According to IDG News Intel is working on moving its Thunderbolt I/O standard to the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol.
Currently Intel and Apples I/O lovechild Thunderbolt is based on the PCI-Express 2.0 protocol. The move to PCI-Express could potentially double data transfer speeds over current implementations of Thunderbolt.
Intel in the future will support the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol to shuttle data faster between host devices and peripherals, an Intel spokesman said in an email. Computers with Thunderbolt interconnect currently communicate with external devices using the older PCI-Express 2.0 technology. ó IDG News
PCIe 3.0 offers a raw data transfer speed of 8GT/s (gigatransfers per second, one GT = 8GB) compared to PCIe 2.0ís 5 GT/s, which is a 60% increase, but other PCIe 3.0 requirements could push the effective bandwidth closer to doubling current speeds. PCIe 3.0 is already built into a few Intel products including the recently launched Xeon E5 chips and the still absent Ivy Bridge chips.
However, moving this technology to to Thunderbolt and getting peripheral manufacturers on the same page will take some time. This will be especially apparent considering the slow adaptation of Thunderbolt outside of Apple. Honestly though, the speeds of PCIe 2.0 still haven't come close to being maxed out by today peripherals, so the implementation of 3.0 almost becomes moot.
Hopefully the release of Intelís next generation line of processors, and the supposed influx of Thunderbolt capable accessories this year will push the lightning fast I/O tech into the mainstream. Otherwise LaCieís Little Big Disk and other similarly priced products will continue to dominate the market place. And not too many can afford that.
Source: IDG News [via MacRumors]