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  1. Jas00555's Avatar
    So in the Surface AMA, someone asked about thunderbolt support so he could replace his desktop too and the Surface team replied

    "when you get your Surface Pro 3, do me a favor and look at the 'power connector'"

    What do you think this means?
    Last edited by Jas00555; 05-27-2014 at 04:30 PM.
    JediTWang likes this.
    05-27-2014 04:19 PM
  2. norir82's Avatar
    I'm not sure what to make of this comment. On the one hand it does sound like a sneaky way to infer that the Surface Pro 3 has a thunderbolt connect but then I wonder why didn't they just go ahead and say so from the get go. Since the new Docking Station has only been mentioned and not detailed it is possible that when they open up the Dock for order that they'll make an announcement of its capabilities. Specifically, that the new Dock is a Thunderbolt support & designed device.

    I certainly hope this is the case, Thunderbolt just makes so much sense for the Surface Pro line.
    05-27-2014 04:25 PM
  3. df608's Avatar
    So does this mean the power connector is thunder bolt?
    05-27-2014 04:30 PM
  4. Jas00555's Avatar
    I have no idea. It doesn't look like it. Maybe some accessory?
    05-27-2014 04:43 PM
  5. rurutia's Avatar
    I think it was poor phrasing on their part. They just meant it was a data port so it would give him the same functionality as Thunderbolt.
    05-27-2014 04:49 PM
  6. xboxonthego3's Avatar
    I think he might of meant you can just plug the power cord in and then do display port out or just get the dock. Desktop replacement. I would be surprised about thunderbolt.

    Edit. Oh wait there is a USB on the surface power connector! Boom.
    05-27-2014 04:51 PM
  7. RajeevT's Avatar
    I think it was poor phrasing on their part. They just meant it was a data port so it would give him the same functionality as Thunderbolt.
    I think you are right, and it certainly was a very odd answer.
    Akash Patel likes this.
    05-27-2014 05:14 PM
  8. im.thatoneguy's Avatar
    Remember how they teased us about the power pins on the Surface Pro 1. Aka the power keyboard? And then it came out 2 years after the tease? I imagine it's something like that. Technically it might have Thunderbolt--just like technically the Surface Pro 1 was going to get a power keyboard, but don't hold your breath for that theoretical capability to come before it's obsolete.
    05-27-2014 05:23 PM
  9. Guzzler3's Avatar
    I can't find it now, but if you look a the new docking station, the dock connector is the power port. So it's power and DATA at the same time. It just might be a Thunderbolt connecter disguised as power plug
    05-27-2014 09:08 PM
  10. The_New_Normal's Avatar
    I can't find it now, but if you look a the new docking station, the dock connector is the power port. So it's power and DATA at the same time. It just might be a Thunderbolt connecter disguised as power plug
    Microsoft News | New Surface Pro Accessories: Surface Pro 3 Docking Station And Ethernet Adapter
    "
    Power supply input, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio input/output, Mini DisplayPort video output, Security lock slot
    "

    Hopefully they sell it to the world this time, rather than only in USA
    05-28-2014 07:40 AM
  11. Akash Patel's Avatar
    Microsoft News | New Surface Pro Accessories: Surface Pro 3 Docking Station And Ethernet Adapter
    "
    Power supply input, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio input/output, Mini DisplayPort video output, Security lock slot
    "

    Hopefully they sell it to the world this time, rather than only in USA
    Mini display pory cant be used as a thunderbolt port.
    Even if they use same geometry design mini display port cannot be used as thunderbolt port.
    Whereas a thunderbolt port can be used as mini display port.
    ziggy3055#CB likes this.
    05-28-2014 08:00 AM
  12. The_New_Normal's Avatar
    Mini display pory cant be used as a thunderbolt port.
    Even if they use same geometry design mini display port cannot be used as thunderbolt port.
    Whereas a thunderbolt port can be used as mini display port.
    Well yes.
    The point of my link is that the power connector has a lot of throughput, much like a thunderbolt port.
    05-28-2014 08:06 AM
  13. LCGrzy's Avatar
    Maybe a dumb question, but why would you want a Thunderbolt port anyways? Is it just speed? It would seem to me that USB 3.0 is far more widely adopted, thus greatly increasing its utility over T-Bolt. To me, T-Bolt is as worthless as FireWire. Speed advantages, yes; but availability severely hampers it.
    ziggy3055#CB likes this.
    05-28-2014 01:55 PM
  14. Karthik Naik's Avatar
    thunderbolt is a bit pointless for now really
    its expensive,hasnt got much support or become the absolute norm yet
    plus external hdd transfer speeds havent crossed usb 3.0 yet its false marketing when they say such high speeds
    though its still nice to have it as an option for those who buy devices to last years etc
    we used to buy thunderbolt and firewire hdds at my studios but speeds werent that great so we went back to usb 3.0 coz of more compatibility etc(we use mac pros whereas clients etc usually use regular netbooks etc)
    05-28-2014 02:12 PM
  15. fc000's Avatar
    Maybe a dumb question, but why would you want a Thunderbolt port anyways? Is it just speed? It would seem to me that USB 3.0 is far more widely adopted, thus greatly increasing its utility over T-Bolt. To me, T-Bolt is as worthless as FireWire. Speed advantages, yes; but availability severely hampers it.
    External GPU.

    ​You could have a dock for the Surface Pro 3 that includes a PCIE slot or included video card. In other words, you're SP3 would get a massive graphics boost when you plug in a GPU via thunderbolt, and now you can game with something significantly more powerful than an intel integrated chip.
    Reflexx likes this.
    05-28-2014 03:24 PM
  16. jpal12's Avatar
    I think it means they will have a external GPU dock.
    05-28-2014 06:06 PM
  17. Karthik Naik's Avatar
    External GPU.

