AMD comes up with answer to Thunderbolt

If you had a look around CES for products which include Intel’s Thunderbolt you can’t help but notice they are pricey. Now it seems that AMD is planning to come up with a rival technology which it calls Lightning Bolt by the end of the year.

According to Anandtech, Lightning Bolt will deliver USB 3.0, DisplayPort and Power over a single cable with mini DisplayPort connectors.

It has been demonstrating the technology at CES but is otherwise keeping it under wraps.

If it does get into production then it will clean Thunderbolt’s clock in terms of cost and efficiency.

Lightning Bolt merges power, DisplayPort and USB 3.0 into a single DP-like cable. The cable connects to a Lightning Bolt breakout box that would provide USB 3.0, DisplayPort and power ports. The cable is a standard mini-DP cable with changes on only two of the pins.

What this means is that it will be possible to build cheap single-cable docking stations for notebooks. It could cost only about a dollar a machine and will be later integrated into the PC or notebook.

So far there are some performance and power limitations to the design. AMD said that it has not managed to get a full speed on its USB 3.0 transfers and it is not saying how much power the interface will take.

Lightning Bolt won’t be out in in time for Trinity but we should see it by the end of the year.