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August 11th, 2011

As Apple adds superfast Thunderbolt ports to all new Macintoshes, the technology is beginning to appear on PCs, too, under names like LightPeak, Intel’s code name for the multi-partner project. The Information Age has already given us numerous connectors and cables, but the relentless march of progress means we’ll see more. This quick cable review will show you what’s up today, and offer a glimpse of tomorrow, as well.


Cable standbys

If you still use an older computer as a server or mail station, you still need parallel, serial and SCSI devices. Many PCs still have PS-2 type keyboard and mouse ports. And, there are the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connectors (for keyboard, mouse, modems) that Apple abandoned in favor of USB.

Today’s major Cable players

Despite the rise of wireless everything there are still physical RJ-45 ports for Ethernet on most computers.

USB has gone from 2.0 to 3.0 with the peripheral-connector looking the same, but it has five hidden pins for SuperSpeed 3.0 capability. The computer end of the cable, however, gets a new piece above the existing, square-ish Type B connector.

FireWire will not likely develop beyond its current 400Mbps and 800Mbps forms, using the connectors/cables shown in Illustration below. It is much less widespread than USB, but it’s been around since our Macintosh laptop rentals came in rounded, candy-colored cases.

Monitor connections

VGA is the oldest, most prevalent monitor connection, while today’s other popular protocols are DVI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. A variety of adapters are available to connect most kinds of computer rentals to most kinds of monitors, regardless of what ports are built in.

I/O for tomorrow

New Apple models like our iMac rentals have Thunderbolt, which uses the same connector as a Mini Display Port to carry audio, video, user data, network data and power. You will see Thunderbolt adapters with audio, Ethernet and other connections, as well as cables that use some or all of the available 100W of power to run external devices.

On iMacs or MacBook Pro rentals, a single Thunderbolt port provides two channels with 10Gbps of two-way throughput each, twice as fast as USB 3.0. You can connect Mini Display Port-equipped displays directly, or other kinds with appropriate adapters. Thunderbolt handles data, too, so  firms are also developing adapters to connect FireWire 400/800 and USB devices to the new ports, with the peripherals working at the same maximum speed as on their own native buses.

At CRE Rentals, we work at maximum speed all the time, too, with maximum effectiveness to meet your need for computers, plasma rentals, conference gear and post-production technology. One call or e-mail puts our experienced Account Executives on the job just for you, finding the solution you need – now. (Need it even faster? Use our Quick Rental Quote form.)

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