Thunderbolt™ Technology, a new port for computers and devices -Super Fast

First there was the all mighty serial port, then parallel port, then the hi-tech usb port. Firewire popped in there too. Well now there is this new type of port that will replace them all.  Wow !!!


The Fastest Connection To Your PC Experience‡


From the company with the fastest processors comes the fastest way to get information in and out of your PC and peripheral devices.‡ At 10 Gbps, Thunderbolt™ technology gives you great responsiveness with high-speed data and display transfers in each direction—at the same time.‡ With a single cable, connecting a PC to multiple devices is simple, making it easy to get and see what you want, when you want it. Thunderbolt technology gives you incredible flexibility; high performance expansion is just a cable away for new and novel uses, now and in the future.

A photo of a IEEE 1394 (also known as Firewire...
Image via Wikipedia

With the 10 Gbps performance of Thunderbolt products you can

  • Transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds‡
  • Backup 1 year of continuous MP3 playback in just over 10 minutes‡


Image representing Intel as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

What is Thunderbolt technology and how does it work

Developed by Intel (under the code name Light Peak), and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple. Thunderbolt technology is a new, high-speed, dual-protocol I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. This high-speed data transfer technology features the following:

Thunderbolt cables
  • Dual-channel 10 Gbps per port
  • Bi-directional
  • Dual-protocol (PCI Express* and DisplayPort*)
  • Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices
  • Daisy-chained devices
  • Electrical or optical cables
  • Low latency with highly accurate time synchronization
  • Uses native protocol software drivers
  • Power over cable for bus-powered devices
Thunderbolt controller chip

Intel’s Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable. With the two independent channels, a full 10 Gbps of bandwidth can be provided for the first device, as well as additional downstream devices.

And all Thunderbolt devices share a common connector, allowing users to daisy chain devices one after another with interoperable cables.

What Thunderbolt means to users

Thunderbolt technology enables using the thinnest and lightest laptops and connecting to the extra power and performance of other devices when needed, using a single cable. Adding new performance devices is simple and easy—just plug and play—making Thunderbolt technology powerful and flexible.

Thunderbolt technology was specifically designed with professional audio and video applications in mind, where the inherently low latency and highly accurate time synchronization features play a crucial role.

Thunderbolt technology for mobileWorkstation performance expansion, now with a laptop

With Thunderbolt enabled products, video editing and sharing using Intel® Quick Sync Video technology is even faster and easier.

Data transfers for backup, sharing, and editing are tremendously accelerated using Thunderbolt products, significantly reducing times to complete these tasks.

And Thunderbolt enabled products are compatible with existing DisplayPort devices so you don’t have to go buy a new display to take advantage of a Thunderbolt technology enabled computer.

What does Thunderbolt technology mean for the PC industry

By tapping into the performance and protocols delivered over Thunderbolt technology, designers are free to innovate new PC products and configurations, no longer constrained to the boundaries of the chassis walls. Thunderbolt technology enables engineers to:

  • Design standalone performance expansion technologies commonly used in desktops and workstations, using existing native device drivers and interconnected by a single cable.
  • Introduce thinner and lighter laptops, expandable through Thunderbolt technology and its miniature connector designed for mobile applications, without sacrificing I/O performance.
  • Extend to reach other I/O technologies by using adapters that use widely available PCI Express controllers. It’s simple to create a Gigabit Ethernet, or FireWire, or eSATA adapters using existing device PCI Express drivers.

Thunderbolt products require a controller chip supplied by Intel and a small connector that would be included in platforms supporting this technology. The Thunderbolt controller chip provides protocol switching capabilities to support the two protocols over a single cable. Intel is making its controller chip available to the industry, and is working with other component manufacturers to deliver the Thunderbolt connectors and cables.

Industry Support

Several innovative companies have announced Thunderbolt enabled products, or plans to support Thunderbolt in upcoming products including Apple Inc., Promise Technology, Inc., and LaCie. Intel is working with the industry to enable a variety of Thunderbolt enabled products including computers, displays, high speed data storage devices, audio/video devices, and more.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Intel to bring the groundbreaking Thunderbolt technology to Mac users,” said Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering. “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.”
– Bob Mansfield, Senior Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering, Apple Inc.

