into new light as their external I/O gets a huge increase. However a MacPro already has much more capability already built in than Thunderbolt can add.

     

    Rick

  • DCWinton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Rick

     

    It's that last sentence I'm curious about.  "However a MacPro already has much more capability already built in than Thunderbolt can add."

     

    I'm thinking of getting a Mac Pro, but see that it doesn't seem to have Thunderbolt. I'm not sure if I care. The reason for the Mac Pro is that I'm topping out my 8gb RAM 27" iMac capacity with the volume of work going through it, and my tech tells me I'm pushing it too hard.  I use it to run a small law office, but usually have about 15 apps open, with lots going on in the network in the background.

     

    Is there any reason to wait until Apple puts Thunderbolt into the Mac Pro?

  • Ricks ricks@macgurus.com Level 6 Level 6 (11,515 points)
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    Dec 14, 2011 9:36 AM (in response to DCWinton)

    DCWinton wrote:

     

    Rick

     

    It's that last sentence I'm curious about.  "However a MacPro already has much more capability already built in than Thunderbolt can add."

     

    I'm thinking of getting a Mac Pro, but see that it doesn't seem to have Thunderbolt. I'm not sure if I care. The reason for the Mac Pro is that I'm topping out my 8gb RAM 27" iMac capacity with the volume of work going through it, and my tech tells me I'm pushing it too hard.  I use it to run a small law office, but usually have about 15 apps open, with lots going on in the network in the background.

     

    Is there any reason to wait until Apple puts Thunderbolt into the Mac Pro?

     

    Thunderbolt will not increase the performance capability of the MacPro. It will add a bus that can be convenient, especially later on when Thunderbolt devices become more common, more mature and better supported - oh, and with more common will come less costly. From a pure performance standpoint the existing PCIe slots are much more capable and cheaper to implement. You would be giving up nothing with a current MacPro.

     

    My opinion. Thunderbolt is really a great move forward in the long run - needed something to replace Firewire and this is it. But there is no reason to wait on Thunderbolt on MacPro - it is redundant.

     

    Rick

  • DCWinton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you.  Very helpful. 

  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,470 points)

    BTY, just wanted to "Hi!", Rick. Seems I hadn't seen you around for a while. Always appreciate the input from a tech guy who works with the nitty gritty every day.

  • Ricks ricks@macgurus.com Level 6 Level 6 (11,515 points)
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    Dec 14, 2011 10:21 AM (in response to Kurt Lang)

    Kurt Lang wrote:

     

    BTY, just wanted to "Hi!", Rick.

    Kurt - Thank you! Fun to jump back in after a hiatus.

     

    Forums are a fun way to learn how people use their computers and where their problems are. I learn more from everyone here than I can ever pay back.

     

    Love your avatar.

     

    Rick

  • Bad Dog NY Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 18, 2012 5:52 AM (in response to drfzzz)

    Just a thoought on this...I do video editing, and I want to be able to take the footage and plug it in anywhere. I would like to be able to use my macbook pro at home, do some edits, then bring footage to work for clients...it there an option to make TB work with eSATA or something? so I can just move ext RAID?

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
  • William McMullen Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I disagree - it's not redundant and it's sorely missing from today's MacPro upgrades. A friend pointed out a sample scenario to me. Every computer Apple now offers has Thunderbolt, so logic would have it that if you were doing video editing at your studio or office on your Mac Pro, you could work off of a Thunderbolt drive (if the MacPro had it), then continue editing on your iMac, your laptop, or even a MacMini away from your office. But there's no way to do that. It was a strange move by Apple.

  • Martin Pace Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)

    Since the smaller computers don't have PCIe slots it does make sense to include a Thunderbolt port on them.

     

    Mac Pros have several PCIe slots with plenty of cards available to do pretty much anything you want.

     

    To really take advantage of the speed of Thunderbolt you would want to use a RAID enclosure, not something most people are going to haul around to take home to edit on their Mac Mini. If you have a smaller portable single drive enclosure that you plan to use just make sure it has Firewire and use a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

  • Bad Dog NY Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Actually, I disagree, too. As a video editor there are other devices, like HD-SDI breakout boxes, that use thunderbolt. To Edit on the go I need to buy 2 boxes, one PCI for workstation and one thunderbolt for macbook pro. each is around $1500. I am not even sure if they are 100% compatable, that will only come when I test both, if I bother. We do all tapeless acquisition now, so not a big deal...except for true studio monitor display. I would be more concerned if apple haden't totally scewed us with FCPX, or should I say iMovie pro. I May be migrating back to Avid soon, as it seems apple is as commited to its mistakes as it is to its successes. They are going for a broader consumer market. They forget that it was the pros that kept them in business before the iPod. We were very loyal. A little loyalty in return might serve them well right now.

  • westinmylifeaway Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jun 12, 2012 4:09 PM (in response to drfzzz)

    I'd like someone to tell me how a Mac mini selling for $600 is a more worthy computer than a $3800, 12-core Mac Pro. Sure you can sell a lot more computers at $600 but how many of those will be used with Thunderbolt peripherals? Why invest the R&D in creating an amazing new technology if it's not going to be used in the way it was intended for. If there is a redesign of the Mac Pro coming then why not give us some hope, make the announcement, take pre-orders and put a little life back into the pro market.

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