PDA

View Full Version : Thunderbolt - Making life difficult?



curtismiller
25th March 2013, 04:13 PM
Here's the thing. We're looking at a new MBP but the question over Regular v Retina is proving a little tricky and essentially it comes down to Thunderbolt.

The MBP and a Dell screen is going to replace an old almost dead iMac but there are few things that are still going to be needed.

1. Gigabit ethernet connection for NAS and local network connections
2. Firewire RAID used for Time Machine
3. USB. There's a hub plus normal keyboard connections etc.
4. Dell Screen.

So with the MBP Retina there's the USB3 ports (so that's fine) but it's the Ethernet, Firewire and Display Port connections I've got to get into 2 Thunderbolts.

I can't be the only one who's had to deal with this issue so how are you guys solving this?

I know the Belkin hub is going to solve all of this but it's not available and is going to cost the best part of $400 when it is.

At the moment backwards compatibility is tying us to the regular MBP but that means less memory, slower processor and no retina screen.

Any advice?

Thanks

Curtis

woofy
25th March 2013, 04:29 PM
Gee I completely missed the fact that the retinas were missing an ethernet port. Quite a huge omission really. From memory there is a USB>Gigabit ethernet dongle, but it would be an unholy mess of dongles whatever way it goes. The husband of a workmate scoffed when he saw us using little HP laptop docks with our HPs, but when I pointed out that he has to plug umpteen different adaptors in, whereas by using a dock on our desk, we just slide the undock button and walk away, its almost getting to the point where Apple need to seriously think about it. A single thunderbolt cable to a hub would be neater, but not like they are to be found yet.

curtismiller
25th March 2013, 04:39 PM
It's quite a pickle. There's this Henge Docks | Horizontal Dock (http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php) but it's also not due out for a while.

glacierdave
25th March 2013, 05:00 PM
Have you thought about going with an Apple Thunderbolt Display instead of the Dell monitor?

Connects to a MBP with a Thunderbolt cable and then provides Thunderbolt, FireWire, USB, Ethernet and a webcam. It also has a MagSafe connector integrated into it so you don't need to use the MBP power adaptor when you're connected to the display.

David

rav3n
25th March 2013, 05:43 PM
If you don't absolutely need the retina display (you don't, it's not as good as it is on ios devices) just stay with the normal mbp and upgrade it yourself.

nibbles
25th March 2013, 05:50 PM
I don't know rav3n, I was passed a rMBP the other day to setup, sitting it next to my MacBook Air I didn't want to give it back. The 1280x800 on the 13" is too low for me.

As for the ports, it's been a long while coming that Belkin dock, the only tidy option appears to be the Thunderbolt Display.

curtismiller
25th March 2013, 06:06 PM
Thanks for your thoughts.

Apple Screen...not really an option as it's for a photographer and it's been specified as a must have.

The issue I have with both the Belkin and Henge is that it's a lot of cash for what is essentially a glorified adapter. It's tough enough speccing the MBP up without having to pay another $400 just to use it.

USB ethernet is not gigabit so defeats the purpose and makes transferring a lot of big files very slow.

I've spoken to Apple and they've got nothing more than I've already put on here.... all I want is a simple 4 / 7 port Thunderbolt hub for under $100...is it too much to ask?

The whole process is feeling like a process of concessions or forced upgrades (I could switch to a thunderbolt RAID for Time Machine for example).

Erwin
25th March 2013, 06:22 PM
I pair my rMBP with a Thunderbolt Display and works for me. It's designed to be a "dock".

nibbles
25th March 2013, 06:29 PM
I pair my rMBP with a Thunderbolt Display and works for me. It's designed to be a "dock".

Colour accuracy appears to be the issue here if I'm not mistaken? That said, how often do you plan on using it as a portable? It may be beneficial to go the old school MBP (sorry, I missed the external screen in my last post)

rav3n
25th March 2013, 07:21 PM
I don't know rav3n, I was passed a rMBP the other day to setup, sitting it next to my MacBook Air I didn't want to give it back. The 1280x800 on the 13" is too low for me.


