Thunderbolt at the 2013 NAB Show

Thunderbolt at the 2013 NAB Show

Summary: Thunderbolt continues to gain vendor support. That is good news for pro users.

TOPICS: Storage, Hardware, Intel

Intel published a handy leaflet noting 70 devices available for Thunderbolt. Storage is heavily represented, as are various video adapters and interfaces.

But as I discovered on the show floor, Intel's list was not complete. Here's some more new Thunderbolt kit, fresh from the 2013 NAB Show:

  • Blackmagic Design showed their new Production Camera 4k that, using Thunderbolt, can monitor video waveforms on a notebook. At only $4,000, that will get a lot of attention, assuming they can fix their delivery problems

  • One Stop Systems showed their family of well-priced Thunderbolt PCIe expansion enclosures with room for up to 8 PCIe cards. Want to edit 4k video on a notebook? This is your box. One Stop has been focussed on PCIe expansion, but noted that mobile pros prefer compact Thunderbolt to clunky multi-lane PCIe connectors

  • Ciphertex showed their range of encrypted portable RAID arrays with Thunderbolt interfaces. Great for protecting digital assets on the go. Not yet on their website, though

  • Corning showed — but did not announce — optical Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables in lengths up to 50M/165ft. Optical cables are thinner, lighter and have excellent noise immunity. Sumitomo Electric also showed shorter optical Thunderbolt cables.

The Storage Bits take 

Thunderbolt is — and will remain — a tool for professionals who need its performance and reliability, not a mass market USB-killer. With the mass market migrating to tablets and phones, though, expect Thunderbolt to become a more attractive option to PC vendors looking to differentiate their products.

Intel's faster and lower-cost Thunderbolt options — due next year — will help adoption. USB 3.0 is great for casual users, but as I was reminded yet again this morning, it is not nearly as robust as Thunderbolt, or even FireWire 800.

There's a new Thunderbolt technology community website that has a fairly up-to-date product listing.

Comments are welcome, of course.  

Topics: Storage, Hardware, Intel

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  • Thunderbolt GPU

    It's 2013, so why is Sony STILL the only company with one?

    Lightpeak and TB are based on the same technology, if they could do it, then surely someone else can.

    Although the last Thunderbolt GPU ended up as vaporware, it proved that it could be done.

    The first company to do so would end up raking out tons of cash.
    • May be because

      The typical GPU interconnect has always been x16 PCI-Express. Thunderbolt is x4 PCI-Express.

      Probably it just does not make much sense, that is why.
  • Robin Harris,

    I love Thunderbolt and have been using storage arrays using the interconnect almost since its inception.

    That said, what did you mean in your last sentence in the article where you say that USB 3.0 was "not nearly as robust as Thunderbolt, or even FireWire 800."? I have found USB 3 incredibly reliable, at least on recent Macs, including a 7-port USB 3 hub from Anker, which I tried to overwhelm, but couldn't.

    I'd really like to know what you meant specifically?