Intel's Thunderbolt 2 gets official

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Intel has officially confirmed its next-gen Thunderbolt protocol will double the throughput of its predecessor, all while remaining fully backward compatible.

Code-named "Falcon Ridge," Thunderbolt 2 is set to offer users a rather impressive bandwidth of 20Gbps, which Santa Clara says is sufficient to enable the simultaneous transfer and display of 4K "Ultra HD" video.

Thunderbolt 2 is also expected to offer support for DisplayPort 1.2, enabling video streaming to one 4K monitor, or dual QHD displays.

According to AppleInsider, Intel is using new controller chip that combines the first generation Thunderbolt's 10Gpbs uni-directional channels into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel.

"Because the next-generation protocol is, in essence, a modified controller chip, Thunderbolt 2 requires no new cables or accessory hardware, meaning it will be completely backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt products," AppleInsider explained.

Although Thunderbolt has yet to win wide adoption outside of Apple's Mac universe, Intel claims that approximately 30 PCs and motherboards are currently using the I/O protocol, in addition to over 80 Thunderbolt peripherals and accessories that have hit the market since 2011.

Thunderbolt 2 is expected to go live for the masses at some point in 2014.