Intel unveils Thunderbolt 2

Intel unveils Thunderbolt 2

Summary: Thunderbolt 2, which had previously been known by its code name Falcon Ridge, is a revamp of the original Thunderbolt interface and offers 20Gbps of bidirectional transfer rate.


Intel has finally added branding to its next-generation Thunderbolt high-speed interface, calling it Thunderbolt 2.

Thunderbolt 2, which had previously only been known by its code name Falcon Ridge, is a reworking of the original Thunderbolt interface to offer 20Gbps of bidirectional transfer rate.

(Source: Intel)

While this is double the effective transfer rate the original Thunderbolt offered, the overall transfer rate of a Thunderbolt port remains the same. Thunderbolt made use of four independent 10Gbps channels, two upstream and two downstream, whereas Thunderbolt 2 combines these four channels into two 20Gbps bi-direction channels.

See alsoBest Thunderbolt professional hardware

Thanks to this performance boost, Thunderbolt 2 will not only pave the way for faster external storage devices (Thunderbolt 2 offers a theoretical transfer rate of 1500MB/s, but you won't see this in real life), it will also offer official support for 4K video.

The original Thunderbolt could support 4K video only if the port was used as a DisplayPort 1.2 connector because the 15Gbps transfer rate required by 4K video maxed out the 10Gbps channels offered by the first-generation Thunderbolt. Combining the four 10Gbps channels into two 20Gbps channels solves the problem.

Now anyone willing to throw money at the problem will be able to move masses of data to and from an external storage device while simultaneously driving a 4K resolution display, all down a single cable.

Earlier this year Intel dubbed this the "4K workflow."

Thunderbolt is aimed at high-end media professionals who have to juggle large amounts of data in the form of video. These people need all the power they can get — but it will likely come attached to a very weighty price tag.

20Gbps Thunderbolt could also allow for Apple to introduce Macs with 4K displays. These displays would have a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels, four times that of 1080p high-definition video.

The problem with Thunderbolt, though, is that I can't ever see it be anything other than a niche technology. Even at 10 Gbps, Thunderbolt far exceeds what most people need. The types of solutions that make use of Thunderbolt are primarily aimed at media professionals wanting fast access to large volumes of data.

Another problem facing Thunderbolt is USB 3.0, in particular the updated USB 3.0 specification that's in the pipeline. The new USB 3.0 standard will offer much greater speed than that of the existing USB 3.0 standard, while maintaining 100 percent backward compatible with existing USB hardware.

New Haswell processors will be paired up with Redwood Ridge Thunderbolt 2 controllers to bring the high-speed interface to market later this year. Thunderbolt 2 is backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt hardware.

Topic: Intel

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  • I wonder if the apple folk will lie about this one too

    Kudos Intel for inventing this technology on your own. Too bad that the insecure apple folk started lying and writing that apple had invented the first iteration even though both apple and Intel deny this.
    • I checked to see if you updated that Wiki page yet.

      "Thunderbolt was developed by Intel with technical collaboration from Apple."

      Short answer seems to be no. With so much time to spread your drivel here, I am really surprised you have not taken care of that yet.
      • Why update it?

        It would stop people from making themselves look like fools when they quote uncited sentences from Wikipedia. Too much fun.

        Wikipedia is great for collecting CITED statements to make it easier to find relevant information. Statements on Wikipedia are not proof however. Your sentence is uncited. There is one and only one source of this technical collaboration claim which was printed by a blog that was quoting an anonymous source. From there, it was repeated over and over which doesn't make it any more true.
        • You might want to also inform

          Intel's Senior Communications Manager Dave Salvator that he is being misquoted

          "As part of our collaboration with Apple, they did some of the initial trademark filings," Intel Senior Communications Manager Dave Salvator reportedly said. "Intel has full rights to the Thunderbolt trademark now and into the future. The Thunderbolt name will be used going forward on all platforms, irrespective of operating system."

          • Yes, apple came up with the name

            There was clearly marketing collaboration going on.

            Nothing technical was created by apple.

            Light peak is 100% Intel. apple had nothing to do with it.

            Find me the link that proves me wrong.
          • I already did.

