Apple posts FAQ for Thunderbolt cable

Roman Loyola
2 July, 2011
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The release of a $55 cable from Apple on Tuesday may seem trivial at first, but when it’s the Thunderbolt cable, it’s actually an important moment for Thunderbolt technology. It’s so important that it warrants a Thunderbolt cable FAQ from Apple.

The FAQ covers ten questions that users may have regarding the use of the Thunderbolt cable. Some facts in the FAQ have been previously revealed, such as the obvious fact that a Thunderbolt cable is necessary to connect Thunderbolt-equipped devices; the 10Gbps maximum bandwidth per channel specification; and the ability to use Target Disk Mode with the Thunderbolt Macs. A few more mundane topics are covered, such as how to plug the cable into your Mac’s Thunderbolt port, and that Apple’s cable can be used with third-party devices.

But there are a few Thunderbolt tidbits that might be news to users. For example, according to the FAQ, Thunderbolt has “two separate 10Gbps links–one for displays and one for PCI-E device traffic.” Also, Apple says that to maintain maximum performance, a Thunderbolt cable should not be longer than two metres.

If you are using Boot Camp and Windows 7, you can still access your Thunderbolt devices, but with one limitation for MacBook Pro users: If you have a PCI Express Card in the MacBook Pro’s Express Card slot, it won’t work while a Thunderbolt device is in use. Apple recommends disconnecting the Thunderbolt device to use the Express Card slot.

The FAQ also states that when using Target Display Mode with a Thunderbolt iMac and a Late 2009 or Mid 2010 iMac, you should use a Mini DisplayPort cable, not a Thunderbolt cable. Pre-2011 iMacs don’t support Thunderbolt cables.

Macs with Thunderbolt need the Thunderbolt firmware update that Apple released this week. When installing


2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Jenny says:

    thunderbolt = USELESS

    Still doesn’t work with the Wacom Cintiq… even after all the updates. The thunderbolt cable is only for between 2 thunderbolt devices and there is no adaptor for DVI let alone anything else.
    The miniDisplay port to DVI adaptor still does not work, even though the faq say it should with the update.
    So I’m blowing big fat raspberries to Apple because even the helpline say they don’t know if anyone will even create an adaptor… Didn’t even sound like they’d even heard of a Wacom Cintiq until I rang. – a link, just in case you haven’t heard of them either…

  2. Tony says:

    My Wacom 21UX Cintique does not work via the Thunderbolt port. Not on my hardware or any other hardware with Thunderbolt at the NextByte store. Apple have no answers – now I have a monitor worth thousands sitting around unable to be used…

    thunderbolt = useless

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