Are we talking the 13" or 15" macbook here? I have a 15" rmbp, and unless you app supports the retina display it just looks shit (i'm looking at you internet, hurry up and support retina needs)

I dont get the need for the dell screen. If you were using an imac before, a thunderbolt display shouldnt be an issue. Unless you were using the dell with the imac.

The_Hawk
25th March 2013, 08:04 PM
I have the Thunderbolt Display and it's awesome. The 13" MBA has no ports so the dock is well worth while, sadly the new rMBP has no ports either, although for me the only thing I would really like is a gigabit ethernet for those times you are away from home and have a network cable begging to be plugged in (which happens more than you would think). It would also be very handy for using migration assistant instead of being stuck with WiFi (+ one ethernet on the thunderbolt display).

One thing to note (unless they have changed things) is that the magsafe on the thunderbolt display is the old style Mag Safe adaptor so you need the adaptor.

I am waiting for a decent USB3 generic dock adaptor or a cheaper thunderbolt one for my Wifes MBA which uses a Samsung LCD, keyboard, mouse and WiFi at the moment but would love ethernet as well + only one cable.

nibbles
25th March 2013, 08:27 PM
Are we talking the 13" or 15" macbook here? I have a 15" rmbp, and unless you app supports the retina display it just looks shit (i'm looking at you internet, hurry up and support retina needs)

13", though I did just do the usual setup - configure network locations, add file server shortcuts, check apple.com works - return to owner.

automan
25th March 2013, 11:00 PM
If the Dell monitor has HDMI, you could use that instead of the Thunderbolt port.
That way you'd have Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt to Firewire800 and then HDMI to HDMI on the Dell monitor.
That would cover all the things you've mentioned.

I just had a quick glance at the Dell site, but it appears a lot of their monitors have HDMI, so should be fine for that.
And both the rMBP 13" and 15" have HDMI, so should be fine there.

Just another thought :)

woofy
26th March 2013, 08:28 AM
Weird choice to put an HDMI port in rather than another thunderbolt or even the Ethernet, I would imagine it would get used very rarely. The whole point of displayport is a better unified version of HDMI for computers so quite backwards putting it in.

paronga
26th March 2013, 09:06 AM
huh? used rarely?
you have two display ports already. HDMI rarely used? well why don't you go out and count how many TVs and Projectors have DP input. While you're there check how many have HDMI. What you'll find is HDMI is the new VGA. At unis, businesses and school, it's VGA and HDMI (if you're lucky!)

the addition of the HDMI port by apple reflect what's actually going on. It's unfortunate that the retina doesn't have GigE but that's just how it is.

joshm
26th March 2013, 09:21 AM
Get a USB3 gigabit adapter? Then you have the two Thunderbolt ports for the other two.
I'm sure Thunderbolt hubs will come down in price within a year or two, but it's a complicated tech.

In the discussion about HDMI... I think that a 3rd Thunderbolt port would be preferable too, because Thunderbolt->HDMI is a cheap-as-chips adapter, of which I have a dozen lying around my house.

decryption
26th March 2013, 09:38 AM
I'd take a thinner laptop over an Ethernet port. Particularly since the Thunderbolt GigE adapter works so well.

Devil
26th March 2013, 10:41 AM
Get a USB (2 or 3) based time machine backup?

lathiat
26th March 2013, 10:48 AM
Be careful with the HDMI port, it has a gotcha, it's limited to 1920x1200 in OSX for some reason, yet works in Windows at higher resolutions, go figure.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4203051?start=0&tstart=0

woofy
26th March 2013, 11:28 PM
huh? used rarely?
you have two display ports already. HDMI rarely used? well why don't you go out and count how many TVs and Projectors have DP input. While you're there check how many have HDMI. What you'll find is HDMI is the new VGA. At unis, businesses and school, it's VGA and HDMI (if you're lucky!)

the addition of the HDMI port by apple reflect what's actually going on. It's unfortunate that the retina doesn't have GigE but that's just how it is.

