Thunderbolt finally reaches PCs with new Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook

Thunderbolt is faster than USB 3.0 and can daisy-chain up to five peripherals

Thunderbolt ports have reached Windows PCs with Acer's Aspire S5 Ultrabook, expanding the availability of the technology beyond Macs.

The laptop is the one of the early Windows laptops with a Thunderbolt port, which was available until now mostly in Apple laptops. Lenovo is putting the Thunderbolt port in its ThinkPad Edge S430 laptop, which enthusiast website Laptop Reviews is reporting has now become available in Germany. Asus has said it will add Thunderbolt to some laptops.

Thunderbolt, much like USB 3.0, is a high-speed interconnect that facilitates data transfer between PCs and peripherals like external storage devices and monitors. However, Thunderbolt is faster than USB 3.0, with data-transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps (gigabits per second). The technology is also attractive as it can daisy-chain up to five peripherals.

Thunderbolt was co-developed by Intel and Apple and after an exclusivity period to certain companies the technology was made widely available to PC makers. But the lack of peripherals available for the technology has been an issue with the PC makers. Intel in late April said only 21 peripherals based on Thunderbolt were available, but that 100 devices would be available by the end of the year.

Intel has said that the use of Thunderbolt in Windows computers could catapult adoption of the technology, which could benefit Macs and PCs alike. Nevertheless, Hewlett-Packard and Dell have shied away from the technology until it goes mainstream, sticking with the widely used USB 3.0 instead because of the wide number of peripherals available. Intel has insisted that USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt can coexist, and Apple has installed USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports in its latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops introduced earlier this week.

But Thunderbolt is considered expensive, with peripherals cables priced at a premium. Data-transfer rates for Thunderbolt, however, are expected to get even faster, with a slow shift from copper to fiber optics inside the cable and the move to PCI-Express 3.0. Intel is eyeing a successor to the current Thunderbolt that can transfer data at 50Gbps.

The Acer Aspire S5 ultrabook was originally announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The thin-and-light laptop is 14.99 millimeters at its thickest point, and has what Acer calls a "MagicFlip I/O Port," which pops out to reveal Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports. The ultrabook comes with Intel's latest Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors and 256GB solid-state drive. The Thunderbolt port supports DisplayPort to attach high-definition monitors, and the laptop supports multiple displays, Acer said in a statement.

The S5 has a 13.3-inch screen and offers 6.5 hours of battery life. It comes in one configuration and is available for US$1,399. Acer did not talk about worldwide availability.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?