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Seagate and WD sign on for Intel Thunderbolt support

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Feb 2011 1:22 User comments (10)

Seagate and WD sign on for Intel Thunderbolt support The two largest HDD makers, Seagate and Western Digital have confirmed today that they will support Intel's newly launched Thunderbolt interconnect technology.
Both will have drives available with the technology during 2011.

Says WD of the move:

Western Digital believes Thunderbolt technology will bring both new performance levels and simpler connectivity for consumers to access and enjoy their digital media in new and innovative ways.

And Seagate, similarly:

Seagate will support Thunderbolt with our external GoFlex drives with in calendar year 2011.

WD and Seagate combine for just over 50 percent of all the HDDs sold globally, and Seagate did not initially endorse the standard, like Apple and WD did.

Xbit explains Thunderbolt, which was recently just shown off by Apple on their MacBook Pro refreshes:

Thunderbolt technology supports two low-latency communications protocols - PCI Express for data transfer and DisplayPort for displays. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable. With the two independent channels, a full 10Gb/s of bandwidth (something not truly needed for HDDs these days) can be provided for the first device in the chain of the devices.

All Thunderbolt technology devices share a common Mini DisplayPort connector. Intel's Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols and thus makers HDDs need to develop or use additional controllers to make their drives compatible with the TB I/O interface.

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10 user comments

126.2.2011 01:31


a full 10Gb/s of bandwidth (something not truly needed for HDDs these days) can be provided for the first device in the chain of the devices.

I'll need to read up on that...I wonder how many devices can be chained together; a typical 3TB external runs at less than 125MBPS, or about 1/10 the cable speed limit...I wonder if the empty promises of SATA2 and SATA3 relating to daisy-chaining devices to use the whole bandwidth will finally be realized.

226.2.2011 06:47

Great increase in speed, especially for video editing! And this external HDDs will be much more cheeper and smaller than proffesional solutions like: MACOLA Infiniband interface, HUGE MEDIA VAULT Fibre Channel Interface, Apple Xserve RAID Fibre Channel Interface, AVID VIDEO RAID SCSI Ultra, ... and most of them are raids with multiple HDDs.

But the time will be final judge.

326.2.2011 12:41

@Markonius you do realize that most hdd:s are really slow like Killerbug pointed out? You still need multiple hdd:s to get advantage of thunderbold. Even ssd:s wont be able to use full bandwidth with one disk. Still it is nice that connectors won't be the limiting factor, but i fear it is going to end up like esata. Kinda popular, but not going to overthrow usb. Most people don't really care if it is 20x or 2x faster if they can't connect it to their computer.

426.2.2011 13:48

I have never bought a ext sata i still prefer usb now that i have usb 3.0 its even better

526.2.2011 17:47

This will be cool if WD added this to their HD Media Players, they still haven't added USB 3.0, only to a few HDD. But even then, USB 3.0 is more than enough for streaming HD video. Right now I rather buy a device that has USB 3.0, instead of Light Peak, I think USB will always be more universal and popular than LIght Peak will be.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Feb 2011 @ 5:49

626.2.2011 22:39

Never say always...but I think USB has the edge for a while too. That said, I am happy with my ESATA, and I will get light peak if the final product is worth the cost.

727.2.2011 03:29

I can't wait until this gets finalized and universally adopted. 10Gbps rocks. Though devices will need to undergo a serious techno change to accommodate and most will have to get new mobos I'm guessing. Either way, fiber interconnectivity would be nice.

828.2.2011 14:43

I foresee a lot of broken fiber cables in everyone's futures. Wonder how durable they will be...and how expensive vs a sata cable.

928.2.2011 21:01

Theoretically, fiber should be significantly cheaper than any wiring. Glass is far cheaper than copper.

105.3.2011 20:01

@IguanaC64: Fiber cables can be pretty sturdy and take a lot of abuse. It all depends on the plastic coating surrounding the fiber and the durability of the connectors at both ends.

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