Intel wants Thunderbolt for the masses

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Intel has confirmed that developer kits for its recently launched Thunderbolt transfer protocol will be made publicly available this quarter.

The kits could help promote the “quick availability” of a wider ranger of devices powered by the interconnect technology.

According to Agam Shah of IDG News, Intel is already working with a number of partners to develop products which support the protocol.

For example, companies such as LaCie and Western Digital recently showcased Thunderbolt portable storage devices, along with AJA, BlackMagic, Matrox and Sonnet.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard, which currently offers USB 3.0 ports in its high-end laptops, announced it would be evaluating Thunderbolt with an eye on future implementation of the protocol.

Similarly, Sony says it backs Thunderbolt, but predictably, remains quite tight-lipped about an adoption timeline.

Thunderbolt - aka LightPeak - is capable of delivering 10 gigabits per second, while supporting "every important" I/O standard.

The advanced protocol offers two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each and delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays.

Thunderbolt I/O also supports FireWire, USB consumer devices, Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters and DisplayPort for high resolution displays.

In addition, the new protocol works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.