Microsoft hints at Thunderbolt connector in Surface Pro 3

A subtle hint about the inclusion of a Thunderbolt connector in the Surface Pro 3 in place of a regular AC charging port was placed by Microsoft's Surface team during a Reddit AMA.

The Surface team hosted a Reddit AMA yesterday to talk about the recently launched 12-inch Surface Pro 3, but did not make any major announcements other than availability details. Most feature requests from users were turned down strategically. However, a new tip has revealed an interesting bit of information which was overlooked from the AMA, about the Surface Pro 3 featuring a Thunderbolt connector.

A Reddit user by the name sherryoak asked Panos Panay and his team, "where is the thunderbolt link? you could have external gpu's and make it a desktop replacement, i thought the 'ultrabook' standard included thunderbolt." In response, the Surface team posted, "When you buy your Surface Pro3, do me a favor, and take a close look at the 'power connector,'" suggesting that the latest Intel-based Pro 3 might indeed be featuring the latest connector standard for Ultrabooks.

The inclusion of a Thunderbolt port can add many more possibilities while using the Surface Pro 3, and it will be interesting to see whether it really does include one. We will keep you posted after confirming with our own review device soon.

Source: Reddit | Image via Chinese VR Zone

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Rosyna said,
Even though it has thunderbolt, the connector isn't a TB connector so it won't support arbitrary thunderbolt devices. It seems designed to support one Thunderbolt device, the Dock.

(Windows has poor support for arbitrary thunderbolt devices, drivers can't used to overcome all the shortcomings because drivers load too late, http://www.zdnet.com/more-thun...-for-mac-owners-7000021314/)

First, I hope it's Thunderbolt 2, next I'm sure they will provide an adapter (or have a third party do it) if they want THB accessories on the Surface pro 3.

Thats why folks have been saying that Thunderbolt isn't a gimmick and isn't a USB 3.0 competitor. It is for a different set of applications (i.e., driving displays, external graphics, large external disk arrays, and who knows what else folks will come up with). I think once it becomes ubiquitous on PCs (not just Macs) we will see an explosion of 3rd party peripherals.

I hope Thunderbolt comes to the Surface. I love having it on my macbook pro mainly because of the fact that all I need is one cable to not only power my monitor, but it also has my USB devices and network on the monitor. It shouldn't just be Apple using it and plus its not like the port is any different from mini display port

External GPU really? I'll believe it when I see it...but if so, it would suddenly become much more interesting to me.

You might as well believe in the past when they happen to reveal the Surface 3. The external GPU has already been shown by Nvidia. Where have you been?

Hahaiah said,
External GPU really? I'll believe it when I see it...but if so, it would suddenly become much more interesting to me.

No seriously, this is hugely important and has been for years. External GPU is not only possible (and has been for many years) but very powerful and completely stable. My current laptop is a Lenovo x230T tablet and I have a desktop Nvidia 670GTX graphics card connected as an eGPU via ExpressCard. It works flawlessly, uses the standard unmodified Nvidia drivers and is plug and play so can add/remove while the system is running. It is fantastic.... I should add that I have used this as my daily machine for over 2years now. This is not new tech, Thunderbolt brings so many more options to the table. I wrote a massive guide to this stuff on Neowin just before Christmas with videos showing it working and everything. I will dig out the link.

And yes, I gave ordered an i7 SurfacePro3 - if it has a method of Thunderbolt then it is the first device that can realistically replace a laptop/tablet *and desktop* - and that is definitely a pushing into that new category of device as Naydella is keen to talk about

Here is the link to my post/guide. Please do read it and check the videos. If MS have included a Thunderbolt port in this device then they are about to get alot of sales from people with this requirement. They are targeting artists, that's great but this is an untapped market - people who want a desktop replacement in tablet form to play the latest games or do graphics work.

My setup gets around 6.5k 3dmark 2011, but that is because of the bandwidth limitations of my expresscard setup (thunderbolt is much faster and as I recall Thunderbolt2 would remove any realistic limitations). I'm also limited from a synthetic score point of view by the x230T's dual core i5 processor which limits the physics scores.

My friend has a desktop with the same 670GTX in it l, there is little difference between them when playing games.

Again - this is hugely important.

MoogleAssassin said,

No seriously, this is hugely important and has been for years. External GPU is not only possible (and has been for many years) but very powerful and completely stable. My current laptop is a Lenovo x230T tablet and I have a desktop Nvidia 670GTX graphics card connected as an eGPU via ExpressCard. It works flawlessly, uses the standard unmodified Nvidia drivers and is plug and play so can add/remove while the system is running. It is fantastic.... I should add that I have used this as my daily machine for over 2years now. This is not new tech, Thunderbolt brings so many more options to the table. I wrote a massive guide to this stuff on Neowin just before Christmas with videos showing it working and everything. I will dig out the link.

And yes, I gave ordered an i7 SurfacePro3 - if it has a method of Thunderbolt then it is the first device that can realistically replace a laptop/tablet *and desktop* - and that is definitely a pushing into that new category of device as Naydella is keen to talk about

A buddy of mine does this to his iMac.

Wow, never seen or known anyone with this setup but I'm even more excited that it's already been a out a while. I'd love to have that flexibility and power in a portable setup.