Thunderbolt Technology Explained

Developed by Intel and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt  technology transforms the foundation of peripheral connectivity.

Support for Existing Protocols

Thunderbolt technology supports both data and display protocols simultaneously over a single cable. Integrating the two communication methods (PCI Express and DisplayPort) enables new and exciting ways to simplify our lives at home and the office. Both protocols on the same cable allow the creation of even thinner laptops while limiting the amount of connections between devices. This powerful yet flexible technology can connect to a wide variety of devices, such as peripherals, displays, storage, docking stations, audio/video devices, and more.

Using copper cables, the Thunderbolt technology offers transfer rates superior to rackmount fibre channel storage. These cables have a proven track record of extraordinary flexibility and durability, no matter where they are used. Further, the cables easily fit into a Mini DisplayPort interface to assure backward compatibility with numerous displays.

Daisy Chain and Multi-Tasking Throughput

Thunderbolt technology supports daisy-chaining up to six computer peripherals.

A single cable attached to one of the ports provides two channels of up to 10Gb/s in both directions. This means that video and data can be pushed both ways without compromising the bandwidth. On a single line, an editor can digitize HD from a video source while playing high resolution images on a display

The Fastest Connection

This new high-speed cable technology connects computers and electronic devices together like never before. Thunderbolt technology supports two 10Gb/s bi-directional channels from a single port, the fastest data connection available on a personal computer. At 10Gb/s, a full-length HD movie can be transferred in less than 30 seconds.

The fast Thunderbolt technology transfer rates will be vital to multiple environments as consumers and professionals continue to manage the ever-growing amount of digital media. Content creation, IT administration, data and content delivery, digital libraries, and home storage will all benefit from this new and dynamic performance. While it once may have taken hours to back up servers or hundreds of 2K HD files, an IT administrator or an editor can see hundreds of gigabytes of data and large format media copied in a fraction of that time.

Consider a video project that must be delivered to multiple sites. The original HD camera footage can be quickly copied in the field to multiple drives on the same daisy chain. Once the high-speed copies are finished, the lightweight drives can be rushed to their respective destinations for plug and play connectivity and fast data downloads.

Thunderbolt technology also guarantees sustained transfer rates with very low latency. This means that video editors and graphic artists will never lose a frame when working on their high resolution HD projects. As well, sound designers will benefit from low latency by a significant reduction in phase distortion and much more accurate time synchronization between audio and video.

Source: Lacie

July 2011Technical documentation