JMR Lighting Tower for new Mac Pro

Just saw an ad for this in Post magazine, and I guess they showed it off at NAB this year. The new JMR Lightning Quad Tower for Mac Pro is a PCIE expansion tower via thunberbolt for the new MacPro, that includes four full sized PCIE expansion slots, a built in RAID controler wth 9.6TG capacity, and brings your USB, Ethernet and Audio ports to the front.

Very cool. I am sure it is not going to be cheap, but what a great idea! Make a real MacPro out of a new one, if only Thunderbolt was a little faster.

Rumored next generation Thunderbolt to reach 40 Gbps

Electronista is reporting that the next generation Thunderbolt will reach 40 Gbps, though will have new connectors, and use up to half the power but  still be able to charge 100 watts. It will support display port 1.2, PCI e 3, HDMI 2,  and USB 3.

This would mean a much improved MacPro, though still not PCI e 3 x16 speed. 

Mac Performance Guide tests 6GB SSD drives on Thunderbolt vs USB 3 with surprising results

Mac Performance Guide tests 6GB SSD drives in various enclosures with Thunderbolt and USB 3, and USB 3 holds up quite well at least with a single SSD drive.

Magma has launched Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

Electronista has the news on the new Magma Expansion Chassis. One with up to 8 2.5 Inch SSD, SAS or SATA hard drives, and one that can hold a Mac Mini and 3 PCI slots. From $1399-$1899.

Promise Technologies is first with Thunderbolt 2 Storage Solutions

TUAW has the news on the new Promise Technology raid solutions for Thunderbolt 2. And they will be available through the Apple Store. The 20 Gbps speeds will rock for video.

I just wish they had Thunderbolt PCI Cards instead of having to have it on a motherboard!

Is this the deathnell for the new Apple MacPro

Arstechnica is reporting that Acer one of the leaders in Thunderbolt is dropping it for at least the next year. The entire new MacPro is dependent on Thunderbolt to act as it's expansion, since it has no user addable PCI slots. So you must use expensive Thunderbolt expansion to add accessories to your new Cylinder MacPro. The thing is that so far Thunderbolt support is pretty underwelming. There are some good raid enclosures, but almost nothing for just hard drive housings for your old drives, and everything else is very expensive. In fact there are very few PC motherboards with Thunderbolt, and none with support for Dual Xeons, so it is very very niche!

Everyone is betting on USB 3, which is almost as fast (and plans on getting even faster, and has backwards compatibility), which every PC has, and yes the MacPro has a few ports, but not enough.

And Thunderbolt is not really a PCI replacement. It is fast, but not nearly as fast as PCI, so you can't say put an external NVIDIA video card for CUDA support. It would just be too slow.

And without PC support it will always be a very Niche product.

Makes me think if I want to stay with Mac I will have to do a Hackintosh, which are notoriously unstable, but could at least run windows easily, and have everything I want internally instead of in a spiderweb of external expensive thunderbolt peripherals!

I don't want to have to move fully to windows, but even now I am running bootcamp. And Windows 8 boots faster on my Mac than Mac OS X, and I can build a PC with almost all the expansion I want within a single case with a single power cord. I mean I already have such a serious snake of power cable is am surprised it doesn't trip the fuse more often!

Making new MacPro more like old MacPro

I think my move to Windows may be inevitable at this point just from a price perspective.

Adding 3 PCI slots via Thunderbolt 1, like the Magma ExpressBox 3t, is about $1000, as you can see here: 

And then let's talk hard drives. So a 4 drive housing to replace the 4 internal drives in a MacPro. Promise has it's 4 drive that also includes Raid 0, 1 or 5 so you don't need to use one of your PCI slots, but new egg sells one with 4 1 TB drives for 1069, or 4 2 TB for $1699! And they will still be external drives, so you couldn't put boot camp on them!

We are getting expensive here! Especially when a huge PC ATX case is less than $500. And you could get a MacBook AIR to keep a Mac in your life from $999 to $1700, which is less than these parts for your new MacPro!

Unless this thing is really inexpensive, or Apple comes out with their own expansion chassis I am nt feeling sold!

Apple has announced a new MacPro, is it time for the video professional to move to Windows?


The wait is finally over and Apple has announced a new and more powerful MacPro, but is it really a replacement for the venerable MacPro tower that is out now. Personally I don't think so, and this is why.

The Current MacPro is all about expandability and choice. You aren't locked into much as you have 4 PCI slots, 4 drive bays, and 2 Optical Disc bays, so you can really expand within your machine, and can pick and chose the components you want to make the best machine for you.

The MacPro throws all that out of the window and makes a tiny little machine 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches wide, and only 1/8 the volume of the current MacPro is a bizarre little cylindrical tower, and it relies completely on external expandability and it's 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports (each supposedly doing 20GB of throughput each). Inside is a single PCI 3 SSD for blazing fast speed, but all other drive space must be external, and at wity multiple monitors you will be using up at least one thunderbolt port.

For graphics it has dual AMD FirePro Workstation Class GPU's with 6GB of VRAM each for some serious power, and can connect 3 4K displays, but you get no choice, AMD only, which is great FCP X and other programs that rely on Open GL and Open CL, but without an NVIDIA card, you get no CUDA support, which is how many top graphics programs get their insane acceleration. And most programs actually bog down with dual graphics, unless you are doing something like an NVIDIA Maximus configuration where you use a QUADRO for the graphics head and a TESLA for the rendering power, but personally I would rather go cheaper and have a new NVIDIA TITAN GTX which is basically a consumer version of the TESLA and is only a thousand, vs multiple GPU's would should cost at least $2000 and not have CUDA support. And CUDA support rocks! Still AMD claims they are faster than CUDA.

