High-speed Thunderbolt interface coming to PCs

By on September 14, 2011, 1:15 PM

Intel has announced that high-speed I/O interface Thunderbolt will be making its way to PCs. The news comes from day two of Intel’s developer conference during a stage demonstration of pre-production Ultrabook designs, as reported by Engadget.

No specific release date was mentioned for Thunderbolt-enabled PCs, but Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, showed the technology running on Windows 7. Reports in February stated that Apple will have exclusive rights to Thunderbolt until 2012. If I had to guess, I wouldn’t expect to see Thunderbolt on PCs until Ivy Bridge is launched early next year.

Originally known as Light Peak, Thunderbolt is Intel's high-speed interconnect that can transfer data between host computers and external devices such as displays and storage devices at speeds of up to 10Gbps. The interface supports hubs as well as daisy chaining up to seven compatible devices.

The technology has been viewed as an alternative to USB 3.0, although many devices based on the interconnect are not yet available and Intel insists the two are complementary.

The technology was developed by Intel and first brought to market by Apple in February 2011. Intel planned to use optical cable with the interface before it was realized that traditional copper could supply enough bandwidth to meet standards. Chipzilla is still developing optical Thunderbolt technology which will be used to transfer data over far greater distances.




User Comments: 10

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R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

A HDD alone wont utilize the full bandwidth of USB3 let alone thunderbolt. I dont think it will be very useful for the average person until SSDs are priced right.

dikbozo said:

Thunderbolt will fit right in on those old Rambus RAM machines. Another attempt by Intel to force people to pay them tribute. USB 3.0 has a huge advantage, the billions of USB 2.0 devices that will work with it. TB has zip, zero, squat, nada for an installed base and NO plans to be compatible with USB 2.0. DOA as Apple has such a minimal base, 5%, that they won't be much of driver for this tech.

If it were to be used for internal connections, drives, system buses, as well as external devices and was USB 2.0 and/or 3.0 compatible, then it would blow past the current infrastructure and become mainstream. It ain't so it is dead.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

R3DP3NGUIN said:

A HDD alone wont utilize the full bandwidth of USB3 let alone thunderbolt. I dont think it will be very useful for the average person until SSDs are priced right.

Well i am bottlenecked at gigabit networking for transfer between two PCs with simple RAID-0 hdds, so this will definitely come in handy. I hope there is networking support using it.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

dikbozo said:

Thunderbolt will fit right in on those old Rambus RAM machines. Another attempt by Intel to force people to pay them tribute. USB 3.0 has a huge advantage, the billions of USB 2.0 devices that will work with it. TB has zip, zero, squat, nada for an installed base and NO plans to be compatible with USB 2.0. DOA as Apple has such a minimal base, 5%, that they won't be much of driver for this tech.

If it were to be used for internal connections, drives, system buses, as well as external devices and was USB 2.0 and/or 3.0 compatible, then it would blow past the current infrastructure and become mainstream. It ain't so it is dead.

Long distant, super-low-latency, super-high-speed data transfers without thousands of dollars of fiber network line equipment has a place in a lot of businesses and definitely in my home. Transferring 2TB of data over 100mbps network line takes days. Half a day on gigabit. This might take it down to a couple hours.

Guest said:

*yawns and nods@dikbozo*

Guest said:

Another vain attempt to milk more money from the consumers.

3 words:

Don't support Thunderbolt.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

. Another attempt by Intel to force people to pay them tribute. USB 3.0 has a huge advantage, the billions of USB 2.0 devices that will work with it...NO plans to be compatible with USB 2.0

Intel wanted the interface to be compatible with USB....the USB-IF torpedoed the plan. Thunderbolt is also royalty free.

Working hard to live up to that username, or you don't get Google where you live?

...TB has zip, zero, squat, nada

Cool story bro

Guest said:

An HD Raid would. These can be very affordable. A striped mirrored RAID or a larger array with parity can provide this higher level of throughput.

pmshah said:

Did you say Thunderbolt was "Royalty Free" ? No wonder Apple used it just like BSD in OSX.

Guest said:

Thunderbolt is intended to replace Firewire 400/800 and is not going to compete

with USB3.0. If before the earlier comments were made, there was the experience to understand

PC technology better then they would know there is a great big hole in superfast video and audio

communications to PCs and Apple's. Ask anybody in the digital media business

and they will be foaming at the mouth for machines equipped with this technology.

USB is pretty well a monsterfied exercise for integration between computer and external

hardware in this field. This is the first 'true' attempt to make a computer interface

with another device requiring data to deliver virtually latency free synchronus communications.

Go down to your local music studio and ask them what they think will be delivered by thunderbolt.

Its not another con to boost sales away from 'i've already got it' loss of sales because

this technology provides something that we simply didnt have before its invention.

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