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.