Tuesday, March 5th 2019

Intel Takes Steps to Enable Thunderbolt 3 Everywhere, Releases Protocol

Intel is well on its way to making the innovation delivered with Thunderbolt 3 available to everyone. Today, Intel announced that it contributed the Intel Thunderbolt protocol specification to the USB Promoter Group, enabling other chip makers to build Thunderbolt compatible silicon, royalty-free. In addition, the USB Promoter Group announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, based on the Thunderbolt protocol. The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols will increase compatibility among USB Type-C connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices.

"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers," said Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel.
Previously, Intel shared plans to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future Intel CPUs and to release the Thunderbolt protocol specification to the industry. As detailed at CES 2019, Intel's upcoming 10 nm processor code-named "Ice Lake" will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 3. Processor integration, combined with today's announcement, is expected to drive large-scale, mainstream adoption of Thunderbolt.

Industry adoption of Thunderbolt 3 is accelerating. Thunderbolt 3 is fully supported in Windows 10, macOS and Linux; volumes of PCs with these ports continue to double every year into the tens of millions; and all the latest Macs have Thunderbolt 3 ports. More than 400 PC designs have been enabled with Thunderbolt 3. Peripheral device volumes also continue to double annually with more than 450 certified devices from a wide number of product categories, including docks, displays, storage and external graphics.

"Realizing HP's vision for the office of the future requires seamless connectivity, powerful performance and total simplicity to enable people to unleash their creativity wherever their workday takes them," said Bill Gorden, vice president, Commercial Notebook Management at HP. "Thunderbolt 3 is a powerful addition to our new notebooks and docks that delivers the flexibility sought by IT departments and the experiences people love."

"Samsung Electronics is responding to increasing consumer demand for Thunderbolt 3 by offering sleek and powerful notebooks and other peripheral devices," said Mincheol Lee, vice president, PC Strategic Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with Intel to bring more innovative Thunderbolt 3 products to market."

Thunderbolt delivers world-class performance, ease-of-use and quality by unifying multiple industry specifications into an industry leading set of product capabilities. Thunderbolt is supported by an end-to-end solution enabling program for computer, peripheral device and cable makers to help ensure a consistent experience for all Thunderbolt connected products. Intel works with the industry to define product capabilities, validation testing and rigorous certification requirements, including:
  • Working closely with Microsoft to deliver built-in Windows 10 support for Thunderbolt 3, optimized for plug and play, platform power management, system charging and system wake features
  • Intel CPU platform and peripheral reference design validation
  • Extensive end-to-end testing to help ensure interoperability across a wide range of product types and manufacturers
  • Mandatory Thunderbolt certification for all computers, peripheral devices and cables
  • Cable enabling and cable quality audits for Thunderbolt cable manufacturers
  • Intel and other industry leaders continue to innovate on Thunderbolt technology to deliver a leading connectivity solution, from silicon and cables to PCs and peripheral devices.
Intel and other industry leaders continue to innovate on Thunderbolt technology to deliver a leading connectivity solution, from silicon and cables to PCs and peripheral devices.
Add your own comment

19 Comments on Intel Takes Steps to Enable Thunderbolt 3 Everywhere, Releases Protocol

#1
TheLostSwede
Releasing the specs of a failing standard when it has already failed to gain traction over three generations feels like too little, too late.
We actually need something much faster already, considering how fast PCIe will be later this year.
Posted on Reply
#2
BorgOvermind
Seriously, audit cables ?
lol
That would be a failure from start.

That said, if the TB spec will be open, then it could gain a lot of market since USB3 had it's share of not so good things.
Posted on Reply
#3
bonehead123
Wow, open specs for connecting peripherals.....why didn't anyone think of this before now ? :D

Oh, wait, like, maybe, just, like USB 1,2,3 was/is....and maybe that's why we currently have had it on like a gazillion devices worldwide for how many years ?????

