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Author Topic: Thunderbolt (Lightpeak) Unveiled  (Read 24628 times)
John.Murray
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« on: February 24, 2011, 11:33:09 AM »
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Nice overview here:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/thunderbolt-technology-a-primer/11587?tag=content;selector-blogs
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 01:07:10 PM »
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This sounds great.  So did FW800 and Betamax.  Yet, the latter 2 never went mainstream (readily and cheaply available on just about everything) and I suspect Thunderbolt will follow their lead.

This is why I've stayed away from Mac.  I know "they just work", but I want my computer to do more than work.  A brick works.  It might be the best brick in the world, perfectly sized, stronger than any other bricks, and great looking.  But if I can't easily stack and build things with it and all the other bricks I have available then its just one great brick.

The article says some major manufacturers are coming out with products that use this interface.  Great.  How will they be priced?  I can buy a USB3.0 SSD today that can pretty much reach its full potential with the USB3 port.  Because there are (or in this example 'will') be a bunch of USB3 SSD's on the market which fit all the other bricks, it will be mass produced and reasonably priced.  To me, this is more valuable than a Thunderbolt SSD which can transfer data 10% faster than UBS3 (limited by SSD technology of course), but is 200% more expensive.. which seems to be the case with the these sort of products.

It does say in the article Intel is working on a bunch of new products/uses.. but so far we haven't heard a whisper.  Anyone read anything on a Thunderbolt device yet which is actually ready to come to market?  If not, this means only high priced Mac devices will be available.. which won't be usable on PC's (a huge disadvantage for any professional user since our clients are probably in the realm of the 'average' PC user).  Meanwhile, even if Thunderbolt does catch on and become mainstream, it will be at least several years and several new computer updates away.

Meanwhile Mac users are paying for this now.  And what will it do for you now?

I'd feel much more optimistic about Thunderbolt if we were hearing whispers from Asus, Dell, Gigabyte, Western Digital, and the other big players in the PC market.. that their next versions would be TB ready.

Meanwhile.. USB3 has been available for over a year, and we are just now seeing USB3 devices becoming mainstream.  It will probably be another 1-2 years before they really are mainstream.

DP is another wonderful interface.. just now starting to appear on the products we really want.

HDMI sure took off.. a great example of how it should be marketed and devices made compatible.  A huge television, digital camera, and computer market coming together on this made it work.

Why does Mac always come up with this stuff.  Is anyone really using their fiber optic connected drives?  Very expensive.  Most people I know when to Drobo's or other RAID devices instead. FW800 I'm sure is being used by the faithful, but how long did you wait to finally get usable products?  How many great products do you find yourself wanting, if only it had FW800.  And just when it became available, but not common, it's going away.  Mac hasn't figured out yet, that if the PC side of the industry doesn't adopt it.. then it dies.  They need to talk with each other.  This flash debacle is a good example.  PC users aren't being hurt by all this.. guess who is?

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John.Murray
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2011, 02:04:58 PM »
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Why does Mac always come up with this stuff.  Is anyone really using their fiber optic connected drives?  Very expensive.  Most people I know when to Drobo's or other RAID devices instead. FW800 I'm sure is being used by the faithful, but how long did you wait to finally get usable products?  How many great products do you find yourself wanting, if only it had FW800.  And just when it became available, but not common, it's going away.  Mac hasn't figured out yet, that if the PC side of the industry doesn't adopt it.. then it dies.  They need to talk with each other.  This flash debacle is a good example.  PC users aren't being hurt by all this.. guess who is?



Actually, Apple didn't come up with this at all, nor the the Terms Thunderbolt, or Lightpeak - Intel did.  You can definately expect this to be available on the Windows platform almost immediately.  This technology is implemented at the chipset level (Cougar Point) - ensuring it widespread availability.

