Tag: thunderbolt

Apple gets Thor about Thunderbolt display and smites it

Thor.TDW.battle.cropApple is giving up on its Thunderbolt Display which it first introduced in the summer of 2011.

A spokesApple said that the the display will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers while supplies last, but it will not make any more of them.

The move has pundets puzzled and the Tame Apple Press thinks it means a new 4K or 5K display is on the horizon.

Stock shortages ahead of WWDC sparked rumors that Apple might be planning to introduce a new display at the event. Nothing happened and and Apple instead focused on dull software for iOS devices, Macs, Apple TVs, and Apple Watch devices.

But rumors that Apple was working on a 5K display have been around for a while. If they are true then it would have  resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels, USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 peripherals.

It might have an AMD graphics chip inside so that anyone with the right connection could get a better looking screen.  Another suggestion is that it might have a DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport setup to stitch two halves of a display together to make one display.

However this is normal PR spinning after Apple kills off one product. The assumption is that it must have “something new” when it might just not be doing much at all.


Intel improves Thunderbolt

Bag maker Chipzilla took time out from its gruelling fashion show season to provide its Thunderbolt 2 with networking capability.

Thunderbolt Networking can connect computers with a standard Thunderbolt cable. So far about the only thing the technology could do is connect peripherals to computers and then mostly on Apple gear.

Thunderbolt Networking emulates an Ethernet connection to deliver 10GbE throughput between linked computers.

Writing in his bog, Intel’s Dan “fucking Mike Magee, fucking Mike Magee” Snyder said support for the technology is already built into Apple’s OS X Mavericks operating system and a PC driver for connecting PCs to PCs and PCs to Macs “will soon be available”.

Intel claims Thunderbolt Networking will be important for media professionals using Mac and PC workstations, “adding a new level of workflow flexibility” as well as providing lightning-fast backup and upgrade capabilities across computers.

So far Thunderbolt 2-enabled products include the 2013 Apple Mac Pro, Z Workstation systems from HP, AJA’s CION camera, and external storage drives from LaCie, Western Digital, and Promise Technologies, as well as products from AkiTio, ATTO, Cubix, G-Technology (HGST), HighPoint, Magma, mLogic, Maxx Digital, OWC, and Sonnet, Intel said.

However, it is not clear what the cost of moving to such technology for networking would be. The cost of connectors for peripherals is much more expensive than Ethernet. 

HP claims first workstation Ultrabook

Hewlett Packard showed off its ZBook 14 with Thunderbolt technology for high-speed data transfer – touted to be four times faster than the current USB 3.0.

HP Z mobile and desktop workstations now can take advantage of high-speed data transmission between Z workstations, displays and peripherals, for a fast and versatile I/O connection.

Intel’s Thunderbolt controller chips interconnect a PC and other devices. They transmit and receive information for both PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort protocols. The controller chip switches between the two protocols to support communications over a single cable. Multiple devices can be connected to one Thunderbolt port.

The HP ZBook 14 with Thunderbolt joins HP’s Z Portfolio of workstations and displays that are engineered, tested, and certified for use by professionals in such diverse areas as CAD, architecture, design, engineering and animation. Those in the fields of education, healthcare, government, and film will also benefit from the Z product family.

The HP ZBook Mobile Workstations have a thinner and lighter industrial design than their predecessors. The HP ZBook family includes HP ZBooks 14, 15 and 17.

They ship with Intel’s Haswell, although graphics are provided by AMD and Nvidia including Keplar based professional graphics.

Other workstations, the HP Z420, Z620 and Z820, will include Intel Xeon E5-1600v2 and E5-2600v2 families of processors (Ivy Bridge) and 16 percent faster memory. HP’s Z620 is their most versatile workstation, with up to 24 discrete processing cores, up to 192 GB of ECC memory, up to 12 TB of high-speed storage, and up to NVIDIA K6000 or dual NVIDIA K5000 high speed graphics abilities. The HP Z420, their most popular workstation, offers expandability in an accessible tool-free mini-tower form factor.

A fair few Thunderbolt products were on display at IDF. The Thunderbolt product showcase brochure shows more than 90 devices which have been certified for either the Mac or the PC, including the Sonnet xMac Mini Server, LaCie5 Big, and G-Technology G-RAID. Add the ATTO ThunderLink FC 1082, Apple Thunderbolt Display, and Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera to that list.

The workstations and enhanced versions of the existing line are all set to be available next month.

Intel Thunderbolt improvements are vapourware

Intel has been showing off its next-generation Thunderbolt technology which boasts double the speed and backward compatibility of the earlier versions. The technology does look good on paper and the fact that it is going under the bonnet of Apple machines means that it is guaranteed a lot of excited free publicity from the Apple frenzied press.

