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Intel Wants 100 Thunderbolt Devices by Year's End

On Monday Kirk Skaugen, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group, said that the company is shooting for around 100 Thunderbolt-based peripherals by the end of the year. He said the number of devices is expected to grow as Thunderbolt expands from Apple's Mac OS X universe over to Microsoft's Windows-based realm starting this summer.

"We have 21 Thunderbolt devices in things like storage and displays in the marketplace. We have a hundred targeted by the end of the year, and hundreds of Thunderbolt devices targeted by the middle or end of next year,” Skaugen said.

The news arrived during an Intel event showcasing the new third-generation "Ivy Bridge" Core processors. He said there would be a higher Thunderbolt integration in computers sporting the new processors later this year. The Z77 board for the new "Ivy Bridge" processors actually includes an option of Thunderbolt data transfer lanes to help push data faster in and out of PCs.

"You don’t want to wait to download your ... video or your high-definition movies. What traditionally had taken over five minutes to take a high-definition movie and put it into your PC, you can now do it in 30 seconds," Skaugen said.

The Ivy Bridge chips will also support USB 3.0, giving consumers a second connectivity option. Intel has always stated that both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt would co-exist, and that desktops and laptops will come packed with both technologies. However USB 3.0 has had a head start, infiltrating both Mac and Windows-based computers at a slow pace since last year.

Last month Intel spokesman Dave Salvator said that the company will finally release optical cables for Thunderbolt later this year. Unlike the current copper versions, these should provide more bandwidth and longer cable runs in the "tens of meters" although devices will need their own power supply at greater lengths. Running power over longer optical cable will cause a impedance-induced power drop and thus be impractical, he said.

Current Thunderbolt installations in Apple Macs are based on copper, but they will still be compatible with the fiber optic cables launching later this year. For consumers, this means they will be able to purchase existing Thunderbolt products on the market and switch over to optical cables without having to make hardware changes to their current rig.

Intel co-developed Thunderbolt with Apple, and originally designed the new tech as a faster alternative to USB 3.0 using fiber optics to transfer data at speeds of up to 10 Gbps. First introduced back in 2009 and then launched on Apple Macs in 2011, Intel wanted to reduce the number of ports on a PC and Mac by running all data transfers, networking and display protocols (including DisplayPort) through a single optical port. It would even support PCI-Express 2.0 for connecting external devices.

  • phatboe
    I refuse to purchase thunderbolt devices until Intel opens the spec or at least allows others to license it to make competing thunderbolt controllers.
    Reply
  • icepick314
    i don't get the point of all these different specs...

    USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, firewire, Thunderbolt....

    it's just muddying up market for new devices and making them expensive to support all these different specs...
    Reply
  • soo-nah-mee
    icepick314i don't get the point of all these different specs...USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, firewire, Thunderbolt....it's just muddying up market for new devices and making them expensive to support all these different specs...I think that's the idea: To replace all of those with one. Then in the future, there will be far less muddying.
    Reply
  • neoverdugo
    Well, that ain't gonna happen. Intel has been very busy making it's "Intel Only" PCs for years now.
    Intel wants to ditch USBs, PCI-E, Third party GPUs, memory cards, Storage drives, MBs away from its processors. Intel already has the SSD, MBs, Thunderbolt, graphic chip-set; the memory division it still unavailable (Which AMD beat them to it with patriot's help). Intel is competing with apple in the "Closed Hardware System" category, especially with its "Ultrabook"
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    @neoverdugo

    Intel used to have Centrino... It was an attempt at a 'platform' for mobile.
    USB was invented by Intel, and expressly gave rights to be licensed for marginal (if any) cost, to promote adoption...

    Thunderbolt isn't a 'new standard' like USB or Firewire... It is standard agnostic, or at least, it is supposed to be...

    I would very much like an all unified connectivity interface... I think the next iteration of Thunderbolt, when it gets revved to true LightPeak, we may finally have what we need in this context.

    I want thunderbolt enclosures, so that I can install external boot SSDs that are native SATA on to hard-to-service iMacs...
    Reply
  • Light Peak was developed by Intel actually. They rebranded it Thunderbolt and made it an Apple exclusive, but the only change was the 10 Gb/s both ways over copper instead of the original 100 Gb/s over fiber optic design. Apple in no way designed Thunderbolt.

    Neoverdugo, you are smoking something. USB - originally developed by Intel. PCI - originally developed by Intel. You could go back to ISA, SATA, and the others and you'll find Intel was the company that spearheaded all of it. Intel has hardly closed the system. In fact, they are responsible for opening it up against the will of IBM (who did their own thing with microchannel and other proprietary technologies).

    The issue with Intel is that they want $$$ for their tech now.
    Reply
  • chuckydb
    The only way I can see Thunderbolt being usefull is for an external desktop gpu plugged in your laptop.
    Other than taht.... PASS....
    Reply
  • soo-nah-meeI think that's the idea: To replace all of those with one. Then in the future, there will be far less muddying.That's only in a perfect world.
    http://xkcd.com/927/
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    USB 3.0 is perfect for 95% of people out there and it's cheap. So what is Intel thinking? Oh yeah, $$$
    I'm sure the new Ivy Bridge Apple laptops will have USB3. I mean the chipset has it and if they don't wire a USB3 header for their computers I'll be ROFL.
    Reply
  • Vladislaus
    jacobdrj@neoverdugoIntel used to have Centrino... It was an attempt at a 'platform' for mobile.USB was invented by Intel, and expressly gave rights to be licensed for marginal (if any) cost, to promote adoption...Thunderbolt isn't a 'new standard' like USB or Firewire... It is standard agnostic, or at least, it is supposed to be...I would very much like an all unified connectivity interface... I think the next iteration of Thunderbolt, when it gets revved to true LightPeak, we may finally have what we need in this context.I want thunderbolt enclosures, so that I can install external boot SSDs that are native SATA on to hard-to-service iMacs...Intel was involved in the development of USB but they didn't single handed invented it.
    Reply