In terms of use, an Ethernet port would be far more likely to be used than an hdmi. Better still another thunderbolt port would have been more useful. DP is the future VGA not HDMI despite what manufacturers are doing right now. Samsung tvs dropped VGA last yr in Favour of DVI. In the long run dp for any laptop makes more sense, as it can adapt to any other video format and is by design the universal spec. Why hardly any monitors use it ill never understand.

decryption
27th March 2013, 09:48 AM
You understand why Apple ditched the Ethernet port on the RMBP though, don't you? To make it thinner, and apparently, a large portion of their customers (i.e: MacBook Air) live fine without it, or grab a Thunderbolt dongle.

mac_man_luke
27th March 2013, 10:55 AM
Why is the apple display no good? its IPS and cant see a dell being any better (eg build it as cheap as possible)

~Coxy
27th March 2013, 04:19 PM
Apple displays are glossy and Dell makes good screens as well as cheap ones.

mac_man_luke
27th March 2013, 06:33 PM
Iv an apple screen is not good enough then i would have thought you would be looking at Eizo etc

rav3n
27th March 2013, 06:55 PM
Are dell still using "cheaper" panels in the mass production units? ie, are dell still shipping displays to reviewers with the really good panels, and then replacing them with cheaper ones that then get sold to the consumer?

paronga
27th March 2013, 07:44 PM
In terms of use, an Ethernet port would be far more likely to be used than an hdmi. Better still another thunderbolt port would have been more useful. DP is the future VGA not HDMI despite what manufacturers are doing right now. Samsung tvs dropped VGA last yr in Favour of DVI. In the long run dp for any laptop makes more sense, as it can adapt to any other video format and is by design the universal spec. Why hardly any monitors use it ill never understand.

time and time again a superior technology has failed to win the adoption race.
we all know being better spec wise doesn't guarantee you adoption!

when you're plugging your laptop in and there is no DP port, blabbing on about spec isn't going to get you anywhere.
the HDMI port is there for compatibility and it does just that
a 3rd thunderbolt port might help, but it's designed to be daisy chained. It's nice there is two ports, but three isn't going to happen.
i agree, i would like a gigE port, but totally understand why it's not there.

I'm willing to bet a lot of people like being able to easily plug their laptop into their tv without needing an adaptor.
i'm willing to bet more people like that feature a lot more than being able to plug in gigE.

Kalroi
28th March 2013, 02:42 PM
HDMI is they way we are going DP is being left at the curb which sucks because content protection on HDMI is killing the professional AV industry. DP verse HDMI, im thinking repeat of beta verse VHS

woofy
28th March 2013, 08:19 PM
Dunno about that, the entire business range of HP laptops out there have moved to DP now, although still have VGA sockets. Haven't checked what others like Lenovo are doing but when buying some business spec monitors recently, hardly any DP versions to be found and most are still VGA with DVI. Not that many with HDMI inputs eith which surprised me. A MacBook Air I can understand not having an Ethernet port, but its a safe assumption that someone using a MacBook as the main workhorse would be using a display and a LAN connection. Both are deadends for daisy chaining unless they assume everyone is going to be using an apple display. I'm out camping ATM over Easter but is there a proper USB gigabit LAN adaptor?

Alec Fraser
29th March 2013, 08:32 AM
It's not just HP. Dell and Lenovo laptops are shipping with mini-DisplayPort as well.

woofy
30th March 2013, 09:10 PM
Makes you wonder why they aren't putting direct DP on any monitors. From what I understand there is no royalty, must be just that desktops are ignoring it.

decryption
30th March 2013, 09:12 PM
Makes you wonder why they aren't putting direct DP on any monitors. From what I understand there is no royalty, must be just that desktops are ignoring it.

Lots of Dell monitors have DisplayPort.

gehenna
30th March 2013, 10:59 PM
Lots of Dell monitors have DisplayPort.

Lots of HP monitors too

curtismiller
8th April 2013, 04:54 PM
Thanks to everyone for their input.

Mostly I feel a bit happier knowing that I haven't missed something very obvious and that until Belkin get their arse in gear this is going to be a problem for a few people (or to live with the fact that their laptop will look like it's on life support whenever it's on your desk).

