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2013 Apple Mac Pro: Thunderbolt 20 Gbps

2013 Apple Mac Pro

See 2013 Apple Mac Pro: Faster or Slower, Elegant but Klunky, Promise vs Reality, Video Oriented.

It’s great to see 20 Gbps Thunderbolt 2 (TB2) designed into the new Mac Pro.

But in practice it doesn’t mean anything for a long while, as chipsets for Thunderbolt 2 aren’t due out until 2014, which means if TB2 stays on track with TB1 timeline, we should see some nifty stuff by 2016.

But that’s overly pessimistic; the arrival of a Mac Pro with Thunderbolt (any flavor) should drive more rapid adoption and encourage peripheral developers to move faster. But they cannot do that for TB2 without reasonably priced chipsets (we’re almost there for TB1).

Bottom line: TB2 is a spec-sheet thing for now, TB1 peripherals are what will be the de-facto approach for the new Mac Pro.

Martin D writes:

Other than Intel's seemingly slow-moving Xeon roadmap, Thunderbolt seems to be the critical and chronic sore point in the last two years of pro mac discussion. Apple seems to really REALLY believe that the future of system expansion is modular and external.

That idea might be more defensible if there was a vibrant market of attractive external solutions to meet a wide variety of needs, but there isn't.

Meanwhile, they're doubling down on Thunderbolt and marketing Thunderbolt v2 when almost none of their customers has ever bought or used (or even laid eyes upon) a Thunderbolt v1 peripheral. Thunderbolt is tantamount to vapor ware: while it exists, it's promise remains fundamentally unrealized. The risk seems very real that it will never take off and wind up another bad bet on Apple's part.

MPG: Bullseye.

Martin D writes:

This is where Apple believes the rest of your USB ports are located:

<picture of rear of iMac case with arrow to Thunderbolt port>

MPG: Yup.

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