Thunderbolt at the 2013 NAB Show

Thunderbolt continues to gain vendor support. That is good news for pro users.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

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.  

Editorial standards