I agree with you in that i'm very tired of competing connection technologies - what is exciting to me is that multiple devices, including displays, cameras, storage can all be connected utililizing a (currently) copper based connector supporting bandwidths up to 10Gbps.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 02:06:57 PM by John.Murray » Logged

PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2011, 03:01:58 PM »
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I am also quite optimistic on that one if it works as advertised. Intel has the means to drive market adoption to a very high level very quickly. There's a huge need for more bandwidth. The key issue, imho, will be how much Intel charges for device makers (they claimed a cost of $2 per port, but manufacturers and competitors have been claiming an added cost of $10 to $15 for its integration. Not huge for Apple, but dissuasive for a card reader maufacturer.

But the need for a faster way to interface stuff is great. It's only a matter of time before one emerges.
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Farmer
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2011, 03:19:12 PM »
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From the linked article:

"Several innovative companies have announced Thunderbolt technology-based products, or currently plan to support Thunderbolt technology in upcoming products, including Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise, and Western Digital. Intel is working with the industry on a range of Thunderbolt technology-enabled products including computers, displays, storage devices, audio/video devices, cameras, docking stations and more"
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2011, 04:11:56 PM »
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Great, another standard to cripple my content with DRM.
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JBerardi
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 06:23:30 PM »
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I for one do not object to my laptop having a 10Gbps I/O. Call me crazy....
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 11:14:42 PM by JBerardi » Logged
John.Murray
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 06:52:22 PM »
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Great, another standard to cripple my content with DRM.

I'm not sure I understand; you are criticizing the transmission medium for someone else's decision to enforce their intellectual property?  If you are the content provider, its perfectly ok not to implement DRM
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 07:19:23 PM »
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This is why I've stayed away from Mac.  I know "they just work", but I want my computer to do more than work.  A brick works.  It might be the best brick in the world, perfectly sized, stronger than any other bricks, and great looking.  But if I can't easily stack and build things with it and all the other bricks I have available then its just one great brick.

Having had PCs for ten years before I stepped to Mac two years ago, the very thing with Mac is not only that it is a brick that works flawless, but a brick that works seemingly flawlessly with anything made to connect a Mac that I connect it to. That in essence is a whole different world than the compatiblity problems and indeed problems with bricks themself in PC world!

My last PC was Fujitsu notebook (made in Japan) and it managed to damage 3x HDD and 1x expensive at time 2GB ram. Support was likewise not good. Mac is a breeze... a whole different world where things are working and excellent support also evenings and saturdays only a call away.

No plan to upgrade soon, my two year old MB17" is working flawless.  Grin If I did plan to, why complain... the Thunderbolt seem to be there instead of a displayport, and it accepts dipslay port...  Shocked

Thanks Apple for making great products!!!  Smiley

Regards
Anders

P.S. I should add, build quality is worlds ahead of any PC notebooks I seen. If my MB17 was a PC it would be time to upgrade, now it looks as if I can get another more two years out of it... Plus, maybe Windows 7 has taken PCs 5 years ahead, but Mac OS is seemingly 15 years more advanced after that...
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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 07:57:43 PM »
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I'm not sure I understand; you are criticizing the transmission medium for someone else's decision to enforce their intellectual property?  If you are the content provider, its perfectly ok not to implement DRM

I haven't looked at the specs, but I fear this is just another step in making HDCP non-optional, part of moving into running all software in virtual machines, and content distribution pay-per-use to ensure the customer doesn't own content - all in the name of copy "protection" which hurts paying customers but doesn't prevent piracy.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 11:43:36 PM »
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Actually, Apple didn't come up with this at all, nor the the Terms Thunderbolt, or Lightpeak - Intel did.  You can definately expect this to be available on the Windows platform almost immediately.  This technology is implemented at the chipset level (Cougar Point) - ensuring it widespread availability.

I agree with you in that i'm very tired of competing connection technologies - what is exciting to me is that multiple devices, including displays, cameras, storage can all be connected utililizing a (currently) copper based connector supporting bandwidths up to 10Gbps.
I certainly hope you're right and we have this technology widely available.  Now what?

What do we need 10gbps for now, or anytime in the near future, other that what Feppe claims which I suspect has more truth than not.

