Conspiracy theorists will have you believe the reason why Intel
is taking so long to natively support the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 transfer spec is because the Santa Clara chip maker is much more interested in promoting its Thunderbolt technology. The only problem with that theory (well, one of several, actually) is that Thunderbolt is still exclusive to Apple
, and if Intel's master plan was to bury USB, wouldn't it make sense to release a version for Windows PCs? Get ready for more conspiracy theories.
According to reports, Intel is telling its hardware partners that it will rain down its Thunderbolt technology on the Windows PC market in April 2012, news of which prompted several first-tier PC makers to prepare for the launch of natively supported motherboards, notebooks, and desktop PCs.
Presumably it will be a fair bit cheaper to implement Thunderbolt on PCs than it was when it was first announced. At the time, a Thunderbolt chip ran more than $20. Thunderbolt's high costs along with reasonably priced third-party USB 3.0 chips inevitably resulted in a lukewarm response from the IT industry. But with prices expected to drop in the first half of next year, Intel feels it's time for Thunderbolt to strike.