or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Intel details Thunderbolt technology spec, evolution plans for next year
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Intel details Thunderbolt technology spec, evolution plans for next year

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Intel on Thursday offered more details on its Thunderbolt specifications, detailing features for consumers as well as requirements for PC and peripheral manufacturers in view of expanding adoption of the new technology throughout the electronics industry.

Originally dubbed Light Peak, Thunderbolt is a new interface for connecting computers to peripheral devices developed by Intel at Apples request. While Apple has filed for the Thunderbolt trademark, the rights will reportedly be transferred to Intel, which will continue to develop the new high-speed data transfer standard.

The Cupertino, California-based company is the only PC maker currently using Thunderbolt in its OS X desktop and notebook lines. Apple first introduced the new standard in its MacBook Pro lineup in February and then fitted Thunderbolt ports into other models launched thereafter, including the iMac, MacBook Air and Mac Mini, as well as its 2011 Thunderbolt Display.

Thunderbolt technology combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into a single serial data interface and offers significantly increased data transfer speeds between computers and peripherals compared to other I/O standards used by current PC models.

Thunderbolt cables contain two bidirectional channels, each supporting transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. Current cables are electrical and therefore will be available in lengths of up to only 3m while future optical cables, coming sometime next year, will support tens of meters.

In time, the use of optical cables would let Intel increase data transfer speeds beyond the current 10Gbps threshold. Meanwhile, existing Thunderbolt cables contain an integrated controller at each end, a feature that drives up the cost of the cable, This is My Next explains.



The Thunderbolt plug is compatible with the Mini-DisplayPort standard and comes with native simultaneous support for the PCIe and DisplayPort protocols. A single Thunderbolt port offers daisy chain support of up to 7 compatible devices, including 1 native DisplayPort display.

All Thunderbolt-branded products will use a single Thunderbolt connector and all Thunderbolt products will interoperate across all vendors.

More PC makers could adopt the new interface in the near future although at this point only Acer and Asus confirmed the inclusion of Thunderbolt ports in 2012 Windows-based computers, with other established PC makers like HP, Lenovo, Dell and Samsung having announced no plans to follow suit.



Nevertheless, Intel has noted a tremendous response from the industry, and intends to further improve the spec. Response from PC peripheral makers has been more conclusive, with over twenty companies interested in adding Thunderbolt support to their upcoming products, including Belkin, Canon, Seagate, LaCie, Iomega, Western Digital, Adobe, and others.

The Thunderbolt spec, thoroughly described by Intel at IDF 2011, also makes reference to marketing elements for future products that will carry the Thunderbolt brand and mentions the Thunderbolt Technology Community, a project started by the company to further develop the new PC interface, available at www.thunderbolttechnology.net.
post #2 of 12
That's how capitalism works.
post #3 of 12
why only 3m for copper? for passive or active cable?
post #4 of 12
This is definitely a technology with a lot of headroom.
post #5 of 12
Apple should have collaborated with Toshiba to poduce a Thunderbolt native SSD early on and driven MBAs at full speed beyond anything PCs & SATA could deliver.

Let me guess, this year the 'experts' who said TB was a turkey will be singing it's praises!
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

uh, last I checked (i'll admit, its been over a year, so correct me if i'm wrong) no SSD is capable of saturating SATA 6.0 yet, so the additional bandwidth of a TB based SSD would be pointless.

Has no one explained the concept of RAID to you?
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ang...ive,13403.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

I'm still not sold on TB as a replacement for USB. As a standalone or complement to USB, i'm fine with, as there are definite niche uses where TB shines. However I don't see it completely replacing USB any time soon; if ever.

That's what is called a straw man argument. I don't believe anyone said that TB would completely replace USB. USB will still be used for things like digital cameras, keyboards, mice, printers, etc. While TB is CAPABLE of replacing USB for all those things, the fact that there are so many legacy devices out there (plus the fact that no one is likely to spend the money adding TB for a mouse, for example) means that USB will continue for a long time.

However, it is entirely possible (not guaranteed, but possible) that TB will become the preferred technology for high end external devices requiring fast data transfer - hard disks, RAID, etc.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

uh, last I checked (i'll admit, its been over a year, so correct me if i'm wrong) no SSD is capable of saturating SATA 6.0 yet, so the additional bandwidth of a TB based SSD would be pointless.

Haha what??? Just one of my OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSD's runs at 500-550MB/s, well above SATA II's theoretical maximum throughput. With two of them in a RAID, they run at above 900MB/s, which is well above the ~ 700MB/s, which is what current ThunderBolt RAID devices have been reported to max out at.

As far as I'm concerned, I can't wait until a less-than-$1,000 external ThunderBolt RAID will arrive at Apple stores. It should be a perfect complement to my dual-SATA III SSD setup.

