Slow Road To The Fast Lane : Apple ThunderBolt Accessories | MacGizmoGuy Blog

Slow Road To The Fast Lane : Apple ThunderBolt Accessories

Computer market leaders Intel and Apple introduced a bleeding edge computer data interface named ThunderBolt about a year or so back. Capable of transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps on each of its dual channels, it promises twice the bandwidth of its nearest competitor - the 5Gbps emerging USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard. Unfortunately, it's been a long, slow road to the fast lane their ThunderBolt computer interface technology. Only a handful of hard drives have reached consumers. Other ThunderBolt accessories and adapters have been announced, but few if any have shipped.

Computer Interface Speed Comparison Chart

These ThunderBolt ports are an extension of either a Mac or PC computers internal PCI Express bus. Because of this, it provides a rather direct and multiple-lane freeway to a computer's memory and CPU. Think of it as an expansion card slot that's just a little external port on the side of your laptop or desktop system. Perhaps the days of having to open up a desktop computer to insert a card into a slot are behind us.

ThunderBolt technology originally debuted on Apple's MacBook laptop - and later - Macintosh desktop system as a ThunderBolt port where the DisplayPort used to be. That's an important thing to note: ThunderBolt can also drive ultra-hi-resolution external computer monitors. There's also promise of other ThunderBolt peripheral and drive adapters that can connect to other eSATA, USB 3.0, FireWire and Ethernet accessories. And ThunderBolt is not exclusive to the Mac platform. Intel and other PC makers will soon be shipping motherboards with ThunderBolt ports built-in.

The largest performance gains will be in the data storage area. A ThunderBolt backup drive using this interface promises insanely rapid data transfer and backup speeds, especially when paired with solid-state SSD flash drives. A full DVD of data can be copied in seconds, an entire Terabyte backup drive worth of videos, music and photos in just a few minutes. Expect other high-demand Thunderbolt peripherals for Mac and PC such as HD TV tuners, High-Def and other high demand devices to hit the market to take advantage of the speed ThunderBolt technology offers.