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Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Macintosh software/hardware discussion and troubleshooting

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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby NazRat » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:50 pm

Anyone hoping to use bus power for your FW device may want to read this:

http://att.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1416617

Apparently it comes up a little short.
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby mikehalloran » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Good find. I think it's worth quoting as it is spot on. Lord knows this board will get many inquiries along the "I tried my ... with the TB-FW adapter and it doesn't work..." line - and they will be right. "...am I doing something wrong?" Nope.


Maybe we already knew it, but with the release of the fw800 adapter comes officialy a definite long term regression for audio pro and enthusiast. Yes now we can plug a firewire peripheral to the new generation (soon to be only generation) retina macbook, but that comes at a price: the bus power of thunderbolt is a lousy 10W (for a max voltage I can't find, probably something modulable between 9 and 20), and the adapter taxes 3W so get a 7W bus power adapter for the apple adapter, that's really not enough to power most audio hardware (my ultralite mk3 requires 12W)
and so on-location "pseudo-portable" recording away from power source becomes impossible with only firewire hardware and a computer.
I don't understand why a so called next gen interface has a so low bus power, against the fw 800 for exemple (up to 45W, up to 30V).
Is there really a good reason?
even 20-30W would be plenty. So here's an usage that's probably lost for now (unless the specifications of thunderbolt evolve)
Usb 2 interfaces are no match latency and cpu usage wise to firewire, so the workaround is either hybrid (usb2 for portable application, firewire for others), or using a home made battery, or an interface that support pro standard batteries, the motu traveler does;
http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/traveler-mk3/
And even if they release full thunderbolt sound interface the power problem will be the same.
shame for a standard apple carried itself and dropped in an instant.
Other problem is even on the pc side bus powered fw400 (let alone fw800) is really hard to find. It was even a good reason to buy a mac over a pc few years back (a lot of musicians I know did, and bought the good old white macbook which was cheap and perfect for this).
just a thought
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby stubbsonic » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:38 am

That's the hype->disappointment cycle.

I just got my R-MBP a week ago-- and yes, it is impressive in many ways! No major problems. I'm missing some of the functions they got rid of from SL to ML. But the machine is running smoothly.

However, now I have to use an adapter for FW, and now my portable interface requires plugging it into AC (so no more spontaneous field recording), and having this superdrive side-car if I want to use a DVD or CD-- all because they wanted it to be THINNER.

Oh well, I'm ready for the future. :banghead:
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby juan_alexei » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:08 am

First hand experience with this adapter on a new MacBook Pro Retina:

Though I didn't push those interfaces to much (all inputs, phantom power), Motu Ultralite MK3 and Motu Traveller MK3 both seem to work well when powered by the adapter, whenever the macbook itself is connected to the power adapter or not.

However an external lacie dvd-r slim drive wont so I had to get an usb one (LiteOn ETAU slim).
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby PMortise » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Personally, I'd love to see a TB pcie card that I can put in my 2012 tower.
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby kgdrum » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:48 pm

PMortise wrote:Personally, I'd love to see a TB pcie card that I can put in my 2012 tower.



from what I've read,it can't be done.why I don't know fwiw TB supposedly needs to be built into the logic board,processor chipset,it can't be added on to a computer if it wasn't designed to support TB natively as the computer was originally designed.
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby bayswater » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:29 pm

kgdrum wrote:
PMortise wrote:Personally, I'd love to see a TB pcie card that I can put in my 2012 tower.



from what I've read,it can't be done.why I don't know fwiw TB supposedly needs to be built into the logic board,processor chipset,it can't be added on to a computer if it wasn't designed to support TB natively as the computer was originally designed.

I think it probably could be done in theory, but I'm wondering why you would invest in the development. What could you do with it that you can't do with a basic Mac Pro? PCI would not have the bandwidth of TB, so it seems that while you might be able to physically connect a TB device to the proposed PCI card, no new capabilities would follow.
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby mikehalloran » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:30 pm

kgdrum wrote:
PMortise wrote:Personally, I'd love to see a TB pcie card that I can put in my 2012 tower.



from what I've read,it can't be done.why I don't know fwiw TB supposedly needs to be built into the logic board,processor chipset,it can't be added on to a computer if it wasn't designed to support TB natively as the computer was originally designed.

Even if you could build it and it worked, you would still be limited by the bus speed of the original architecture. The TB specs would be meaningless.
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Re: Apple shipping the Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter.

Postby PMortise » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:32 pm

Thunderbolt is just PCIe and DisplayPort combined. As a matter of fact, TB is based on Mini DisplayPort which is on the video cards the 2010s shipped with. Thunderbolt's bitrate is 20Gbit/s (bi-directional) and PCIe 2.0 x16 is 64 Gbit/s. So theoretically, a PCIe card can be built and the specs would be worth something.

Add to the fact that you can upgrade the processor to something faster than was available when the 2010s originally shipped and the reasons are obvious. An upgradable computer just lasts longer and is a better investment.

But of course, since no one's making then...it's just a "would be nice". :wink:
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