Intel Announces "Thunderbolt 2" with Double the Speeds and a Late 2013 Launch
Intel recently finally put a name to its next-generation Thunderbolt protocol, dubbing it “Thunderbolt 2.” The new protocol standard doubles the throughput of its predecessor while remaining backward compatible. 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.
In order to double the speed, Intel is using a new controller chip that combines the first generation Thunderbolt’s 10Gbps uni-directional channels into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel. In addition to that, Thunderbolt 2 will carry support for DisplayPort 1.2, enabling video streaming to one 4K monitor or dual QHD displays.
Since the next-generation protocol is in essence a modified controller chip. Thunderbolt 2 requires no new cables or accessory hardware, meaning that it will be completely backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt products.
Although 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. This is in addition to the 80 peripherals and accessories that made their way to market since Thunderbolt first debuted with Apple’s 2011 Mac lineup. Despite being marked as cutting-edge technology targeting professionals in the video field, Apple still doesn’t offer Thunderbolt in its Mac Pro tower. Recent reports
mention that Intel plans to extend the standard’s reach beyond the few products that currently use the tech and has up to now focused on quality over quantity.
The chip maker hasn’t nailed 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.
Is Thunderbolt something you are considering exploring now or in the future?