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#342787 - 24/02/2011 20:01 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5862
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I already have a Mini that I use for iOS development, testing HTML etc

I want to replace my main development machine, which I spend most of my time on. My current main machine is a Dell laptop with docking station that runs with two monitors.

My main development is done in VS.NET under Windows 7. I'd like my main machine to remain a laptop, as it is far easier to pick it up and take it to a client, rather than digging out a separate laptop and making sure it is upto date with everything before heading off to a client.

I'd also like to have a mobile iOS development environment that isn't a hacked copy of OSX running in Virtual Box wink

I was hoping to get a reasonably powerful laptop and so was looking at the HP Envy 14 and 17. I have also considered the Mac Books (even though it would end up running Win7 90% of the time).

The lack of builtin support for multiple monitors puts me off a bit. I'd like to see these USB adapters in action to see how well they work. The idea that Apple could easily break them with any update to OSX worries me (or indeed MSFT and a Win7 update)...

I'd probably be better off just getting another* £500 Dell and a Mac Book Air.


* or at least I would if Dell hadn't changed the docking station interface and so I need a new £200+ docking station frown
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#342788 - 24/02/2011 20:11 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
There are two graphics cores in the MBP, each capable of driving two displays... I'm wondering if anything can be done via sofware to get them both to output a single "head" via the Thunderstrike Thunderstruck Thundercloud Thunderclap interface. Oh sorry, I mean Thunderbolt.

Argh, annoying and totally forgettable name. That's probably also why HTC/Verizon chose it for a handset. wink
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#342789 - 24/02/2011 20:26 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: hybrid8]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3990
Loc: Manchester UK
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
Argh, annoying and totally forgettable name. That's probably also why HTC/Verizon chose it for a handset. wink

Someone on another forum commented that it should really be lightning bolt, given that thunder is just the noise.
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#342790 - 24/02/2011 20:47 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andym]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: andym

Someone on another forum commented that it should really be lightning bolt, given that thunder is just the noise.


Exactly. But I'm not surprised Intel stayed clear of any use of the word "light" given the first iteration doesn't have the fibre transport they were first showing off.

They could have called it "Strikeforce" smile
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#342791 - 24/02/2011 21:36 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: andy
The lack of builtin support for multiple monitors puts me off a bit. I'd like to see these USB adapters in action to see how well they work. The idea that Apple could easily break them with any update to OSX worries me (or indeed MSFT and a Win7 update)...

Peter could speak more authoritatively about this, but from what I remember, the DisplayLink adaptors did just use normal drivers as far as the OS was concerned. The only risk of breakage on a Mac would come with major updates to say 10.7, but minor updates should be fine. I was using one of the adaptors back when 10.5 was out, and no system update ever broke it. I had retired the system before 10.6 came out, but would have expected it to still work since 10.6 remained mostly the same as 10.5 as far as display drivers are concerned.
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#342792 - 24/02/2011 22:10 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I really wish Apple would get its head out of its ass and develop a laptop with docking station.

And, yes, Tom, I know that Thunderball "solves" this problem, but, you know, it doesn't. For one thing, it would be nice for Andy to be able to have a docking station with an additional video card in it, so he can do exactly what he's asking for.

I dunno, maybe there's enough bandwidth in Goldfinger to make an external docking station feasible: something where I could have a box that contains an additional video card, an extension video output for the built-in video, a USB hub, etc., all connected via one cable. Even so, I doubt that Moonraker will have the ability to power the laptop, which means at least two cables. Assuming that they hang onto the MagSafe connector, though, at least that's easy to plug in, even if it's also easy to slip behind the desk. And the Octopussy connector will want to slide behind the desk, too.
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#342793 - 24/02/2011 22:26 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: wfaulk]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 756
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
... easy to slip behind the desk. And the Octopussy connector will want to slide behind the desk, too.
Would any of these cable clips reduce that problem?






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#342794 - 24/02/2011 22:30 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: K447]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Nope. wink
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#342795 - 24/02/2011 22:55 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: wfaulk]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: wfaulk
I really wish Apple would get its head out of its ass and develop a laptop with docking station.

And, yes, Tom, I know that Thunderball "solves" this problem, but, you know, it doesn't. For one thing, it would be nice for Andy to be able to have a docking station with an additional video card in it, so he can do exactly what he's asking for.

