Intel doubles speed of Thunderbolt interconnect

It's the first big speed increase for the data transfer technology

Intel has doubled the speed of the Thunderbolt data transfer technology, which will soon shuttle data between host computers like Macs and peripherals at a rate of 20G bps (bits per second).

This is the first big speed boost for the interconnect, which has held steady at a 10G bps data transfer rate since the technology's introduction in early 2011.

The enhancement will give Thunderbolt an edge over USB 3.0, which transfers data at 5G bps. However, Thunderbolt so far has been poorly adopted by makers of peripherals, PCs and other devices.

The improvement could set the stage for Macs to support 4K displays, whose resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels is four times today's standard high-definition resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Thunderbolt ports are available in a few PCs from Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell.

The Thunderbolt speed boost will enable "4K video file transfer and display simultaneously," Intel said via email in a statement. At 20G bps, the speed enhancements could enable the simultaneous transfer of 4K video to screens and 4K video files to storage devices. Compatible storage devices and displays can be attached to a single Thunderbolt port.

The speed boost comes through a new Thunderbolt controller chip code-named Falcon Ridge, which Intel is expected to introduce at the NAB Show, to be held from April 6 to 11 in Las Vegas. The controller chip will go into production by the end of this year, Intel said.

Thunderbolt supports the PCI-Express data transfer and DisplayPort protocols. Other enhancements include support for the latest DisplayPort 1.2 standard, but an Intel spokesman declined to say whether Thunderbolt carried the latest PCI-Express 3.0, a faster data transfer protocol which the company said it would adopt in a future version of the interconnect.

Intel has more plans in place to improve Thunderbolt speeds. The company is researching the use of silicon nanophotonics in Thunderbolt by 2015 to improve data transfer speeds to 50G bps.

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.

Tags intelstorageperipheralsNABComponentsDrives

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?