Thursday February 24, 2011 12:22 pm
Intel launches 10Gbps Thunderbolt data transfer technology
Intel today officially announced the availability of Thunderbolt, its new PC connection technology capable of running at speeds of 10Gbps—more than twice the speed of USB 3.0, and fast enough to transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds.
First introduced at IDF 2009 under the code name "Light Peak," Thunderbolt is based on fiber optics and was originally designed to transmit data over thin glass cables rather than traditional electrical ones. (Intel announced last month, however, that the initial iterations would use copper rather than fiber-optic cabling.) Powered by an Intel controller chip, it unites the PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort protocols to send data and video transmissions in two directions at once over a single cable.
Thunderbolt's first commercial application is on Apple's just-released refresh of its MacBook Pro laptop line. There had been speculation for a while that Apple would introduce the technology commercially, as Steve Jobs declared in October that because of lackluster support the company would not implement USB 3.0 right away.
As introduced on the MacBook Pros, Thunderbolt uses a Mini DisplayPort jack, and is thus compatible with all existing DisplayPort displays and adapters. Because all Thunderbolt devices share a common connector, they may be daisy-chained together by either electrical or optical cables.
Though no Thunderbolt-specific peripherals have yet been released, Intel has revealed that a number of companies are planning to support it in upcoming products, including Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise, and Western Digital.
In a statement, Mooly Eden, the general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, said, "Working with HD media is one of the most demanding things people do with their PCs. With Thunderbolt technology, Intel has delivered innovative technology to help professionals and consumers work faster and more easily with their growing collection of media content, from music to HD movies. We've taken the vision of simple, fast transfer of content between PCs and devices, and made it a reality."
Apple Senior Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield, added, "We're thrilled to collaborate with Intel to bring the groundbreaking Thunderbolt technology to Mac users. With ultra-fast transfer speeds, support for high-resolution displays and compatibility with existing I/O technologies, Thunderbolt is a breakthrough for the entire industry and we think developers are going to have a blast with it."
This article, written by Matthew Murray, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc..
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