USB3 vs. Thunderbolt/LightPeak (1 Viewer)

diogen

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This could be the next installment of USB vs. FireWire (IEEE-1394, iLink, etc.) holy war.

FireWire was created by Apple and later standardized.
While the rest of the world used mostly USB (rumor had it licensing was expensive for IEEE-1394), Apple used FireWire.

That started changing with the iProducts: first the video iPod "lost" FireWire connections (around 2005), and in 2008 so did MacBooks.

At the same time Intel has/had a very checkered history with USB.
It looks like they wanted to "own" it just like the did the PCI bus: license free (maybe) but complete control over the specs.
This was the reason why the first "common" USB protocol was 1.1 - the 1.0 version was not compatible with Intel's implementation.
Intel still drags its feet with USB3 - only the next chipset will have the spec built-in.

The reason for this "coolness" is the fact that Intel teamed up with Apple to create the next generation FireWire: Thunderbolt (or LightPeak in fiber optic implementation). It looks like this will be the only connector that Apple products will have and just like with FireWire, the peripherals will be chained to it (using $50 cables). Simplifies manufacturing, expands peripheral business, tighter lock into the ecosystem, etc.

This latest update on USB3 (possibly) capable of carrying 100W power could make the Thunderbold go the MicroChannel path...:)
Revved up USB 3.0 carries 10 times the power of Thunderbolt -- Engadget

Diogen.
 

Ilya

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It's been several months since Apple started shipping computers with Thunderbolt and we are yet to see a single Thunderbolt device in the stores. At the same time there are a lot of USB 3.0 devices already available (hard drives most importantly) in spite of the fact that Intel still doesn't support it on the mother board. Not only USB 3.0 has a head start, but it also has a huge competitive advantage: backward compatibility.

Personally, the only Thunderbolt device I am looking forward to for my MacBook Pro would be a USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt adapter! ;)

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diogen

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It's been several months since Apple started shipping computers with Thunderbolt and we are yet to see a single Thunderbolt device in the stores.
I don't think we'll see many until non-Apple PCs get the port on the motherboard.
And this is the chicken-n-egg case that only Intel can (attempt to) force...

Unless the $50 cables drop in price 10x, I don't see it take off in the PC-world.

Diogen.
 

Ilya

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Unless the $50 cables drop in price 10x, I don't see it take off in the PC-world.
Exactly! That cable alone would almost double the price of some external hard drives!
 

diogen

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The value of $50 has changed for me recently when i paid $47 (after rebate) for a Patriot Box Office player
capable of playing everything from DivX3 to Blu-ray ISOs and everything in between (DRM-less).

Has a SATA connector for a notebook hard drive inside and includes USB and HDMI cables!

Diogen.
 

Foxbat

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If you look at the Thunderbolt cable, it has a chip in each end to handle the signal matching to the cable so the 10 Gbps come out in one piece. It's effectively a "smart" cable and makes the cable more expensive than a USB cable. In this case, I don't expect we'll see a Monoprice version anytime soon...

Also, if I recall, Apple was a key proponent of USB 1.1 when it introduced the iMac in the fall of 1998. Apple did their usual "cut them off at the past" by eliminating the proprietary ADB and used a USB keyboard and mouse (the dreaded "Hockey Puck" mouse *shudder*) with no floppy drive, just a CD-ROM.
 

diogen

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If you look at the Thunderbolt cable...
I haven't seen one but I read this.
The technology inside Apple's $50 Thunderbolt cable
I don't expect it to be as much as a USB cable but believe unless it is $50/10=$5 it has no chance in the PC world.
Also, if I recall, Apple was a key proponent of USB 1.1 when it introduced the iMac in the fall of 1998.
...because FireWire couldn't do this.
Apple started using USB as a replacement to FireWire much later...

Diogen.
 

DodgerKing

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It's been several months since Apple started shipping computers with Thunderbolt and we are yet to see a single Thunderbolt device in the stores. At the same time there are a lot of USB 3.0 devices already available (hard drives most importantly) in spite of the fact that Intel still doesn't support it on the mother board. Not only USB 3.0 has a head start, but it also has a huge competitive advantage: backward compatibility.

Personally, the only Thunderbolt device I am looking forward to for my MacBook Pro would be a USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt adapter! ;)

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I got into a good discussion with the Mac geeks at the Apple store about this? I specifically asked if Thunderbolt is going to go the way of the dodo-bird since virtually no devices use it and one needs to buy a several $50 adapters to utilized it for different things. He gave me the whole spill and how it is many times better than USB 3 and can do much more. Of course I said, not when their are no products that use it.
 

diogen

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I think Thunderbolt is very good technology.
The idea of running everything over it - from USB to network to display - is tempting.
And having a fiber optic version with practically limitless bandwidth makes in futureproof.
Also, daisy-chaining requires just one port on the host and two on any external device.

The pricing will make or break it outside the Apple ecosystem...

Diogen.
 

DodgerKing

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Not when you have to buy a $50 addaptor for each specific type of plug: Thunderboldt to USB, Thunderboldt to VGA, Thunderboldt to DVI, Thunderboldt to HDMI, ex. By the time one is done they may need several hundred dollars worth of adapters.
 

diogen

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Not when you have to buy a $50 addaptor for each specific type of plug...
That's easy: just make sure every peripheral and computer has a Thunderbolt connector...:)
And require by law a cable to be included...:):)

Diogen.
 

Ramy

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I keep confusing this with my Thunderbolt phone every time I read the title.
 

berck

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At the same time Intel has/had a very checkered history with USB.
It looks like they wanted to "own" it just like the did the PCI bus: license free (maybe) but complete control over the specs.
This was the reason why the first "common" USB protocol was 1.1 - the 1.0 version was not compatible with Intel's implementation.
Intel still drags its feet with USB3 - only the next chipset will have the spec built-in.

Intel was always a huge supporter of USB. They implemented the first version of 1.0 in silicon. The difference between 1.0 and 1.1 was speed
 

Foxbat

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The one product that Apple has announced but hasn't shipped yet is the 27" Cinema display w/Thunderbolt. That effectively makes Thunderbolt your Dock Connector. If Apple could have back-fed enough power to recharge your Mac Book, it would have been a single cable to dock your notebook into your desktop when it's time to get serious. Daisy-chain a Promise RAID via the Thunderbolt and your MBA's 128 GB of SSD isn't a limiting factor any more. At least the Cinema Display includes the necessary cabling to connect to your Mac Book (at $995 it bloody well better!)

I expect OWA or LaCie to start shipping a Thunderbolt external HDD at some point, even though the interconnecting cable will always keep the price higher than USB 3.0 drives. What is feasible is an Expansion case for a Mac Mini or Mac Book to add PCI Express cards. USB 3.0 as part of that Expansion case would allow the best of both worlds.
 

Foxbat

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That is what this thread started about...

Diogen.
I guess my point was that Apple never abandoned USB, they simply added Firewire 400 to address the speed issues with USB 1.1, 1.2, and 2.0 devices. Now that Thunderbolt is here, your Mac doesn't need to have FW because the Cinema display has it.

Here's an idea: how about an iPad with Thunderbolt? When you want a portable device, you undock the iPad and take your tablet with you. When you get to work, you dock and can use the iPad as a graphic tablet, or use a keyboard and mouse/trackpad on the big screen. What you don't take with you can reside in the cloud.
 

John Kotches

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I don't see this as either or. With Intel controlling it I see these as complimentary rather than competing.

Unless they have an exclusive with apple, this could be integrating into the next generation of chipsets and motherboards.

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