The fastest yet to be released SSD's for SATAIII are 500mbps..  PCIe Revo's under 1gbps.  Assuming TB/LP can tap into the bus at a base enough level, motherboards/buses/ram will all need to be redesigned to keep up.  How far in the future is this going to take?  Printers are still fine working at USB1 speeds.  The fastest bandwidth choices in the home are running 150mbps.

So other than a few esoteric SSD's like the Revo's.. we're currently maxing out speeds at 500mbps for any device I can think of.  USB3 is already here, and its backwards compatible to everything we've used for the last decade and a half.. so now what?  What are we going to use it for?  Perhaps they have amazing new technologies waiting to be introduced until such an interface is implemented?  I dunno.. but I do wonder how much it's adding to the cost of an already overpriced Mac?
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2011, 12:14:26 AM »
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Having had PCs for ten years before I stepped to Mac two years ago, the very thing with Mac is not only that it is a brick that works flawless, but a brick that works seemingly flawlessly with anything made to connect a Mac that I connect it to. That in essence is a whole different world than the compatiblity problems and indeed problems with bricks themself in PC world!

My last PC was Fujitsu notebook (made in Japan) and it managed to damage 3x HDD and 1x expensive at time 2GB ram. Support was likewise not good. Mac is a breeze... a whole different world where things are working and excellent support also evenings and saturdays only a call away.

No plan to upgrade soon, my two year old MB17" is working flawless.  Grin If I did plan to, why complain... the Thunderbolt seem to be there instead of a displayport, and it accepts dipslay port...  Shocked

Thanks Apple for making great products!!!  Smiley

Regards
Anders

P.S. I should add, build quality is worlds ahead of any PC notebooks I seen.
If my MB17 was a PC it would be time to upgrade, now it looks as if I can get another more two years out of it... Plus, maybe Windows 7 has taken PCs 5 years ahead, but Mac OS is seemingly 15 years more advanced after that...

We need to be careful when comparing notebooks.  Most users have very limited exposure to laptops other than the one they own, or perhaps the one their kids or spouse owns.. maybe the company provided laptops.  As with your qualifier "any laptops I've seen.."

So when they go and buy a brand new laptop, of almost any brand, its going to seem far ahead of what they had both in build quality and performance, just because its current/newer.  In other words, it's usually not an accurate or current comparison.

I've never heard of a PC of any type that inherently broke hard drives or RAM.  I've heard of bad runs of hard drives and RAM which goes bad.. but since the electronics of ALL notebooks, Mac and PC alike, are all using the same stuff, same hard drives, same RAM, same chipsets, same CPU's, etc, etc.. and all manufacturers take the lowest bids from any company that meets their specs.. I'm not buying that a PC/Mac is inherently better than a Mac/PC..

And even though almost all laptop are made in the same 2-3 factories, manufacturers DO specify the components for the build, LCD panels, video cards, CPU's, drives, etc.. so the level to which a PC is built can vary with price levels.

Perhaps the most significant way manufacturers distinguish themselves is through case design.  Here, there's no doubt Mac is ahead of most.  Their new unibody chassis is a work of art.  Unfortunately it's also pretty average weight wise.  For an average user perhaps this is okay, but when you want something lighter and even more durable, you'll want something like the Lenovo x201s, which has a one piece forged magnesium frame with kevlar coated carbon fiber panels, MILSPEC ratings for water/dust/shock, and a low 2.4 pound weight for a screaming fast i7 machine with a 12inch matte LED LCD with a standard 6-8 hour battery.

In any event, while Mac's certainly make an attractive product, you can certainly meet or exceed both the electronics and use defined build quality with PC's.  You just need to sort through a rather daunting number of brands and models to find something, where with Mac's  you just walk in and buy one of the only few models available.

Personally, compatibility with certain software and devices is important to me.  I try to buy PC's which are ISV certified, and devices which are certified for both PC and Mac because you can't predict what you're clients will have or what weird circumstances you'll find yourself in where connectivity matters.

