First Look: Thunderbolt Capture Devices
CreativePLANETnetwork.com by Oliver Peters
Over the years media pros have seen data protocols come and go. Some, like Fibre Channel, are still current fixtures, while others, such as SCSI, have bitten the dust. The most exciting new technology is Thunderbolt, which is a merger of PCI Express and DisplayPort technologies co-developed by Intel and Apple. Started under the code name of Light Peak, the current implementation of Thunderbolt is a bi-directional protocol that passes power, video display signals and data transfer at up to 10Gbps of throughput in both directions. According to Apple, that's up to twelve times faster than FireWire 800. It's also faster than Fibre Channel, which tends to be the protocol of choice in larger facilities. Peripherals can access ten watts of power through Thunderbolt, too. Like SCSI and FireWire, Thunderbolt devices can be daisy-chained with special cables. Up to six devices can be connected in series, but certain devices have to be at the end of the chain. This is typically true when a PCIe-to-Thunderbolt adapter is used.
A single signal path can connect the computer to external storage, displays and capture devices, which provides editors with a powerful data protocol in a very small footprint. Thunderbolt technology is currently available in Apple iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mini computers and is starting to become available on some Windows systems. It is not currently available as a built-in technology on Mac Pros, but you can bet that if thereâ€™s a replacement tower, Thunderbolt will be a key part of the engineering design.
By its nature, Thunderbolt dictates that peripheral devices are external units. All of the processing horsepower of a PCIe card, such as a KONA or Decklink, is built into the circuitry of an external device, which is connected via the Thunderbolt cable to the host computer. I took a look at three Thunderbolt capture/output devices for this article: AJA Io XT, Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 3D and Matrox MXO2 LE MAX. The Io XT is AJA's only Thunderbolt product (prior to NAB), whereas Blackmagic Design has developed three Thunderbolt units at difference price tiers. For smaller installations, the Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt or Intensity Extreme are viable solutions. read more...
|Check out these items featured in this post and available now at Videoguys.com.|
|AJA IoXT Professional Thunderbolt I/O for Mac $1,495.00||Matrox MXO2 LE Thunderbolt Kit with MAX and MXO2Thunderbolt Adapter $1,495.00||Matrox MXO2 Mini Thunderbolt Kit with MAX and MXO2Thunderbolt Adapter $949.00|
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