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Next-Gen Intel "Alpine Ridge" Thunderbolt Controller Detailed

btarunr

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Intel's upcoming Thunderbolt host controller, codenamed "Alpine Ridge," could allow you to play God with several uncompressed Ultra HD video streams during production, if its leaked specifications hold up. The controller leverages PCI-Express gen 3.0 to double bandwidth of the interface. It will launch around the same time as Intel's next-generation Core "Skylake" processors (some time in 2015), and in a typical implementation, will be wired to the CPU's root-complex, and not that of the PCH. With PCIe 3.0 x4 or PCIe 3.0 x2 links at its disposal, the controller can push data at a staggering 40 Gbps. The link can also ferry DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, and USB 3.0 data through its link layer. That bandwidth should enable you to plug in up to two Ultra HD displays, apart from your storage array.

The Thunderbolt connector itself will undergo a change with the arrival of Alpine Ridge. It will be slimmer (shorter) than the current connector, at 3 mm (good for Ultrabooks), and there will be adapters for backwards compatibility with older-generation Thunderbolt devices. The connector will be designed to supply up to 100W of power, so Ultrabooks based on it will do away with round DC jacks, and charge up much like tablets and smartphones do. That amount of power should also enable single-cable HDD docks and RAID boxes. There will be two main variants of Alpine Ridge, one that supports two ports over daisy-chaining, and one that supports just a single port.



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holy mother of speed....
 
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holy mother of speed....
I'd say, judging from how Tunderbolt's been doing till now, it'll be more like "holy mother of expensive...", "holy mother of lack of non-OEM hardware support..." and "holy mother of no one besides stuff meant for macs can be hooked to this..."
 
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I'd say, judging from how Tunderbolt's been doing till now, it'll be more like "holy mother of expensive...", "holy mother of lack of non-OEM hardware support..." and "holy mother of no one besides stuff meant for macs can be hooked to this..."
but but that speed... when will usb be able to reach that speed at all?
 
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@mr2009
but but that adoption rate and price... when will thunderbolt be able to reach that adoption rate and price at all?
 
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true dat...
 
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@mr2009
but but that adoption rate and price... when will thunderbolt be able to reach that adoption rate and price at all?
if the article is correct, and ultrabooks/low end laptops start using it for charging, it may get the adoption rate it needs to become competitive at long last.
 
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I already have thunderbolt on my laptop, though i haven't had the opportunity to use it for anything. It's a great concept and i hope it starts to be adopted.
 
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I already have thunderbolt on my laptop, though i haven't had the opportunity to use it for anything. It's a great concept and i hope it starts to be adopted.

Doubt it. Too expensive to get widespread support. Thunderbolt is the modern day equivalent of Firewire. Nothing has changed with regards to their cost argument. If perhaps Intel had included power in the ORIGINAL spec or took a hit on costs in the early years when they were deliberately delaying their USB3 support to promote the spec, then perhaps they could have capitalized on that.

Instead, that opportunity has come and gone. The only things that need the speed being offered by Thunderbolt now are so niche as to be overly expensive and the standard itself is so expensive...

Thunderbolt is locked in to their very niche market. In that market, it has its uses, but it won't escape that place. USB3 is ubiquitous.
 
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if the article is correct, and ultrabooks/low end laptops start using it for charging, it may get the adoption rate it needs to become competitive at long last.
using it for charging != having lots of devices that use it, i.e. devices that can be attached to it.
Also, look at Tunderbolt support on PCs (not counting 'dem Macs). It's mostly non-existent. I don't know about You, but I'd be reluctant to buy a device which I could only hook up to some lame-ass laptop and maybe a mac if I ever happen to stumble across one. Sure, I've seen 'dem thunderbolt + USB combo portable/external HDDs, but personally I'd rather get a USB-only one and pay less for it AND enjoy NOT having all those "mac approved" stickers / logos / etc. all over.
 
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using it for charging != having lots of devices that use it, i.e. devices that can be attached to it.
Also, look at Tunderbolt support on PCs (not counting 'dem Macs). It's mostly non-existent. I don't know about You, but I'd be reluctant to buy a device which I could only hook up to some lame-ass laptop and maybe a mac if I ever happen to stumble across one. Sure, I've seen 'dem thunderbolt + USB combo portable/external HDDs, but personally I'd rather get a USB-only one and pay less for it AND enjoy NOT having all those "mac approved" stickers / logos / etc. all over.
what if those Mac/Apple stickers/logos/etc the one that jack up the thunderbolt prices?
 
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No.
because:
1. Thunderbolt is horribly expensive per se
2. Macs tend to have thunderbolt. Why? That's another topic.
3. due to #2, thunderbolt is often pushed as a mac thing. So get 'dem Mac/Apple stickers/logos/seals/etc. to gain mac users' attention.
4. Thunderbolt is very often marketed as meant-for-macs thing. I've seen this kind of thing a lot: "sir do you want a PC version or a Mac version of this portable HDD?". Where he actually means "do you want a USB or a Thunderbolt version?". Saw happen mostly with portable HDDs and whatnot.

And thunderbolt would be cheaper if Intel didn't have such nightmarish approval process. That bleeds money. Which, of course, influences the price. Not much problem for Macs, though. As Mac owners pay for hardware several times more than it is worth in the first place.
 
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I sure wish USB would finally die... And thunderbolt could be adopted. So much more potential. Sadly so much more cost.

Edit: just wondering in theory could thunderbolt be used to replace sata connector ssd to MB? Or even a GPU 6pin power connector? Sense it can do 100w. It would be nice to have everything use the same type of connector HDs, ssds, dvddrives, MB to monitor, keyboard to MB, all PSU cables, just make everything thunderbolt... :)
 
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there are good reasons why "one size does not fit all" is always true.
That is also the reason USB is only used in some situations, despite theoretically being usable much more broadly.
I'd rather have several separate connectors that do one thing and do it GOOD, instead of one connector that does some things good and some... not so much.
 
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