USB 3.0 upgrade for older Macs
Several companies currently offer Thunderbolt docks to expand the interface options for recent MacBooks. CalDigit's Thunderbolt Station is one of the latest, providing a wide range of connections including USB 3.0, HDMI and Ethernet ports, among others. Check out our full review for a closer look at the new docking station.
Units support three PCI-e cards, one model embeds a Mac mini internally
Magma has announced pricing and availability for three new Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion products. The product family is called Roben-3 and is designed to be the expansion solution for creative professionals who have adopted the Thunderbolt interface as the main high-speed input-output option, such as users of the upcoming Mac Pro.
Also supports USB 3.0 systems
Elgato has launched a new portable storage drive, the Thunderbolt Drive+. The unit is based on an SSD, and capable of speeds up to 420MBps. Despite its name, it includes both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, which also double as power sources. For durabilty's sake the drive uses an IP64-certified metal enclosure that protects against dust and water as well as impacts.
Adds USB 3.0, HDMI, other connections
CalDigit has announced that a new peripheral, the Thunderbolt Station, will be shipping on November 4. The unit is meant to expand the number of ports on a Mac, particularly MacBooks, which often have very few native connections. It adds three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI connection, a gigabit Ethernet jack, and audio in/out ports. A second Thunderbolt port is meant for daisy-chaining the Station to other Thunderbolt-ready devices.
Sonnet shipping original model, replacing with Thunderbolt 2 when available
Sonnet has announced the Echo Express SE II, the replacement for the Echo Express II Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion chassis. The new model adds enhanced capabilities and sells at a lower price, and also includes a coupon for a free upgrade to exchange it for a Thunderbolt 2 version when it becomes available this fall. Accommodating cards up to 7.75 inches long, the Echo Express SE II supports nearly every Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card on the market, including double-width cards consisting of a PCIe card plus daughter card.
Lengths of up to 100 meters tested, 10x longer than copper
Making good on promises from January to release an optical Thunderbolt cable, Corning has announced at the IFA tradeshow that Intel has certified its all-fiber optic Thunderbolt cable for release. The technology uses Corning's ClearCurve technology to allow for high data speeds with significantly less data loss than copper cables, allowing for longer cabling.
Upgrades bring up to 24 cores to Z Desktops, quadcore to laptops
HP today announced the expansion of its Z portfolio of professional workstation products, including the company's first workstation-class ultrabook, the HP ZBook 14. Also released are the company's first line of workstations to offer Intel’s Thunderbolt 2 technology for high-speed data transfer. The newly-announced products include three new HP ZBook mobile workstations, including the previously-mentioned ZBook 14, and processor and graphics enhancements to the HP Z desktop workstations.
Thunderbolt Displays and Mac Pros
This week at Apple's online store, save on refurbished Apple displays, Mac Pros and more. The refurbished 27-inch Thunderbolt Display has been reduced by $200 from $999 down to $799. Also priced at $799 is the refurbished Apple LED Cinema Display. Pair either display with a refurbished Mac Pro with a 2.8GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 3GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, now $1,819 after a $680 discount.
Black cannister shape, 12-core configuration, Thunderbolt 2, more
[Updated with real-world photo of the Mac Pro] Apple on Monday gave developers and the public a "sneak preview" of the next Mac Pro coming later this year -- a radical new "cannister" form factor in black that is 1/8th (by volume) the size of the previous model. It features a 12-core configuration based on all-new (E5) Intel Xeon processors, dual AMD-provided FirePro workstation graphics, new PCIe flash storage, new faster RAM, PCI Express gen 3 support, the ability to use up to three 4K-quality displays, and external outputs dominated by Thunderbolt 2.
Doubles throughput of original TB while retaining cable compatibility
Intel, who originally developed Thunderbolt networking technology with the help of Apple (which made it a standard feature on most current Mac products) has revealed that the name of the improved version of Thunderbolt -- originally known by its codename, Falcon Ridge -- is to be simply "Thunderbolt 2." The improved version, which offers roughly a doubling of existing (and still under-utilized) Thunderbolt speeds, will enter the market early next year and offers both sufficient bandwidth for raw 4K video transfer as well as backward compatibility with existing cables and connectors.
