Apple in collaboration with Intel released the Thunderbolt interface as a versatile I/O solution to not only replace the Mini DisplayPort, but also to be flexible in the type of devices that it supports. From there, Apple slowly but surely started integrating thunderbolt into their Mac computer lineup, now so, that it is the standard connection type in Mac devices.
While Thunderbolt has been criticized for not yet having a ton of supported devices, there are continuously more and more accessory manufacturers that are creating Thunderbolt accessories. In today’s post, we will review 5 Thunderbolt accessories that are available now for your Mac.
1. Apple Thunderbolt Display
What used to be known as the Apple Cinema Display is now called the Thunderbolt Display, which is partially a marketing strategy by Apple to try and push the Thunderbolt I/O forward. Of course, Apple displays are always quite expensive. The Thunderbolt display retails for a cold $999.00. The main selling point behind the Thunderbolt display is, with one wire, the Thunderbolt Display expands your Mac with an entire hub of ports and other additions.
2. Sonnet Fusion RAID
If you want a fast and high capacity storage/backup solution for your Mac, the Sonnet Fusion RAID is one of the top contenders. Aside from the RAID Fusion, Sonnet also offers some very unique products such as the RackMac mini Xserver, which can take a everyday Mac Mini and transform it into a dedicated server.
3. Promise Pegasus R4 and R6
Promise Pegasus is another manufacturer of server grade and higher end storage solutions. Their R4 and R6 lineups are both Thunderbolt compatible, and highly configurable and scaleable. Options like Video Pass Through are unique ways to utilize the capabilities of the Thunderbolt I/O.
4. Lacie Little Big Disk
The above storage solutions offered by Sonnet and Pegasus are very awesome, but they are also a bit extreme and out of price range for the everyday Mac user. For more of an external hard drive like solution, with simpler backup options, there is the Lacie Little Big Disk. Still, the Lacie Little Big Disk retails for around $500.00 for a 1TB version, which puts it high above the cost of the standard USB external hard drive.
5. Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D
The Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D is a professional capture device that is used to capture and playback video. The Thunderbolt connection on this device makes it faster and more efficient, and this device is a good example of how Thunderbolt can be used to support devices other than external hard drives and storage solutions.
That’s it for our list of Thunderbolt capable devices. Although Thunderbolt is still fairly new, there should be more computer accessory manufacturers pushing out Thunderbolt devices. Western Digital needs to step their game up, as Thunderbolt devices could likely help their business out tremendously.
There is no guarantee of more selection for Thunderbolt compatible devices anytime soon, but hopefully there will be a much wider variety to choose from in the next year. What’s the point of having an advanced and ultra fast I/O solution if there is no support for it.