Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next 176 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2015 3:29 PM by xgrep Go to original post
  • Cyberwlf Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Calling Thunderbolt a failure, even though I get where you're coming from is to ignore history. Firewire is not a new technology, it's had over a decade to get its current level of support. Furthermore even though FW did quite well in the Digital Video Camera market in the early days, as computing accessories went it's NEVER been a mainstream technology.

     

    Wanted a Firewire HDD Enclosure, a FW Card Reader, FW DVD Burner? Good luck with that (they exist, but try finding a physical store with these in stock). Wanted a Firewire Hub? Well, it used to be easy, Mac stores had them available often but these days? Not so common.

     

    The only thing that has been easier with FW was buying an external HDD (not just an enclosure). To add to that, if you found any of the other items mentioned, till the last 1-2 years the 'premium' you'd pay for them would often be significantly more than the USB 2 (+ eSATA) alternatives. I personally have bought most of these things, so I know from first hand experience what's been required to research / purchase them.

     

    So where Thunderbolt is now seems like a parallel of where Firewire previously has been.

     

    So now I have two thunderbolt ports, I use them to connect at times to my external display via the MiniDisplayPort (which has been around for some time now and is well supported) using the Thunderbolt port, connect the one Thunderbolt HDD I do own (which cost a fortune, but also gives me performance my FW800 HDD could only dream of) and to connect my FW800 HDD drive+FW Card Reader via Apple's FW-to-Thunderbolt adapter, which I daisy chain. Even if I had a display which utilised a FW interface, I could still add it to the end of my FW daisy chain and i'd be fine.

     

    If my thunderbolt HDD supported daisy chaining then i'd be able to connect all of these at the same time without issue to my Mac, unfortunately it doesn't, but that's hardly Apple's fault (it's LaCie's). As such, I'd like a Thunderbolt hub, but I'm holding out for now till there is something that isn't the kitchen sink offering but a good old fashioned multi-port hub. The lack of this is Intel's fault, not really Apple's, Intel is the one licensing it, Apple chose to use the technology, so they hold some responsibility, but they don't set the licensing fees or conditions which places Intel as the primary problem here.

     

    xgrep's requirements can be addressed if his monitor uses a FW interface as it could sit on the end of a FW daisy chain and presto, problem solved. If he has two TB ports, then one port will cover his FW needs (daisy chained again) and the other can have the display attached (and should he later buy TB devices, he can create a TB daisy chain with the monitor at the end of that too). As for eSATA though, well, Apple's never catered for that, it is frustrating, but it's not something new.

  • xgrep Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Excellent points, Wolf.

     

    Unfortunately, all of my monitors are the common DVI-D, so I use my Air's only TB port with a MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter (I didn't even know FW displays existed ... interesting idea).

     

    But your points about Firewire are very accurate. To my disappointment, there have never been as many devices that support Firewire as I had hoped. One bright spot is that the FCC required Firewire on HD cable TV boxes (at the customer's request) that allowed you to record unencrypted HD content. I used that for quite a while to record HD on a DVHS VCR (and also on my Mac with Apple's free HD-DVR example app in the FW developer's kit). But everything else you say is true. I have a couple of FW800 enclosures (again, never widely available, as you said), and I love them. One of them also has an eSATA connector that I'd dearly love to be able to use (eSATA is a lot faster than FW800 - it runs at exactly the rate of the disk's eSATA interface, which is 6GB/s).

     

    So I'm hopeful that an inexpensive TB hub will eventually be available. I'm just a little surprised and disappointed that we're - what - three years later? and precious little stuff is out there. USB 3.0 is cleaning TB's clock, just as USB 2.0 muscled out FW800. USB is slower than TB and technically more limited (just like USB/FW). But, as Sony learned the hard way with Betamax, which got clobbered by VHS (and as Apple's previous losing battle of 20 years ago against Windows PCs showed), cheaper beats better in the market 90% of the time. Unless there's a significant functional advantage, which is, at this point, not widely visible.