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Christopher
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2011, 01:52:58 AM »
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Some people are talking about Light Peak and it's speed like we wouldn't reach it in the near future. However, we already have Fibrechannel stuff, which is quite fast, but could get replaced by light peak.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2011, 02:08:09 AM »
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Some people are talking about Light Peak and it's speed like we wouldn't reach it in the near future. However, we already have Fibrechannel stuff, which is quite fast, but could get replaced by light peak.

There is a big difference between multiplexing 100's of channels over a fiber optic line, and 'devices' we connect to a PC.  I really can't think of any devices in the PC market that exceed the requirements of a PCIe Revo..

I'm sure such a connection could be used to interface external graphics cards, but even the newest graphics cards aren't being choked my the current PCIe v2..

Let's say the average person buys a new Mac Pro and keeps it for three years before replacing it.  What do you guys see coming down the pike in the next three years that couldn't be handled through out current interfaces?
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 03:14:07 AM »
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We need to be careful when comparing notebooks.  Most users have very limited exposure to laptops other than the one they own, or perhaps the one their kids or spouse owns.. maybe the company provided laptops.  As with your qualifier "any laptops I've seen.."

So when they go and buy a brand new laptop, of almost any brand, its going to seem far ahead of what they had both in build quality and performance, just because its current/newer.  In other words, it's usually not an accurate or current comparison.

I've never heard of a PC of any type that inherently broke hard drives or RAM.  I've heard of bad runs of hard drives and RAM which goes bad.. but since the electronics of ALL notebooks, Mac and PC alike, are all using the same stuff, same hard drives, same RAM, same chipsets, same CPU's, etc, etc.. and all manufacturers take the lowest bids from any company that meets their specs.. I'm not buying that a PC/Mac is inherently better than a Mac/PC..

And even though almost all laptop are made in the same 2-3 factories, manufacturers DO specify the components for the build, LCD panels, video cards, CPU's, drives, etc.. so the level to which a PC is built can vary with price levels.

Perhaps the most significant way manufacturers distinguish themselves is through case design.  Here, there's no doubt Mac is ahead of most.  Their new unibody chassis is a work of art.  Unfortunately it's also pretty average weight wise.  For an average user perhaps this is okay, but when you want something lighter and even more durable, you'll want something like the Lenovo x201s, which has a one piece forged magnesium frame with kevlar coated carbon fiber panels, MILSPEC ratings for water/dust/shock, and a low 2.4 pound weight for a screaming fast i7 machine with a 12inch matte LED LCD with a standard 6-8 hour battery.

In any event, while Mac's certainly make an attractive product, you can certainly meet or exceed both the electronics and use defined build quality with PC's.  You just need to sort through a rather daunting number of brands and models to find something, where with Mac's  you just walk in and buy one of the only few models available.

Personally, compatibility with certain software and devices is important to me.  I try to buy PC's which are ISV certified, and devices which are certified for both PC and Mac because you can't predict what you're clients will have or what weird circumstances you'll find yourself in where connectivity matters.



Well, it is fine if you not heard that notebook damaged HDD, but that is precise what I stated loud and clear in above as what was occurred on mine three times. That is fact. Likely cause was due to faulty cooling design of that notebook, because my Fujitsu just prior it was the best and most stable notebook I had, my last was plain junk. So much for the belief that Made in Japan should be better…

Reading what you post, somehow you seem in denial of that Mac is as good as people say. Well let me be frank, I was too before I found myself considering it. Frankly after two years of heavy use of my MacBook the number one thing I appreciate is that it works without problems, not only that more simple and far more advanced than PC. Two years ago Fujitsu was rated top in reliability of PC notebooks, Lenovo was rated higher only due to better support. That left me to consider Lenovo and… ehh.. that weird brand Apple which as an engineer I had stayed away from because an engineer cannot have Mac, can they? Well Macs run Windows more stable also (or perhaps because I only use Windows for one program…)…  Only I was to realize two things with some research of Mac: Mac is far more advanced OS (you can do more, it is simpler to use), and… Lenovo’s new one at time that I had been aiming at was 15” and here in Hong Kong and was as expensive as the 17” then brand new unibody MacBook Pro. That was two years ago. As stated above I plan use mine two more years, it is that good and advanced.