Compromise / lots of adapters / updgrading stuff that doesn't really need upgrading seems to be my options here.

Curtis

ibarnett
9th April 2013, 07:51 AM
Another dock, due northern summer:
Sonnet - Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock (http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echo15thunderboltdock.html)

The_Hawk
9th April 2013, 09:44 AM
There is also the Matrox one:
Matrox DS1 is a practical, powerful Thunderbolt dock | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (http://www.tuaw.com/2013/03/03/matrox-ds1-is-a-practical-powerful-thunderbolt-dock/)

Which can be bought here:
New Magic - Matrox - Editing / H.264 Encoding / Streaming (http://www.newmagic.com.au/products/Matrox/Editing.asp#fragment-6)

Still a little pricey though.



Another dock, due northern summer:
Sonnet - Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock (http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echo15thunderboltdock.html)

A little more "stuff" than I really want... and at ~$549 (I assume US$) in it's decked out form (or $399 in it's basic) it's not tooooooo bad.

Sonnet Echo 15 Thunderbolt dock piles on 15 ports, optical drive, disk bay for $400 (http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/04/sonnet-echo-15-thunderbolt-dock/)


The Belkin Dock is listed on both their AU and US websites, $299.99 US or $429.95 AU making the others look very much on par.

At this point we just need a thunderbolt hub with 3 to 5 thunderbolt ports on it for ~$100. Then you can just buy your own damn thunderbolt to ethernet, DVI/VGA and firewire and at ~$35 each you would end up with a much cheaper solution (even cheaper if you buy generic adaptors). All you need then is a thunderbolt to USB 3 adaptor

Note quite as pretty, but as a device to hide up behind your monitor and have a single plug for stuff it would work pretty well.

Alec Fraser
9th April 2013, 09:56 AM
I'll be reviewing the Matrox DS 1 with HDMI in a couple of weeks for the front page for those who are interested :)

MissionMan
9th April 2013, 11:26 AM
The main issue I had with thunderbolt is the cost and the lack of third party accessories. Thunderbolt hubs are a great idea but they still don't have a thunderbolt hub with a Firewire connection although Belkin have one on the cards. If you're running a Macbook Air or similar, you can't have the thunderbolt to firewire and thunderbolt to DVI at the same time which poses issues.

In the end, when I looked at options, I found it was cheaper to remove my drives from the WD MyBook cases and move them into a USB3 housing ($60) and then run it through a USB3 hub ($30). I could have bought a Thunderbolt display but it was too expensive to justify when I already had a 24" screen.

I think if Apple want Thunderbolt to work, they have to make it commercially viable for end users.

icant
11th April 2013, 11:49 AM
Macfixit.com.au is advertising a USB 3 to gigabit adapter. (Don't know anything about it, or the MacBook Pro Retina).

Kanex DualRole Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with 3-Port USB Hub White, from Kanex for $69.00 only in Macfixit Australia Store. (http://www.macfixit.com.au/kanex-dualrole-gigabit-ethernet-adapter-with-3-port-usb-hub.html)

Bae1ayri7c
18th April 2013, 05:11 PM
At the moment backwards compatibility is tying us to the regular MBP but that means less memory, slower processor and no retina screen.http://awto.cclbeauty.com/17.jpghttp://awto.cclbeauty.com/18.jpghttp://awto.cclbeauty.com/19.jpghttp://awto.cclbeauty.com/20.jpg

curtismiller
8th May 2013, 07:25 PM
If anyone's interested...

I bought the Retina MBP. Purely for the memory capacity as it was going to need some grunt.
I also bought an ethernet > thunderbolt and a firewire > thunderbolt to deal with backwards compatibility.

So far it seems okay but it's not been used in anger yet.

kalithumpian
24th May 2013, 11:54 PM
The power of thunderbolt with docks like that Sonnet Echo is pretty incredible, thats a lot of peripheral down a single cable. I suppose lack of ethernet is the price we pay for a thin Mac, an ethernet connector wouldn't fit on the edge of the Retinas or Airs!