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MacBook Pro extras: Thunderbolt daisy-chaining, non-spec CPU

updated 09:30 am EST, Thu February 24, 2011

MacBook Pro has Light Peak details and unusual CPU

Apple's launch of the new MacBook Pro has provided major insights into Thunderbolt, the new official name for Light Peak, as well as revelations that Apple is going outside of spec for its processors. Thunderbolt reaches the full 10Gbps speed even while using Mini DisplayPort and can daisy-chain a total of six devices together. Companies such as AJA, Apogee, LaCie and Promise will have RAID drives and other peripherals to use the speed; Apple has also noted that daisy-chaining a Cinema Display works, although this would likely involve only USB devices.

Intel has added that Thunderbolt is dual-channel and backwards compatible with both full and Mini DisplayPort screens. It can talk to both optical and wired cables and will supply power for those devices that have a low enough draw to work. Adapters will support DVI, HDMI and VGA, and users can even link to an ultra high-speed network over Fiber Channel, normally reserved for server clusters.

Beyond Thunderbolt, Apple is also going beyond Intel's official specifications for the quad Core i7 in the base 15-inch model. Intel's listings make no mention of a 2GHz quad processor and instead start at the 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz used in the high-end 15- and 17-inch models as stock or build-to-order options. The company is known to occasionally get special treatment from Intel, such as first access to a quad-core 3GHz Xeon for the Mac Pro in 2007.

Quietly, Apple has also mentioned that the Intel graphics standard on the line have hardware video decoding that should improve performance in relevant apps. It's not known if they will accelerate Flash, but 10.2 does add hardware GPU acceleration.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. AlainParadis

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011

    +20

    ThunderBolt Bootable

    Would ThunderBolt be bootable?

  1. ClockNova

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2001

    +1

    Daisy chain a monitor?

    If I connect my current monitor to the Thunderbolt port using a DVI adapter, how am I supposed to use the port for anything else? Last I checked, my monitor includes no way to daisy chain.

  1. ClockNova

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2001

    -3

    Not ideal

    A hub seems rather inelegant. It seems more likely that I will have to upgrade to a new monitor to be able to fully utilize Thunderbolt. I just hope I don't have to buy an Apple monitor to do it; they're fantastic, but more than I can afford, especially after shelling out 2 grand for the laptop. We'll see, I guess.

  1. Think 4D

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2008

    0

    Multiple Thunderbolt ports

    I'm betting they'll put multiple T-bird ports on computers.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -22

    So...

    Is this where we get people telling us how Apple is so forward thinking, they include this new capability that has limited to no use at the moment? And yet, they still insist on keeping USB at 2.0?

    I know, it's one of those "You don't need usb 3.0! Just get a dongle to throw on the end of the port so you can connect a USB 3.0 drive to Thunderbolt!"

    Which, of course, will only work if the dongle is a USB 3.0 dongle. Doesn't matter, Apple doesn't offer anything that works with Thunderbolt except their monitors (which also don't chain, which means if you use a monitor, you need a hub/splitter if you actually want to use the stupidly named port for something else.

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    -9

    I need USB 3.0

    For my mouse and printer.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +7

    The forthcoming Nikon

    uses Thunderbolt. It will make a BIG difference to photogs in time previously lost downloading humongous digital pix. And why the heck would you want a USB drive when a Tbolt drive is a gazillion times faster?

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +7

    Firewire Daisy Chain

    I remember the introduction of Firewire and its appeal was the ability to daisy-chain like the SCSI method that it replaced. This is fine so long as peripherals have TWO ports. Early Firewire peripherals seemed to faithfully observe this logic. Unfortunately, because two Firewire ports costs twice as much as one, many peripherals started to appear with only one port. Unless all Thunderbolt peripherals are mandated to provide the daisy-chain ability, this exciting technology will never meet its full potential and wide adoption as happened with Firewire. A peripheral with only one port is a dead end!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    monitor

    Intel says monitors must be at the end of the chain. So don't be expecting any monitors with a second port.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003

    +1

    ADC revisited.

    This is ADC revisited, and it looks a lot more practical.

    I have an ADC studio display, the clear 17 inch one, and i use it for my iSub and keyboard/mouse, thus freeing up the tower's ports for printer and iPod/external HD.

    - A

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