You may well find yourself considering same path in future… if you research same as I did Smiley.

And yes, while PCs advance year by year so do Macs. Thus obvious I am not a sheer fool to be deceived by the contrary in what I wrote above. The MacBooks are in my experience lightyears ahead of any PC in problem free durability and compatibility. One should perhaps question how they can sell them again to you when so durable and last longer than PC? Well… happens I bought one for my wife, am now on my second iPhone, and iPhone also for my wife, and sooon iPad with camera when comes out, works great with Skype on iPhone for my old parents to see us when we live far away. Thanks to Apple no more Windows Mobile to me, such a big difference, things from Apple works, are simple to use and compatible like a breeze!!!

Now… back to the connections on the new Mac… I am looking at specs of the 17”… did they remove something??? Yes… displayport… but… Thunderbolt can do that and more. Thus what is your whining about?Huh?

I suggest you write facts if you reply back, or better… go get a Mac  Grin. Thank you.
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 03:43:51 AM »
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What do we need 10gbps for now,

Uh??? What type of monitor are you using?

Well HDMI 1.3 and above/Display Port/Dual Link DVI are already in the 10 Gbit/s ballpark. If you are using a 30" monitor, chances are that you were already using 10 Gbits/s or close to that when you typed your message (2560 × 1600 × 30 bpp @ 60 Hz 10.46 8.06). Actually, one of the issues with LightPeak in its initial release is that it doesn't have enough bandwidth for monitors + something else or at higher refresh rates  (not to mention power)

It should also be noted that the fact that some paths need 10 Gbits/s doesn't mean that all of this has to go to the processor or RAM. Your graphic card doesn't need a 10 Gbits/s input to produce a meaningful 10 Gbits/s output.

AFAIC, I'd go for a laptop using a single type of cable to connect to a 30" monitor, daisy chained to a external backup storage that doesn't need a power brick/connector and to a HD video camera. But there isn't _enough_ bandwidth for that at the moment, even in LightPeak v1

HDCP is a non issue for me. The only time I was slightly annoyed with it was when I couldn't connect an older high res beamer to a DVI/HDMI cable because the protocol wasn't supported. Other than that, it may add a few bucks in licensing here and there, but prices have been dropping so dramatically anyway...
_
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2011, 03:45:44 AM »
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prior it was the best and most stable notebook I had, my last was plain junk. So much for the belief that Made in Japan should be better…

You are making several sweeping generalizations out of an awfully small data set! :-)
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2011, 06:56:07 AM »
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Well, it is fine if you not heard that notebook damaged HDD, but that is precise what I stated loud and clear in above as what was occurred on mine three times. That is fact. Likely cause was due to faulty cooling design of that notebook, because my Fujitsu just prior it was the best and most stable notebook I had, my last was plain junk. So much for the belief that Made in Japan should be better…

Reading what you post, somehow you seem in denial of that Mac is as good as people say. Well let me be frank, I was too before I found myself considering it. Frankly after two years of heavy use of my MacBook the number one thing I appreciate is that it works without problems, not only that more simple and far more advanced than PC. Two years ago Fujitsu was rated top in reliability of PC notebooks, Lenovo was rated higher only due to better support. That left me to consider Lenovo and… ehh.. that weird brand Apple which as an engineer I had stayed away from because an engineer cannot have Mac, can they? Well Macs run Windows more stable also (or perhaps because I only use Windows for one program…)…  Only I was to realize two things with some research of Mac: Mac is far more advanced OS (you can do more, it is simpler to use), and… Lenovo’s new one at time that I had been aiming at was 15” and here in Hong Kong and was as expensive as the 17” then brand new unibody MacBook Pro. That was two years ago. As stated above I plan use mine two more years, it is that good and advanced.

You may well find yourself considering same path in future… if you research same as I did Smiley.

