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Friday, 25 February 2011 13:34

Apple claims dibs on Thunderbolt

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Intel's Light Peak goes smug
Apple has refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup with several new features and it has also dropped Nvidia in favor of AMD in the discrete graphics department.

One novel feature incorporated in the design is Intel’s Light Peak technology, or Thunderbolt. Basically it is an advanced I/O port that delivers transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, twice the speed of USB 3.0 and 12 times faster than FireWire.

It uses PCIe x4 for data transfer and relies on DisplayPort for video, all in a single package. It can also be used to daisy-chain a number of devices without a hub, something that USB can only dream of. The new technology does not require an Intel platform and it could end up on quite a few platforms.

Apple is the first taker and it will be the exclusive Thunderbolt user for a few weeks and months. However, storage makers seem keen to embrace the new standard and there’s a good chance we will see some peripherals quite soon. Bear in mind that many Apple users are into content-intensive applications, i.e. video, hence Thunderbolt could be a godsend for many professionals.

Thunderbolt, or Light Peak, is a very promising piece of tech, but it will take a few years before we see significant market penetration. The fact that it has already been embraced by industry heavyweight Apple make a world of difference.
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