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Third-Gen Thunderbolt Chip Slated for 2Q13 Release

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 19 comments

20 Gbps transfer speeds aren't expected to hit Thunderbolt until 2014.

Back in February 2011, Intel's Thunderbolt interface finally hit the market in Apple's MacBook Pro, using the same connector as the Mini DisplayPort. Combining PCI Express and DisplayPort into one serial data interface, it offered data rates up to 10 Gbps and the ability to "chain" supporting peripherals.

The technology, co-developed by Intel and Apple as a replacement for USB and other connections, just recently arrived in the PC sector with a 2nd-gen "Cactus Ridge" chip. However it's mainly offered in high-end desktops and notebooks most likely due to its price: $20 to $25 per Thunderbolt chip. But as with all new emerging technology, Thunderbolt will become more mainstream as the price comes down.

However already there's talk about a 3rd-generation "Redwood Ridge" chip, but whether its pricetag will be lower remains to be seen. The chip is supposedly slated for a 2Q13 release, launching alongside Intel's Haswell "Shark Bay" processors. It will support 10 Gbps data rates, DisplayPort v1.1a and DisplayPort v1.2 Redriver.

That said, any hopes for faster speeds across the Thunderbolt interface won't be realized until 2014. Intel is expected to release a 4th-generation Thunderbolt chip codenamed "Falcon Ridge" sometime during that year, providing data rates up to 20 Gbps through two channels. This should make the interconnect even better for daisy-chaining multiple high-speed devices like monitors, high-quality audio and video interfaces, and RAID arrays.

Back in May, the first Thunderbolt-compatible motherboards entered the PC market including the Asus P8Z77-V Premium, the MSI Z77A-GD80 and the Intel DZ77RE-75K. Unnamed sources said that Thunderbolt would become one of the key specifications that motherboard makers will be competing with in the second half of 2012. Yet due to the current price of Thunderbolt chips, non-Intel chipmakers won't be able to make a profit from the technology, as most can only develop products such as Thunderbolt adapter chips.

 

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  • 9 Hide
    vafik , July 23, 2012 1:14 PM
    GREAT! Now I can use all my thunderbolt devises like..............................................
  • 4 Hide
    ojas , July 23, 2012 1:20 PM
    Quote:
    The technology, co-developed by Intel and Apple

    And how many times should we tell you what's wrong with that?
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , July 23, 2012 1:29 PM
    vafikGREAT! Now I can use all my thunderbolt devises like..............................................

    external SSDs in RAID 0 without bottleneck http://www.anandtech.com/show/5956/qnaps-jtb400-a-byod-4bay-thunderbolt-enclosure
    Ultra high resolution displays http://www.apple.com/displays/
    daisy-chain multiple high resolution displays
    High end camera like Red One http://www.red.com/products/red-one and http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html

    Unless they are able to put TCP/IP through it to replace in-home Ethernet there really isnt a whole lot of practical applications yet
  • 8 Hide
    molo9000 , July 23, 2012 1:29 PM
    vafikGREAT! Now I can use all my thunderbolt devises like..............................................


    Being able to connect 3 displays to one laptop is pretty awesome.
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , July 23, 2012 1:29 PM
    ojasAnd how many times should we tell you what's wrong with that?

    That's how we got USB.... you can't exactly say that was a failure.
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , July 23, 2012 1:31 PM
    I might be interested in that fourth generation...
  • 5 Hide
    freggo , July 23, 2012 1:32 PM
    Will take a while to penetrate the market.
    CDs took a while, DVDs did...USB did.

    I just hope the connectors are easier to -blindly- insert than USB. I still get mine wrong more often than the 50% statistical value.
  • 2 Hide
    sabarjp , July 23, 2012 2:32 PM
    Wish there were more devices for thunderbolt. It would let laptops do crazy things.

    Imagine a laptop with an external graphics card that can hook up to 3 monitors. You could pop in your external data RAID and move things between your fast laptop SSD and your 6 TB of disk storage. Your thunderbolt display (at 2560*1600 of course) would double as a laptop dock and have ports for ethernet, audio, usb, etc (Apple has a display that is close to doing that).

    The price of the chip needs to drop!

