Apple ThunderBolt Peripheral and Computer FAQ

ThunderBolt For Mac FAQ

LightPeak Port Enabled MacBooks

What Kind of Mac Accessories NEED ThunderBolt Speed?

Talk about overkill: A ThunderBolt port's 10Gbps data transfer rates are enought dump an entire DVD's worth of data in seconds, or back up a full Terabyte drive in a few minutes.. AND drive an LCD display at high resolution at the same time, while you're chatting on a ThunderBolt high-definition web cam at 1080 resolution - and still have bandwith to spare on just ONE of it's DUAL-CHANNEL capabilities. Mind-blowing to say the least. Welcome to the future, today.

Copper ThunderBolt Now - Optical 'LightPeak' Later

10Gbps is just the starting point for ThunderBolt over copper connections. It's begun to scale upward in speeds to the 20Gbps 2nd-generation ThunderBolt 2 interface - and eventually become an OPTICAL bus using optic fiber rather than error and interference-prone copper wiring. Both will coexist. However copper has the advantage of being able to carry power as well as data for external ThunderBolt accessories that need additional power to operate - or for recharging.

ThunderBolt vs USB 3.0

ThunderBolt vs USB 3 isn't really an either or scenario. Both will advance because it really isn't a 'Winner Takes All' technology game anyways. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 has huge advantages with backward compatibility with USB 2.0 and 1.1, the same computer port and plug shape, low-cost, consumer familiarity, and HUNDREDS of USB 3.0 many high-speed peripherals and accessories already shipping. It has a 3 year lead in the marketplace and is cheaper for vendors to implement.

ThunderBolt has had huge initial adoption hurdle to overcome. But with Apple's growing market-share, millions of ThunderBolt enabled Macs shipped by years end. And Intel will soon incorportate ThunderBolt ports into their OEM motherboards. The demand for Intel ThunderBolt accessories will explode.

Macs With ThunderBolt Built-In

Apple MacBook Pro computers are shipping with a single ThunderBolt port. It's connector is the same the mini-DVI DisplayPort and still serves the same function. You can still connect a DisplayPort LCD monitor AND new Thunderbolt accessories for Apple as they reach the market. A high-end iMac model with dual TBolt ports was introduced as well.

ThunderBolt Wiring Topology - Daisy-Chain vs Hub

Like FireWire, ThunderBolt is more of a multi-device chain than a hub type topology like USB is. Especially since initially, we're likely to only see a single ThunderBolt port on the computer end. At the device end, most T-Bolt peripherals will have TWO Thunder Bolt ports to allow additional devices to be added and daisy-chained through.

Developed by Intel under the code name Light Peak adn with collaboration from Apple: Thunderbolt technology is a new, high-speed, dual-channel I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. A direct extension of the PCI bus, TBolt literally allows the ability to 'add an expansion card' by simply plugging in a cable. Apple ThunderBolt Adapters and converters will allow other pheripheral interconnect technologies like USB 3, FireWire, and Gigabit Ethernet to acess the PCI bus.