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Intel Corp. is developing a successor for DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (TB) and USB 3.0 external interconnection technologies. The tech will employ a new transfer protocol as well as new type of physical interconnection that involves silicon photonics. The new interface is projected to be unveiled in 2015.

The next-generation external interconnection technology will be based on silicon photonics components with optical cables and will be able to transfer data with up to 50Gb/s speed over distances up to 100 meters. The new interconnect will also use new data transfer protocols. The silicon photonics components will be manufactured using conventional silicon manufacturing technology, which will make it less expensive compared to technologies that combine electrical and optical devices on a single chip.

“We have to use the silicon manufacturing technologies we know. That is what the promise of the technology is. It is based on a silicon foundation,” said Jeff Demain, strategy director of circuits and system research at Intel Labs, reports IDG News Service.

Thanks to new technologies available in 2015, the post-Thunderbolt (PTB) interconnect will be relatively affordable. As a result, Intel believes that it will be used in personal computers, tablets, smartphones, televisions and all other electronics. In general, the new PTB will rather be a replacement for DisplayPort, HDMI, TB, USB and many others. Intel believes that resolutions will quadruple by 2015 and those ultra high-definition (UHD) resolutions will need very fast data interconnections.

At present the data transfer protocols of the new interconnection technology are not described, but the Intel director said that they it would support PCI Express and DisplayPort among other things.

The world’s largest maker of semiconductors reportedly demonstrated what it said were working prototypes of the silicon chips used to transmit and receive the laser signals. It showed mock-ups of the cables that will carry the data, but those were not working samples and Intel did not show the interconnect technology in action. The cables will be thinner than those utilized for Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.

With optical cables involved, the next-generation post-Thunderbolt (post-Light Peak) interconnection technology will just be what the Light Peak, which promised to transfer data at up to 100Gb/s data-rate, was meant to be. Moreover, the projected performance of the post-Thunderbolt (PTB) means that the existing high-end interconnect will hardly scale by ten times in the next four years. But Thunderbolt will not be abandoned and will co-exist with the PTB in 2015.

Tags: Intel, Semiconductor, USB, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, HDMI


Comments currently: 10
Discussion started: 04/28/11 05:51:53 PM
Latest comment: 09/05/13 05:12:53 AM
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Is Intel moving too fast? Just released and not widely available Thunderbolt will be obsolete in 4 years...
1 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 04/28/11 05:51:53 PM]
- collapse thread

How is superior technology moving too fast? Because Intel will bankcrupt the company by not reaping the profits for each generation? I don't think so, because there is no competition. They can release what they want and when they want and they have a dynamic R&D department. Yey for the world.
0 0 [Posted by: TeemuMilto  | Date: 05/02/11 07:21:24 AM]
just like the ipad3 - obsolete in 6 months with incompatible input/output.
0 0 [Posted by: Michael Muller  | Date: 09/05/13 05:04:49 AM]

So Thunderbolt just came out and now Intel wants to use a new interconnect that will use new data transfer protocols? So basicly Thunderbolt will last 4 years, before Intel ditches it and goes to this. lol Yeah good luck Intel trying to sell Thunderbolt tech to companies now.....
1 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 04/28/11 11:51:46 PM]

for those thinking that thunderbolt will be obsolete in 4 years, think of this.

do you still have USB ports on your PC's ?
do you believe they will still be around for a few more years ?

PC makers and device makers need to support the technologies, and not always will a device maker go for the most expensive and highest-potential connector for something as simple as a mouse or printer,etc

while it is true we are intelligently evolving towards more unified connection standards, starting with the inception of the original USB interface, it will take more time for ALL makers of PC's and devices to use the same methods.

your USB, DVI, HDMI, displayport, thunderbolt, etc connections will be around a while longer while the two sides of the market forces (pc makers and device makers), consolidate their efforts.
0 0 [Posted by: p3ngwin  | Date: 04/29/11 12:27:35 AM]

The diff is USB has been around for a little over a decade now. USB is backwards compatible with older USB gen devices. Millions upon millions of devices support USB. USB holds the highest market share by far out of any interconnect technology. So of course USB is going to be here for a while to come, because of those reasons.

USB as also withstood other competitor interconnect devices over the years and came out ontop in the end. Remember Firewire? Firewire was faster then USB at one point when it first came out. Firewire was suppose to be the next best interconnect deivce standard, but now where is it? All but Dead. eSATA is still struggling to stake any real claim in the market after nearly 6 years of existance. Very few deivces support eSATA still to this day and it too will more then likely go the way of Firewire in the next few years. Thunderbolt will be no diff, especially now since Intel as basicly forcasted its death in 4 years and is going to replace it with a new interconnect device, which will put Thunderbolt in a real vice market wise considering no company is going to invest in mass producing an interconnect device that's not going to last very long.

The one major thing that USB has over on any of those competitive interconnect devices that tried to compete against USB over the years, is user compatibility, which is why USB has withstood the test of time. Your typical pc user cares more about compatibility then anything else and the more something is compatibile with other the devices the more it sales, due to supporting a wide range of devices that your typical everyday user uses. Which is why USB will continue to reign king of the interconnect devices for many years to come.
1 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 04/29/11 01:27:13 AM]

Isn't this what Light Peak was supposed to be before it was gimped down to be Thunderbolt?

Heck, this may still be Light Peak.
0 0 [Posted by: xrror  | Date: 04/29/11 01:16:03 PM]

I believe USB 3.0 will be here to stay.

Those "exotic" impl will probably only last in useless overpriced MACs...
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 04/30/11 01:46:36 AM]
- collapse thread

Not if it is faster.
0 0 [Posted by: TeemuMilto  | Date: 05/02/11 07:22:26 AM]

I just found out about thunderbolt today and now its gone. If anyone thinks it will be around, ask yourself: how many devices actually use it and is anyone buying these? This new technology sounds much better depending on how proprietary they make it.
0 0 [Posted by: Michael Muller  | Date: 09/05/13 05:12:53 AM]


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