  • 0 Hide
    jwcalla , July 23, 2012 2:47 PM
    caedenvUnless they are able to put TCP/IP through it to replace in-home Ethernet there really isnt a whole lot of practical applications yet


    Yeah that's what I've been hoping for because 10 GbE is still pretty expensive, and SSDs already saturate GbE. meh.
  • 0 Hide
    verbalizer , July 23, 2012 3:24 PM
    Quote:
    Back in May, the first Thunderbolt-compatible motherboards entered the PC market including the Asus P8Z77-V Premium, the MSI Z77A-GD80 and the Intel DZ77RE-75K. Unnamed sources said that Thunderbolt would become one of the key specifications that motherboard makers will be competing with in the second half of 2012. Yet due to the current price of Thunderbolt chips, non-Intel chipmakers won't be able to make a profit from the technology, as most can only develop products such as Thunderbolt adapter chips.

    Intel beats it's chest and flaunts once again...
    (not sure if that is a good thing..)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2012 6:11 PM
    No thank you, active cables, i never want to touch the stuff.

    I was interested in light peak (sorry thunderbolt) when it was fibre, however thats not what we got. We got same ol same ol cable, no thanks!
  • 0 Hide
    camoxide , July 23, 2012 8:53 PM
    caedenvexternal SSDs in RAID 0 without bottleneck http://www.anandtech.com/show/5956 [...] -enclosureUltra high resolution displays http://www.apple.com/displays/daisy-chain multiple high resolution displaysHigh end camera like Red One http://www.red.com/products/red-one and http://www.sonnettech.com/product/ [...] rbolt.htmlUnless they are able to put TCP/IP through it to replace in-home Ethernet there really isnt a whole lot of practical applications yet


    Because I have any of that equipment or have any plans to in the future.
  • 1 Hide
    thomaslompton , July 23, 2012 9:19 PM
    chromonoidYou are just being stupid, if apple comes up with a ultra efficient fuel, are going to say "oh, i wont use it because i dont have money to pay for an apple product and i am not hipster"... moron.

    dont have money to pay for an apple product and i am not hipster"... moron.[/citation]

    If Apple came up with an ultra efficient fuel, they'd charge out the nose for it.
  • 0 Hide
    verbalizer , July 23, 2012 9:23 PM
    Quote:
    Will take a while to penetrate the market.
    CDs took a while, DVDs did...USB did.

    I just hope the connectors are easier to -blindly- insert than USB. I still get mine wrong more often than the 50% statistical value.

    2.4e+32 (is that the right answer.?)
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , July 24, 2012 3:39 AM
    $25. Then why in the heck are external hard drives with Thunderbolt so blasted expensive compared to their exact non Thunderbolt counterparts?

    Also why aren't any of the cheaper motherboards made with Thunderbolt? I don't need all the other wiz bang features making a $300+ motherboard. Just take a $100 board add Thunderbolt and sell it for $130 to allow for 20% profit on the Thunderbolt chip.

    Although this is all academic. I was excited about Lightpeak when it was touted as fiber optic and a replacement of all connectors with cheap fiber optic cables. With dreams of wiring my house with fiber for cheap 10gb networking. Alas none of that was true the cables are damn expensive, short and not even fiber; and it does not replace all ports (cough* Ethernet cough*).
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , July 24, 2012 12:21 PM
    CaedenVThat's how we got USB.... you can't exactly say that was a failure.

    Um, i think you misunderstood, i meant apple didn't develop thunderbolt. Intel did. They (Apple) just put it into their devices. USB wasn't developed by Apple either. I think you meant FireWire? :o 

    chromonoidYou are just being stupid, if apple comes up with a ultra efficient fuel, are going to say "oh, i wont use it because i dont have money to pay for an apple product and i am not hipster"... moron.

    Cool story bro.
  • 0 Hide
    jn77 , July 24, 2012 2:14 PM
    molo9000Being able to connect 3 displays to one laptop is pretty awesome.


    With My 17inch Asus laptop, I can connect 6 30 inch displays to the Eyefinity card from ATI using micro Display port connectors....... I don't see how thunderbolt is anything more than a fancy over priced USB connection..... now for external RAID's and storage, maybe.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , July 24, 2012 6:50 PM
    It's great that they're pushing the standard further and further, but keep in mind the cost is the biggest barrier to adoption.
  • 0 Hide
    timarp000 , September 17, 2012 1:45 PM
    Will these 3rd gen thunderbolt port work though an asus thunderbolt header?