A high-ranking Intel executive has confirmed that the recently launched Thunderbolt (formerly known as Light Peak) transfer protocol will peacefully co-exist alongside USB 3.0.
Kirk Skaugen, vice president at Intel’s Architecture Group, described the relationship between the two standards as “complementary,” rather than competitive.
As such, the company will ship silicon designed to support both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt in 2012.
Native support for the two protocols will be baked in Intel’s next-gen chipset dubbed “Ivy Bridge,” effectively providing USB 3.0 support for all (Ivy Bridge) machines.
It should be noted that Apple’s current Macbook Pro lineup pairs Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipsets with Thunderbolt.
As TG Daily previously reported, industry heavyweights 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.