Intel says prototype Thunderbolt flash drive is the world's fastest

By on June 6, 2013, 6:30 PM
intel, sandisk, storage, thunderbolt, ssd, computex, prototype, flash drive

Haswell is no doubt Intel’s bread and butter at this year’s Computex trade show but that of course doesn’t mean that’s all they are showing. Case in point is a new prototype thumb drive that uses Thunderbolt connectivity to produce what Intel says is the fastest technology available to transfer data between a computer and a peripheral.

The 128GB drive in question looks and feels much like a traditional USB flash drive. Inside, however, is a SanDisk solid state drive used to store data. The device connects to a computer using a standard Thunderbolt port and unlike most peripherals that use the interface, it doesn’t require any expensive data cables.

Thunderbolt technology has a rated speed of 10Gbps which is about twice as fast as USB 3.0 and worlds faster than the UBS 2.0 standard. Despite the massive speed increases, the technology has been slow to catch on. As of writing, only a handful of PCs are equipped with Thunderbolt ports (Apple’s Macs also carry the port) and there’s a limited number of peripherals on the market that use it – mostly monitors and some external storage drives.

The prototype drive is just that, for now. Thunderbolt engineer Oren Huber said there is some interest in building products based on the design but it’s unclear if that will ever come to fruition.

If you recall, Intel announced Thunderbolt 2 just yesterday as a follow-up to the current generation. The new interface will boost data transfer speeds to 20Gbps by combining two independent 10Gbps into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel.

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