     

    But I think that, in time, TB will become more prevalent, as the never-ending need for speed finally exhausts USB 3.0's capability. There is, however, one thing that could kill it: should Apple decide, for some reason, to discontinue Thunderbolt, then the game would be over. But I don't think there's any chance of that happening soon. There's really nothing that will be powerful enough, and, as I alluded to, you can never have too much computing power.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    xgrep wrote:

     

    Apple's Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter lacks a second Thunderbolt port.

    So buy something else.

  • xgrep Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Buy something else? You mean a $300 device with interfaces I don't need? I made it clear in a previous post that I was aware of that option, and that it didn't meet my requirements. But you chose to say something aggressive and unconstructive, anyway. I guess that's the nature of the times we live in: nothing new to add, but a need to be heard.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    xgrep wrote:

     

    Buy something else? You mean a $300 device with interfaces I don't need? I made it clear in a previous post that I was aware of that option, and that it didn't meet my requirements. But you chose to say something aggressive and unconstructive, anyway. I guess that's the nature of the times we live in: nothing new to add, but a need to be heard.

    If what you want does not exist buying something else is one of the two available choices, going without is the other.

  • xgrep Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, I think most people would agree, because what you point out is fairly obvious. But it doesn't go far enough.

     

    I mentioned that I've chosen to do without, but it's not a solution, it's an interim strategy. Going without means no revenue for anyone, but an opportunity for someone to offer a product that the market wants. If enough people say "I'm not buying anything, yet, but would buy X if it were available", then the opportunity will be visible. If those who do without remain silent, there may never be a product X (or it may take a longer to show up).

     

    I'm pretty confident that, thanks to complaints like the ones in this discussion, vendors know of the opportunity and will eventually fill the gap. If they don't, then the prediction that Thunderbolt is a failure might eventually come true, because expensive products will never achieve the adoption rates required to make it a mainstream technology. We need to see lots of ~$39 accessories. At the moment, there's exactly one, and it's not a very versatile product.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    I doubt that low cost Thunderbolt accessories will arrive anytime soon, Intel have set the requirements for licensing and the result is a fairly complex engineering standards set. 10Gb/s over copper is a difficult benchmark to meet.

     

    The low number of machines that support TB doesn't help generate the volume needed to bring production costs down.

     

    I see more devices with 2 TB ports arriving sooner than low cost hubs, but eventually that will change (or TB will remain a high price niche)

  • xgrep Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You may be right about timeframes. On the other hand, Thunderbolt first appeared on a Mac over two years ago, and was in development at Apple for over a year before that. That's just about enough time for prices to start to come down from economies of scale. I would be shocked if the devices that I'm talking about weren't already on the lab benches at several companies, with possible release dates in two years or sooner.

     

    It's true that the technical requirements for TB are beyond anything seen up until now, but these things always evolve. Gigabit copper was virtually inconceivable when Ethernet was first envisioned by Xerox, DEC, and Intel in the early '70s (the first Ethernet cables and connectors were humongous affairs that ran at 10Mb/s). We'll get there (I believe and hope); it's just a matter of when. It's quite frustrating that it's taken so long, that's all.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    Intel introduced the technology (called Light Peak) at the 2009 IDF, so it had to have been around for a while by then. Apple were the first to get a license to use and are effectively the only client of note (currently)

     

    Remember that we are only seeing the early (10Gb/s) stage, full design speed is 100Gb/s, but only prototypes exist for now.

     

    If you're interested here's a link that might interest you. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-dev eloper.html

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    FYI, as of 4/10/13 TB Intel announced a speed hike from 10Gb/s to 20Gb/s.

     

     

    Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 12.38.26 PM.png

     

    Link to complete article

  • cpage Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thank you guys, I appreciate the discussion.

     

    I started this thread trying to find a solution, I shared my findings (many of which were pointed out to me here) of availble products that make Docking usefull, hoping this thread could become a Go To place for other people looking to find Thunderbolt Docking Station or Hub solutions. So far so good, the thread is a top hit when google searching for TB Docking Stations / Hubs / Solutions, so hopefully others looking for a docking solution for their MAC (or PC) might find this useful. so, thank you for helping make that happen.

     

    As pointed out TB is seriously over priced in virtually every case. even $39 for a DONGLE is simply a case grab. I am sure it will one day come down, much like HDMI did and will continue to improve much like USB or HDMI. I don't recall when USB hubs started coming on to the scene after, but i'm going to guess it was shortly after USB 2.0 since that lifted the bottle neck speeds.

