CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

Summary: If AMD doesn't want to be thought of as a company that's always following Intel's lead, it sure isn't doing itself any favors with one of its latest ideas. It's apparently planning an alternative to the Thunderbolt interface with the oh-so-subtle name of ...

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If AMD doesn't want to be thought of as a company that's always following Intel's lead, it sure isn't doing itself any favors with one of its latest ideas. It's apparently planning an alternative to the Thunderbolt interface with the oh-so-subtle name of ... Lightning Bolt.

According to AnandTech, which received a demo at CES, the new cable will provide USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and power capabilities using a single mini-DisplayPort cable. As with Thunderbolt, you'll be able to use an external dock to interface between the connector and your PC, or with a laptop, manufacturers can integrate a Lightning Bolt mux into the system.

AMD admits that you will not get full USB 3.0 throughput speeds using the Lightning Bolt connector, though it claims speeds will be faster than USB 2.0. So in one sense, Lightning Bolt really isn't a threat to Thunderbolt at all, since Intel's technology promises much faster throughputs. But as is often AMD's way, its implementation appears to be a cheaper option, with the company saying the Lightning Bolt mux setup should only cost about a dollar.

But because the first Lightning Bolt products aren't expected until the end of the year, Thunderbolt will have a healthy head start with its next-generation interface technology, despite the higher prices. If it can't lower them by year's end, however, then Lightning Bolt might have a shot at making a mark.

[Image: AnandTech]

More CES 2012 coverage from CNET and ZDNet.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Intel, Processors

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  • RE: CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

    Some comoanies LEAD while others FOLLOW
    flyguy29
    • RE: CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

      @flyguy29 It doesn't matter if they copy others as long as their final product is better. I mean, look at Apple.
      Imrhien
  • RE: CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

    I think Intel's Thunderbolt is dead in the water, no matter if AMD brings up Lightening Bolt or not. Intel Thunderbolt is a solution looking for a problem. USB 3.0 should be fast enough for the foreseeable future, as USB 3.0 is as fast as the last generation eSATA interface (at least on paper). Beyond disks and storage, there is very little out there that demand more speed than what USB 2.0 offers, let alone USB 3.0, so Thunderbolt with its expensive chipsets will die a slow withering death, much like Firewire. As for AMD's Lightening Bolt, it sounds like a joke played at Intel's expense. It provides all of the same functionality that Intel's does, namely high-speed peripheral connections and video connections, but costs nearly nothing and is basically just a cheap combination of two already existing technologies that are already more highly supported than Intel's, namely USB and DisplayPort. AMD doesn't even need to offer Lightening Bolt, it can just offer USB & DisplayPort separately, and it would be exactly the same thing; but I guess there are always people who have to have the latest gadgets and features, and this AMD feature allows people to say "me too" without spending stupid amounts of money on useless technology.
    bbbl67
    • RE: CES 2012: AMD delivers a Lightning Bolt strike to Intel's Thunderbolt

      @bbbl67
      Sigh. All this misinformation. Where to begin?
      First, hate to break it to you, but USB 3.0 is not anywhere close to eSata in ANY real world application. More importantly, almost no actual hardware is available, as, per your very own argument, USB 2.0 is already "fast enough". By your own analysis, USB 3.0 should be "dead in the water."
      But while USB may be "fast enough" for things like external drives and keyboards, it is not even in the running for things like dual channel displays, where even USB 3.0 does not have the real world throughput, and certainly can not be daisy-chained, to run all peripherals off a single port.
      How about external cards? Is USB 3.0 capable of being used to add expansion cards to, say a laptop? Again, the answer is no. How about to add FireWire devices? Nope? LightPeak can do all these things and more.

      And while we were on the subject of FireWire, you lost all credibility as having any thing to say of merit as soon as you called FireWire was dying "a slow withering death". Since when? FireWire has been very successful in the markets it was intended to function in. It was never intended to be the peripheral connection for keyboards and mice, but rather devices that needed guaranteed low latency and realtime data streaming, such as high speed video and production audio. Professional audio engineers would not be caught dead using USB, even 3.0, to run multichannel sound input. Prosumer and professional level video cameras still come with FireWire or iLink standard. The reports of FireWire's death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the thing that will finally end its run in not any flavour or USB, but rather... wait for it... LightPeak/Thunderbolt.

      "just a cheap combination of two already existing technologies that are already more highly supported than Intel's, namely USB and DisplayPort."

      And then there's that. Um, Newsflash, USB was jointly developed by a number of companies, but chief among them was, yes, Intel.
      .DeusExMachina.
      • You are beyond deluded.

        It's quite obvious that you are completely ignorant. Firewire was replaced by usb 2 in ALL professional audio interfaces. Firewire does NOT have lower latency or higher throughput.

        It's funny when children jump in with a pretense of knowledge. If your "knowledge" is all based on idiotic hyperbole, then you are merely an extension to the mouthpiece apple ignorance.

        'lightpeak' is already outdated and incredibly pointless. No one is doing any actual professional visual or audio work on a laptop, unless they are still amateurs that think final cut pro and grageband/logic are 'professional' tools. If you are a tool, sure. Those of us that don't buy stupid shit already have plenty of expansion ports. It's called pci-e, you dumbshit, and it's considerably more powerful than lightpeak/thunderbolt.

        Go suck some more mac dick, bitch.
        you-are-an-idiot