“Welcome to the future, Thunderbolt technology enables the fastest and simplest I/O for connecting AJA’s award-winning professional video capture and playback products to your laptop.”
– John Abt, CEO, AJA

“Thunderbolt technology is connectivity without compromise and will enable the full promise of Symphony I/O, Apogee’s professional digital audio recording platform.”
– Betty Bennett, CEO, Apogee

“We are very excited by the capabilities of Thunderbolt technology. To have two 10Gbps, bi-directional, multi-protocol channels in a single cable is a great step forward for high performance audio and video solutions.”
– Max Gutnik, Sr. Director, Product Management, Avid Technology

“Thunderbolt technology will revolutionize mobile media creation. It’s a game-changer and will accelerate our ability to build the highest quality video creation products that are affordable to everyone.”
– Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic

“Thunderbolt technology is a breakthrough in I/O technology and represents the future of mobile computing. Soon you will be able to carry all the power and functionality of desktop environments in compact devices.”
– Philippe Spruch, Chairman and General Manager, LaCie

“Pegasus family storage products will be blazingly fast with Thunderbolt technology, consumers and creative professionals alike will experience a remarkable leap in performance.”
– James Lee, CEO, Promise Technology

“Technology like this only happens about once a decade. We are thrilled about the performance and simplicity Thunderbolt technology will bring to our award-winning UAD Powered Plug-Ins platform.”
– Bill Putnam, CEO, Universal Audio

“Western Digital believes Thunderbolt technology will bring both new performance levels and simpler connectivity for consumers to access and enjoy their digital media in new and innovative ways.”
– Dale Pistilli, VP Marketing, Branded Products, Western Digital Corporation

Thunderbolt™ Technology.

Light Peak: The Future of Computers (Video)

Posted by Charlie Pryor in Other News | 0 comments

There are currently a few simple standards of connectivity for electronic devices. The most popular and well known is USB (Universal Serial Bus) which has speeds of up to 480 Mb/s (megabits per second) with USB 2.0. This is what you will find with your little flash media drive (or Thumb Drive as some college students call it), your external hard drive, and it’s also what you would typically connect your camera to your computer with. USB 1.0 is barely used today, except when connecting something like a printer to your computer.

The next form of data transfer technology you may have heard of is Firewire. For the most part, Firewire has been adopted as an Apple Computer standard, and isn’t found included with every PC. Firewire (The 6-pin port pictured above) is a more constant speed of transfer, allowing up to 400Mb/s transfer stream with Firewire 400, and 800 Mb/s transfer stream with Firewire 800. In the latest years of Apple Computers, Firewire 400 has been abandoned and the newest Macbook Pros come with only USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 for data transfer. Firewire is a more constant transfer medium, as opposed to USB, which speed tends to fluctuate.

USB 3.0

The next thing is USB 3.0. Right now, USB 3.0 seems like a wonderful thing with speeds up to 3.2 Gb/s (Gigabits per second). It’s faster than USB 2.0, Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 combined! Many PCs have adopted USB 3.0, however Apple hasn’t included that in their computers. Up until today, I thought this was somewhat foolish, and couldn’t understand why. Then I remembered that this is Apple I’m thinking about here. They have to have something up their sleeves… indeed, they just might.

Presenting Light Peak, by Intel. In the video below, Jason Ziller of Intel shows you “Light Peak,” a form of Optical data transfer capable of transfer speeds three times that of USB 3.0. It starts at 10 Gb/s and will be worked to exceed 100 Gb/s over the next 9 years. What’s great about this technology is it’s support for multiple existing I/O protocols simultaneously, allowing people to use it to connect to their computers, phones, printers, external monitors, hard drives, and likely the actual internet as well in the future.

It’s essentially this very thin fiber, about as thin as a human hair, inside a long cable. The transceiver from Intel featured in this video below, is very small compared to today’s transceivers (also at 10 GB/s) that aid in carrying the load of long distance telephone calls.

9to5 Mac has reported that this technology could be making it’s way to Macs in early 2011. This is actually quite perfect timing to support the rumor they presented us with earlier about the Mac computers getting a complete refresh in a few days, when they showed us an inventory list detailing new models from BestBuy.

But is this even believable? Could we soon be seeing 10 Gb/s speeds out of Macbooks? That would be impressive, and if New Macbooks do come soon, I wouldn’t be surprised if this technology was inside them. Apple has a history of always being ahead of everyone in some aspects of innovation… and computer technology like this can easily be seen as one of them. The initial release of this technology would feature copper wires, however the optical part (and the most exciting part) is going to be placed into the spotlight in the next few years! When that happens, we’ll likely see speeds of 100 Gb/s or more!

What do you guys think? I mean, I’m not one to spread rumors and stuff, cause this isn’t really a big rumor. It’s something cool to think about though. Can you imagine data transfer speeds of 10 Gb/s? can you imagine being able to transfer data equal to a Blu-Ray Disc in under 30 seconds? Damn!

UPDATE: Light Peak is included in the new Macbook Pros! Apple is calling it “Thunderbolt.

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