The Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter demonstrates the power of Thunderbolt to bring flexible, high-performance connectivity to compact computers. But we are still in the first generation of devices like this, and it will be a while before prices drop out of the stratosphere.
Apple and Intel introduced the impressive new Thunderbolt interconnect last month on the MacBook Pro line, but folks like me who bought one have nothing to connect to yet. It was exciting to see the wide variety of Thunderbolt peripherals on display at the NAB show in Las Vegas last week, but none of these will ship to end-users before the middle of the summer. But evidence is mounting that Apple will be the first out of the gate with a Thunderbolt peripheral, it just won’t be the sort of peripheral you might expect. I am hearing rumors that the new iMac, to be introduced this month, will be both a Thunderbolt host and peripheral in one! Read on for what this means in the real world.
Apple unveiled their new line of MacBook Pro laptops today, complete with “Thunderbolt”, the trade name for a production packaging of Light Peak and Mini DisplayPort. After much speculation, we finally have some concrete information about Light Peak, and perhaps a peek into the next generation of I/O technologies!
My experience using USB 3.0 on a Mac has been wonderful. It’s so well-integrated you might not notice it except for the performance. At over 200 MB/s, it blows FireWire out of the water and is even faster than nearly any device you’re likely to throw at it. CalDigit sent me their Mac OS X-compatible USB 3.0 PCI Express card for evaluation, and I’m pleased as punch with the card.
Steve Jobs isn’t too keen on USB 3.0, apparently, but other vendors are stepping in to fill the void. CalDigit was first with a USB 3.o driver, but it was tied to the pricey PCI Express and Mini-PCIe cards they sell. Now LaCie is out with a free driver for just about any USB 3.0 card, but it’s locked to LaCie’s storage products. Let’s hope we get an unlocked driver soon!
With Apple almost certain to introduce a new MacBook Air, questions have turned to the specifics of the hardware to be used. A leaked pre-production photo features an odd memory configuration (not to mention four batteries), a device I immediately recognized as an SSD-on-a-stick. With this high-profile introduction of a new SSD stick form, I thought it was time to cover these unconventional new storage formats.
While considering the possibilities of adding an eSATA port to my iMac, I am also investigating eSATA solutions for my MacBook Pro. Since I have an ExpressCard slot, the logical choice is to pick up one of the many ExpressCard eSATA adapters. But it looks like the options aren’t all that great: The SiliconImage chipset used in many is full-featured, but the drivers and hardware implementations are buggy, while the older JMicron controller is cheap and simple but lacks many desirable features.
PCMCIA and CardBus slots were universal and popular a decade ago, but the advent of PCI Express meant reengineering the old standby. The result was ExpressCard, a never-popular compromise that mixes PCI Express and USB into a confusing and little-used mashup. With few modern laptops including an ExpressCard slot and fewer users, a fair question to ask is “where did it all go wrong?”
Apple’s recently introduced mid-2009 MacBook Pros sure do look nice! I am definitely tempted to trade up my late-2007 model, leveraging the excellent resale value that Mac hardware commands. But two of Apple’s trick features for 2009 are already present on my old workhorse: An integrated SD card slot and up to 7 hours of […]
The SanDisk ExpressCard flash media adapter converts a notebook’s ExpressCard slot into a versatile flash media adapter, takes most versions of SD and Memory Stick, and works in both OS X and Windows without a hiccup or even a driver install