Intel's Thunderbolt to see wider adoption starting April 2012

By on December 27, 2011, 9:00 AM

Intel is reportedly pushing for wider adoption of its high speed Thunderbolt interconnect in 2012. According to DigiTimes, the company will "fully release" its I/O technology in April -- which happens to coincide with Ivy Bridge's launch -- and already several first-tier PC and component manufacturers are looking into adding Thunderbolt support to their motherboards, notebooks and desktop PCs.

Sony and Asus are mentioned among the companies expected to adopt the technology in their high-end notebook products, although we should note that the former has been offering a Thunderbolt-equipped Vaio Z notebook for a while. Meanwhile, Gigabyte, which has been aggressively adopting new I/O technologies into its product line, is also expected to add Thunderbolt support to select motherboards in April 2012.

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 products at speeds of up to 10Gbps. The interface supports hubs as well as daisy chaining up to seven compatible devices.

Up until now only Apple has implemented the technology across its product lines, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini, and LED Display.

Thunderbolt still has a few hurdles to clear, such as the limited availability of supporting devices and the fact that it is more expensive to implement than USB 3.0. However, the hope is that in mass production the cost of adopting Thunderbolt will go down in the second half of 2012 and the technology becomes standard.

User Comments: 4

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stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

This is the one thing that annoys me about hardware companies... They can't agree to standardize and end up screwing over consumers.

So what's it going to be, USB3.0 or thunderbolt????

inventix1136 said:

They definitely have a problem with the new technology given that USB 3.0 is cheaper, backwards compatible with USB 2.0, and there are almost no devices that can come even close to filling the pipeline of a USB 3.0 connection (5 Gbits/sec). What device in the next 5 years can max out a connection of a USB 3.0?

SSD HD's -- max is 300-400 MB/sec burst.

1080p video -- 1080p at 16 bit, 2.97 Gbits/sec

Computer to computer -- given the HD speed max of 300-400 MB/sec...

Camera/phone -- SD cards are 20-30 MB/sec max

Yes, you CAN get storage hardware that can hit 1+ GB/sec, but those are enterprise solutions that will run on 10 GB Ethernet and not a consumer hardware device.

So at this point it looks like the Thunderbolt is a technology solution in search of a problem and is in the middle of a classic chicken vs. egg dilemma, no device manufacturer is going to do a thunderbolt interface if there are no computers that have the interface, and the computer will not have the interface because the customers don't need it because there are no devices that use it -- oops.

P.S. At this point it is not the communication between the devices that is the bottle neck, but rather the internal components within the devices that is the issue. You can have a beautiful 20 mile, 8 lane autobahn, but if you have to drive 2000 miles over dirt road to get to the autobahn, well, do you REALLY need another 20 mile 12 lane autobahn when you still have the 2000 miles of dirt road to content with?

Guest said:

On these days, USB 3.0 is enough for me !!!


Guest said:

external graphic card capability for laptops eliminating need for desktops completely

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