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

Reply

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

Reply
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

I was speaking of SATA III (SATA 6gbps); and though I would love to have an MBA with a built in RAID3 array, I don't think we will be seeing that anytime soon

A RAID array inside a MacBook Air? lol...Well, OWC just came out with a SATA III (6Gbps) PCIe SSD drive manufactured specifically for the 2011 MacBook Air yesterday, which will keep pace with ThunderBolt speeds quite nicely at above 500MB/s for file transfers.

Mmmmhhh...if only Apple would put some darn IPS displays in any of its notebooks.

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

Reply

(Mid-2012) 15.4" MacBook Pro w/ IPS Retina Display | Quad Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz / 3.6GHz Max. Turbo | 16GB DDR3-1600MHz RAM | 256GB Samsung 830 SSD-based NAND Flash ETA 9/5

Reply
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

Apple should have collaborated with Toshiba to poduce a Thunderbolt native SSD early on and driven MBAs at full speed beyond anything PCs & SATA could deliver.

Let me guess, this year the 'experts' who said TB was a turkey will be singing it's praises!

Scratching my previous statement here. Someone just mentioned an SSD drive that would transfer at 500MB/s. Usually OWC mentions peak speeds primarily but even then such a concept would saturated quite a bit of the macbook air chip's bandwidth. They use a scaled down chip in those models. Other than that it seems I haven't kept up well enough with drive speeds. Now if only they would get a get closer in price/storage capacity to traditional hard drives.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

uh, last I checked (i'll admit, its been over a year, so correct me if i'm wrong) no SSD is capable of saturating SATA 6.0 yet, so the additional bandwidth of a TB based SSD would be pointless.

I'm still a bit unsure myself. Barefeats has some good comparisons but the Sandforce SSDs seem to be ham-strung but the SATA interface more than anything else even though they peak at 500MB/s rather than the max theoretical 750MB/s it's still around double the 3Gbps SATA. TB could handle 1250MB/s in & out concurrently but the MBA shows only around 240MB/s on a 6Gbps interface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Scratching my previous statement here. Someone just mentioned an SSD drive that would transfer at 500MB/s. Usually OWC mentions peak speeds primarily but even then such a concept would saturated quite a bit of the macbook air chip's bandwidth. They use a scaled down chip in those models. Other than that it seems I haven't kept up well enough with drive speeds. Now if only they would get a get closer in price/storage capacity to traditional hard drives.

I doubt that'll happen. The MBA is a prime example of Apple's move to small, fast onboard storage with wireless or hyper-fast wired attached storage and cloud for non-speed-critical persistent accessible data. I wouldn't be suprised if a new Time Capsule was released soon to provide local iLife libraries via wifi or TB connections.
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post


The MBA is a prime example of Apple's move to small, fast onboard storage with wireless or hyper-fast wired attached storage and cloud for non-speed-critical persistent accessible data.

There are massive issues that the average user doesn't consider with turning everything into a cloud solution. As of today it's quite possible to move out of service coverage areas, at which point the cloud thing becomes useless. It can be quite limiting especially if you travel or visit rural areas. At some point this may become a complete non issue, but the infrastructure needed isn't in place today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunch View Post


Mmmmhhh...if only Apple would put some darn IPS displays in any of its notebooks.

A couple oems have that option and they charge quite a bit for it. IPS panels do cost considerably more. On the desktop end look at the starting cost of a TN 24" display, then look at the cost of an IPS version. PVA could have also been an option if they weren't at war with samsung currently. The gamma shift issue that it once had has become pretty marginalized, and the quality definitely exceeds TN.


Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post


For how much apple has drummed up IPS in the iPad, iPhone, etc, I do find it ironic that they use a TN panel in their notebooks. Unfortunately I think the only company that offers an IPS panel in a notebook formfactor I want (13.3" to 14") is Sony; and as much as I sometimes hate Apple for their my-way-or-the-highway attitude, Sony is 10x worst.



It's going to be a long time before that happens. I hope Apple implements Intel's SRT (using a small SSD as a cache for the OS and commonly used files in conjunction with a traditional HD) in their notebooks sometime in the future, which seems to be the best of both worlds so far. Samsung is releasing a laptop with an 8GB SSD using this tech and a 750GB traditional HD:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4716/s...ries-7-laptops

I want to see that in a MBA.

That's an interesting article aside regarding the use of SSD. They quoted Samsung as using the same cpu and gpu as a macbook pro. The part numbers are different but these seem to be new cpu models. Those internals seem awfully expensive for such a price point. How do they even profit on that?
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

There are massive issues that the average user doesn't consider with turning everything into a cloud solution. As of today it's quite possible to move out of service coverage areas, at which point the cloud thing becomes useless. It can be quite limiting especially if you travel or visit rural areas. At some point this may become a complete non issue, but the infrastructure needed isn't in place today.

Which is why Apple don't trust it. Notice how FaceTime doesn't work over inadequate 3G networks, how iCloud doesn't try to address video and leaves photos to non-cloud storage and how they favour download/sync when everyone else is lauding streaming over that same poor infrastructure.
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Intel details Thunderbolt technology spec, evolution plans for next year