I dunno, maybe there's enough bandwidth in Goldfinger to make an external docking station feasible
:-P

I do still think this solves it. Because Thunderbolt is just PCIe, it's technically feasible for someone to build a true, universal "docking station" that works with just the one plug, and has a PCIe slot or two inside. PCIe v1 1x bandwidth is 2gbit, so the Thunderbolt connection is equivalent to an 5x slot (if such a thing existed). Video cards can run just fine on a 4x v1 bus, though there might be some slight slowdown in some very specific gaming benchmarks that do a ton of main memory to GPU memory transfers. Once Thunderbolt makes a jump to 100gbit, then it will exceed the bandwidth of even a 16x 2.0 PCIe slot, and be close to the 128gbit rate of a PCIe 3.0 16x slot. And as I theorized earlier, with the DisplayPort signal also there, it would be possible for that external card to also drive the internal laptop LCD, something not possible with older docking station setups. The iMacs already have DisplayPort in and out via the one connector, even before Thunderbolt.

Does it solve the power issue? No. So I suppose it doesn't quite meet your exact demands of being as lazy as possible when getting into work every day smile But it does resolve the cost issue of not needing a new docking station every time the vendor decides to change the highly proprietary docking connector.
Originally Posted By: andy
or at least I would if Dell hadn't changed the docking station interface and so I need a new £200+ docking station frown

It is possible Apple will solve this to your satisfaction though, as they have a recent patent filing for your idea of a combo MagSafe and optical interface.

The downside to this method is that it stops being any vendor with Thunderbolt notebook universal, and will only work with Apple notebooks. But I suppose this isn't different then the current situation people are in with docking stations. I'm just really surprised it took this long to have a good standard for external PCI busses, since laptop docks have had their proprietary ways of doing this for well over a decade now. Expresscard and the older CardBus never worked for this purpose for some reason.

(sadly couldn't come up with any clever Bond jokes for my reply, but nice job on the references in your post. Thunderbolt has me thinking about the Thundercats theme for some reason. )
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#342796 - 24/02/2011 23:07 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3990
Loc: Manchester UK
Personally, I'd like to see someone come up with a 'jacket' that could clip on the bottom of a MacBook, connected to the power and Thunderwotsit and then have a magsafe style shallow connector on the bottom that would sit on a dock. The dock part could be universal and the other bit is device specific. Yes, it would add to the thickness of the laptop, but not by much, few mm maybe?
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#342800 - 25/02/2011 03:08 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: altman]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31384
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: altman
Are you saying we need an "empeg involved" logo for these wannabe spin-off companies? (like Displaylink and Apple) :P


ROFL laugh
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#342808 - 25/02/2011 06:57 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4158
Loc: Cambridge, England
Originally Posted By: andy
The lack of builtin support for multiple monitors puts me off a bit. I'd like to see these USB adapters in action to see how well they work. The idea that Apple could easily break them with any update to OSX worries me (or indeed MSFT and a Win7 update)...

There's no worse risk of that than with any other bit of hardware. The Windows and MacOS drivers are indeed closed-source, so if Microsoft or Apple were to radically change the driver model and break all old drivers, you'd be dependent on Displaylink producing an update, just as you'd be dependent on the makers of every other peripheral you own. But such radical changes would only come with a completely new version of Windows (and I expect MacOS is the same), never with incremental updates.

The Linux drivers (udlfb) are open-source and are thus yours in perpetuity.

Peter

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#342809 - 25/02/2011 08:13 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: peter]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5862
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: peter

There's no worse risk of that than with any other bit of hardware. The Windows and MacOS drivers are indeed closed-source, so if Microsoft or Apple were to radically change the driver model and break all old drivers, you'd be dependent on Displaylink producing an update, just as you'd be dependent on the makers of every other peripheral you own. But such radical changes would only come with a completely new version of Windows (and I expect MacOS is the same), never with incremental updates.

The difference is though that the other addon hardware that I need to get my work done, mouse and keyboard basically, can be used with generic drivers.

But I take your point, I am being overly paranoid. My real complaint here is against Apple for not providing multiple monitor support in the first place. I wonder what Steve has got against it (beyond him wanting us all to own an iPhone, iPad, Mac Book and Mac Pro with multiple Cinema displays).
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#342820 - 25/02/2011 16:07 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3747
Would you be happy if/when somebody comes out with a Thunderbolt "docking station" which has an internal graphics card, supporting multiple monitors, USB drives, and so forth? Since Thunderbolt is just PCIe, it would seem that this sort of thing will be arriving either "soon" or "very soon" in stores near you.

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#342821 - 25/02/2011 16:54 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: andy]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: andy
My real complaint here is against Apple for not providing multiple monitor support in the first place. I wonder what Steve has got against it (beyond him wanting us all to own an iPhone, iPad, Mac Book and Mac Pro with multiple Cinema displays).

