Intel Intros Ultra-Fast Thunderbolt
April 9, 2013

Intel’s Thunderbolt Technology Doubles Data Transfer Speed

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

Intel took the stage at the National Association of Broadcasters conference (NAB) this week to show off its Thunderbolt technology, a new I/O protocol capable of transmitting data with up to 20 Gbps throughput.

What´s more, the new interface is capable of these speeds in both directions. In a demonstration at NAB, Engadget reported Thunderbolt was running at 1,200 Mbps. The speed isn't quite the promised 20 Gbps, but it is faster than anything else out there. USB 3.0 promises to transmit up to 10 Gbps by 2014, up from a current speed of 5 Gbps, All Things D reports

Intel says Thunderbolt currently has about 200 licensees. Among those licensees is PROMISE Technology. The company showcased fast storage solutions using Thunderbolt at NAB this week. Included in its lineup of Thunderbolt products is the Pegasus R4/R6 and Pegasus J2.

"PROMISE is very excited to showcase the Pegasus R4/R6 and the Pegasus J2 on Windows at the NAB Show 2013," said James Lee, CEO of PROMISE Technology, in a statement.

"The incredible throughput and ease of use of Pegasus are helping creative professionals on both Mac and PC work much more efficiently and there is no better stage than the NAB Show to demonstrate how PROMISE's storage solutions with Thunderbolt technology can accelerate and simplify even the most demanding digital media workflows."

Intel supports its licensees, and the demo of PROMISE storage solutions was as much of a showcase for PROMISE as it was for Intel.

"Thunderbolt brings incredible performance, flexibility and simplicity to professionals in the media and entertainment industry," said Jason Ziller, Intel's director of Thunderbolt Marketing, in a company statement. "The Pegasus J2 and Pegasus R4/R6 help highlight what is possible for creative professionals, whether they are working on Mac or PC."

While there are numerous uses for Thunderbolt that take advantage of the speed, one key benefit is the ability to display and transfer 4K video simultaneously, Mashable says. The 4K TV standard, also called UltraHD, is on the marketplace. Adoption of the sets has been slow because the price is still high, but also because there is currently very little content for 4K televisions. Thunderbolt's ability to send and receive video at speeds exceeding 4K means more options for delivering 4K content will likely become available, including streaming from a computer.

The Thunderbolt protocol was introduced in collaboration between Apple and Intel in early 2011. The standard is available for all current Apple computers with the exception of the Mac Pro tower. To date, adoption of Thunderbolt under the Apple Mac portfolio has reportedly been slow.

Future plans for Thunderbolt, which Intel has codenamed Falcon Ridge, expect to improve adoption of Thunderbolt protocols for devices for both PC and Apple markets. Advanced Thunderbolt hardware under the Falcon Ridge blanket will be available in the next generation of chipsets and in products by the end of the year. Intel expects to see a growing proliferation of these products throughout 2014.