Apple issues minor patch
Apple has posted a new support download for Macs, Thunderbolt Firmware Update 1.2. The patch appears to deal solely with stability problems related to Target Disk Mode. The file is 1.22MB, and requires OS X 10.8.3 or later.
New model supplements dual PCI-E slot model
Sonnet today introduced a significant upgrade of its popular xMac mini Server, a Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express expansion system and 1U rackmount enclosure for a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac mini with a Thunderbolt port. The updated xMac mini Server now supports a double-width PCIe card's daughter card and includes BNC connector mounting holes on the enclosure's rear panel. In addition, the length of the xMac mini Server is now just 15.8 inches, optimizing it for a wider range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack bags.
Express Dock now available for purchase
After months of delays Belkin has finally made its Thunderbolt Express Dock available for purchase through its online store. First announced at CES 2011, the Express Dock was originally expected to be launched in September 2012. However, various setbacks and revisions continually pushed this date back until Belkin finally began accepting pre-orders this past February. The final revision is being sold for $300 and features eight ports, one FireWire 800, one Gigabit Ethernet, three USB 3.0, one 3.5mm audio-in, one 3.5mm audio out, and one Thunderbolt port, that can simultaneously be connected to a computer through a single Thunderbolt cable.
New model supplements original with 128GB
Storage solutions manufacturer Akitio today announced the release of the company’s new 256GB one-bay, bus-powered "Neutrino" Thunderbolt storage solution. Akitio’s new larger-capacity device is a follow-up to the company’s successful 120GB SSD solution, which was previously launched in 2012.
Removable cartridge drive capable of RAID 0, 1 or JBOD
Storage technology provider G-Technology announced the premiere device in its Evolution series -- the G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt, coupled with the G-Drive ev and G-Drive ev Plus external hard drive modules. The G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt is the only two-bay solution with interchangeable storage modules, allowing them to be taken into the field and used as true standalone external drives on a USB 3.0 interface.
Pair of new models allow for one 16x, two 8x card installations
Sonnet today announced the Echo Express III-D desktop and Echo Express III-R rackmount Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express Expansion Chassis, the newest members of the company's Echo family of Thunderbolt expansion chassis for PCI-E cards. Featuring three PCI-E slots, a 300W power supply, and 75W auxiliary power connector, both new devices enable the use of a wide variety of high-performance PCI Express cards originally designed for use in desktop computers, now available to use with any OS X computer with a Thunderbolt port.
Falcon Ridge products slated for 2014
Intel has introduced an improved version of its Thunderbolt interface, doubling the transfer speeds to 20 Gbps upstream and downstream. With a booth at the National Association of Broadcasters expo this week, Intel notes that its next-generation Thunderbolt controller, codenamed Falcon Ridge, has the bandwidth to support 4K video file transfers while simultaneously driving a 4K display.
Coming this summer, features almost every kind of modern port
Accessory maker Sonnet Technologies has introduced a catch-all Thunderbolt dock that offers users just about any kind of connection they might want. The Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock, compatible with both Mac and Windows machines, offers a total of 15 ports and includes options for an optical DVD or Blu-ray DVD drive as well as a 2TB hard drive (or smaller SSD). The deluxe dock is expected to arrive by summer, but can be pre-ordered now for North American customers. The unit's drive bay can also be used for Time Machine backups.
New chassis design allows for two half-length, full height PCIe cards
Sonnet today introduced the xMac mini Server 2H, a second model of the company's xMac mini Server Thunderbolt to PCIe expansion system and 1U rackmount enclosure for a Mac mini with a Thunderbolt port. The new xMac mini Server 2H enables the use of two half-length, full-height PCIe cards -- allowing users to select from and install the majority of Thunderbolt-compatible cards into either slot. Additionally, the new model features design improvements such as shortening the chassis' length to 16 inches, which allows it to be deployed in a wider range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack-bags.