    ​You could have a dock for the Surface Pro 3 that includes a PCIE slot or included video card. In other words, you're SP3 would get a massive graphics boost when you plug in a GPU via thunderbolt, and now you can game with something significantly more powerful than an intel integrated chip.
    though its very expensive, $300 for the dock itself and more $ for the gpu
    05-29-2014 01:35 AM
  18. Jas00555's Avatar
    On Windows Weekly, Paul Thurrott was saying that there are some extra pins inside that may be able to be used with some accessory (that's not the dock) to get Thunderbolt OR Microsoft might have some proprietary thing that they think is better than Thunderbolt. It would be interesting if they could create a new standard among high end PCs.

    Whatever it is, it probably wont be available at launch. It'll probably be something for the Surface Pro 4.
    05-29-2014 08:26 AM
  19. LCGrzy's Avatar
    That would certainly be interesting, but the odds of MS, or anyone for that matter, making one are extremely small; as would be the market for it.
    05-29-2014 12:24 PM
  20. astondg's Avatar
    Maybe a dumb question, but why would you want a Thunderbolt port anyways? Is it just speed?
    For me it's the convenience of being able to 'dock' with 1 cable (in the SP3 case or 2 cables if you need separate power) and have 1 or more monitors, Gigabit Ethernet, USB accessories and the possibility of an external GPU or SSD all running from that 1 cable. USB 3.0 can do all of those things too but it's bandwidth is lower which means any video being sent over it will need to be compressed and a GPU would be restricted. USB 3.0 can go faster in the future, but so can T/Bolt (it was originally designed to use a faster optical connection).

    I've always envied the way Apple does it with the MacBooks, yes there's some pain with the cost and backwards compatibility (particularly with the T/Bolt displays not being backwards compatible) but I think it's worth it.
    05-30-2014 04:56 AM
  21. JediTWang's Avatar
    I really hope this isn't a miscommunication by the surface team, it'd be an epic fail if it was.
    They can't afford slip-ups like that... very exciting if there's some truth to it...
    05-30-2014 09:15 AM
  22. David Moreau's Avatar
    Agreed on Thunderbolt.

    Thunderbolt adds a 3rd usage for the Surface. You have tablet, laptop, and desktop. In one plug, you can get a powerful GPU, along with all the other accessories that you might have connected to a dock. You also offload all that heat generation from pushing images. I would expect that gaming would be much better with an external GPU since there is less need to throttle the CPU without the GPU heat.

    For those not interested in an external GPU, it seems to be that the Thunderbolt may be gratuitous -- though the Thunderbolt would be a stock feature and would allow choosing from multiple dock options instead of being forced to use the MS dock for the SP3. By going with a Thunderbolt solution, you are also less tied into the Surface ecosystem if something better comes along in two years.
    07-18-2014 03:24 PM
  23. JediTWang's Avatar
    Necro? It was already fully verified long ago now that this most probably isn't real.
    CBF'd digging-up all the material, someone laid-it-all-out in another forum, surfaceforums.net IIRC.
    There's a remote chance it's real via the dock only, but it's a remote one...

    It's also clear (at least in this iteration) that if it's real, it'll be a franken-MS-TB, NOT a standard TB.
    Probably went that route to minimise licensing, hence lower total BOM, hence lower cost for buyer.
    Although it shouldn't be impossible to overcome that minor speed-bump...

    *EDIT*
    Unsubscribed now, apologies in advance for no response to posts directed at me.
    Last edited by JediTWang; 07-20-2014 at 01:09 AM.
    07-18-2014 10:37 PM
  24. MBytes's Avatar
    Agreed on Thunderbolt.

    Thunderbolt adds a 3rd usage for the Surface. You have tablet, laptop, and desktop. In one plug, you can get a powerful GPU, along with all the other accessories that you might have connected to a dock. You also offload all that heat generation from pushing images. I would expect that gaming would be much better with an external GPU since there is less need to throttle the CPU without the GPU heat.

    For those not interested in an external GPU, it seems to be that the Thunderbolt may be gratuitous -- though the Thunderbolt would be a stock feature and would allow choosing from multiple dock options instead of being forced to use the MS dock for the SP3. By going with a Thunderbolt solution, you are also less tied into the Surface ecosystem if something better comes along in two years.
    Yes. Sadly a GPU enclosure for with thunderbolt is almost 1000$ (lowest you can find), and you need to buy the GPU, and your own full size ATX power supply. Sadly, thunderbolt is too costly, and there is no market for it. Your best bet is that Microsoft releases an enclosure where you can slide in a med-range to low GPU, like a GeForce 750 Ti, in a dock station... that is VERY wishful thinking, because most consumers, and manufactures sees Intel integrated graphics as "good enough. Manufactures loves it, as it simplifies the design of the system, and it's a "free GPU" despite being priced in the CPU, and Intel treating it as an after thought, with poor drivers, and poor efficiency when pushed.

    Personally I would love if Microsoft puts in a Nvidia or AMD GPU inside the Surface Pro, even if it's a completely downclocked model and performance is identical to Intel graphics solution to provide similar battery life, as it would be more efficient, and most importantly provide superior drivers, multiple-display support, and superior experience. Including, actual full DirectX and OpenGL support, with support with technologies like DirectCompute and OpenCL, for ensure that all software will run on it, properly.
    07-19-2014 07:32 PM
  25. JediTWang's Avatar
    It's possible to DIY a TB GPU enclosure (great write-up at anandtech 1/2mth back), but it's still quite clunky & doesn't work optimally.
    The "off-the-shelf" options aren't much better, they cost much more, & they're "as rare as hen's teeth".

    But all of this is moot anyway, see my earlier post...
    07-20-2014 01:06 AM
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