Intel kicked off its activities at Computex with a showcase of products that will make use of the high-speed Thunderbolt interface on Windows PCs. The company showed off key devices from manufacturers, including Asus, Lenovo, Gigabyte, Apple, Blackmagic, Seagate, Promise Technology and LaCie. Intel also showed off its latest “Cactus Ridge” generation of controller chips and the new “Port Ridge” single-port device-only controller. Previous Thunderbolt chips have been larger and less easy to implement.
The Thunderbolt connector
Intel representatives also promised cheaper Thunderbolt cables, without mentioning any specific price point. The high US$ 50 price of existing Thunderbolt cables has been a common criticism of the interface since its introduction on Apple Macs in early 2011. That translates to some Rs. 2,700 for just a cable. Fiber optic cabling also increases the possible length of a Thunderbolt cable to 30m, as opposed to 3m with the current copper cable standard.
$50 a piece!
The company also repeatedly stressed that not all current Mac-friendly Thunderbolt devices will work on Windows platforms. Peripheral vendors will need to create fresh Windows-certified drivers for each device. Thunderbolt combines the high-speed PCI express bus and the DisplayPort standard into a 10 Gbps bi-directional interface. Thunderbolt devices can be daisy-chained to reduce clutter. The cables can carry power as well as data signals. DisplayPort monitors are fully compatible and can be plugged into any Thunderbolt port.
Some of the Intel boards supporting Thunderbolt
Many of Intel’s vendors have been launching and announcing Thunderbolt capable motherboards leading upto Computex 2012. ASUS announced the launch of their P8Z77-V PREMIUM motherboards — the flagship product of the P8Z77 Series and the first Intel certified motherboard in the market to offer the latest Thunderbolt connection interface. Apple has been Thunderbolt ready for a while and they even have displays that use Thunderbolt. PCs, on the other hand are yet to adopt Thunderbolt and there’s no news from any of the popular PC component manufacturers or display manufacturers of when that might happen. Intel has a lot more happening at Computex this year, we’re on the ground, so stick around to find out!
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