Out of curiosity, how often do PC laptops support multiple display output? I know some have multiple video connectors, but my experience with these types of systems years ago still only allowed one to be active at any one time. Some offered the ability to completely disable the internal LCD allowing for two externals, but it didn't seem to be a standard feature.
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#342826 - 25/02/2011 17:30 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5862
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: drakino

Out of curiosity, how often do PC laptops support multiple display output? I know some have multiple video connectors, but my experience with these types of systems years ago still only allowed one to be active at any one time. Some offered the ability to completely disable the internal LCD allowing for two externals, but it didn't seem to be a standard feature.

Very few at the low end ( but then they cost a third the price of the Mac Books wink ).

At the high end some do, the HP Envy 14 does 2 and the 17 does 3. There aren't many others.

However there are plenty of mid/high end corporate laptops that drive two external displays via the dedicated docking stations.


Edited by andy (25/02/2011 17:35)
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#342827 - 25/02/2011 17:33 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: DWallach]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5862
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Would you be happy if/when somebody comes out with a Thunderbolt "docking station" which has an internal graphics card, supporting multiple monitors, USB drives, and so forth? Since Thunderbolt is just PCIe, it would seem that this sort of thing will be arriving either "soon" or "very soon" in stores near you.


Yes I'd be happy with a ThunderBolt docking station, it sounds like a good idea.

I am entirely undecided on which route to take at the moment, hoping my Dell and it's overheating nvidia will hang in on there for a bit longer.
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#342831 - 25/02/2011 18:35 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1419
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: drakino

Out of curiosity, how often do PC laptops support multiple display output? I know some have multiple video connectors, but my experience with these types of systems years ago still only allowed one to be active at any one time. Some offered the ability to completely disable the internal LCD allowing for two externals, but it didn't seem to be a standard feature.


My high millage Dell D630 with a Quadro 135m when docked drives two Dell 2009 LCD @ 1680*1050, one via VGA and one via DVI. Occasionally the second monitor, on DVI in my case, comes up at 1024*1280 - which is easily resolved, but annoying. Without the dock there is just a VGA out.
I do like the workspace all this provides, and usually keep the second monitor in portrait mode for document reading / writing.

PS Don't try to play Colonization 4 on a D630, it will run, but... shocked

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#342832 - 25/02/2011 18:38 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14263
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: drakino
how often do PC laptops support multiple display output?

My "low end" Dell Inspiron 9400 has a 1920x1200 17" LCD, plus a DVI-x output, and a VGA output.

I can connect screens to both outputs, and have a 3-headed display under Linux.

Cheers

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#342833 - 25/02/2011 18:51 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: mlord]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 756
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: mlord
My "low end" Dell Inspiron 9400 has a 1920x1200 17" LCD, plus a DVI-x output, and a VGA output.

I can connect screens to both outputs, and have a 3-headed display under Linux..
I run my Dell Inspiron 9400 with dual 1920x1200 external displays. One via the VGA connector, one from the DVI port.

I never want to go back to a single display at my desk.

For my next 'desktop replacement' laptop I will want at least dual external displays, either directly or through something like the Matrox dual and triple head adapters.

Our Macbook Pro 17 also has an external monitor to extend the display space. I haven't checked whether the MBP Displayport would work with the Matrox gear.
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#342834 - 25/02/2011 19:09 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: mlord]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5862
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Ah, the Inspirons are a bit of and odd bunch. Sometimes they are cheap crap and sometimes they have the exact same components and specs as one of the Latitudes for half the price.

When I bought my D610 I was very surprised a month later to see a friends Inspiron. It was basically the same machine with a different shell. Even the batteries were interchangeable and it also had a D series docking port.

The Inspiron cost £500, my Latitude cost £1,100. The shell on the Inspiron was flimsy, but not £600 flimsy wink

By the time I saw that Inspiron, when I checked the website the model no longer existed. They were back to the normal crap.
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#342843 - 25/02/2011 21:49 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
The Dell E6500 (and related systems) support dual DVI output on their docking stations. I believe some of the newer Lenovo laptops do as well.
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#342844 - 25/02/2011 22:21 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: wfaulk]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
In any machine released today, I don't really want anything less than dual high-bandwidth (dual-link DVI class for example) output, so I really hope to see that in a forthcoming MBP.

If one of your displays is a high density 27" the other one may as well be too.

I do suppose it would be acceptable having the second GPU outboard on a cable or built into a display, but that would make it decidedly less portable.
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Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#342845 - 25/02/2011 23:07 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: hybrid8]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: andy
At the high end some do, the HP Envy 14 does 2 and the 17 does 3. There aren't many others.

