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Thunderbolt to ‘greatly affect’ USB 3.0


As Intel is set to release the development kits for its Thunderbolt technology in the third quarter of 2011, the technology may “greatly affect” USB 3.0, says “DigiTimes” (, quoting unnamed “PC players.”

Although Intel has emphasized that the two technologies will co-exist, and said will still have its next-generation chipset to support USB 3.0 natively, those sources believe Intel’s strategy of adopting both technologies into its next generation products is to minimize the risks of placing all the eggs into one basket. The sources told “DigiTimes” that the USB 3.0 technology seems like it will become a transitional product with Thunderbolt to become the finalized next-generation transmission technology.

Thunderbolt is a new high-speed computer connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. And it’s already appearing on Macs — in the revamped MacBook Pro line announced in February.

Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds, according to Mooly Eden, general manager, PC Client Group, Intel. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple.
The vision for Thunderbolt technology (formerly codenamed “Light Peak”) is to move media faster, simplify connections between devices, and foster new and exciting ways to build and use computers, says Eden. Combining high-speed data and HD video connections together onto a single cable is instrumental to achieving that vision. Thunderbolt technology delivers this via two communications methods, or protocols — PCI Express for data transfer and DisplayPort for displays.

PCI Express has the flexibility to connect to almost any type of device, and DisplayPort can drive greater than 1080p resolution displays and up to eight channels of audio simultaneously. Thunderbolt technology is compatible with existing DisplayPort displays and adapters. All Thunderbolt technology devices share a common connector, and let individuals simply daisy-chain their devices one after another, connected by electrical or optical cables.

Thunderbolt technology is designed to meet the demands of serious HD media creators, says Eden. For example, videographers can unleash their creativity using high-bandwidth audio and video capture/mixing devices, and get both low latency and highly-accurate time synchronization for real-time processing.

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