Tuesday, December 27th 2011

Intel Thunderbolt To Go Beyond Macs in April 2012

Intel notified its partners in the PC industry that its Thunderbolt 10 Gbps interconnect will enter the PC ecosystem in April, 2012. Around that time, Intel will launch its third-generation Core processor family, and waves of new motherboards are likely to launch. It is likely that Thunderbolt will be the defining feature of many of these motherboards. Along with PC motherboards, the technology is likely to feature on pre-built desktops, and notebooks. The propagation of Thunderbolt is limited for a variety of reasons. First, its host controller costs more than $20, second, there already an established ecosystem of USB 3.0, a slower, yet competitive interconnect that maintains backwards compatibility with its older versions, and third, Intel has restricted the technology to Apple.

The cost of adoption, starting with host controllers, is expected to drop in the second half of 2012, and so the technology should standardize gradually in the future. 10 Gbps might be more than plenty of bandwidth for now, but the demand for faster device interconnects will only rise. Among the companies that have come forward with plans to adopt the technology, Sony is expected to adopt it among many of its product lines; ASUS into its high-end notebooks, and so will Gigabyte. Gigabyte will also embrace the technology for its motherboards in April, in a bid to increase competitiveness against ASUS and ASRock. Thunderbolt will be the next "features USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s" marketing label for motherboard vendors.
Source: DigiTimes
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28 Comments on Intel Thunderbolt To Go Beyond Macs in April 2012

"I go fast!1!11!1!"
DanTheBanjoman said:
Bandwidth of CPU cache has nothing to do with the speed at which the CPU handles the whole TCP stack. Infiniband controllers don't include any actual networking hardware, think of it as Realtek vs Intel NICs. The Realtek chips perform worse, no matter your L3 cache bandwidth.
Seriously? I thought that network processors would be standard on InfiniBand hardware due to the workload they face. That's disappointing and I hope Thunderbolt requires a network processor with no easy cop-out like InfiniBand/NIC/audio has.
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If I recall correctly, and I am sure I do, Intel said that Thunderbolt would be released at 10Gbps, and that the technology has the POTENTIAL to reach 100Gbps in the foreseeable future. As others have stated, it was never intended to be 100Gbps at launch but maybe in a few revisions down the line its certainly possible. First we need to get this tech implemented and ubiquitous which is what Intel is trying to do, since we will start seeing this in April.

I hate to give Apple credit but they have already implemented this and you know that means everyone else will follow suit, so I see a bright future for this tech.

Not to mention ThunderBolt/LightPeak has a myriad of uses for display, file transfer, etc. Can't USB among others be piggybacked off of this?
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"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Intel basically signed a contract with Apple to give them exclusive access for a while. It really didn't make much sense if they wanted it to be successful. Apple is the king of adapting dead interfaces and implementing port hell (need adapters or buy rare equipment to do pretty much anything). Maybe that's why Intel went to them first because they knew they would quickly adapt it.

Intel is a trend setter for new ports, not Apple (PS/2, USB, etc.). The only recent Apple standard that got any acceptence in the PC market was FireWire/IEEE1394 and that was mostly because it was so much faster than USB and digital camcorders (on which they were often found) were marketed largely to the Apple crowd.
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