Intel Unlocks 4K Video Transfer With ‘Thunderbolt 2’ Technology

Intel’s Thunderbolt interface technology is not yet ubiquitous, although it’s common among Macs and slowly catching on in the PC industry, but the company is already plowing forward with a new controller called “Falcon Ridge” that promises to double Thunderbolt’s already impressive 10Gbps.

The technology is being called “Thunderbolt 2” and offers a whopping 20Gbps of bandwidth. The way it works is that two previously-separate 10Gbps channels are combined into a single, bi-directional channel, and that new channel can handle both data and display.

Thunderbolt 2

On its face this is a big deal, but Thunderbolt 2 is important because it will help unlock 4K video; additionally, the technology will support DisplayPort 1.2 so a user could stream 4K video to a single monitor or to dual displays.

“By combining 20Gbs bandwidth with DisplayPort 1.2 support, Thunderbolt 2 creates an entirely new way of thinking about 4K workflows, specifically the ability to support raw 4K video transfer and data delivery concurrently,” says Jason Ziller, Intel’s Marketing Director for Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt 2

As for partners, LaCie is already apparently developing (or at least tinkering with) products that would offer Thunderbolt 2 capabilities, including but limited to a LaCie Little Big Disk unit that would offer unprecedented high-performance external storage.

Intel was otherwise light on details surrounding Thunderbolt 2 and Falcon Ridge, including when it may appear on consumer devices.