At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show this week in Las Vegas, Intel Corp. made some key announcements regarding Thunderbolt technology. The company revealed new-generation controllers and disclosed plans to boost the speed of future implementations of Thunderbolt to 20Gb/s.
At the show, Intel introduced the Intel DSL4510/4410 Thunderbolt controllers which add DisplayPort 1.2 capability when connecting to native DP displays, improve power management, and reduce platform BOM cost.
Intel also previewed early prototype silicon of its next-generation Thunderbolt controller codenamed Falcon Ridge, which runs at 20Gb/s, enabling 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously. Initial production is expected before the end of this year, with ramp in 2014. The new - Falcon Ridge - Thunderbolt chip clearly improves speed by implementing PCI Express 3.0 technology outside the PC. From what has been told, it is obvious that it will continue to use copper cables.
Thunderbolt technology supports two low-latency communications protocols - PCI Express for data transfer and DisplayPort for displays. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable. With the two independent channels, a full 10Gb/s of bandwidth can be provided for the first device in the chain of the devices. All Thunderbolt technology devices share a common Mini DisplayPort connector. Intel's Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols and thus makers need to develop or use additional controllers to make their products compatible with the TB I/O interface.