SO basically what they are saying now is that TB & USB 3.xx/4 will soon all be one in the same thing, using the same cables, speeds, controllers, protocols, etc. That should definitely help drive adoption, which will spur moar mfgr's to make moar stuff with it, which will FINALLY result in lower prices for the consumers.... seems like a win-win-win situation to me, now that Intsmell has FINALLY gotten down off their money-grubbin, bleed-everyone-dry high horses :D
Posted on Reply
#4
lynx29
TheLostSwede, post: 4005948, member: 3382"
Releasing the specs of a failing standard when it has already failed to gain traction over three generations feels like too little, too late.
We actually need something much faster already, considering how fast PCIe will be later this year.
and USB 4 is on the way... lol Intel just likes being silly I guess sometimes. trying to get that proprietary money game like Apple does, they see Apple they go nom nom nom me want some of that pie

BorgOvermind, post: 4005951, member: 89504"
Seriously, audit cables ?
lol
That would be a failure from start.

That said, if the TB spec will be open, then it could gain a lot of market since USB3 had it's share of not so good things.
I don't even know what audit cables are, care to enlighten me?
Posted on Reply
#5
MadsMagnus
TB is one of the smartest ways Intel has ever tried to divide the PC ecosystem. If TB actually requires a dedicated TB controller, which is found on Intel chips, I sure hope for AMDs sake that the controller can be added just as easily as USB controllers in the future.
Posted on Reply
#6
lynx29
MadsMagnus, post: 4005974, member: 151399"
TB is one of the smartest ways Intel has ever tried to divide the PC ecosystem. If TB actually requires a dedicated TB controller, which is found on Intel chips, I sure hope for AMDs sake that the controller can be added just as easily as USB controllers in the future.
? why? AMD will just USB 4 standard and it matches TB in speeds. why pay intel a premium. AMD didn't charge for Freesync, and Nvidia had to cave on that one... Intel will cave on this one too, very few marketshare uses TB as is.
Posted on Reply
#7
HwGeek
So now APPLE could release Mac Pro with AMD TR3 with USB4?
Posted on Reply
#8
TheLostSwede
lynx29, post: 4005970, member: 153071"
and USB 4 is on the way... lol Intel just likes being silly I guess sometimes. trying to get that proprietary money game like Apple does, they see Apple they go nom nom nom me want some of that pie
I think you misunderstood, Thunderbolt will be part of USB 4, or rather, it's what USB 4 will be based on.

MadsMagnus, post: 4005974, member: 151399"
TB is one of the smartest ways Intel has ever tried to divide the PC ecosystem. If TB actually requires a dedicated TB controller, which is found on Intel chips, I sure hope for AMDs sake that the controller can be added just as easily as USB controllers in the future.
Thunderbolt requires an additional controller in the same way that every USB standard has required an additional controller until they got integrated into the chipset or CPU/SoC.
It's just that Thunderbolt requires a lot more power, so they've kept it outside the chipset so far. This will obviously change with USB 4, at some point.
Posted on Reply
#9
R0H1T
lynx29, post: 4005975, member: 153071"
? why? AMD will just USB 4 standard and it matches TB in speeds. why pay intel a premium. AMD didn't charge for Freesync, and Nvidia had to cave on that one... Intel will cave on this one too, very few marketshare uses TB as is.
The spec isn't finalized yet so there could be quite a bit of change between now & the final draft, in fact TB3 isn't even guaranteed for USB4 atm.
TheLostSwede, post: 4005980, member: 3382"
I think you misunderstood, Thunderbolt will be part of USB 4, or rather, it's what USB 4 will be based on.
That's true but to what extent - that's the billion dollar question?
Posted on Reply
#10
TheLostSwede
R0H1T, post: 4005982, member: 131092"
That's true but to what extent - that's the billion dollar question?
I guess it comes down to how good Intel is at bending the USB-IF to its will :p
Posted on Reply
#12
Moofachuka
Intel gives away Thunderbolt after Thunderclap lol
Posted on Reply
#13
mcraygsx
They should've done this long time ago. Now they make the standard royalty free when it failed mass adoption. This is exactly what nVIDIA did with their G-SYNC and now look what happened. :shadedshu:
Posted on Reply
#14
notb
I'm quite surprised by all the comments about Thunderbolt 3 being a failure. Hello, it's 2019?
Thunderbolt 3 is running virtually all eGPU cases, most fast USB docks and the whole Mac ecosystem.

The whole point of Thunderbolt 3 was to deliver a certain level of performance before USB standard catches up.
Intel made a ton of money on this and we got some nice things a few years earlier in return. How exactly is that a failure for anyone?

