Apple is the first company to integrate the new Thunderbolt technology from Intel into their computers. You get Thunderbolt pots in the 2011 MacBook Pro and in the 2011 iMac. Apple will rollout the highspeed port across their other computer lines in the coming months. The Thunderbolt port supports transfer speeds of 10Gbps. With that performance you can for instance transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. Only problem is that there is nothing to connect to your Thunderbolt port yet. You can only use it as a DisplayPort for external displays, but I am yet to come across a released Thunderbolt peripheral.
When Intel announced THunderbolt back in February they mentioned that Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise, and Western Digital were working on Thunderbolt devices. Thunderbolt is of course great for HD cameras, external hard-drives and would actually also be nice to have on the iPad. So when are these devices hitting the market?
Some vendors have pre-announced Thunderbolt devices. LaCie promises their Little Big Disk with Thunderbolt for this Summer. The LaCie Little Big Disk will come in 240GB SSD, 500GB SSD and 1TB HDD configurations. Seagate announced that GoFlex products will get a new interface adapter to enable Thunderbolt. A release date is not available yet.
Aja previewed professional 2K 3D, 4K and 5K workflow devices with Thunderbolt technology at the NAB, but did not publish release dates. BlackMagic Design will release the Thunderbolt enabled UtraStudio 3D in July. UltraStudio 3D is a compact and portable capture and playback device.
Promise will release the Pegasus R4 and R6 4-bay and 6-bay High Performance Hardware RAID Solutions with Thunderbolt. The release of these Thunderbolt RAID devices is scheduled for Q2.
So far prominently missing are Thunderbolt plans from consumer camcorder makers. Looking at the release dates of the vendors above you have to wait until Summer to start using the Thunderbolt port.
Thunderbolt features at a Glance:
- Dual-channel 10 Gbps per port
- Dual-protocol (PCI Express and DisplayPort)
- Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices
- Daisy-chained devices
- Electrical or optical cables
- Low latency with highly accurate time synchronization
- Uses native protocol software drivers
- Power over cable for bus-powered devices