Wednesday, 10 April 2013 09:36

Intel doubles Thunderbolt speed to 20Gbps

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Intel's next-generation Thunderbolt interface technology, codenamed Falcon Ridge and due in volume in 2014, will provide two bidirectional 20Gbps channels, doubling the current speed.

Thunderbolt combines DisplayPort and PCIe on a single external connector, and is currently used mainly to connect computers to storage devices and monitors.

For example, the Apple Thunderbolt Display connects to a Mac via a single Thunderbolt cable, yet incorporates audio output, HD webcam, and FireWire 800 and Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as a 2560x1440-pixel display.

As for storage devices, the Promise Technology Pegasus R6 RAID can transfer data at up to 800MBps - significantly faster than the 110MBps achievable by storage connected via USB 3.0. (The USB Promoter Group recently announced plans for a revised USB 3 standard providing raw 10Gbps.)

The reason Intel is doubling the speed of Thunderbolt is because that will allow 4K video (which requires 11Gbps) to be transferred and viewed simultaneously across a single cable.

Current Thunderbolt connectors and cables will work with the new version.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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