Intel mum on speed improvements for Thunderbolt
Intel is promising a speed boost in response to the improvements in USB 3.0, but did not give a target release date
IDG News Service - Intel said it is working to make the Thunderbolt data transfer technology faster as it wages a speed race with the USB 3.0 protocol, but the company declined to say when improvements will be finished.
Thunderbolt, introduced by Intel and Apple in early 2011, is an interconnect that shuffles data between host devices and peripherals at a speed of 10Gbps (bits per second) per channel, or at 20Gbps over the two existing data and display channels. Thunderbolt is faster than rival USB 3.0, which transfers data at 5Gbps.
But this week at International CES, USB upstaged its rival, with the USB Implementers Forum announcing it would double the speed of USB 3.0 to match Thunderbolt's data transfer rate per channel by the middle of this year. By comparison, there were only incremental improvements to Thunderbolt technology during CES, with Corning and Sumitomo announcing cables that are lighter and thinner.
Thunderbolt is found on Apple's Macs and some Windows PCs, and has now been on the same speed for two years since its introduction in early 2011. But the technology will get faster, said Jason Ziller, Thunderbolt marketing director for Intel, though he could not point to a specific time when improvements would be made.
Thunderbolt supports the PCI-Express 2.0 and DisplayPort protocols, and Intel has many technologies in place to improve data transfer speeds. The company is researching the use of silicon nanophotonics in Thunderbolt by 2015 to improve data transfer speeds to 50Gbps. Intel in the future will also adopt the faster PCI-Express 3.0 protocol for Thunderbolt to improve data transfer speeds.
Ziller also pointed out some advantages of Thunderbolt that set it apart from its rivals, including the ability to daisy chain devices. He also pointed out that Thunderbolt connections can be made over longer distances with the help of new products announced at CES.
Corning announced Thunderbolt Optical Cables that can stretch up to 100 meters. The optical cables are easy to pack and transport, and are as durable as their copper counterparts, Corning said in the statement.
The new Corning cable will allow Thunderbolt peripherals to be placed long distances away from a host device. However, optical cables do not carry power, so peripherals will need to be attached to power outlets.
The Corning cable will become available by the end of the first quarter. Pricing was not immediately available.
Sumitomo Electric Industries said it has started sampling Thunderbolt cables that are roughly 25% smaller in their outer diameter than traditional cables. The new cable is 3.2 mm in diameter, while the older cable was 4.2 mm. But the new cable is only 2 meters long, while the older cable was 3 meters long. Pricing for the cable was not immediately available.
- 2014 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances Enterprise backup is among the oldest, most-performed tasks for IT professionals. Gartner provides analysis and evaluation of the leading providers that offer a...
- Analyst: EMC's FLASH 1st Strategy Gain insight from analyst ESG on Flash storage and how the logic and value behind EMC's strategy for Flash.
- The Business Value of Continuous Delivery Download this whitepaper to learn more about the business value of Continuous Delivery and see why it could be a game changer for...
- Ten Factors Shaping the Future of Application Delivery Download this research report conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to learn how those that are seeking to accelerate application delivery are leveraging...
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the... All Networked Storage White Papers | Webcasts