Since USB 4.0 is coming, Intel opens the protocol (as they must have planned from the start).
It would make sense for everyone (Intel and clients) for Thunderbolt 3 to be remain compatible with future standard. And this is basically a confirmation it will.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mescalamba
Mm.. I think its a good thing?

Like super fast USB-C, what is there to not like. I love it.

Now someone make Thunderbolt 3 expansion card for PCIe x16 (2.0) and Im happy..

notb, post: 4006120, member: 165619"
I'm quite surprised by all the comments about Thunderbolt 3 being a failure. Hello, it's 2019?
Thunderbolt 3 is running virtually all eGPU cases, most fast USB docks and the whole Mac ecosystem.

The whole point of Thunderbolt 3 was to deliver a certain level of performance before USB standard catches up.
Intel made a ton of money on this and we got some nice things a few years earlier in return. How exactly is that a failure for anyone?

Since USB 4.0 is coming, Intel opens the protocol (as they must have planned from the start).
It would make sense for everyone (Intel and clients) for Thunderbolt 3 to be remain compatible with future standard. And this is basically a confirmation it will.
I dont get it either, too strong Intel hate bandwagon probably..
Posted on Reply
#16
Imsochobo
mcraygsx, post: 4006098, member: 151421"
They should've done this long time ago. Now they make the standard royalty free when it failed mass adoption. This is exactly what nVIDIA did with their G-SYNC and now look what happened. :shadedshu:
Exactly!
Open standards is what wins except HDMI, somehow that one won..
still hate HDMI :p
Posted on Reply
#17
notb
Mescalamba, post: 4006121, member: 73546"
I dont get it either, too strong Intel hate bandwagon probably..
Which makes me wonder: if USB 4.0 is based on Thunderbolt 3, will they choose not to use it? :-D
There should be a term for that, like "Inteliganism" or something.

I was always wondering how people like that exist professionally. You know... what if they get a PC with Intel CPU at work? They quit? They go on strike?

Imsochobo, post: 4006164, member: 66457"
Exactly!
Open standards is what wins except HDMI, somehow that one won..
still hate HDMI :p
The goal of enterprises is not to make standards (be it open or not). It's to make money.
Posted on Reply
#18
Mescalamba
notb, post: 4006168, member: 165619"
Which makes me wonder: if USB 4.0 is based on Thunderbolt 3, will they choose not to use it? :-D
There should be a term for that, like "Inteliganism" or something.

I was always wondering how people like that exist professionally. You know... what if they get a PC with Intel CPU at work? They quit? They go on strike?


The goal of enterprises is not to make standards (be it open or not). It's to make money.
That would be a bit tough, to avoid USB. :D

Yea no idea what they do.. probably demand free swap for AMD equiv or quit.

I had both platforms (actually I do have them atm). I got two nVidia cards and one AMD. I even got ASUS soundcard and I really dont like ASUS much (soundcard is awesome tho, drivers.. much less so). Think just buying whatever seems good or ticks right boxes is a best approach. No brand does it for fanboys anyway, they all in it mostly for money. :D And I just want good piece of HW.

Imsochobo, post: 4006164, member: 66457"
Exactly!
Open standards is what wins except HDMI, somehow that one won..
still hate HDMI :p
Well, Im using DisplayPort (with adapter :D).
Posted on Reply
#19
danbert2000
Thunderbolt is in no way a failure. Almost all premium laptops have ports now. It's the only thing that supports no-compromise standardized docks and eGPUs. The issue is that it is so far ahead of what is needed from most accessories and peripherals that there's just no point to implement it unless you need direct PCIe access or massive bandwidth.

Making it the USB 4 (please don't write USB4, it hurts) standard makes a lot of sense. Just like USB 2.0 to USB 3.0, the switch will allow for a standardization of the highest speed and compatibility with the lower speeds that are most useful for the majority of devices. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (*barf*) will be plenty fast for even the fastest portable SSDs and memory, and will be part of USB 4. Over time, devices that actually need Thunderbolt speeds will implement the faster protocol. I just hope that the USBIF will not allow people to have USB 4 ports that can't do Thunderbolt, as that will put it in the same situation as we have today, where the protocol means nothing about the compatibility. If this is done right, then in 10 years you should be able to get every speed and connection you need from one USB 4 port, including support for anything that used to be an expansion card, and that will be a beautiful thing.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment