Thunderbolt™ Technology for Developers
The fastest connection to your PC1
Transforming device interconnectivity, Thunderbolt™ technology is a dual protocol I/O innovation that dramatically increases transfer performance with bi-directional 10 Gbps speed, and offers daisy chaining to multiple devices, providing flexibility and simplicity for innovative, thin system designs like laptops and Ultrabooks™.
Rethink I/O transfer
Enhancing performance with innovative design, Thunderbolt technology combines PCI Express* and DisplayPort I/O protocols onto a single highly-efficient metaprotocol. Single cable transmission along with traffic routing management (supporting daisy chains and hot-plugging devices) and intelligent hardware controllers like PCIe* deliver off-the-shelf connectivity to nearly any technology imaginable. And DisplayPort meets industry needs by supporting multiple HD displays and up to eight channels of HD audio.
As the building block to Thunderbolt technology, Thunderbolt controllers contain a high performance cross bar Thunderbolt protocol switch, a PCI Express switch, and one or more Thunderbolt ports, DisplayPorts, and PCI Express protocol adapter ports. By integrating all the features necessary to implement Thunderbolt into a single chip, the host-side controller enables system vendors to easily incorporate Thunderbolt technology into their designs.
Changing the PC industry
Leveraging the I/O protocols on a single transport enables engineers to innovate new system design configurations, allowing for standalone performance expansion technologies that use existing native device drivers. Thunderbolt technology also enables the introduction of thinner and lighter laptops without sacrificing I/O performance, and extends to reach other I/O technologies by using PCIe-based adapters, making gigabit Ethernet, FireWire*, or eSATA easy to create.
The computing industry is on board with Intel’s Thunderbolt™ technology, and adoption of the technology in 2013 is growing, especially among video makers creating the richest content. Already a standard feature of Mac computers, it’s now included on PCs and motherboards, as well as many peripheral devices; in addition, hundreds companies—and growing—are developing Thunderbolt technology-enabled products.
In April 2013, Intel announced plans for the Thunderbolt™ controller, an important advancement in I/O technology. Doubling the bandwidth to run at 20 Gbs, Thunderbolt technology enables simultaneous 4K video file transfer and display for eye-popping video and data capability. The result is great news for an industry on the cusp of widespread adoption of 4K video technologies.
Learn more about how Intel’s Thunderbolt™ 2 enables 4K video transfer and display >
Get up to speed
Many companies are shipping products and PCs in the market in these areas: computers, displays, high-speed data storage devices, audio and video devices, docking, and more.
Here are all the products that are shipping: Thunderbolt™ >
1. As compared to other PC I/O connection technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394 Firewire*. Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used. For more information go to http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-developer.html.