Macworld/iWorld 2012 is now underway, and Western Digital has decided to use the Apple event to reveal its new My Book Thunderbolt Duo dual-drive storage system. As the name indicates, the external drive connects via the 10 Gbps Thunderbolt port and supports two 3.5-inch hard drives in a RAID 0 striped array.
"Thunderbolt technology is capable of producing up to 10 Gbps per second of throughput on each of two channels in both directions," WD said on Thursday. "Users can experience very fast read/write speeds especially during applications such as video editing, 3D rendering, and other intense graphics projects. To put Thunderbolt's speed into perspective, HD media creators will be able to transfer a standard size full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds, or backup an entire year of continuous music (approx. 8,600 hours of music) in roughly 10 minutes."
Current hard drive technology will be the bottleneck in Thunderbolt's performance, as a demonstration shown at Macworld revealed a 6 TB Thunderbolt Duo to only have peak transfer speeds of 2 Gbps (250 MBps). Still, that's faster than USB 3.0 even in its present state, and allows users to shuttle a full HD movie back and forth in thirty seconds each way.
Little else is known about the My Book Thunderbolt Duo for now although it will arrive in 4 TB and 6 TB capacities whenever it hits the market. Pricing is also unknown, so stay tuned. Naturally Mac owners will have access to the product first until Windows-based PCs with Thunderbolt begin to emerge later this year.
And if PCs don't pick up Thunderbolt, then it will go the way of Firewire 800.
Yes, that is how RAID 0 works. However, I think the intended usage for this is to quickly copy files from one computer to another. One situation where this would be useful is video editor who has to work both from home and the office.
Practically speaking it does monitors, HDDs, and some audio protocols (though you would need a thunderbolt amp/receiver/decoder to make that useful, and I dont think they are out yet), with others to come in later revisions. It was also supposed to be over fiber optic cable (thus the name Lightpeak originally), but that was thrown under the bus with all the other disappointments we have had with the interface so far. Still a good idea, just far short of what we were promised.