            It is you that is too lazy to correct the record.
        • You are one to talk about proof and citations

          Funny how nine times out of ten it is you being asked to provide citations, and who disappears into the woodwork.
          As to TB, the connection is clear as day, if you knew anything about the field, which you do not. First, TB is an amalgam of two different technologies, with a communications layer between them. The first is PCI, a standard governed by the PCI-SIG, of which Apple is a member and technological contributor, as is Intel. The second is DisplayPort, governed by the VESA, of which Apple is also a developing member, and in particular, miniDisplayPort, which was developed SOLELY by Apple, and licensed by Apple for use free of charge. The communications layer, which allows for daisy chaining, owes a lot to FireWire, and SCSI before that, as does the power transmission hardware. To get the two technologies to work together, significant input regarding miniDisplayPort as well as FW and SCSI was essential.
          Also, in order to run, very specific chips must be outfitted to the logic board. You can not retrofit old machines to use TB. Please explain why it was a modified prototype Mac Pro logic board that was seen running ALL the initial TB demos performed by Intel if Apple had nothing to do with it. Please note in your explanation how Intel got their hands on said logic board, keeping in mind that by modified I mean at the logic trace/circuit board level, i.e. this machine was designed SPECIFICALLY to develop and test TB.
          To claim that Apple had nothing to do with TB is asinine, and unsupportable, given both logic and fact, two things which are not your forte.
      • don't you dare

        How can you dare question Toddy's informed opinion. Everything from apple (note, without capitalization) sucks. Only Microsoft and Nokia deserve kudos, and Intel, but only when they are not failing Microsoft!

        Kudos to toddbottom3 for being such fun!
        • I know lol

          + 1 on the "Kudos to toddbottom3 for being such fun!"
        • Kudos on the sarcasm

          It is difficult to pull off in a foreign language.

          But clearly easier than, you know, actually proving me wrong.

          Every time you post, you tell all of Zdnet that you have no evidence that apple had anything technical to do with Thunderbolt.

          So keep it up danbi, I appreciate the help.
          • But I did

            -- QED

            Now STFU
  • Why thunderbolt...

    Technology is an evolution of its own. Sometimes we build something that we know isn't the final creation because we need it to build the next version. Sort of like building a primitive tool to make a more modern tool.

    As for why this technology ends up in regular users computers... it's simple: cost.

    Would we save money by keeping older IDE controllers that are limited to 127 / 137 GB max size drives? No. The newer chipset is the same cost or cheaper, so we roll that into every system. Is there a cost benefit to producing new motherboards with only SATA 150 compared to SATA 300? Not really. We're still close enough to the release of SATA 600 that there might be some limited chip discounting. But once the R&D has already been funded and the ability to manufacture the newer technology has been established, the materials are the same and frequently cheaper.

    As for who "invented" thunderbolt, Apple or Intel... both want credit. Both deserve some credit. Neither did it alone.
    • Where does apple take credit for inventing Thunderbolt?

      A simple link to an page will suffice.

      Or a simple link to an page where they give apple credit for inventing it.

      I'll wait.
      • Oh Toddy!

        As long as you're waiting, why don't you pull-out the simple link where Apple had nothing to do with the implementation of Thunderbolt?

        Cited of course . . .
        • Too funny

          So if I can't find a link that states apple did NOT invent Thunderbolt, this proves that apple did invent Thunderbolt.

          Too funny, you just can't make this stuff up.

          I invented Thunderbolt and if you can't find a link that states I didn't, I just proved it.
          • he can't make it up

            But the omniscient Toddy of course can. Any time, every time.
          • Oh, now all of a sudden YOU'RE whining about burden of proof?!? Priceless.

          • Toddbottom3 did not invent ThunderBolt

  • Use in data centers and supercomputers?

    How about use in data centers and supercomputers? Sounds like a good technology to transfer data among servers on different floors, or between supercomputer clusters/nodes.
    • SAN ?

      NAS (Network Attached Storage) is limited to network speed: topping out at about 1gbps for ethernet.
      SAN (Storage Attached Network) puts the storage on its own network. Could be SCSI, USB-3... or Thunderbolt / Lightfoot. A big array of SSD drives should do it.
      Accessing a single file might be a tad slow, but the transfer rate would be brilliant.