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Intel's Thunderbolt reportedly coming to PCs in April 2012

post #1 of 34
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As Apple enjoys nearly a year-long head start with the Thunderbolt technology, Intel has begun notifying PC makers that it will "fully release" the high-speed I/O in April 2012, according to a new report.

Sources from within PC players told DigiTimes on Tuesday that "several first-tier" PC vendors are readying Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards, notebooks and desktop computers for release. Sony and Asus are expected to adopt the new technology, while Gigabyte technology will reportedly launch a Thunderbolt-capable motherboard in April of next year.

According to the report, Intel cooperated with Apple exclusively this year in order to "speed up the standardization of Thunderbolt." As interest in the technology has continued to grow, Intel has readied the technology for "public use."

Thunderbolt should see even further adoption in the second half of next year as related costs drop. Sources told the publication that the technology will be "standardized gradually in the future" as chip prices fall.

In June, Sony was originally thought to have developed the first non-Mac Thunderbolt PC with its VAIO Z laptop and Power Media dock. However, it was later revealed that the company had used an early version of Intel's technology that did not match the Thunderbolt standard.

Apple partnered up with Intel to unveil the Thunderbolt I/O in its MacBook Pro lineup this February. The Mac maker quickly added the technology to its products, including the iMac, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and LED Display.

Thunderbolt combines Intel's "Light Peak" specification with Apple's Mini DisplayPort to support transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. The technology uses the PCI Express standard, allowing for a range of peripherals and functions.



The first Thunderbolt peripherals, such as RAID systems and external drives arrived on the market throughout 2011, but high costs have reportedly been a barrier to companies looking to make Thunderbolt accessories.

For its part, Intel claimed earlier this year that Thunderbolt has attracted "tremendous response from the industry," touting more than twenty companies, including Belkin, Canon, Seagate, Western Digital and Adobe, interested in adding Thunderbolt support to their products.

Also affecting Thunderbolt adoption is the growing presence of USB 3.0. HP, the world's largest PC maker, has decided to go with USB 3.0 after not finding a "value proposition" with Thunderbolt. Intel has said it will support USB 3.0 alongside Thunderbolt, which is meant to be "complementary," but some PC industry insiders have claimed that Thunderbolt could "greatly affect" adoption of the competing standard.
post #2 of 34
Took long enough

Well, the age of unnecessarily expensive accessories will soon be over.

Grab me a 64GB Thunderbolt NAND drive and I'll be quite happy.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Thunderbolt combines Intel's "Light Peak" specification with Apple's Mini DisplayPort to support transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Actually bi-directional 10Gbps = 20Gbps total.
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Took long enough…

Well, the age of unnecessarily expensive accessories will soon be over.

Grab me a 64GB Thunderbolt NAND drive and I'll be quite happy.

We knew Apple had an exclusivity and we assumed for 2012 or for a year. I wouldn't be surprised to see a slew of TB capable devices at CES in January and I believe the rumours that there are first-tier PC vendors getting ready to offer it even though the news comes form DigiTimes.

I hope to see some nice additions though I would expect TB port added to a router for a NAS to be unlikely this year (except from Apple) and things like a flash drive just aren't going to happen except for whatever weird niche pushed a couple vendors to create FW flash drives.

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post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As Apple enjoys nearly a year-long head start with the Thunderbolt technology, Intel has begun notifying PC makers that it will "fully release" the high-speed I/O in April 2012, according to a new report.


Good news. Once regular computers get it, then the compatible accessories might start to go to market. As a Mac-Only thing, very few accessory companies would bother with it.
post #6 of 34
They won't do anything funny like Sony did? They will all use the same mini Displayport that Apple and Intel settled on, right?

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post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

They won't do anything funny like Sony did? They will all use the same mini Displayport that Apple and Intel settled on, right?

I think so. Sony has a history of taking a port interface standard and then mucking with it to make it proprietary. I can't think of when the other rumoured vendors have done that.

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post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

We knew Apple had an exclusivity and we assumed for 2012 or for a year.

Wish they hadn't.

I hope Intel says "if the board doesn't include at least one Thunderbolt port, it's not officially compatible with our stuff" and at least releases ALL of their own boards with at least one Thunderbolt port.

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post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Wish they hadn't.

I hope Intel says "if the board doesn't include at least one Thunderbolt port, it's not officially compatible with our stuff" and at least releases ALL of their own boards with at least one Thunderbolt port.

I wish they hadn't either but it's not much different than Intel releasing the spec last year and then we wait for companies to start implementing it.

We don't know if TB will be a commercial success but we shouldn't say it's a failure because of now widespread adoption in 2011 or try to compare it to FireWire (something I'm sure is coming in this thread). It's not an Apple tech, it's an Intel tech with Apple support, and we all know what happened the last time an Intel tech supported by Apple across their machines ended up: USB.

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post #10 of 34
Intel doesn't give exclusivity to any 3rd party unless said 3rd party has the legal right to it.

