Thunderbolt momentum at NAB 2012

Thunderbolt momentum at NAB 2012

Summary: At least 28 Thunderbolt products were shown at NAB 2012. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is because many connect Thunderbolt to existing standards. Expect a big jump in Thunderbolt momentum this year.


Intel's die shrink turns a 2-chip product into a much easier to integrate 1 chip product. Several developers skipped the Gen1 product because of the economic advantages of the 1 chip product.

What can you get? In addition to fast storage, like my Promise Pegasus R4 or the LaCie Little Big Disk, the connectivity products offer a whole new way to build powerful, flexible systems with portable components like ultrabooks.

Options include 10gigE, eSATA, PCIe, Fibre Channel, media interfaces, an HD video cam and even an optical Thunderbolt cable for long distances. Here's a picture of the Intel booth's display:

What's next? Expect to see many more products arriving over the next few months, including more really fast portable storage. But the real news is that Intel's commitment to Thunderbolt shows no sign of flagging.

The Storage Bits take For most consumers, Thunderbolt is a luxury. USB3 is fast and cheap.

But for pros Thunderbolt is rapidly becoming a must-have. And as options grow and costs decline Thunderbolt's allure will only increase.

But when the next gen Thunderbolt debuts - probably next year - with double the performance, we'll see substantial daylight between Thunderbolt and USB3 - and the latter will never catch up.

Comments welcome, of course. Do you think Intel will ever lift the 7 device limit on Thunderbolt?

Topics: Networking, CXO, Hardware, Intel, Mobility, Processors, Storage

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  • USB never seems to die

    USB has had several competitors over the years and it continues to beat them back. The standard's commitment to backwards compatitibility is both it's strength and it's weakness but so far the market has rewarded that thinking.

    Only time will tell.
    • USB blows...

      USB is soooooooooooooo incredibly slow... I've been running firewire cards in my Windows PCs since firewire came out... But thunderbolt is very cool and even faster... USB has always had theoretical speeds that spec'd ok... But in the real world, it we are lucky to see 1/20th that speed. USB Sucks the big one... I'm looking forward to thunderbolt... I'm looking forward to USB dying.
  • USB forever?

    I agree. USB will be around for years because it is fast (enough), cheap, ubiquitous and easy. Thunderbolt is really a successor to PCIe, not a competitor to USB.

    Sure, there is some overlap, but professionals will go with Thunderbolt because they need the expandability and the many connectivity options. And pros don't care as much about the cost.
    R Harris
  • Errr....

    Question is whether we really need Thunderrbolt and whether or not the industry will adopt it.
    Look at USB3. My mobo was one of the first with USB3 [2.5 years ago] but if you walk into a computer store, all still carry USB2 computers with hardly any carrying USB3. At this time every computer should of had nothing but USB3 ports.
    Is it a problem with licensing? A problem with motherboard manufacturers? A problem with peripheral manufacturers [how many printers or scanners use USB3?]?
    The same will be said with Thunderbolt.
  • The article speaks the truth

    I was investigating endoding devices at NAB, and the trend seems to be Thunderbolt. Just check out AJA/BlackMagic for proof. USB architecture is inherently flawed, so pro's will end up with Thunderbolt devices in their arsenal.
  • Thunderbolt rules!

    Thunderbolt will replace USB3. Why? Because it is compatible with FW800, USB 2 & 3, eSata and of course the actual Thunderbolt interface. I just bought a 4TB Seagate external drive. It came with the USB2/FW800 interface. I could upgrade now to Thunderbolt as my Mac mini has a port, but the interface was an extra $100. I will upgrade in the future when the interface is between $20-$30. I consider the hard drive an upgrade anyway as I was previously using FW400.
  • Really Fast and Sounds Great but . . . .

    Thunderbolt is a very fast interconnect - but don't forget that actual file transfers will be much slower than the "theoretical max transfer rate" due to the fact that rotational speeds on hard drives are typically 7200 RPM and most people aren't using SSD or RAID-0 setups. For those that are using SSD or RAID-0, the throughput will be very fast. There are also other bottlenecks that can slow transfers beyond drive speed.
    • True, hard drive rotational speed can be a limit

      But, it will be really nice to have standard external interconnects that will allow HD spin speed to be the limiting factor.
  • reply

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