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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:14 AM   #1
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Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

So the new Macs have the Thunderbolt port, and yeah there are no peripherals yet for it, but couldn't help getting excited over this blurb -
Quote:
If you’re a video editor, imagine connecting high-performance storage, a high-resolution display, and high-bit-rate video capture devices to handle all the post-production for a feature film — right on your notebook.
And it also seems to explain why the Express Card slot was dropped from most of the Macbooks, apparently PCI Express is part of Firebolt. The other good news, simple adapters will allow you to connect USB and Firewire devices to the Firebolt connection. Good news for laptop editors.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #2
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re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

I think that it is called Thunderbolt...
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Yes you're right, it's Thunderbolt ... fixed that.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #4
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re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

I'm wondering how it will all shake out.

I have a MBP from 2007 & have feared upgrading b/c I'll lose my FW400 (nice for back up, or if I have 2 devices that aren't daisy chain-able) & most importantly the expresscard slot.

I'm hoping that vendors are already making expansion products, so I'm very interested in this.

Link for more info: http://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/
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Old February 24th, 2011, 11:59 AM   #5
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re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Looks like the 17" MBP still has an express card slot on it.

Looks like it finally may be time for me to upgrade the laptop.

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Old February 24th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Interesting thing is one Thunderbolt port has almost the same throughput as all three pci-e slots in a mac pro combined (12Gb/s for the pci, 10 for thunderbolt). That's incredible for laptop expansion, but what happens with towers? I wouldn't be surprised to see a major refresh of the mac pros in the next year or two where pci is eliminated entirely in favor of a few thunderbolt ports... maybe even eliminate the internal drive bays and esata, you could have a very small 'mac pro mini' which basically housed power, processors, memory and a solid-state boot drive, then add whatever else you need externally via thunderbolt.

Edit: ok just re-did the math and realized PCI-E is still significantly faster... but I still think this is a realistic scenario. Thunderbolt is close in speed to a 4 lane card, so I think that would be sufficient for most existing cards - so if you had half a dozen ports on the back of a machine I don't think it likely that most people would ever hit it's limits.

I am a bit confused about apple's notes on the speed though - it says 10Gbps in both directions, then later it says "two 10Gbps channels on the same connector" and I'm not sure if they're referring to a single bi-directional channel or if it actually supports two independent channels. Intel's presentation today seemed to indicate two bi-directional channels per cable.

In any case this is an appealing upgrade for me... when I work at my desk I currently have to connect a DVI cable, fw800, and esata expresscard adapter - it would be great to drop that all to a single thunderbolt cable.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #7
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

I cannot remember where now but I read that Aja, Blackmagic and others were already working on devices to support Thunderbolt. I mean that was almost a given wasn't it?

Drive makers such as Promise and Lacie even already have working products which are being tested.

Expect NAB to be pretty hot this year with the rumor of the new FCS coming out soon as well.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #8
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

So for this ThunderBolt connection to work properly...does one need a "special" TB cable or can one utilize an ordinary DisplayPort cable?
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #9
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Thunderbolt is two channels of 10gbps each, each way (20 back and forth) but a device apparently won't be able to use both channels in one direction. I suspect this is part of the "management" which prevents speed degradation. Unlike other ports, this isn't slowed down by the slowest device on the port.

I've read that Intel also says that given that the controller needs direct access you won't be able to add a Thunderbolt PCIe card.

Yes Blackmagic and AJA as well as Avid and a few other companies have announced support. Lacie, Promise, Western Digital have announced support and I've heard Seagate will be supporting it as well. It might take until summer to see products though . . . just in time for everyone to have the new FCS (spring) and Lion (summer) on their systems.

I can definitely see Thunderbolt replacing Express ports as early as the next 17" MacBook Pro update. I suspect PCIe might take much longer . . . unless MacPros have multiple Thunderbolt ports. It really depends how widely it's supported and apparently Windows boxes wont have it implemented until spring 2012.

Keep in mind that there's a 7 device limit (I believe) and 3 meter copper wire (carries power) limit but optical cable will allow extremely long runs but won't carry power.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:19 PM   #10
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

The other cool thing about Thunderbolt is that it is backwards compatible with mini display port adapters. This is why it replaced the normal mini display port on the MBP's. You can use the port now just like you would with the older MBP. When we do start getting Thunderbolt devices you can still use the older adapters but you just have to make sure they are the last item in the chain. So for example use your mini display adapter to VGA as the last item in the chain.

I also read that there will be such TB devices as hubs and docks that can have many ports. For example FW800, USB and so forth. So if you have an army of FW800 drives you should still be able to use them. Of course all the MBP's still have USB and FW800 ports but it is just cool what can really be done with TB.

At some point in the future I could see computers having just one single TB port and then users can buy hubs with all the ports they would like to use such as FW800, ESATA, FW800, HDMI and so forth. We may even see a better form of external GPU's in the future that make use of TB. Imagine going out and buying an external gpu for your laptop when you feel you need a bit of a gpu upgrade. I know Nvidia and AMD have experimented with external GPU's for awhile now and so far TB seems to finally be a decent way of making it happen.

I don't think TB will ever take the place of true PCI-Express slots since in a MP they can be x16 slots which is much faster then TB. There are also some raid cards that need a x8 slot and TB doesn't have the bandwidth for those type of devices yet.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #11
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

So the hype / focus seems to be on the transfer speed and daisy chaining....but what about connecting this to a 30bit capable monitor?

Is the port / video card enabled to output in 10bit?
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Old February 25th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #12
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Being bidrectional is what makes it really impressive. I don't think this is hype, this is a big deal. New I/O standards that really work don't come around verey often. But when they do it can have a far reaching impact on how data is moved.

Thunderbolt Technology
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Old February 25th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #13
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Clark View Post
Is the port / video card enabled to output in 10bit?
Displayport can do up to 16bpc, but the actual capability would be dependent on the graphics card. I can't find any information on apple or amd's site about what the card can support.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 06:32 PM   #14
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

Thunderbolt isn't a new I/O tech, it encapsulates current I/O, eSata, USB, whatever. It's basically designed to be a single cable and connector from device to device.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 07:03 PM   #15
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Re: Apple's Thunderbolt for the video editor.

While also increasing throughput. It's faster than eStata, so it's not just incorporating it into a single cable.
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