     

    Since TB doesn't have that issue, it does seem rather strange that a TB Hub has not been made. I think once we start seeing Thunderbolt Hubs, TB periferals will begin to flood the market [at more reasonable too].

     

    My hope is that manufactureres, includeing apple, hear our wants/complaints/needs in this and other discussions.

     

     

    As a Consumer I don't NEED a dock for home. It's a WANT. Bring the price down $50-$100 on some of these stations and you have my attention.

     

    As an Employee, justifing an extra $200 – $400 is a tuff sell for most companies. again drop the price, $50-100 and we might see some significant sell through.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    cpage wrote:

     

    Thank you guys, I appreciate the discussion.

     

    I started this thread trying to find a solution, I shared my findings (many of which were pointed out to me here) of availble products that make Docking usefull, hoping this thread could become a Go To place for other people looking to find Thunderbolt Docking Station or Hub solutions. So far so good, the thread is a top hit when google searching for TB Docking Stations / Hubs / Solutions, so hopefully others looking for a docking solution for their MAC (or PC) might find this useful. so, thank you for helping make that happen.

     

    As pointed out TB is seriously over priced in virtually every case. even $39 for a DONGLE is simply a case grab. I am sure it will one day come down, much like HDMI did and will continue to improve much like USB or HDMI. I don't recall when USB hubs started coming on to the scene after, but i'm going to guess it was shortly after USB 2.0 since that lifted the bottle neck speeds.

     

    Since TB doesn't have that issue, it does seem rather strange that a TB Hub has not been made. I think once we start seeing Thunderbolt Hubs, TB periferals will begin to flood the market [at more reasonable too].

     

    My hope is that manufactureres, includeing apple, hear our wants/complaints/needs in this and other discussions.

     

     

    As a Consumer I don't NEED a dock for home. It's a WANT. Bring the price down $50-$100 on some of these stations and you have my attention.

     

    As an Employee, justifing an extra $200 – $400 is a tuff sell for most companies. again drop the price, $50-100 and we might see some significant sell through.

    Hubs are not the real issue, TB is 'daisy-chainable' unlike USB. What would be far more useful (and less expensive) is to fit 2 TB ports to all external devices, the chain (theoretically) will support 7 devices.

  • cpage Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    It would be really nice to see two ports on everything too, sadly I know this will not always be the case.

     

    1. Smaller devices may not be able to fit the extra port,

    2. it drives up the cost of said device.

    3. then there is interuption of the Chain.

     

    Taking a middle device would result in unpluging your monitor or some other device.

     

    what happens when new tech comes out like a Thunderbolt thumb drive or a more afordable HDD that has only one port. (more affordable wins)

     

    Personally, I think a hub would be much more useful than daisy chaining.  4 ports is better than a middle chain link. that's not to say I don't like the idea of having the chain option available to me. Taking a Port, while not loosing a port is great.

     

    Every desktop has its own unique situation.

  • Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,505 points)

    cpage wrote:

     

    It would be really nice to see two ports on everything too, sadly I know this will not always be the case.

     

    1. Smaller devices may not be able to fit the extra port,

    2. it drives up the cost of said device.

    3. then there is interuption of the Chain.

    1. I disagree, the TB port is extremely small, 2 side by side will fit just about anywhere, and a double ended cable takes care of the situation where 2 ports won't fit.

    2. Yes, but it saves the cost of a hub.

    3. Yes.

  • xgrep Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There's actually another important capability of a hub over pure daisy-chain: power. A powered hub can supply the maximum current on all of its ports, whereas a chain of TB-powered devices can run out of juice before the technical limit is reached.

     

    I'm trying to envision a small adapter with two TB ports and a FW800 port. It would probably be larger than Apple's current TB-FW adapter, but it needn't be a hub-sized box (well, some USB hubs are pretty tiny). That would be all I need.

     

    You could imagine a series of such adapters: each would have two TB ports and a single port of a specific type, such as FW800, DVI, HDMI, eSATA, etc. With a collection of these, you could daisy-chain your way to whatever configuration you need at (relatively) low expense (providing you didn't run out of current for TB-powered devices).

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