A possible Thunderbolt configuration

LaCie is giving video editors a little something to look forward to. At Computex 2011, which starts today in Taipei, Taiwan, the company is demonstrating a simple mobile workstation configuration that it says uses four of its Thunderbolt-enabled Little Big Disks to move data at speeds of up to 835 MB/sec. LaCie claims this is a new speed record for mobile storage. (It doesn’t, however, max out the Thunderbolt interface, which is spec’d at 10 Gb/sec.)

The demo system includes four daisy-chained Little Big Disks with a final Thunderbolt connection terminating at LaCie’s 324i professional display. These are 1 TB HDD-based units, not SSD disks, so the sheer speed is all the more impressive. However, each Little Big Disk is actually two 2.5-inch drives, so we’re talking about eight drives in total, striped in a RAID configuration by Apple’s software. An individual Little Big Disk would give you about 215 MB/sec, so adding units to the daisy chain increases the total speed by roughly that amount.

So we’re looking at a pretty good mobile editing set-up — 4 TB of online storage, plus enough throughput to support multiple streams of uncompressed HD video, connected on one end to your HD display and on the other end to your MacBook Pro with one slim Thunderbolt cable. In fact, the only way this isn’t a home run is if the Thunderbolt-enabled drives turn out to be prohibitively expensive for many everyday applications when they arrive this summer.

I hasten to add that LaCie will hardly be the only company offering Thunderbolt-enabled storage as the floodgates open later this year. I was unable to find specific references to LaCie’s demo, which is happening at the Intel booth, but here’s a short clip from a Computex event yesterday where Intel used an SSD RAID from Promise Technology and Blackmagic Design’s $995 UltraStudio 3D to capture and play back HD SDI footage from a “Hollywood-quality” Sony camera to a MacBook Pro in real time.

Thanks to “HighwayBlogger,” wherever you are, for uploading it.