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Intel Technology

Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-on-the-4k dept.
Details have leaked about the next iteration of Intel's Thunderbolt connector. The good news: bandwidth will double, going up to about 40Gbps from its current 20. Power usage will drop by half, and it'll support PCI-e 3.0. The bad news: it uses a redesigned connector, and will rely on adapters for backward compatibility. From the article: "Doubling the available bandwidth will enable next-generation Thunderbolt controllers to drive two 4K displays simultaneously, where current controllers can only drive one. The new controllers will allegedly be compatible with a variety of other protocols as well, including DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0, and HDMI 2.0. Intel will offer two different versions of the controller—a version that uses four PCI Express lanes to drive two Thunderbolt ports and an "LP" (presumably "Low Power") version that uses two PCI Express lanes to drive one port."
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Next-Gen Thunderbolt: Twice as Fast, But a Different Connector

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @05:28PM (#46818451)

    Why is it everything apple embraces early ends up being a constantly changing connector

  • by InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @05:38PM (#46818519)

    Why is it everything apple embraces early ends up being a constantly changing connector

    Because they can sell new ones at 60$ a piece and pocket the 55+$ in profit every year or so, putting in code that tells if it is "genuine Apple" [macrumors.com] or not?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @05:46PM (#46818585)

    1) Power and data do not belong on the same connector or cable.
    2) Extra pins cost more up front, but make backward compatibility less of a pain down the road.

    The list of interconnection technologies that have failed on these two points is large, especially in Apple-land. Firewire and (now) Thunderbolt are the obvious ones, but there are others. SCSI was a virtually non-stop clusterfuck of pin-out changes for the better part of two decades.

    Even as shitty and useless as it started out, USB has put all of these to shame.

    Then again, Ethernet had its growing pains too. Anyone remember thicknet taps? An office full of those looked like a bunch of rats gnawing on a giant turd.

  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @05:47PM (#46818593)

    All I want is: (snip)

    So... USB?

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @05:51PM (#46818635)

    USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt are redundant. At this point, they even both support uncompressed video. Pick one, drop (or deprecate) support for the other, and the industry will migrate.

    No they are not. They overlap in functionality but they are not the same. If you want to transfer files sometimes from one medium to another, both can accomplish the task. However if you want low latency, low overhead data transfers (like real-time HD video edits on a NAS device), you want Thunderbolt. Also you can run USB, Ethernet, and video over TB and not the other way around. Even for all of their updates to the spec, USB 3.1 still has large overhead [wikipedia.org]: "Though, some initial tests demonstrated usable transfer speeds of only 7.2 Gbit/s, leading to a 30% encoding overhead". Yes it does support uncompressed video but how well it does so far does not seem as though it is as good as TB.

    For most consumers, USB 3.1 will be fine for most applications. For professionals, they are likely to get TB devices for their needs.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @06:04PM (#46818725)

    The thing is USB doesn't have DMA. This is on purpose, it allows for cheaper devices and is more secure. However it means everything has to go through the CPU. So higher load, higher latency. Thunderbolt is just PCIe (and display) so it is as low latency and impact as a card in the system.

    For lots of usages, the difference doesn't matter, but for heavy hitting stuff it can.

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