Interesting. The HP Envy 17 is using the Eyefinity tech to do 3 monitors. The downside seems to be the hodgepodge of connectors needed. You have to have 3 monitors, with one hooked in via VGA, one via HDMI (or adapted to DVI) and one via Mini DisplayPort. If you don't have a DisplayPort monitor, that mDP port will need an active adaptor to convert to VGA or DVI.

Looks like this has advanced a lot in the past few years, likely due to the rise of notebooks as desktop replacements. I exited the PC space completely around the time this started happening. My "Desktop Replacement" had real desktop parts in it, including a hot running P4 (not the mobile kind) and a video card derived from the desktop Radeon x800. It was one of the only Dell consumer laptops that would drive two monitors.

Originally Posted By: hybrid8
In any machine released today, I don't really want anything less than dual high-bandwidth (dual-link DVI class for example) output, so I really hope to see that in a forthcoming MBP.

If one of your displays is a high density 27" the other one may as well be too.

The current place I work at hands out dual 30 inch displays standard. Some people end up asking for smaller monitors. I personally have one iMac 27 and one Dell 30, and if I sit directly in front of the iMac, there is a dead space on the far end of the 30 where I can't put anything text, as it becomes annoying to read. Never thought I'd say I have too much desktop space.
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#342846 - 26/02/2011 00:08 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: drakino]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 756
Loc: near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: drakino
...there is a dead space on the far end of the 30 where I can't put anything text, as it becomes annoying to read. Never thought I'd say I have too much desktop space.
How far from your eyes to the screens?

I keep my dual 24" displays about 48 inches away from my eyes when I am seated. Ergotron stand holds them up off the desk (screen centerlines are a few inches below eye level) and together side by side.

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#342847 - 26/02/2011 00:52 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt [Re: K447]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14263
Loc: Canada
Ergotron makes great stuff!

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#342851 - 26/02/2011 03:02 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt and Graphics Displays and GPU's... [Re: hybrid8]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
I do suppose it would be acceptable having the second GPU outboard on a cable or built into a display, but that would make it decidedly less portable.


I'm not sure how that makes it less portable.

External displays are decidedly non-portable. Why carry unused GPU hardware around when the display to be driven is back on the desk. This sort of presumes that displays at your destination, will also have their own GPU. But look at TV's, they have started embedding compute power already, enough to handle internet streams.

With Thunderbolt, there is a potential that computers will become very modular in a way not seen before.

Your desktop might be a brick containing a psu, cpu, memory, and a pair of t-bolt connectors. Everything else moves onto "the wire". Motherboards get very small.

Expansion or, need a Beowulf cluster, just daisy chain on a few more bricks.
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#342863 - 26/02/2011 10:50 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt and Graphics Displays and GPU's... [Re: gbeer]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14263
Loc: Canada
...and the peripherals get larger. And significantly more expensive for the PCIe, optics, and royalties.

Still, it looks like a good addition to the fold.
Let's see how much Intel tries to wring out of the industry for usage privileges, and whether or not they're willing to share with AMD.

We *need* AMD, don't forget.

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#342871 - 26/02/2011 13:50 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt and Graphics Displays and GPU's... [Re: mlord]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3747
Originally Posted By: mlord
...and the peripherals get larger. And significantly more expensive for the PCIe, optics, and royalties.

My guess is that computer monitors stay on the "dumb" side, at least for a while, since a graphics card and memory would probably add $100 to the price. "Docking stations", however, seem like a logical place to put that stuff. I don't think we'll ever see a return to some of the fancy docking stations of yore (e.g., the Mac PowerBook Duo Dock), but it's easy to see somebody like IOmega taking one of their external hard drives like the MiniMax (same size/shape as a Mac Mini), which already has a Firewire and USB hub within, and adding Thunderbolt plus a video card.

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#342876 - 26/02/2011 19:18 Re: Light Peak / Thunderbolt and Graphics Displays and GPU's... [Re: mlord]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
Originally Posted By: mlord
...and the peripherals get larger. And significantly more expensive for the PCIe, optics, and royalties.

Still, it looks like a good addition to the fold.
Let's see how much Intel tries to wring out of the industry for usage privileges, and whether or not they're willing to share with AMD.

We *need* AMD, don't forget.


via anandtech:

Apple learned its lesson after FireWire licensing slowed adoption - the Thunderbolt port and controller specification are entirely Intelís. Similarly, thereís no per-port licensing fee or royalty for peripheral manufacturers to use the port or the Thunderbolt controller.
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