Intel makes Thunderbolt 2 official, entering production in late 2013

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After first unveiling the next generation of Thunderbolt back in April, today Intel is sharing a few additional details about the super-fast interconnect technology along with announcing its official name: Thunderbolt 2 -- not a huge surprise there.

Previously referred to as "Falcon Ridge," the chip maker has yet to announce a specific release date, but said it should be in production by the end of the year, with a ramp into 2014.

As reported earlier, the updated standard doubles the throughput of its predecessor with data rates of up to 20Gbps in both directions while remaining backwards compatible.

This increase in throughput is achieved by combining the two previously independent 10Gbps channels into one 20Gbps bi-directional channel.

The next generation interface supports both data and display, much like the original Thunderbolt, and with the addition of DisplayPort 1.2 support in Thunderbolt 2 Intel says users will be able to transfer a 4K video while simultaneously displaying it on a monitor -- something the current generation can’t handle.

Thunderbolt first arrived in 2011 as a collaboration between Apple and Intel. While the technology is now standard on nearly all of Apple’s computers -- except the Mac Pro which hasn’t received a significant update since 2010 -- PC manufacturers have been slower to adopt the technology as they favored the more widespread (and cheaper) USB 3.0. Still, some 30 PCs and motherboards shipped with Thunderbolt in the past year, and Intel says it now has nearly 200 licensees, many of which have compatible products in the pipeline.

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