And 20GB is fast, but not as fast as PCI. A 16x PCI bus is 64 GB of throughput, while a PCI 3 (which this Machine says it has at 40GB/s) in 16x is 128GB/s throughput. So yes you could buy a $500 expansion chassis and run a single PCI 2 4x which has a 16 GB throughput, but I would rather have that extra $500 put into my main case and be able to fit it all into one unit instead of having an octopus of cables and drives and expansion chassis connected to a new version of the Mac Cube (actually more like a Pro Mac Mini).

And then we come to the processor, which is a single XEON chip with up to an impressive 12 cores, but the real power of Xeon's is dual processor, which could have 2 12 Core Xeon's (though a 12 core Xeon is going to be insanely expensive, especially when you could get an 8 core [or possibly up to 12] i7 with hyperthreading for a whole lot less). If you aren't going to have multiple processors, why not have the top of the line i7 instead, as on a mac you are not going to be overclocking.

And the rotating thing is weird, especially if all 16 connectors are full. And seriously no front USB ports? I use those all the time!

It will be a powerful machine, but it is dumbed down and not internally expandable. And will be mess if you expand everything externally. And you will have to live without CUDA, which I have grown to love with Premiere Pro and After Effects (yes Premiere will work with AMD, but so far at least CUDA has been faster).

The thing is I love Mac, but I would rather have a huge internal tower. And that means I could go Hackintosh, but they always have issues, especially with upgrades. The other option is going to Windows and getting your choice. You can get a custom build system from someone like Puget Systems (where you can get a pretty bad ass custome built dual xeon system for under $6000) or you can build your own and save money and have a more powerful machine with all the internal expansion you would ever need.

Right now I am leaning towards windows for my next machine, but it will be a while before I can afford a new system anyway, so maybe we shall see if this MacPro is good enough, but I just don't know about giving up CUDA for a system that is more form than function!

Intel will release Thunderbolt 2 with 20Gbps Speeds in late 2013

Apple Insider has the scoop on the next exciting Thunderbolt spec, which will make Thunderbolt fast enough for 4K!

Sonnet announces new Thunberbolt PCI Expansion Chasis

Electronista has the news on Sonnet's new Thunberbolt connected PCI expansion chasis with 3 PCI slots.

Amazing that you could run PCI cards off a Macbook air with thunderbolt now!

Intel shows off 20GB Thunderbolt

Electronista has the news on Intel showing off 20GB Thunberbolt which could handle uncompressed 4K and a 4K display.

Now this would be an awesome addition to a new MacPro, though again, I wouldn't hold my breath!

Sonnet releases Thunderbolt Dock

MacTech has the news on these new Thunderbolt Docks.

It features:

15 ports: four USB 3.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, one FireWire 800, one headphone, one microphone, one speaker, one audio in, one pass-through Thunderbolt (for either another Thunderbolt device or an external display), two eSATA, and two internal SATA (one port for included optical disc drive and one 6 Gb/s port for a user-installable 2.5-inch SSD or 3.5-inch hard drive). In addition, the Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock includes an 8x DVD±RW drive, or optionally, a Blu-ray BD-ROM/8x DVD±RW drive with Blu-ray player software for OS X

They range from $349 to $549.

Thunderbolt products are still a bit too expensive, but this is pretty impressive, especially since you could hook up a new MacBook air to and have a pretty impressive desktop machine (sans a serious video card).

Magna ExpressBox 1T Thunderbolt PCI Adapter

MacTech has news on the releases of the new Magna ExpressBox 1T Thunderbolt PCI Adapter to add PCI cards to your thunderbolt equipped mac.

A very cool idea, though I would still rather have a tower with PCI Slots built in, but this is great for a portable solution, though $500 is a bit pricy.

Maximum PC compares Thunberbolt to USB 3

Maximum PC compares Thunderbolt to USB 3 to see who wins overall.

Thunderbolt is the speed king, but not as ubiquitous and certainly more expensive. Check out the article.

Thunderbolt vs USB 3

VideoMaker has a quick little breakdown on the differences between USB 3 (which should be getting a speed improvement to 10Gbps from 4.28Gbps) and Thunberbolt, which is is currently 10Gbps, but with optical cables can go up to 20Gbps in the future and can carry video and more power (though I don't see how that will be possible with optical).

I have a feeling this will be like Firewire and USB, where USB will eventually win as it is cheaper and backwards compatible, even if Thunderbolt is superior in some way.

Matrox DS1 Thunberbolt Docking Station

MacOSRumors has the news on this Docking Station for a Thunbderbolt equipped Macbook Pro.

It has a Gigabit Ethernet Port, Two USB 2 ports, AUdio in and out jacks, and either HDMI or DVI port (depending on the model).

A very cool idea for around $250.


mLogic mLink and mLinkR Thunderbolt Chassis


Engadget has the news on this new Thunderbolt PCIe expansion chassis. The normal model is $399 and fits half length PCIe Card to thunderbolt, but the $699 version which will ship later is made specifically for the RED Rocket transcode accelerator, so you can take it on the go, or use it with your iMac. This company was started by the guy who started G-RAID so they are quality. You can check out mLogic.

Intel Shipping new Thunderbolt Controllers

MacRumors has the story of Intel’s newly shipping Thunderbolt controllers.

The high end DSL3510 can even interface with a discreet and integrated graphics chip, so would great for Apple iMac’s and Laptops, and hopefully a new MacPro if that ever comes to pass.

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