IEEE 1394 Stories June 26, 2014

owc-8

One of the reasons I like Macs is that their useful life tends to be significantly longer than that of a typical Windows machine. This is especially true of the pre-Retina MacBook Pro models, where it’s trivial to upgrade both the RAM and the drive.

I’d previously swapped out the 750GB hard drive and optical drive that came with my late-2011 MacBook Pro 17 for two 1TB hard drives. Along with a RAM upgrade, that gave me a 16GB RAM, 2TB hard drive machine. The plan was to use the machine in that form for a year or two, then do a further upgrade to SSDs once 1TB models arrived and fell to a halfway sensible price.

When that finally happened, and I did the upgrade, that gave me two 1TB hard drives surplus to requirements. I could have placed each into its own external drive caddy, but one 2TB drive is more useful than two 1TB ones, so I decided instead to try out OWC’s Mercury Elite Pro mini. This is an external enclosure for two 2.5-inch drives, which supports both USB 3 and Firewire 800, drawing power from either source – making it a portable drive without the need for external power …  expand full story

IEEE 1394 Stories September 30, 2013

thunderbolt

I’m a huge fan of Thunderbolt. A single wire carrying both DisplayPort and high-speed PCIe data is an incredibly elegant approach to minimising cable clutter even if you don’t need the blistering speed, especially when you can use an Apple Thunderbolt Display as a hub for your USB devices.

I also admire clever tech. The reason you can daisy-chain up to six separate devices is because Thunderbolt automatically multiplexes and de-multiplexes the signals as needed. Thunderbolt 2 takes this approach one step further, combining two 10Gbit/s channels into a single 20Gbit/s connection, with the the Thunderbolt controller again doing all the work. It’s impressive stuff.

A fast, clever technology developed by Intel and enthusiastically marketed by Apple ought to stand a fighting chance at mass-market adoption. Sadly, there’s so far not much sign of this happening. It’s all looking rather reminiscent of Firewire …  expand full story

IEEE 1394 Stories December 4, 2012

LaCie refreshes its best-selling hard drive, the d2, with Thunderbolt & USB 3.0

LaCie announced today that it is releasing a refreshed version of its best-selling hard drive with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity. Known as the LaCie d2 USB 3 Thunderbolt series, LaCie is offering a 3TB model for $299.95 and latest 4TB 7200rpm hard drive option for $399.95.

According to LaCie, the new d2 offers speeds up to 180MB/s:

Get the fastest speeds available on Mac and PC thanks to the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. The LaCie d2 performs at speeds up to 180MB/s, twice as fast as FireWire 800 and nearly four times faster than USB 2.0. These speeds allow the user to transfer a 10GB project in less than one minute, back up a computer in record time, easily edit video in demanding applications and browse through photo libraries without delay. Plus with 256-bit AES encryption the data is always secure.

IEEE 1394 Stories July 26, 2012

OWC launches Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

OWC is launching a new PCIe Thunderbolt expansion chassis today that provides the ability to take advantage of any professional level performance PCIe adapters (half-length PCIe 2.0 card up to 6.5″) on Thunderbolt Macs:

Mercury Helios is fast and flexible with throughput up to 10Gb/s, and is the perfect solution to massively boost workflow productivity. It’s bootable with AHCI compliant cards and can daisy-chain up to six devices. Types of PCIe cards Helios can use include: Fibre Channel • 10Gb Ethernet • RAID controller • Video capture • Digital audio • Solid State Drive • SAS controllers such as the OWC Jupiter • and FireWire, USB 3.0, eSATA host adapter cards.

The Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis is available now for $399.95, and it is shipping from OWC in “7-10 days.” A full list of features and specs from OWC is below:

Features and Specifications

  • Use any half-length, single width, full height x1, x4 or x8 Thunderbolt compliant and AHCI compliant PCIe card
  • Expansion slots: One PCIe 2.0 x8 (x4 mode)
  • Connection interfaces: Two Thunderbolt ports
  • Daisy-chain up to six devices
  • Bootable with AHCI compliant cards
  • External case dimensions: 5.7 in (W) x 8.8 in (D) x 2.9 in (H)
  • Weighs 2.4 lbs (without card)
  • Ventilated quiet cooling with a variable speed fan
  • Automatically powers on/off with computer
  • Warranty: 3-year
  • Compatible with any computer that can support Thunderbolt technology

IEEE 1394 Stories June 12, 2012

Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 may lead to boot failure

Apple released Thunderbolt Software Update 1.2 yesterday, but recent reports indicate the update is causing a host of issues for some users.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based Company said the update “adds support for the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter,” but many have apparently discovered boot failures and other related problems like kernel panics, stalled boot screens, or “unexpected error” notices following installation.

