About a year after Apple and Intel began rolling out Thunderbolt. Though every current Mac, except the company’s long-in-the-tooth pro tower, offers this super fast connection standard, there have been few peripherals designed to take advantage of it. That’s changing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Here’s how Intel’s worldview is going to change notebook PCs — ultrabooks are the future with more 75 to launch in 2012. Like the MacBook Air, which defines the segment, these new super thin portables will need to trim unneeded ports, especially the processor/power hungry kind, and that means USB.
With that backstory in mind comes a report about new Thunderbolt — an IO standard that’s faster (311MB/s), daisy-chainable (up to 8TB), hot swappable and smaller than USB — products arriving at CES 2012.
First off, check out a-list peripheral maker LaCie’s growing Thunderbolt line up (prices TBA), which has announced a pair of new products to ship this quarter:
- • LaCie 2big also features RAID security, hot-swappable disks, daisy chain convenience and a solid-aluminum casing. Heavy data users will appreciate capacities up to 8TB with transfer rates up to 311MB/s. Daisy chaining multiple 2bigs even increases overall performance.
• eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series It connects to a late-model Mac via the Thunderbolt port and features two eSATA ports. This lets the user connect two eSATA external hard drives to the Hub and get full eSATA speeds on their new Mac. The Hub also features a second Thunderbolt port that lets the user connect other Thunderbolt peripherals, including up to 12 eSATA drives (6x Dock, 2x eSATA links per Hub)
Also from the flexible connectivity department comes the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock ($299), which provides Macbook and ultrabook users with instant access to multiple desktop peripherals via a single cable (three USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, one HDMI port, one 3.5mm Audio port, one gigabit Ethernet port and two Thunderbolt ports [one upstream and one downstream] for daisy-chaining to another Thunderbolt compatible device). Look for this product in September.
Seagate’s also pimping second-half 2012 releases, announcing GoFlex Thunderbolt adapaters for desktop and portable computers — connect a legacy port equipped external drive to a Thunderbolt PC (prices TBA).
Not your mamma’s hard disk
Storage is one segment where solutions have been relatively abundant with product shipping at Sonnet Technologies, Other World Computing and LaCie among others, all of which are long-time friends of the Mac.
Elgato, a company better know for its TV tuners, plans to ship the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD in February, which the company says will sell for $429 yet capacity is listed, hmm. Nevertheless, the combination of SSD and Thunderbolt is an absolute natural as the new IO standard is the only one capable of saturating Flash storage.
Are there finally enough Thunderbolt peripherals to pique your interest?