This should make it clear that LightPeak/Thunderbolt was heavily aided by Apple IP.
post #11 of 34
I wonder if the 2012 refresh of the Mac line would replace the USB ports with USB3giving us both the new hi-speed ports.

And coming to Thunderbolt, I have the same query - since the article mentions that Thunderbolt = Light Peak + Mini Display Port, I hope the proper implementation isn't something like what Sony did.

I'm not too sure what 2012 will have with respect to the iMac line (Ivy Bridge, USB3?, No optical drive?), but I am looking to upgrade my late 2009 iMac next year.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post

I'm not too sure what 2012 will have with respect to the iMac line (Ivy Bridge, USB3?, No optical drive?), but I am looking to upgrade my late 2009 iMac next year.

The iMac will be the second to last Mac to lose its optical drive. That's really all that can be basically assured right now.

Personally, I see iMacs with ODDs through 2012 at least. Maybe not 2013, though.

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post #13 of 34
Finally we might get some raid cases etc that are empty and priced down some.

Anyone know if the iMac 27" actually has 2 thunderbolt buses or just 2 thunderbolt ports?
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post #14 of 34
Both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 are a must. What is Apple waiting for?
post #15 of 34
2 independent dual channel TB buses
post #16 of 34
Witling for optical connectors with locking...
I scream for MacPro with TB Ports on The front, PCIe3 inside
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Finally we might get some raid cases etc that are empty and priced down some.

Anyone know if the iMac 27" actually has 2 thunderbolt buses or just 2 thunderbolt ports?

TB will remain expensive far longer than most of us would like. They also need to do something about the $50 cable for $100 peripherals. I dont see competiveness until Intel of someone releases an embeddable chip with all of the required TB logic on board. One of the reasons USB devices are so cheap is the SoC like embeddable controllers.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TuberMagPico View Post

Witling for optical connectors with locking...
I scream for MacPro with TB Ports on The front, PCIe3 inside

I've seen reports indicating that the coming Intel hardware can be up to two times faster. Of course those are memory and width server type loads but it does indicate potential.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 are a must. What is Apple waiting for?

I'm sure Apple will fully support USB 3.0 once Ivy Bridge is released. Remember, Ivy Bridge is the first chipset with native support for USB 3.0, and if you've seen Apple's logic boards, there just isn't too much room to add another chip.
post #20 of 34
Any word on IEEE standardisation of TB connectors / interfaces?
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TuberMagPico View Post

Witling for optical connectors with locking...
I scream for MacPro with TB Ports on The front, PCIe3 inside

It would be ironic if PC's get thunderbolt before Mac Pro's do.
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post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post

I wonder if the 2012 refresh of the Mac line would replace the USB ports with USB3giving us both the new hi-speed ports.

Hmmm.....Apple makes money from licensing ThunderBolt to third party accessory makers. Apple makes zero money from USB3.

My guess: No USB3 on any Apple products where TB could be used.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post



Personally, I see iMacs with ODDs through 2012 at least. Maybe not 2013, though.




Apple does not sell nor profit from any physical media. Apple DOES, however, sell lots of bits and bytes that optical media competes with.

I think that says that Apple has zero incentive to allow its customers to bypass the MacApp and iTunes stores by buying physical media from third parties.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

TB will remain expensive far longer than most of us would like. They also need to do something about the $50 cable for $100 peripherals.

With regular computers getting TB ports, the market will expand by 20 times the current size.

There will be mainstream manufacturers who will make TB accessories. Prices will drop quickly.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by xgman View Post

It would be ironic if PC's get thunderbolt before Mac Pro's do.

It would be more ironic for a company like Apple to waste resources on a dead-end product line.

Look for third parties to make expansion cards instead.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...Also affecting Thunderbolt adoption is the growing presence of USB 3.0. HP, the world's largest PC maker, has decided to go with USB 3.0 after not finding a "value proposition" with Thunderbolt. Intel has said it will support USB 3.0 alongside Thunderbolt, which is meant to be "complementary," but some PC industry insiders have claimed that Thunderbolt could "greatly affect" adoption of the competing standard.

To say HP doesn't see a "value proposition" in TB doesn't carry much weight - after all, this is the company that almost scrapped their entire company's "value proposition" when they announced the idea of spinning off their PC division.

While I think TB offers great value, I don't think TB will "greatly affect" adoption of USB-3 as a competing standard - this is the "PC" market we're talking about after all. The name of the game is "as cheap as humanly possible, and then a little cheaper." This is the crowd that still puts serial and parallel ports on PCs, 20 years after they've been obsolete. The PC market will gobble up USB-3 (already is) in droves while all the pundits will call it "good enough."

I don't think TB & USB-3 will ever be direct competitors - unlike Firewire vs USB-2, the performance gap won't be soooo narrow. Even in the 1st generation, TB is more than twice as fast as USB-3, and if you count all 4 potential channels (2 channels, bi-directional) then it's already 8 times faster than USB-3. When the next generations of TB start to ship (optical connections) we'll be talking orders of magnitude faster than USB-3.