According to threads in a few Apple discussions, the differentiating results all seem to leave Macs unusable. Fortunately, TidBits heard that reinstalling Lion fixes the complication. The website also claimed reinstalling the Mac OS X 10.7.4 Combo Update will remedy the situation.

Go to TidBits for more information on correcting this allegedly faulty software update.

IEEE 1394 Stories April 27, 2012

Elgato releases non-Apple Thunderbolt cable

 

Elgato entered the Thunderbolt space today with its own flavor of the tech aptly called “Elgato’s Thunderbolt Cable.”

Thunderbolt is an interface connector that pushes data between computers and peripherals at high speeds. Apple first launched its $49 trademarked-cable last June, but alternate choices have been few and far between ever since.

At $60 a pop, Elgato’s follow-up to the March release of Thunderbolt SSD is more expensive. The cable is also much shorter at just 1.6-foot compared to Apple’s 2-meter offering.

It is black, too.

The new cable will likely come down below Apple’s price once supply catches up with demand.

Fortunately, Elgato is giving a free Thunderbolt Cable included with every purchase of the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD completed through its Elgato Online Shop until May 6. Just redeem the discount code: “FREE-THUNDERBOLT-CABLE.” Amazon-lovers can also buy the cable for $59.95 USD (here), but shipping times are currently between two to three weeks.

IEEE 1394 Stories April 5, 2012

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At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, LaCie announced a new product for Thunderbolt users. The eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series is a $199 Thunderbolt pass-through that allows you to connect 2 eSATA drives to your Mac via the speedy Thunderbolt port.  By Daisy chaining six of the devices, you could add 12 eSATA drives to your Mac setup.

Today, those devices are now available.

eSATA speeds are up to 3Gb/s or equivalent to SATA II, so you will not be making full use of the Thunderbolt bus speed. However, you will still be much faster than either USB2 (480Mbps) or Firewire 800 (800Mbps). Apple’s Thunderbolt cables are sold separately at $50 a pop.

eSATA docking stations start at around $30, so if you have some eSATA or SATA drives laying around and want to get them on Thunderbolt, this might be a good—though slightly expensive–solution.

Seagate makes a $99 Thunderbolt to SATA drive adapter, but it is having trouble keeping stock (and it lacks a Thunderbolt pass-through) and reviewers note erratic results.

The full specs and press release follows:

expand full story

IEEE 1394 Stories March 20, 2012

We first profiled the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo at CES in January and noted the extraordinary speed of the drives, especially when daisy chained (above find 780MB/s read, 600+MB/s write). Today, Macrumors notes that Western Digital is making the drives available for $599 (4TB) and $699 (6TB).  While those prices are steep, they fall in line with new Thunderbolt parts across the line.

We’ve reviewed the much slower Firewire/USB Western Digital Studio 6TB drives and came away impressed. Those retail for around $430 currently ($270 less than the Thunderbolt version) but use energy efficient (read: slower) internal drives and slower Firewire 800 connectivity options.

Notably B&H Photo and Video is selling the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo already with $50 discounts (6TB – $649, 4TB- $549) and tax only in New York but without solid shipping dates. expand full story

IEEE 1394 Stories February 14, 2012

Noting a successful run with its Thunderbolt-supported Little Big Disk, LaCie’s latest Thunderbolt peripheral the 2big Thunderbolt Series is now available. Originally announced in January during CES 2012, the peripherals offer speeds up to 327MB/s, hot-swappable disks, RAID security, and of course the ability to daisy chain through Thunderbolt. To put this in perspective, the 2big offers speeds up to three times FireWire 800. Daisy chaining multiple 2bigs can get you up to 676MB/s Read (or more).

As for the design, LaCie noted the “thermo-regulated, ultra-quiet cooling fan” automatically triggers depending on the temperature, and the solid-aluminum enclosure fits nicely into LaCie d2 Desk Rack and 19-inch Rackmount Kit. You will have to grab your Thunderbolt cables from Apple, but the 2big Thunderbolt series itself will run you $650 for the base 4TB option, or $800 for the 6TB option (an 8TB option is listed but not yet available or priced). When it comes to LaCie’s advertised speeds, the company used the AJA System Test with a 17-inch, 2.2Ghz Quad Core MacBook Pro (4GB RAM) connected to the 6TB 2big model in RAID 0. The comparison chart from LaCie’s AJA tests daisy chaining multiple 2bigs is below. expand full story

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