Update likely last in the line for the HTC handset
One of the first Verizon LTE phones is being updated to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), nearly two years after the phone's release. The HTC Thunderbolt is finally seeing an update to a nearly year-old version of Android, albeit newer than Android 2.3 Gingerbread which most of the Thunderbolt phones shipped with.
Intel claims limited resources for approving accessories
Licensing issues at Intel are keeping the number of Thunderbolt accessories low, says ArsTechnica. Although more accessories should be en route soon, several vendors claim that Intel has been picking a relative handful of companies to work with in order to ensure products meet certification demands. Intel is denying the suggestion that it might be "cherry-picking" vendors, but acknowledges it has a limited amount of resources for approving new products.
Could signal refresh mirroring MacBook, iMac advances
Third-party retailers are beginning to run out of Apple's 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, notes AppleInsider. Amazon, MacMall, and J&R are all indicating that they're completely out of the monitor. Such stock-outs are typically a sign that Apple is about to update a product, which may be a necessity in the case of the Thunderbolt Display.
Cuts price on existing 2m Thunderbolt cable
Apple has released a new patch for the MacBook Air, EFI Firmware Update 2.6. The code is intended strictly for the current "mid-2012" models, but solves several problems. These include bad colors when connecting HDMI displays, an issue with Windows that caused problems when booting, and a freezing glitch caused by unplugging a Thunderbolt device before waking from standby. The firmware is a 4.76MB download, and requires OS X 10.8.2.
Sacrifices eSATA port in process
Belkin's upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock has returned to a $300 pricetag, the company now says. The product has been in development since 2011, and was originally assigned the $300 price -- along with a September 2012 launch date -- at last year's CES. In June, however, the company made some modifications to the peripheral and raised the price to $400. The September release date came and went, forcing Belkin to push the launch to the first quarter of 2013.
USB 3.0 cable also planned
Corning has announced a new series of ultra-long optical Thunderbolt cables. Three different lengths will be available: 10m (32.8 feet), 20m (65.6 feet), and 30m (98.4 feet). In contrast, a standard Apple-made Thunderbolt cable only measures 2m, or about 6.6 feet.
Skitch for Mac gets update to 2.0.3
Evernote has released an update for Skitch for Mac, bringing the app to version 2.0.3. The new version brings back custom styles and colors, as well as an option to auto copy a URL once an image has been uploaded. It also allows users more flexibility in tool sizes, so that annotations can be in proportion to images. Evernote has also added more sharing options, making it easier to email, Message, tweet, or post from Facebook and iPhoto. The newest version is available for download directly from Evernote, and users that have downloaded the app from the Mac App Store will be receiving an update notification soon.
New mLink device mounts single PCIe card
Expansion manufacturer mLogic is now shipping its PCIe Thunderbolt expansion chassis worldwide. The mLink chassis enables selected PCIe cards such as RAID controllers, 10GigE, Fiber Channel and audio-video capture cards to connect to Mac desktop and laptop computers through the Thunderbolt interface.
Expansion case adds two half-length 16x PCIe card slots
Sonnet announced the latest in the Echo family of Thunderbolt expansion chassis for PCI Express cards -- the Echo Express II. Featuring two PCIe slots, the new Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion chassis enables the use of a wide variety of PCIe cards originally designed for use in desktop computers with any computer now equipped with a Thunderbolt port.
Fixes problem with 'some' Thunderbolt cables
Apple has released a small update for the 2012 MacBook Pro, Thunderbolt Firmware Update 1.1. The patch is described as fixing a problem with the notebook and "some Thunderbolt cables" that "may prevent bus-powered Thunderbolt devices from functioning properly." The file is 442KB, and requires OS X 10.7.4 or later.
