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2011-12-5 16:45:06 Intel, Apple show off Thunderbolt: photos  

Intel announced and demoed its new peripheral connectivity technology called Thunderbolt yesterday, formerly known as Light Peak. It offers speeds of 10Gbps (around 1.25Gbps), twice that of USB 3.0 with almost zero overhead.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

The new Thunderbolt technology will be available in Apple's new MacBook Pro, which was also announced yesterday. One of the new MacBook Pro notebooks was used at Intel's demo.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Thunderbolt shares the same port design as DisplayPort technology and is compatible with DisplayPort 1.1 or later. Looking from Apple's perspective, Thunderbolt is DisplayPort, plus much more.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

The new MacBook Pro comes with only one Thunderbolt port. This one port, however, can be used to connect to multiple devices via daisy chain.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

It was connected to a six-bay external hard drive and Apple's Cinema Display monitor at the same time. This is possible thanks to the fact that the external hard drive has two Thunderbolt ports. One is connected to the notebook, the other to the external display. Thunderbolt allows for connecting up to seven devices this way, without lowering the bandwidth.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

The six-bay external hard drive is from Promise. Intel says that, apart from Apple, there are a wide range of hardware vendors that have adopted Thunderbolt, which means consumers can expect many Thunderbolt-enabled products in the near future.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Also available at the demo was another, more portable, hard drive from LaCie, the Little Big Disk.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

It also comes with two Thunderbolt ports.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

The demo showcased the unprecedented throughput speeds that Thunderbolt offers, which is around 700Mbps in the photo. Note that existing hard drives offer a maximum of just 6Gbps speeds via the third generation of SATA.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Intel's press conference announcing the new technology.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Thunderbolt allows for high-speed bidirectional connectivity. It uses both copper and optical cables. The former has the max length of 3 metres, and the latter can be many metres long. The technology can be used with any existing peripheral protocols (USB, FireWire, eSATA) via adapters.

It can't be upgraded via add-in adapters, however, and users will need to get a new computer or motherboard. According to Intel, Thunderbolt is designed to co-exist with USB and will slowly change the way users interact with peripheral devices. In the future, the technology can be scaled up to support speeds of up to 100Gbps.

Via CNET
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