However, it has not been announced when, or if it is ever going to be released.  The way things are going, it is unlikely to see the light of day at all. To recap, the new Thunderbolt supports up to 20Gbps bidirectionally and the cables can now support both transferring a 4K video and putting it on screen at the same time. This is all good stuff, but Thunderbolt is technology that is rarely seen outside Apple, where it is prohibitively expensive and being outclassed by cheap and cheerful USB technology.

Intel claims that it will build the newer version of Thunderbolt, codenamed Falcon Ridge, into its next major generation of chipsets, and it will make its way into products at the “end of this year,” with a “ramp in 2014”. But Thunderbolt has been largely a missed opportunity by Intel. By teaming up with Apple on the project it more or less guaranteed it would be headed for obscurity. Even if Intel does ramp up production, chances are that it will only be seen on Apple gear. Intel should have known better.

This is exactly what happened with Apple’s other interconnect technology Firewire. Firewire is a serial bus interface standard for high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer which was developed by Apple to much acclaim.  It first appeared in 1999 and most Apple computers have FireWire ports. But it has not seen much take-up besides that and part of the problem is that although Jobs’ Mob is big when it comes to mobile, this sort of technology is part of Apple’s fairly flaccid PC business. Apple also made the set up too expensive, especially in comparison to USB. All this has flowed into the lack-lustre way that Thunderbolt has failed to take off. Apple’s lack of enthusiasm to sell its technology also left Intel in the lurch.

So far only Acer has signed up to use the technology. Given the lack of take up in the industry, and the fact that no one other than Apple seems to want it, we do not believe that we will see much of it at all. By 2014 the new versions of USB 3 will wipe the floor with Thunderbolt.  

While the USB technology will not be faster, it will be cheaper and will be backed by the rest of the industry. Had Intel thought about how Apple handled Firewire, it would have wondered if it was better to find another partner to develop Thunderbolt. 

How Apple and Intel killed Thunderbolt

It is starting to look like Intel’s and Apple’s plan to kill off firewire and USB with Thunderbolt is grinding into a Titanic iceberg.

It all seemed too good to be true. Intel and Apple had winning technology which was much faster than anything else on the market.

While USB 2.0 was followed by USB 3.0, which allowed data to be transferred at speeds of up to five gigabits per second, Thunderbolt could top that.

Thunderbolt was being seen in Apple gear including the MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini and MacBook Air. Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Asus have also developed machines that use Thunderbolt.

But that is where the technology ground to a halt.

USB 3.0 has become practically universal and appeared in notebooks and desktops from every manufacturer, including Dell, Sony, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Asus.

Apple has sheepishly started adding USB 3.0 to its machines, even while it says that Thunderbolt is superior.

Part of the problem is that Intel relied too much on Apple, which had no particular interest in keeping the cost of the products down. This resulted in technology that was far too expensive for most punters to be bothered with.

For example, you can pick up a 1TB, USB 3.0-supported hard drive for less than $100 which is nearly half the cost of a 1TB Thunderbolt hard drive.

AMD is about to stick its oar in and will probably kill off the Thunderbolt completely.

AMD wants to release a low-cost Thunderbolt competitor in 2013 which it has dubbed Lightning Bolt. The technology was unveiled last year and while some argue about its superiority, it does mean that there will be more alternatives to Thunderbolt which are much cheaper.

Then there is the news that developers are trying to increase the USB 3.0 transfer speeds from 5Gbps to 10Gbps. If this can be achieved, it will eliminate one of Thunderbolt’s key advantages.

What Intel and Apple should have done, if they wanted the technology to gain any traction, was to subsidise the early work on Thunderbolt until it had a market presence. But Apple was too keen to make an outrageous mark up on Thunderbolt peripherals which only its limited fanbase was stupid enough to pay for.

As a result, Thunderbolt is going to be as dead as a dodo as a flood of cheaper technology hits the market and Apple and Intel will be left with nothing for their efforts. 

Intel about to release new Thunderbolt

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that Intel intends to release a new Thunderbolt controller.

The new Thunderbolt will have double the speed compared to the existing one and can do 20Gbps when it is going down hill and the wind is behind it.

According to X-bit all this will be a precurser for a super-fast Thunderbolt next year which will manage speeds of a terabyte.

This year will see a Thunderbolt controller code-named Falcon Ridge as well as DisplayPort v1.1a and DisplayPort v1.2 Redriver.

The new Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt chip improves speed by running PCI Express 3.0 technology outside the PC.

The new Thunderbolt will continue to use copper cables but to get the sorts of speeds next year that the rumours are suggesting Intel will have to move to optical cables.

Intel is not saying anything but as far as rumours go, this one makes some sense. 

ASUS releases new extreme Intel board

ASUS has introduced a new motherboard which is based on the Intel Z77 chipset and supports a fair chunk of Chipzilla’s 2nd and 3rd generation Core processors.

Dubbed the ROG Maximus V Extreme, the board has a ROG OC Key attachment which allows for detailed OSD TweakIt and OSD Monitor for parameter modification.