The USB-3 standard will be relegated to low bandwidth consumer gadgets - more than adequate for those. TB could conceivably become THE standard for everything else - Displays, RAID arrays, Networking, Expansion chassis, Breakout boxes (all in one USB, audio, Ethernet, Firewire, etc. dongles), 2 & 4k resolution HD video cameras & equipment, and all kinds of other high-bandwidth devices.
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

The USB-3 standard will be relegated to low bandwidth consumer gadgets - more than adequate for those. TB could conceivably become THE standard for everything else - Displays, RAID arrays, Networking, Expansion chassis, Breakout boxes (all in one USB, audio, Ethernet, Firewire, etc. dongles), 2 & 4k resolution HD video cameras & equipment, and all kinds of other high-bandwidth devices.

Apple will never allow USB3 on any of its products. It is already been made obsolete by TB.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

To say HP doesn't see a "value proposition" in TB doesn't carry much weight - after all, this is the company that almost scrapped their entire company's "value proposition" when they announced the idea of spinning off their PC division.

While I think TB offers great value, I don't think TB will "greatly affect" adoption of USB-3 as a competing standard - this is the "PC" market we're talking about after all. The name of the game is "as cheap as humanly possible, and then a little cheaper." This is the crowd that still puts serial and parallel ports on PCs, 20 years after they've been obsolete. The PC market will gobble up USB-3 (already is) in droves while all the pundits will call it "good enough."

I don't think TB & USB-3 will ever be direct competitors - unlike Firewire vs USB-2, the performance gap won't be soooo narrow. Even in the 1st generation, TB is more than twice as fast as USB-3, and if you count all 4 potential channels (2 channels, bi-directional) then it's already 8 times faster than USB-3. When the next generations of TB start to ship (optical connections) we'll be talking orders of magnitude faster than USB-3.

The USB-3 standard will be relegated to low bandwidth consumer gadgets - more than adequate for those. TB could conceivably become THE standard for everything else - Displays, RAID arrays, Networking, Expansion chassis, Breakout boxes (all in one USB, audio, Ethernet, Firewire, etc. dongles), 2 & 4k resolution HD video cameras & equipment, and all kinds of other high-bandwidth devices.

I agree. That's the interesting thing about TB - it could change the entire game. There's no longer any need for a large, expandable box. Using TB allows unlimited expansion with virtually no penalty. Someone suggested something like a Mac Mini which could be expanded by linking another unit in series.
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post #29 of 34
Companies need to stop splintering Thunderbolt capabilities in their products just for some artificial sense of "product differentiation". It also doesn't help that Intel is creating several different Thunderbolt controllers with different numbers of lanes, or different numbers of supported monitors. All this does is confuse the market. And many computer manufacturers will simply choose the absolute minimum capabilities just so they can claim to support Thunderbolt. Even Apple does that with their Thunderbolt Display which does not support directly daisy chaining a monitor using a Mini Displayport adapter, even though Thunderbolt is supposed to carry a Displayport signal.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I agree. That's the interesting thing about TB - it could change the entire game. There's no longer any need for a large, expandable box. Using TB allows unlimited expansion with virtually no penalty. Someone suggested something like a Mac Mini which could be expanded by linking another unit in series.

Interesting that the same people who praise iMacs for all in one simplicity and minimum cable clutter are now telling people to use Mac Minis and string together a bunch of external boxes and all the extra cables.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Interesting that the same people who praise iMacs for all in one simplicity and minimum cable clutter are now telling people to use Mac Minis and string together a bunch of external boxes and all the extra cables.

It doesn't make any sense anyway to connect minis together with TB. It is not like it is the same as having multiple cpus onboard. You would have two discreet machines with two copies of the OS and two independent bus architectures, two sets of memory, cache, etc.

Linked or load balanced servers usually require IP protocol over ethernet. I have not heard of using IP protocol over TB so it may not even be possible in that sense.

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post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Interesting that the same people who praise iMacs for all in one simplicity and minimum cable clutter are now telling people to use Mac Minis and string together a bunch of external boxes and all the extra cables.

Interesting that the people who insist that they are the arbiters of what others should do can't even tolerate any ideas for new ways of doing things.

The concept makes sense for some applications. Imagine a mini-like box with video, CPU, RAM, and hard disk. Then you add optional items. Need more storage? Stack on a RAID box. Need more IO? Stack on a Ethernet box with half a dozen Ethernet ports. Need more CPU power? Add a box with only a CPU and RAM. And so on. The system could be a God-send for small businesses. No need to buy a massive server when starting out. Get a Mini and then expand it as you go - without having to mess around with moving all of your data and software to a new system later.
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post #33 of 34
No need for 19in wide blade servers if you would be able to stack a lot of power using a McMini footprint.
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One of the reasons USB devices are so cheap is the SoC like embeddable controllers.

USB cables are so cheap (and don't require chips in them) because the data rates are that much slower!

If USB 4 was released with similar speeds as Thunderbolt, you would see similar requirements for $50 cables because you are hitting the laws of physics, not the laws of marketing
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