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Intel Working on Standardized Thunderbolt Docking System for PCs

VR-Zone reports that Intel is quietly working on developing a standard docking format for their upcoming Ultrabook platform. The new docking system would incorporate a Thunderbolt connector as well as what appears to be a proprietary connector as well.


The non-Thunderbolt port would reportedly be used for power as well as direct access for the Ethernet controller which is required to support technologies such as Intel vPro and Microsoft's Connected Standby.

Apple's own solution has been much simpler. Their Thunderbolt Cinema Display offers a single cable which splits into a Thunderbolt cable and a Magsafe power cable. The Thunderbolt cable carries USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Ethernet, and Video from your laptop to the monitor.


Unfortunately, that separate non-Thunderbolt docking connector in Intel's proposal would likely prevent it from being directly supported on the Mac. Still, any major adoption of Thunderbolt technology can only help industry acceptance and the proliferation of more accessories. Belkin has already announced their own Thunderbolt docking solution which works much like Apple's display.

Intel is aggressively pushing forward the concept of the Ultrabook which bears a close resemblance to Apple's MacBook Air. Ultrabooks are expected to be the hot product at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 which takes place in January.

Top Rated Comments

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37 months ago

They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.


Exactly, skimp out on quality just to get the product on the market faster.

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Apple would probably sue them if they did something similar.


But apple is licensing Thunderbolt from Intel. They cannot sue the people they license the tech from. :)
Rating: 15 Votes
37 months ago
Question, why is having two separate plugs "simpler" than having but one? Common logic would state the contrary.

That said, Apples solution is certainly simple enough. I just don't get what you're going after here.

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Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that.


And yet every single Apple adaptor (more or less) is just that: big and bulky (comparatively). Which way is it? You can't have both.
Rating: 10 Votes
37 months ago
Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that with the Thunderbolt connector on today's Macs. Having two cables there is not smart, why they did not consolidate into one cable makes no sense.
Rating: 8 Votes
37 months ago
It will be nice to finally have a docking station for all peripherals through t-bolt. I wish it would include sata, and usb3 though. Also, that Belkin Express Dock design looks like complete junk.
Rating: 7 Votes
37 months ago
Why are we still using cables? Why not try to come up with some super-high-speed close range wireless connector?
Rating: 7 Votes
37 months ago

Big bulky cables like that are not the way to go. Apple proved that with the Thunderbolt connector on today's Macs. Having two cables there is not smart, why they did not consolidate into one cable makes no sense.


Thunderbolt is currently limited to 20W in its current implementation. This could simply be an issue of delivering more power. You won't be daisy chaining 7 devices or whatever it was off 20W. Also plenty of Apple cables are bulky and have plenty of limitations.

Apple would probably sue them if they did something similar.


You know that Intel owns it right? Are they going to sue Intel too? Intel did the primary development going back several years. Apple just got to implement it first.

They did it because like everything in the PC world, they are too lazy to get it right. They take the easy way out of everything and leave their customers with mediocrity.


Apple didn't invent thunderbolt. Say that to yourself 10 times in the mirror so that the denial can go away. Intel designed it for computers that run off Intel chipsets. They debuted/beta tested on Macs. Thunderbolt was destined for Windows PCs before Apple even had it. Recall the name lightpeak? It's the same thing. It was simply rebranded as thunderbolt. There's an incredibly uneducated biased view that Apple is the only company that knows how to do anything right. I use Macs too. I've worked on Windows computers as well, and late XP to Vista was the time they really sucked. Today they're just as good.
Rating: 7 Votes
37 months ago

Yes it does. It appears quite similar.

Apple has ignored building a good docking station for their MBP's and I miss it.

The ThinkPad docking stations are very handy. In a matter of seconds it snaps in place & immediately your monitor, printer, scanner, trackball or mouse & keyboard are all connected. It saves wear & tear, as well as time.

It's a lot cleaner since you can permanently route the cables nicely with tie wraps which give it a very nice look. If you buy the expansion dock it accommodates extra expansion like another SSD or Hard Drive, as well as other accessories.

I know that Apple is opposed to businesses, but to cheat the consumer out of such a valuable accessory is something that seems a bit absurd.


Yeah, I have a dock for my HP work laptop, As soon as I put it on the dock, it's connected to power, ethernet, dual monitors, keyboard, mouse and headphones. It's extremely convenient. I wish my MacBook had something like that.
Rating: 6 Votes
37 months ago

Don't use your pseudo-psychology to make others feel inferior for their opinions. You think PCs are better than that? Come up with your own argument rather than insult others.


Except he (OP) did not state an opinion, he stated a "fact". Second, while i quite enjoy using macs, i can't say i haven't used PCs i enjoyed just as much if not more. In general, you get what you pay for. People looking at a 399 PC comparing it with a 1599 mac are retarded.
Rating: 5 Votes
37 months ago

I never said Apple invented Thunderbolt. I said everything in the PC world is done half@ssed. I still feel that way. I think Apple's single cable into a monitor which hosts all the ports you would want, like Ethernet, FireWire, USB, and display is much more elegant than any solution on the PC. Dock stations are a bulky disaster. You act like I've never owned a PC. I have several PCs and I hate docking stations with a passion. I happen to like Apple's solution much more. Just a single cable line, with a power and data connect. It's easy and clean.


Bulky, where?


Big, bulky, complicated? Where?

Second, with thunderbolt being pushed to market, you will certainly see others doing the same thing pop up here and there (just like you today see monitors with audio and usb-outputs for example). Problem is, once they do, you'll quit bitching about how sucky they are, and switch over to the "they just copy" routine.

You see, that is how the average Apple troll operates. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. That is the melody.
Rating: 5 Votes
37 months ago

Apple would probably sue them if they did something similar.


It (Thunderbolt) is Intel's standard, they can do what they like. They have rights to use the DisplayPort port spec, otherwise thunderbolt would never have happened.

In addition, Apple do NOT own the Display Port, its an industry standard just like USB, HDMI, etc.

Apple dont own the rights to thunderbolt in any way shape or form, they adopted a standard (again, just like USB, HDMI, etc) early to help Intel out in getting the initial roll out started.

As for the two ports it was NON OPTIONAL.

Thunderbolt cant carry power, at all. So a second port is needed to provide power to unpowered devices. The reason thunderbolt doesn't have power is quite simply because the pathetic 5v that USB offers wouldn't be enough, and you cant realistically offer high power through something like thunderbolt as it just becomes a huge problem with power restrictions from the mainboard. Read up about it before bitching that Intel are doing it wrong...they know a hell of a lot more about the industry than the entire MacRumors user base.
Rating: 5 Votes

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