My Book Thunderbolt drives now come in 4TB, 8TB models
WD announced today an expansion of its line of high capacity and high speed external storage drives with the My Book Thunderbolt Duo 8 TB and My Book 4 TB external hard drive models. The new drives are compatible with both Mac and PC setups, and the Thunderbolt Duo 8 TB offers the largest storage available on any My Book drive from WD.
Thunderbolt drive uses 10K RPM disks to match SSD performance
Hard drive maker Western Digital has revealed a new line of portable external drives specifically for Macs with capacities up to 2TB and USB 3.0 functionality, and has added a 2TB Thunderbolt-enabled drive that it says offers up to 400MB per second read speeds (and 380MB per second write speeds). When two My Book Velociraptor Duo drives are daisy-chained together, it doubles the speed capacity, rivalling consumer SSD drives at dramatically lower costs.
Apple has finally started stocking the Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter. The new dongle costs $29 and is currently listed as shipping within 1 to 3 business days. Although it can be used by any Mac with an available Thunderbolt port running OS X v10.7.4 or higher, its arrival has been most eagerly awaited by new owners of Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Today's top forum discussions
Today in the MacNN forums users discuss the best way to get an HDMI connection for a pre-Thunderbolt Mac in this thread started yesterday evening, join in here. Mac Enthusiast houstonmacbro reported a strange issue where the Apple TV remote also controls their TV, similar stories have also been reported, join in here.
Is the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter worth the upgrade?
Earlier this year we had the opportunity to review the Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter designed for Seagate's portable hard drive range. Seagate has since released the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter which can be used to upgrade its USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 desktop GoFlex drives. The concept is a good one - pay a little more for the Seagate GoFlex drive upfront, but you then have the flexibility to upgrade to a faster I/O as the technology becomes available. So is it worth upgrading your USB drive to Thunderbolt and is it worth the $190 price of admission?
Drobo Mini aimed for travel use, both using SSD caching
Drobo has unveiled two new Thunderbolt-enabled storage systems aimed at professional users. The Drobo 5D is a desktop-based unit that can store five drives with an additional SSD bay for caching, while the Drobo Mini is a smaller version of the storage line designed for mobile use.
Caused kernel panics, freezes on some machines
After causing problems for some users including serious boot issues that left them unable to easily access their Macs, Apple pulled a Thunderbolt Software Update (labelled v1.2) from its available downloads last Thursday, June 14. Today the update, which is meant to allow Thunderbolt-equipped Macs to use the new Thunderbolt-to-Gigabit Ethernet adapter, reappeared with a 1.2.1 version number.
Patch caused serious boot issues
Apple has pulled Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 from its list of available downloads, MacNN has discovered. Although the update was only meant to add support for the Thunderbolt-to-Gigabit Ethernet adapter, some users have complained that it caused serious boot issues such as kernel panics or freezing at the gray boot screen. The only solution appears to have been reinstalling OS X Lion, a time-consuming process.
May render some Macs temporarily unusable
Some people are experiencing serious errors with Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2, released yesterday, according to reports. Affected users will see any number of issues when booting a Mac, ranging from "unexpected error" messages to kernel panics or becoming stuck at the gray boot screen. The only solution so far is believed to be reinstalling OS X Lion, or simply avoiding installing the update in the place.
Current forum topics
Today the MacNN forums are abuzz with talk of the latest updates to the Apple lineup at yesterday's WWDC. The next generation MacBook Pro is the topic of this thread started by Clinically Insane member Eug. The thread titled "MacPro - Still No Thunderbolt" now includes the phrase "(COME ON ALREADY)" and the discussion continues about the delay in Mac Pro progress.
Ethernet adapter out now, FW800 arriving later
In addition to the other higher-profile offerings at Apple's Worldwide Developer's conference today, the company announced two new adapter cables for all Thunderbolt-equipped Macs. Shipping today is the Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt cable, and the Firewire 800 to Thunderbolt adapter cable arrives later this summer.