And yes, while PCs advance year by year so do Macs. Thus obvious I am not a sheer fool to be deceived by the contrary in what I wrote above. The MacBooks are in my experience lightyears ahead of any PC in problem free durability and compatibility. One should perhaps question how they can sell them again to you when so durable and last longer than PC? Well… happens I bought one for my wife, am now on my second iPhone, and iPhone also for my wife, and sooon iPad with camera when comes out, works great with Skype on iPhone for my old parents to see us when we live far away. Thanks to Apple no more Windows Mobile to me, such a big difference, things from Apple works, are simple to use and compatible like a breeze!!!

Now… back to the connections on the new Mac… I am looking at specs of the 17”… did they remove something??? Yes… displayport… but… Thunderbolt can do that and more. Thus what is your whining about?Huh?

I suggest you write facts if you reply back, or better… go get a Mac  Grin. Thank you.


1.  So you really don't 'know' the notebook damaged the hard drive then since you're really not even sure why.  Why would you think this and not a run of defective hard drives which has been documented in the past.. there is also the chance of operator error.. someone 'thinks' a hard drive went bad, when it fact there was an issue with the OS or who knows what else..  Roll Eyes

2.  Well, how good do they say they are?  Mac's are as good as PC's I'm sure, after all they're using the exact same components.  I just don't believe that all Mac's are better than all PC's or that all PC's are better than all Mac's.

3.  I have several laptops with >2 years of heavy use.  Do they qualify to be the best?

4.  Can you tell me what's so "advanced" on your Mac over my PC Laptops?  And please don't say TB..  Wink

5.  Mac's run Windows more stable than PC's?  All PC's or just your hard drive eating machine?  You do realize I can't help but have some fun with these gross generalizations..  Grin

6.   I think you more than qualify to wear the Steve Job's sandals (with socks) and the gray turtleneck.. Heck, I think you should get the glasses too.   Cheesy

7.  Oh my.. I can't match you for 'facts', that's for sure..  Lips sealed
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2011, 07:01:35 AM »
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Uh??? What type of monitor are you using?

Well HDMI 1.3 and above/Display Port/Dual Link DVI are already in the 10 Gbit/s ballpark.
If you are using a 30" monitor, chances are that you were already using 10 Gbits/s or close to that when you typed your message (2560 × 1600 × 30 bpp @ 60 Hz 10.46 8.06). Actually, one of the issues with LightPeak in its initial release is that it doesn't have enough bandwidth for monitors + something else or at higher refresh rates  (not to mention power)

It should also be noted that the fact that some paths need 10 Gbits/s doesn't mean that all of this has to go to the processor or RAM. Your graphic card doesn't need a 10 Gbits/s input to produce a meaningful 10 Gbits/s output.

AFAIC, I'd go for a laptop using a single type of cable to connect to a 30" monitor, daisy chained to a external backup storage that doesn't need a power brick/connector and to a HD video camera. But there isn't _enough_ bandwidth for that at the moment, even in LightPeak v1

HDCP is a non issue for me. The only time I was slightly annoyed with it was when I couldn't connect an older high res beamer to a DVI/HDMI cable because the protocol wasn't supported. Other than that, it may add a few bucks in licensing here and there, but prices have been dropping so dramatically anyway...
_

Monitors are a good point.. but then my 20 year old DVI connector has been doing that okay.. And if HDMI is already 10gbps.. why not just use that?

You make another good point about power.  There is a very real limit how much power we can run through these interfaces to run devices.  When it comes to a laptop, we really don't want to be limited by AC cords in all our devices, so how much power can TB/LP put out.. and is it enough to power more than 1-2 devices? 

Prices are another good point. (tongue in cheek)  Mac's have plenty of room to drop in price..  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 07:22:39 AM »
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Apple is strange, add "Thunderbolt" but No HDMI, No Bluray, No CF slot, obviously Thunderbolt will probably take off someday, but right now are there any devices with this interface?   I'm sure we will have HDs with it soon, but CF have been used for many years!  And no flash on my Iphone  Sad   

Finally Quadcore CPUs, wow, it's about time.
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