Thunderbolt and pricing,
Not really enticing me.
Galileo, Galileo, etc
Not so long ago, El Reg was pulling apart, in every sense of the phrase, Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drive+ SSD. A portable 512GB storage device with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfacing. It put in a nifty performance, for sure, but man, it was pricey. GTech GDrive Mobile with Thunderbolt GTech's GDrive Mobile with Thunderbolt: 1TB …
Is there something about Thunderbolt and pricing that you find particularly un-enticing, or do you habitually share your views about articles you find inapplicable?
I quite like the idea of signing onto a "Dancing with the Stars" board, and contributing "Didn't watch that episode" to every discussion, but it might eat into my day a bit.
It's un-enticing because its so fucking expensive. Put down the gold leaf toilet paper and realise not everyone can pay 300% the market rate for a hard drive, especially when you usually need to buy 2. Once again Apple has taken a technology that already had a huge Intel-markup on it and put the huge Apple-markup on top of that. Oh good now if I sell my house I can buy like 5 thunderbolt drives with the money.... such good value for money, no?
Thunderbolt has some uses, it makes a great universal docking station connector for one.
Using it as an interface for a single portable hard drive via a SATA 3 interface is just stupid. In the future maybe we'll see some sort of PCI-E SSD connected over thunderbolt which would actually take advantage of the speed but ultimately very few people are going to benefit so the price will remain high.
In my case, Thunderbolt could be useful. The huge HP laptop I have does have a ESATA port, but the Macbook pro does not, so a SATA interface doesn't help there.
However, the problem with this device is having to UNPLUG the monitor to use it. FAIL, fail and fail again. If I have to choose between monitor and external disk, monitor wins every time.
Yes, it's a DisplayPort monitor. It's NOT a Thunderbolt monitor - it has a 17Gbit Display port input. It's the Thunderbolt peripheral that has to detect that there's a displayport down-stream and regenerate the 17Gbit DisplayPort data stream for it by demuxing it from the 10Gbit Thunderbolt datastream.
Very happy to be corrected on this but isn't it the WAY data is transferred that is the difference? I tried using a USB3 drive with Final Cut Pro and FCP was not happy.
However, an external Firewire 800 drive + FCP and all's well. On paper, FW800 is a hell of a lot slower than USB3. They are different technologies designed for different uses.
I have a couple of them and swap between Firewire 800 and USB 3 adapters as appropriate. I don't have anything to plug a thunderbolt adapter into, as my MacBook is the one that is Mini-Display port only with no Thunderbolt capabilities.
When I'm next in the market for an external drive, it will probably be another Go-Flex.
Every demolisher knows there is always a hidden screw under the label, because the warranty is void if you remove or damage the label.
BTW I always use a blunt Stanley knife to open the box. It is safer and more effective than a screwdriver.
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiyGVvA6KfU if you want to see blood.
There are a lot of portable drives on the market, some bigger, some just as fast. Unless I'm missing something here, this is nothing that special. Why bother devoting an article to it? It's just a rather boring mechanical drive in a not so special case with a couple of slightly interesting interface choices. So what?
Thunderbolt does for PCI Express and DisplayPort buses what eSATA does for SATA: It's basically PCIe and DisplayPort on a wire, so you no longer need to provide space inside a computer's case for traditional expansion slots. (Hence the recent Mac Pro redesign.)
For external storage, PCIe offers another advantage: it operates entirely independently of the CPU. USB keeps its price low by making the CPU to do much of the heavy lifting, taking valuable processing power away from your applications.
What the benchmarks in the article don't show – and they should – is the additional processing overheads imposed by using USB. Yes: the raw speed looks identical, but if you're having to give up a CPU core to achieve it, it's going to brutally hammer the performance of any high-end video editing suite you're using at the same time. Even Aperture and Lightroom will be noticeably more sluggish.
Trust me: if you're working in a field where processing large lumps of media is a core activity, you will care about this. It's why Apple redesigned their Mac Pros the way they did: that machine has the equivalent of 18 PCIe expansion slots. (Or 15 + 3 x 4K displays if you prefer.) All that's changed is that those slots are now on the outside of the machine, allowing the engineers to optimise the hell out of the arrangement of the core components inside the case.
That is what Thunderbolt can do that USB cannot. USB isn't even playing the same game, let alone in the same league.
Thunderbolt comes into its own in the high-end professional markets, where the cost of the actual computer itself is tiny compared to all the storage and other peripherals you need to connect to it. No, most readers here won't need that level of power, but it most definitely has a market.