An In Depth Look at Intelís Thunderbolt Technology

Author: SKYMTL
Date: February 24, 2011
Product Name: Intel Thunderbolt High Speed I/O
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As the computing market matures, digital distribution is quickly replacing the need for physical media and the need for quick access to these large networked files is becoming paramount. Most people these days just donít have the time to wait around while a movie transfers from one device to another.

Another issue is that the sheer number of different connectors on modern PCs can quickly devolve into a confusing mess for many consumers. USB 2.0, USB 3.0, SATA, eSATA, Firewire, HDMI, DVI, Displayport and the list goes on. For file transfer alone there are numerous protocols, each of which supports different data transfer rates

Years ago Intel began developing what they hoped would become a standardized I/O technology which could replace a large number of these connector and cable formats while offering optimal performance for a media-hungry market. Their efforts ended up centering on a format dubbed Light Peak which used an optical connection to push bandwidth to unheard-of speeds.

Light Peak technology was first announced and demonstrated to the public in 2009 and has been gradually fine tuned on a number of fronts. Connectors have finally been chosen, file transfer protocols were decided upon and partners came on board. The end result is simply called Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt will first be seen on Appleís new line of MacBook Pro laptops where it will reside next to legacy USB ports and take will form of a mini DisplayPort connector. Announcements on the PC side of the fence likely wonít be making the rounds for a little while as OEMs and component manufacturers digest the technology and its associated costs. However, we do expect to see several devices supporting Thunderbolt to be introduced and available starting in Q2 2011.

It should be obvious by now that with Intel and Apple behind this technology, Thunderbolt should soon become a popular I/O format. This is why we are dedicating a quick article to explore its ins and outs of in a bit more detail.


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