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Hardware Thread, Intel's Light Peak becomes ThunderBolt™ (and Apple releases new MacBook Pro's) in Technical; ...
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    Intel's Light Peak becomes ThunderBolt™ (and Apple releases new MacBook Pro's)

    As rumoured, Intel's Light Peak interconnect (now officially branded ThunderBolt) makes its debut on Apple's new Core i5/i7 MacBook Pro's.





    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...throughput.ars

    Intel has finally launched its new peripheral interconnect technology—formerly codenamed "Light Peak"—now branded "Thunderbolt." Developed in cooperation with Apple, which introduced Thunderbolt on its newest MacBook Pro laptops on Thursday morning, the new interconnect is designed to bring workstation-class I/O throughput to mobile workflows as well as serve as a next-generation connector for peripherals, including displays, storage, and video and audio devices.
    Thunderbolt uses the Mini DisplayPort connector pioneered by Apple for physical connections; future versions will presumably incorporate optical connections, but the current generation released in Apple's MacBook Pros is purely electrical. Apple was not able to clarify to us how optical cables could be used with the ports on the new MacBook Pros, but an Intel press conference scheduled for this afternoon promised to offer more technical details.

    Because each Thunderbolt device will include a tiny Intel-made controller, similar to FireWire, multiple Thunderbolt devices can be daisy-chained to a single port and can communicate directly peer-to-peer. It doesn't require hubs like USB does, nor does it depend on the CPU to initiate and handle device communication. Also like FireWire, Thunderbolt ports can supply power to connected devices—up to 10W total per port. Furthermore, powered devices in the chain can pass 10W of power further down the chain if needed.

    Thunderbolt supports both DisplayPort and PCI Express protocols over its 10Gbps transport layer. A major benefit of this design is that Thunderbolt devices can leverage native OS drivers for PCI Express and DisplayPort for compatibility—no additional drivers are needed. Existing Mini DisplayPort-equipped monitors are already compatible and can be plugged in directly, and Mini DisplayPort adapters for VGA, DVI, or HDMI will also work. Intel said that adapters can be made using a Thunderbolt controller and common PCI bridges to adapt existing FireWire, USB, eSATA, and even Ethernet connectors.

    Intel's controllers handle all the necessary protocol switching between PCI Express and DisplayPort, which enables simultaneous transmission of data via both protocols over the same cable. The controllers are also optimized for extremely low-latency communication with quality-of-service support, which is critical for handling pro video and audio applications. Connected devices can be clock-synchronized to within 8 nanoseconds.


    More Info
    http://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/
    http://www.intel.com/technology/io/t...US_secured.pdf (PDF)
    http://newsroom.intel.com/community/...c-just-arrived
    Last edited by Arthur; 24th February 2011 at 09:46 PM.

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    Just pi$$es on USB3 doesn't it?

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    This thunderbolt technology looks good and promising.... as for the new macs... all i can do is laugh at the prices. Hey, atleast they look pretty..

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    I've just remortgaged my house and sold my daughter to white slave traders so I can buy one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    I've just remortgaged my house and sold my daughter to white slave traders so I can buy one.
    Lucky you! I don’t have any wife’s or kids to sell to fund one of these!
    On a different website I read that the thunderbolt technology will be using copper cables for the start and then upgraded to optical to make it even faster. Not sure is this is correct?

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    plexer's Avatar
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    That's what is quoted above.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    Just pi$$es on USB3 doesn't it?
    It does (since it's 10GBps in each direction).

    Just imagine the possibilities...

    • The ability to connect your laptop/netbook to a significantly faster external graphics card (e.g. GeForce GTX 580) when you want to play the latest games on the highest possible settings. This means you no longer have to worry about being stuck with rubbish integrated graphics on your next laptop as long as it had a TB port. Although Asus tried something similar once before with their short-lived ExpressCard-based XG Station I think a ThunderBolt version would be much more popular since it could also be used with small and ultra-small form-factor desktop computers.
    • With just a single TB port, AMD and nVidia could make all of their graphics cards support Eyefinity/Surround Gaming.
    • The Mac mini server that Apple sells can now be used as a proper server. Stick two SSDs into the mini, RAID-1 them together and then use the ThunderBolt port to connect it to a super-fast NAS or SAN.
    • Universal laptop docking stations are now possible. Although you can buy universal docks today they are crippled by USB 2.0 and require drivers to function.
    • As you can see from the photo of the MacBook Pro above, the RJ45 and FW800 ports take up a lot of space relative to the other ports so would be ideal candidates for elimination which should result in even thinner laptops. I can definitely see Apple doing this (along with the optical drive). Other manufacturers will follow 5-10 years later.
    • Control a computer located in another room/building as if it was in the same room (like Matrox's Veos, but much cheaper). This will probably have to wait until Intel release the fibre version of TB.
    • Could be used as a cheaper alternative to 10Gb Ethernet or dual/quad port gigabit NICs, especially for home users (like me) who want something faster than gigabit, but cheaper than 10Gb ethernet.
    • External 3.5" HDDs which do not require a separate power source.
    • Devices can be charged faster (ThunderBolt can supply upto 10 watts of power vs 900 mA for USB 3.0). Could be useful for things like tablets in the future. It should also stop companies like Motorola from using proprietary power cables on Android tablets.
    Last edited by Arthur; 25th February 2011 at 12:11 AM.

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    Engadget have posted a video of ThunderBolt in action. Try doing this with USB!

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/24/i...a-closer-look/

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    According to the WSJ, it appears that Intel chose the DisplayPort connector for ThunderBolt, because the USB-IF didn't approve of them using USB.

    The USB Implementers Forum–which oversees the evolution of that ubiquitous variety of connectors–put out a statement last summer that did not sound particularly friendly to Light Peak. “USB connectors are not general purpose connectors and are not designed to be used in support of other technology applications or standards or as combo connectors,” the group said.

    Jeff Ravencraft, the forum’s president, declines to discuss Light Peak directly. But he notes that many companies contributed patents and intellectual property for the creation of USB, setting terms that limit those inventions for use in specific ways. Anyone who uses the technologies in other ways “can’t claim an IP license,” he says. (Source)

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    I really hope the iPads, iPhones, iPods get a light peak / thunderbolt connector instead of USB 2. Imagine being able to transfer movies, music, contacts etc within a couple of mins instead of sitting twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to all synch / transfer etc

    Would be nice to get a list of some to most devices that use thunderbolt ( light peak ) as the new mac book pro's look tasty although do they use SATA 3 ( 6gbps ) or is it still SATA 2 ??

    Also I presume the mac book pros still use USB 2 and not 3 ?
    Last edited by mac_shinobi; 1st March 2011 at 09:48 PM.

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