This means that it is possible to work on the hardware level to enable real time adjustments and provide detailed system info, without having to tax the CPU.

The board also comes with Subzero Sense technology, which can detect deep-freeze cooling of critical components, and Intel’s 10GB Thunderbolt connection.

ASUS said that the ROG Maximus V Extreme includes a VGA Hotwire, which allows for quick DIY soldering of voltage points on the board and select ASUS graphics cards. This is designed to make sure that the motherboard works better with GPUs and it also improves overall tuning performance.

The bought has five PCI Express 3.0 slots, two of which are native-linked to the CPU to improve graphics performance. There is an NVIDIA 4-way SLI and AMD CrossFireX which have been tarted up with a LucidLogix Virtu MVP multi-GPU optimisation.

It also adds mSATA and works together with Intel Smart Response Technology to accelerate data access through solid state hybrid storage.

As you might expect from a gaming and overclocker’s board, this is not cheap. Prices on one site set it at $539.41 

Intel boasts Thunderbolt will be everywhere

Intel says that there will be a hundred devices packed with its Thunderbolt connections by the end of the year.

So far the only people to see a Thunderbolt connection have been Apple users.

This announcement is pretty good news because it means that you can plug multiple things into the one port and have transfer speeds which outclass USB 3.0.

The announcement was made during a 52-minute presentation  at the IDF conference in Beijing, by VP of the Intel PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen.

Skaugen said that there were already dozens of Thunderbolt connections available in the marketplace on products like storage devices.

He said that Intel was on track to deliver approximately a hundred different devices by the end of the year, and into 2013, there will be hundreds of different Thunderbolt devices.

Thunderbolt is expected to be seen on some Ultrabooks this year. The fact that the height of some laptops are now starting to be limited by the physical size of VGA connectors means that Thunderbolt will let designers squeeze the chassis size even more. 

Intel optical interface to finally become optical

Intel wants Light Peak technology aka Thunderbolt, to be the absolutely best peripheral interface. It’s an ‘agnostic’ medium capable of running data over fibre optic cabling at the rate of 10Gb/s (bidirectional), no matter if it is on a DisplayPort protocol or a more generic PCI Express 2.0.

With Thunderbolt, you have the ability to stream copious amounts of data including HD video streams, non-descript data and interface multiple devices, basically doing away with unnecessary plugs on your computing device.

Intel hit a snag, however. In order to get the technology out the door at an affordable price, the option to replace fibre optics with copper wire was made. Copper offered the distinct ability to carry power and data over the medium, Thunderbolt offered the data carrying ability, but not the power, so the former was used.

Fast-forward three years and it seems that Intel will be releasing fibre optic cabling this year, sans power, to interconnect devices. According to IDG News Service, Intel spokesman Dave Salvator has reiterated the company will maintain a 2012 release schedule for 100 percent fibre optic Thunderbolt which will finally deliver the intended capacity over longer distances, with full duplex ability. Apple, which is the only vendor currently carrying Thunderbolt interfaces on their computers, will be able to plug in the new cabling directly in existing devices.

Fibre optic Thunderbolt is still quite expensive, and so far has been restricted to prototypes, but if it pans out, devices will be able to connect at dozens of metres instead of the limited six metres offered today by copper wire.

Naturally, you’ll still be able to use copper Thunderbolt, but the lack of competition in the market has kept the precious cable at a whopping £39, on the Apple store site. Expect companies such as Belkin and Kensington to jump in on the opportunity to sell you expensive fibre optic cabling soon.

Considering that fibre optic cabling will end up costing an arm and a leg, the argument for a major consumer product will be postponed for a while, with the technology being better suited to connect very high-end displays and networking devices.

Intel wants to speed up Thunderbolt

Chipzilla is apparently working to speed up data transfer speeds on Thunderbolt.

Speaking to PC World Intel said that in the future Thunderbolt will support the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol to shuttle data faster between host devices and peripherals. Thunderbolt interconnect currently uses older PCI-Express 2.0 technology.

It is not clear when this upgrade will happen, as Chipzilla is refusing to say.

PCI-Express 2.0 technology can transfer a full-length, high-definition movie from an external storage device to a laptop in less than 30 seconds. PCIe 3.0 will go at 8 gigatransfers per second, which is a significant improvement over PCIe 2.0, which has a transfer speed of 5 gigatransfers per second.

So far take up of Thunderbolt has been slow with only Apple and Lenovo signing up to it. Chipzilla said that it wants to unite many data-transfer, networking and display protocols through a single, unified connector.

Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort, and Intel has said it could bring USB 3.0 support in as well. Intel plans to get rid of the Thunderbolt copper wires and move to optical interconnects that could make data transfers even speedier.

Intel has been doing its best to get PCI-Express 3.0 at the chipset level. The Xeon E5 chip integrates PCIe 3.0 in the processor. It is expected that Ivy Bridge will also support the technology.