Intel makes 'Thunderbolt 2' official with 20Gbps speeds, late 2013 launch

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Intel on Tuesday finally put a name to its next-generation Thunderbolt protocol as "Thunderbolt 2," with the newly dubbed standard doubling the throughput of its predecessor while remaining backward compatible.

Thunderbolt 2
Illustration of Thunderbolt 2's capabilities. | Source: Intel


Previously referred to by its codename "Falcon Ridge," Thunderbolt 2 will boast a bandwidth of 20Gbps, which Intel said is good enough for the simultaneous transfer and display of 4K "Ultra HD" video.

To double the speed, Intel is using a new controller chip that combines the first generation Thunderbolt's 10Gpbs uni-directional channels into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel. In addition, Thunderbolt 2 will carry support for DisplayPort 1.2, enabling video streaming to one 4K monitor, or dual QHD displays.

Thunderbolt 2


Because the next-generation protocol is, in essence, a modified controller chip, Thunderbolt 2 requires no new cables or accessory hardware, meaning it will be completely backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt products.

While Thunderbolt has yet to see wide adoption outside of Apple's Mac lineup, Intel claims 30 PCs and motherboards now use the I/O tech. That's in addition to the 80 peripherals and accessories that made their way to market since Thunderbolt first debuted with Apple's late-2011 Mac lineup.

Despite being marketed as a cutting-edge interconnect technology targeting professionals in the video field, Apple still does not offer Thunderbolt in its Mac Pro tower.

In a report last week, Intel told AppleInsider that it plans to extend the standard's reach beyond the few product that currently use the tech, and has up to now focused on quality over quantity.

The chip maker has yet to nail down a specific date on Thunderbolt 2's release, but said it should be in production by the end of 2013, with a ramp into 2014.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 137
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    I am waiting for comments here. Pretty sure people will have interesting stuff to add. (And yeah, I'm commenting here mainly so that the AppleInsider reminder-emai reminds me there is that article when comments get added :p ).
  • Reply 2 of 137
    Thunderbolt was introduced in early 2011 with the MacBook line up, not late 2011 with iMacs
  • Reply 3 of 137
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    The article says TB has yet to see wide adoption outside the Mac, but ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Intel and ASRock all have Thunderbolt motherboards now, it's just limited to their high end gaming motherboards. So I would say it has wide adoption just not deep.

    But as for this TB2, wow. 20Gbit will have to be witnessed to be believed.
  • Reply 4 of 137
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,776member


    You think Apple was caught off guard by Thunderbolt 2? /s

  • Reply 5 of 137
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Now we know when the new MacPro will be out...
  • Reply 6 of 137
    aussiepaulaussiepaul Posts: 144member
    Imagine how quickly you could copy porn over this new standard...?
  • Reply 7 of 137
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member


    Whine, whine, whine...


     


    ...USB 3.

  • Reply 8 of 137
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 125member
    Isn't 2x10 in fact the same as 20?
    i.E. the total possible throughput on todays Thunderbolt is the same?
    Not that I'd mind, except for Firewire and Ethernet Adapters I don't have any Thunderbolt hardware at all.
  • Reply 9 of 137
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    Because Thunderbolt 1 was such a hit! (Rolls eyes)
  • Reply 11 of 137
    macharry demacharry de Posts: 126member
    I am impressed. This will be the new standard for high end devices and Apple rides the horse as innovator and early adaptor. Proud to use such products for a long time :-)
  • Reply 12 of 137
    irelandireland Posts: 17,747member
    feynman wrote: »
    Now we know when the new MacPro will be out...

    Don't expect T2 in the new Mac Pro. I suspect it'll be released before T2 is out.
  • Reply 13 of 137
    irelandireland Posts: 17,747member
    My real gripe with Intel is when they introduced the new standard setting USB 3. I think it's time USB was replaced by a reversible standard. I can't tell you how many times in the last 6-8 years I've tried to put in USB connectors and memory sticks upside down. Bad design!

    Lightning, while it'll have its teething period with its lack of backwards compatibility, is so great in terms of owning and using products with it. Plugging in connectors and chargers when you know you cannot do it "the wrong way" is so refreshing. Intel's USB successor should be the same in this regard. In fact, let's look 10 years down the road: what I would like to see is something like a USB and Thunderbolt successor that was one reversible connector to rule them all. Could you imagine having a laptop with a single elegant type of connector besides the headphones port? That'd be awesome!! It could replace HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB and SD Card. And all the devices that use those could switch to the new connector. I'm thinking something as thin as SD Card, and a touch shorter than USB, reversible, with throughput capable of 50Gbps. That's the future I want to live in.
  • Reply 14 of 137
    oflifeoflife Posts: 120member
    The mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt connector is not really that good. I have a 2011 MBA 13" connected to a superb Dell monitor via DisplayPort, but the plug that goes into the MBA is not as well thought out as say Lightening, and likewise, the large connector that plugs into the monitor (looks like an HDMI with only one chamfered corner) is very very difficult to unplug.

    It is a pity the industry could not agree on the anyway up Lightening connector for Thunderbolt and use it to usurp the ageing and not very imaginative USB connectors.
  • Reply 15 of 137
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    TB1 > USB3


    TB2 > Beer

  • Reply 16 of 137
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,158member


    Backwards compatible...for all of those thousands of thunderbolt devices that are out there.


     


    /sarcasm

  • Reply 17 of 137
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post



    Now we know when the new MacPro will be out...


    Apple had early access to TB1, could it happen again? A Retina Cinema Display would presumably need this interface.

  • Reply 18 of 137
    vorsosvorsos Posts: 302member


    sirdir View Post



    Isn't 2x10 in fact the same as 20?

    i.E. the total possible throughput on todays Thunderbolt is the same?


    Based on the image, I'd say it offers more flexibility for how much data is going in one direction at any given moment.


     



    Oflife View Post

    The mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt connector is not really that good. I have a 2011 MBA 13" connected to a superb Dell monitor via DisplayPort, but the plug that goes into the MBA is not as well thought out as say Lightening, and likewise, the large connector that plugs into the monitor (looks like an HDMI with only one chamfered corner) is very very difficult to unplug.



    It is a pity the industry could not agree on the anyway up Lightening connector for Thunderbolt and use it to usurp the ageing and not very imaginative USB connectors.


    A few towers at my workplace have the big clunky DisplayPorts, even though all our monitors are VGA/DVI. Apple never used the large DP, for obvious reasons. Mini DisplayPort fixes those issues, and it baffles me that PC makers are still using the inferior variant. But then, most PC makers operate on such thin margins, they are very resistant to change.


     



    scotty321 View Post

    Because Thunderbolt 1 was such a hit! (Rolls eyes)




    macxpress View Post


    Backwards compatible...for all of those thousands of thunderbolt devices that are out there.


    /sarcasm



    Yes, this advanced connector has failed because it's not on all the bargain-basement PCs and netbooks within the first two years of commercial availability.


    We had this conversation about USB in 1999. Look at the big picture.

  • Reply 19 of 137
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member


    But Soli told us it was going to have 40Gbps throughput.  I'm crushed.

  • Reply 20 of 137
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    TB1 > USB3


    TB2 > Beer



     


    Steady on there!


     


    image

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