Intel Wants To Make Thunderbolt Ports Even Faster




Apple’s new Thunderbolt ports are already the fastest connection ports on the market, but if Intel has their way they’ll be even faster in the near future. In order to boost the performance of Thunderbolt, Intel is working to support PCI-Express 3.0 protocols which will significantly boost data transfer rates.

Thunderbolt has barely been on the market for a year, but the fact that Intel is already looking to make improvements may signify the technology will become a mainstay on all computers. Computers with Thunderbolt communicate with devices using PCI-Express 2.0 technology. While PCIe 2.0 is remarkably fast with its 5 gigatransfers per second, the move to PCIe 3.0 would bring speeds up to 8 gigatransfers per second.

Intel’s aim with Thunderbolt is to unite many data-transfer, networking and display protocols through a single, unified connector. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort, and Intel has said it could bring USB 3.0 support to Thunderbolt. All Thunderbolt devices share a common connector, and individuals can simply daisy-chain their devices one after another, connected by electrical or optical cables.

PCIe 3.0 is just starting to hit the market. Intel announced their new Xeon E5 chip which integrates PCIe 3.0 in the processor. Because it’s a new technology, it will take some time before other manufacturers create accessories that support the technology. Thunderbolt was introduced in 2011 by Apple and Intel when Apple included it in their MacBook Pro line. The technology has since gone on to be implemented in the iMac and MacBook Air lines as well.

[via PCWorld]

  • Barrett Jasper

    I’m all for speed, but it’s time the manufacturers start developing an affordable device that uses Thunderbolt. The price for peripherials are crazy and ther aren’t many offerings due to the cost of manufacturing so is more speed a good thing? Won’t that make it harder for manufactures yet even more? 

  • AriRomano

    So what? People will ignore this If they kill of the first thunderbolt before it even had user base to speak of… All the current generation mac’s TB ports will be useless before they even have been used (except as mini display ports).

  • Obsidian71

    No …the complaints of the price of Thunderbolt peripherals are largely coming from the consumer landscape.   People expect to buy a drive for $99.   Professionals, who by and large are the early adopters of most new technology,  are looking at $1500 Pegasus RAID as cheap.   If fact I still see QNAP and Synology RAID systems that are MUCH slower still selling for over a $1000.   It’s really all a matter of perspective. 

    Thunderbolt is going to get cheaper …but don’t hold out for USB pricing on peripherals…it’s not going to happen. 

  • Obsidian71

    Thunderbolt is here to stay.   Because Joe Sixpack doesn’t understand nor care about the benefits doesn’t mean that there aren’t people with a definite need to have Thunderbolt. 

  • Buster

    ummm sorry no. Do you understand the difference between USB 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0? the ports are physically the same. When Thunderbolt with PCIe 3.0 comes out the physical port will work with the 1.0 standard. Nothing will be rendered useless.

  • Jake Brosy

    Who cares how fast the darn things are if only a handful of suppliers are offering them – and at geegaw prices? Why, oh why, can’t I buy a Thundebolt drive case that’s not targeted at RAID and full of drives? I have drives coming out my ears: I need them to communicate faster.

    My almost-one-year-old i7 MBP longs for an external TB HDD for on-the-go, and yes professional, video editing. But $430 for a 1TB LaCie TB drive is way out of line. I’ll stick with striped drives for now.

    Feels an awful lot like FW800 to me…