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  (Source: Intel)
New standard relies on smarter controller chip to offer optimized 20 Gbps bi-directional flow

At the 2013 Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan Intel Corp. (INTCunveiled its next generation successor to Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2.

Released in 2011, the original Thunderbolt was championed by Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  Many derided its expensive proprietary cables and the lack of peripherals.  But on paper the technology impressed with four uni-directional 10 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) channels.

Today there's many more compatible devices (roughly 80 by Intel's reckoning) and cable prices have begun to relax.  At the same time adoption among Windows personal computer makers has begun to heat up, thanks to roughly 30 compatible motherboards.

That's where Thunderbolt 2 comes enters the fray.

Thunderbolt 2
Thunderbolt line


Scheduled to land before the end of 2013, with a ramp up in 2014, the second generation technology uses a new controller chip to merge the uni-directional channels into two 20 Gbps bi-directional channels.  This will allow faster speeds when driving data primarily in a single direction (e.g. when copying files to a backup hard drive, etc.).

The good news for consumers is that owners of current generation Thunderbolt cables will be able to reuse them -- the cable design remains unchanged.  

Intel says that the new standard, previously codenamed "Falcon Ridge" will be useful in transferring 4K video from devices.  Currently transferring this resolution's massive files is a relatively slow and onerous process, depending on the video length.

Source: Intel





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