Fleshing out those Thunderbolt details

Thu, Mar 10, 2011


The star of Apple’s MacBook Pro refresh two weeks ago was undoubtedly Thunderbolt, a new and blazingly fast transfer technology developed by Intel and Apple. Delving deeper into the technology, Gelnn Fleishman of TidBits relays a lot of interesting info about Thunderbolt.

As for speed, Fleishman writes that Apple’s implementation of Thunderbolt is even faster than the advertised 10 Gbps up and down.

Thunderbolt has up to 20 Gbps available in each direction (full duplex), not 10 Gbps, in Apple’s version. While the Thunderbolt specification talks about 10 Gbps to and from a host, Apple’s version incorporates two channels over the same cable: one is apparently dedicated to DisplayPort for video, and the other for PCI Express data. This allows up to 20 Gbps (raw) and reportedly a substantial fraction of that in true throughput in each direction. This will let you run two high-resolution displays (which take Gbps of uncompressed data to service) and a super-fast RAID drive (demonstrated by Promise Technology) or multiple drives that can work at full speed.

Some other nuggets include the fact that users, for the time being, won’t be able to boot from a Thunderbolt connected drive, as opposed to USB and Firewire. This is likely to change in the future, Fleishman writes, if Thunderbolt adoption becomes widespread.

There’s a whole lot more to read up on over here in the full entry.


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