Acer Ditches Thunderbolt for USB 3.0
July 16, 2013 7:36 AM
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Thunderbolt is too expensive for anything other than "premium" machines
Acer is shying away from the
use of Thunderbolt
and will instead focus on USB for future machines.
According to Acer, Thunderbolt is for more high-end PCs and has become much too expensive. USB, on the other hand, has had a performance boost and offers more bang for their buck.
"We're really focusing on USB 3.0 -- it's an excellent alternative to Thunderbolt," said Ruth Rosene, Acer spokeswoman. "It's less expensive, offers comparable bandwidth, charging for devices such as mobile phones, and has a large installed base of accessories and peripherals."
Oddly, Acer became the first Windows PC company to use Thunderbolt back in 2012.
Thunderbolt is an ultra-fast communication technology developed by Intel that offers fast 10Gbps data-transfer rates. It was first commercially introduced in Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro, and is ideal for tasks like video editing.
Intel doesn't seem to be too worried about losing Acer, as many other manufacturers will be releasing "premium systems," which are more ideal for the use of Thunderbolt tech.
"PC adoption is increasing," said Jason Ziller, director of Intel's Client Connectivity Division. "There are more than a dozen new 4th-generation Intel Core processor-based platforms already launched with Thunderbolt, including from Lenovo, Dell, Asus, and others, with more coming throughout 2013. Thunderbolt is targeted toward premium systems. It is not targeted to be on mid-range or value systems in the next couple of years."
One of these PCs is the Dell One 27, which is an all-in-one (AIO) with a 27-inch screen for a starting price of $2,099 USD.
Ziller added that the company wants Thunderbolt to be ubiquitous among most PCs in about three to five years.
However, this could be tough due to the price of Thunderbolt. External hard drives with the technology are much more expensive than USB models, not to mention that Thunderbolt cables cost around $50 USD.
Back in June, Intel unveiled
, which is expected to be available by the end of this year. The second generation uses a new controller chip to merge the uni-directional channels into two 20 Gbps bi-directional channels.
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RE: Tech, tech, tech
7/17/2013 9:12:57 AM
Really, anything beyond connecting keyboards, mice, printers, cameras, and phones is a niche connector. USB2 was able to do that well enough for almost everybody 10 years ago (and USB was able to do most of that 15 yrs ago).
And the way of technology is to always look for something faster and smaller. Right now, Thunderbolt is both of those things.
As for what Thunderbolt can do... single connector external expansion. Not just storage, but it's fast enough to handle most PCIe expansion needs, in addition to video needs:
- Anything that would be happy on a 2x or 4x PCIe 2.0 bus. TV editors could capture HD video onto their laptops using PCIe cards and software they're already familiar with, and edit an episode on the plane.
- One could have a solution like an Apple Thunderbolt Display - one connector from laptop to display would get you two external screens, USB, ethernet, card readers, etc. Also, as an external screen would only need to have data going one way, an external GPU would have more headroom to work with (thus using most of the 20Gb/sec in one direction rather than having to send it out to a GPU and have the GPU send data back).
- PCIe cards for future connectors. Anybody who doesn't have eSata can use an external PCIe chassis to plug an eSata card in.
- 10 GBit ethernet dongles
- External PCIe storage - potential for 800 MB/sec flash drives?
The only thing it's missing out on is cost, and the ubiquity that goes along with something cheap/free. If USB3 weren't free from Intel (starting with Ivy Bridge), it would also be relegated to 'premium' status - heck, you still see laptops out there that only have one USB3 port and a handful of USB2 ports.
If Intel can somehow manage to include Thunderbolt on all chipsets and sell $10 cables (that Best Buy will still charge $20-30 for...), then Thunderbolt usage would jump significantly.
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