Earlier this week we spoke about the Sony VAIO Z reviews and how its Power Media Dock uses LighPeak to connected an external graphics card to Sony’s impressive new 13-inch notebook, this gave the VAIO Z much better graphical performance than any of Apple’s 13-inch MacBooks (Pro and Air), however it looks as if a similar product maybe coming to Apple products, however this is being developed by a third-party company.
It all started on Facebook when VillageTronic’s CEO, Hubert Chen, asked whether people would want to see a Thunderbolt ViDock, he said that if more than 50 people answered positively he would start development, and we can confirm that over 50 people have shown interest – in fact if you check out the Facebook page the question was posted on you will see that there has been over 400 replies. You can find out more about ViDocks here.
We think that a Thunderbolt ViDock will be great for those of you who want to use your MacBook Air for more intensive tasks at home, whilst still being lightweight for on-the-go usage. Simply plug the ViDock into your Thunderbolt port when you are at home and your Apple device will boast extra grunt in terms of 3D gaming and/or 2D/3D design. Another good thing is that the ViDock will not be tied down to one device, so if your friend is visiting, or you have multiple Apple product with Thunderbolt ports you will be able to use the ViDock with whichever Mac you want.
Currently VillageTronic offer three ViDocks, these are all designed to take graphics cards which use the PCI Express connector. ViDock 3 costs $199 and will take cards which consume up to 75W of power, these can be up to 240mm long. ViDock 4 costs $239 and will take cards which consume up to 150W of power, these can be up to 316mm long (full length) and there is a 6 pin power connector. Finally ViDock 4 Plus costs $279, this is the same as the ViDock 4, however you also get 2 x 3 pin power connectors, this will allow for graphics cards to be used which require up to 225W.
The main difference between the currently available ViDocks and the upcoming Thunderbolt ViDocks is how they connect to the computer, models currently available utilize the ExpressCard slot which some notebooks feature, as you probably are aware Thunderbolt’s bandwidth is far superior to the throughout which ExpressCard allows, therefore these upcoming Thunderbolt ViDocks should take things to a whole new level.
Would you like to see an official external GPU release by Apple which connects via Thunderbolt?