The Thunderbolt I/O interface is the darling of Apple and Intel. Introduced on the MacBook Pro line in late February, the port is still largely collecting dust.
The peripherals just haven't materialised as quickly as many had expected, and unless you want to drop $US1000 on an Apple Cinema Display, even getting something as simple as a hub is an exercise in futility.
But! There is hope, trapped behind glass at this week's Intel Developer's Forum. While we were unable to set these enticing new Thunderbolt devices free to roam the world and bring 10Gbps of full duplex bandwidth per channel to the nerd masses, we did capture them on camera so you can dream of a day when you can actually order one of them.
Forget the Mountain Dew-fuelled name for a moment; Blackmagic's Intensity Extreme is the world's first 10-bit HD/SD editing solution with Thunderbolt speed. Get high quality HDMI, s-video, and composite 10 bit capture and playback. All of which sounds awesome -- until you realise they're charging a $US100 premium over their PCIe card with the same features. Cost: $299 Shipping: Q4 2011
If you're working on the next Avatar-inspired 3D film, besides checking the "piss off Roger Ebert" box on your bucket list you'll probably want to take a look at the Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D. The Thunderbolt-enabled video-capture device accepts SD, HD, and 2K capture and playback, and supports two simultaneous full resolution 1080p HD streams for stereoscopic 3D video. Cost: $995 Shipping: Available now in limited quantities.
I know, we talked about this yesterday. But of all the Thunderbolt peripherals out there, this is the one I need right now. Turn your one Thunderbolt port into three USB ports, a Firewire 800 port, a gigabit ethernet, and, yes, another Thunderbolt port so that you can daisy-chain the Thunderbolt items you'll eventually be able to buy. Cost: TBD Shipping: 2012
Suck it Mac Pro. Now I can add PCIe cards to my Thunderbolt-enabled MacBook Air. Capture cards, video cards, 8Gb Fibre channel cards, RAID controllers, they can all be attached to my micro-machine -- and I can still fit my laptop in my backpack. Cost: TBD Shipping: TBD
Look at that, another video solution. The speed of Thunderbolt gets video production folks all weak in the knees, and the AJA IO XT is another tantalising video capture and playback solution. Single and dual ink SDI support, HDMI input and output, two 3G/HD/SD inputs and outputs, the list goes on and on. Let's just say that if your business is show business, the Thunderbolt port is your new best friend. Cost: $US1495 Shipping: Q4 2011
Hey you need cables right? Apple tends to put a premium on their cables. White is a very expensive and difficult colour to work with -- just ask white iPhone 4 owners. SO it's a relief that Intel tells us we should start seeing non-Apple Thunderbolt cables in the next couple of weeks. Cost: Cheaper than Apple Shipping: Soon