Intel Thunderbolt to Strike Windows PCs in April 2012

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News Posted: Tue, Dec 27 2011 11:44 AM
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.
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TheHinac replied on Tue, Dec 27 2011 1:15 PM

Fire-wire Failure all over again. More over its tech that's being forced out to help Intel's stock by forcing people to pay royalties for a tech that most people will never use. I have laptop with fire-wire, never used it. Like the person madcow3417 uses it for one thing. The original plan was to build it in to current usb 3.0 ports. But then Intel knew it wouldn't get off the ground, because now you have devices that are thunder and usb 3.0 going in the same port but 3.0 is cheap so what are people going to buy? Oh that's right the cheaper one. So now they have their own port style from my understanding. Which means eventually manufactures are going to be stuck going, crap everyone else is doing it and using it as a selling point now we have to too, to keep up. Problem is a lot of manufactures still chose not to adopt, and all cheaper systems still did not add it. Cheaper system comprise most systems sold. Such is the point. another Fire-wire failure.

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DDeveaux replied on Tue, Dec 27 2011 2:55 PM

Looks like Intel is planning on Ivy Bridge motherboards supporting Thunderbolt as well as USB 3.0 (based on the April timeline).

I agree with TheHinac in that Thunderbolt is likely to fail, but we'll just have to see what kinds of peripherals are able to take advantage of the Thunderbolt bus. Could we finally see the external GPU solutions for notebooks taking off once this becomes more standardized? I sure hope so!

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AKwyn replied on Tue, Dec 27 2011 7:23 PM

I have to disagree; if they would of gone for the same port then it wouldn't be the situation you specified, mainly because there are things you could use Thunderbolt for that you can't for USB 3.0; things such as graphics cards and multiple devices. If they did go that route then they could do the same thing by adding the Thunderbolt logo to specific devices to show that they are Thunerbolt capable (the specific devices being ones that make the most use of Thunderbolt.), and they can use Thunderbolt to further USB 3.0 ports as possible. But they didn't (mainly because they want their stuff to be more noticable, but less likely because the things that Thunderbolt could do wouldn't work when combined with USB 3.0.)

Frankly it's not like Firewire in the sense that it had more but it was absolutely pointless to support due to USB 2.0 working fine. I've read into Thunderbolt when it was called Light Peak and the idea of using Fiber connections as a computer wire is really interesting, mainly because of the tons of bandwidth that fiber provides; which can call for multiple devices, external graphics cards and even the transfer of really large media files. I'm one of the few who's not going to think that Thunderbolt is going to be a failure, mainly because it has a lot more going for it then Firewire; what I am is one of the people who thinks that Intel canibalized both USB 3.0 and SATA 6GBs to get Light Peak in there.

I mean it's obvious. If put into a lot of ports then USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s would of gained a massive market share and there'd be no place for Light Peak. Hense the reason why they limited the amount of USB 3.0/SATA 6GB/s support they put into it. It's pretty obvious when you compare a Intel motherboard to an AMD motherboard and see that there are many more ports of the latter technologies then the former; to the point where it becomes a sidelined technology. I mean sure, later motherboard do have more ports but I feel like the majority of those ports should of been USB 3.0/SATA 6GBs instead of the opposite. Because of this, Thunderbolt is in a position to strike, a position mainly caused by Intel's chipset decision.

USB 3.0 may be cheaper but unless Intel has an epiphany it's not going to be appearing in more ports; the day will soon come when motherboard with Thunderbolt ports will appear and USB 3.0 will be further sidelined into obsoletence. Again, it's cheap and Thunderbolt is faster but we shouldn't have to deal with this. They should just put out both technologies at an equal pace and see which one is better. Thunderbolt with it's bandwidth or USB 3.0 with it's cheapness... I mean if Thunderbolt is the future, prove it. Don't force it upon us by sidelining USB, that's not the way to make a successful technology.

Doesn't mean I'm against Thunderbolt, just don't think that this was the way it was supposed to be successful.

 

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realneil replied on Tue, Dec 27 2011 10:40 PM

Thunderbolt started out as Intel Light Peak Technology. It transferred data across Fiber Optic lines and was a lot faster than what was eventually released as Apple Thunderbolt.

Intel cut a deal with Apple for a 1 year exclusivity deal and made it work with copper wires instead of optics. This PC release is timed to coincide with the expiration of Apple's deal with Intel.

The high cost of Fiber Optic controllers probably killed off any widespread adaptation of Light Peak, resulting in Thunderbolt in all of it's copper glory.

If a board that I'm looking at has this on it, I'll go for it. But I don't know how fast I'll buy into expensive devices that use the interface.

USB 3.0 is darn fast and a lot less expensive for peripheral purchases. It's only just starting to wind up and hasn't seen it's apex yet.

 

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JZhao replied on Fri, Dec 30 2011 9:28 PM

wow cool cool 10gb/s but u have to pay $50 for the cable.

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