Thunderbolt in MacBook Pro: a new era for demanding video editors who prefer laptops

PVC TechnoTur by Allan Tepperimage

Sound the trumpets! The 2-year mourning period that began in 2009 can finally end!

As we have amply covered in multiple articles in ProVideo Coalition magazine, demanding online editing of multiple realtime HD video layers requires a high bandwidth connection to an external disk array, especially in the tapeless acquisition era, when it is even more desirable to use RAID5 (or equivalent). In many cases, it is also extremely desirable to have a high bandwidth connection to advanced video i/o devices from companies like AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox. Since Apple laptops have never offered direct eSATA ports —and some professional i/o interfaces connect via the ExpressCard/34 port, demanding editors were able to connect one or the other (but not both simultaneously) in sub-17” MacBook Pros until June 2009, when Apple nixed the ExpressCard/34 slot on 15” models. Now that Apple offers a Thunderbolt port on all MacBook Pros (13”, 15”, and 17”), we’ll soon be able to have both of our wishes simultaneously: high bandwidth for external storage, and high bandwidth for advanced video i/o interfaces. Thunderbolt in a laptop indeed represents a quantum leap for serious video postproduction. (See also my upcoming related article regarding Thunderbolt in live video production.)

In this article:

  • The virtues and limitations of ExpressCard/34
  • Thunderbolt says: “Here I come to save the day!”
  • Is the King of DAS dead? Has Thunderbolt dethroned eSATA?
  • 10Gb/s, not 10GB/s! read more...
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