Qnap shows 4-bay JBOD Thunderbolt case at Computex
Accessory maker Qnap is showing a prototype of a four-bay Thunderbolt JBOD drive case at Taiwan's Computex trade show. The JTB-400 is capable of holding either 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives. No hardware RAID controller is installed, and the SATA bridgeboard is controlled with a Marvell controller. Pricing has yet to be announced for the rollout of the chassis, expected in the third quarter.
Expansion adds Thunderbolt to Asus 7-series motherboards
ASUS has demonstrated its first Thunderbolt-based monitor at Computex. It is the first PC display to use the technology outside of Apple's display range suggesting that the new high-speed I/O standard is starting to gain momentum. The 27-inch screen using the connection was shown at the same time it revealed an adapter for ASUS 7-series motherboards that added the port as an extra connectivity option.
Drobo shows Thunderbolt-equipped NAS at Computex
A new Thunderbolt Drobo storage device has been seen at Taiwan's Computex. While no testing was possible, nor have any specifics been announced at the show, Drobo representatives claim the move to Thunderbolt should boost the transfer speeds by up to 20 times. Pictures taken by TheVerge show a unit with four 2.5-inch drive bays, two Thunderbolt ports, and a single USB3 port. No pricing nor ship date has been announced.
xServe replacement and desktop breakout boxes debut the line
Peripheral maker Sonnet Technology has announced the imminent shipment of its trio of Thunderbolt PCIe expansion cases. The xMac mini server chassis mounts a (not included) Mac mini inside of a 1U tall case and provides two PCIe 2.0 slots for expansion. The Echo Express and Echo Express Pro are smaller cases intended to provide a single half-length or a pair of full-length PCIe 2.0 slots for any Thunderbolt equipped Macintosh computers.
Price jumps to $399
Belkin has announced an update to its still-unreleased Thunderbolt Express Dock. The peripheral is mainly meant for notebooks, introducing many more connections than a portable system would normally support. The upgrade mainly brings in three USB 3.0 ports, in place of the USB 2.0 ports Belkin originally announced. The company has also added an eSATA connection, but raised the price of the dock a full $100 to $399.
No pricing, availability dates released; expected at Computex
MSI and Asus have announced and detailed their first Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards. The companies have released specifications for their Ivy Bridge boards, both using Apple's Mini DisplayPort implementation of Thunderbolt, rather than Sony's custom Light Peak adaptation. Neither company has announced pricing and availability. Both boards are expected to make their debuts at the Taipei Computex show in two weeks.
MSI Z77A-GD80 laboratory tested by Anandtech
Following Apple's introduction of Thunderbolt on commercial systems with the Macbook Pro 2011 line in February of 2011, it was expected that Thunderbolt would soon be supported on Windows. The first motherboards with integrated Thunderbolt are starting to see the light of day just now, more than a year after the initial introduction of the technology. Anandtech recently had the opportunity to test the first draft motherboard from manufacturer MSI featuring Thunderbolt -- the MSI Z77A-GD80.
NI announces new REAKTOR instrument
Elgato has announced the upcoming launch of a new Thunderbolt cable designed specifically for mobile use. The flexible 50cm cable supports the full data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbit/s on both channels, and at the same time can provide power to devices. The Elgato Thunderbolt Cable will be available on May 3 at a cost of $60. Additionally, Elgato will be including a free cable with every Thunderbolt SSD purchased from the online store before May 6.
Enables two external monitors for mobile Macs
Matrox has refined its DualHead2Go product that lets Mac notebook users add a second external monitor to now incorporate MiniDisplayPort or Thunderbolt in the DualHead2Go Digital Mac Edition (ME). The breakout box enables a single port to now run two external DVI-based displays at up to 1920x1200 resolution. The unit comes bundled with PowerDesk software to help users manage and arrage multi-display setups and supports Lion's full-screen application mode.
Blackmagic shows new gear with Thunderbolt ports
Blackmagic Design at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show outed three new products for professional video editors. The Universal Videohub Editing Interface has a Thunderbolt interface with four ports and four reference signal inputs. It plugs into the company's Universal Videohub 72 and 288 models.