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Intel Portables Hardware

Expect Hundreds of Thunderbolt Devices, Says Intel 351

An anonymous reader writes "Thunderbolt ports have been spotted on a PC motherboard, but the reality is that the technology is far from mainstream outside of Apple products. Which is why it is interesting to hear Intel predict that 'a hundred' Thunderbolt devices are expected to be on the market by the end of the year. The comment was made this week at Intel's presentation at IDF in Beijing. Ultrabooks with Thunderbolt are expected to appear this year."
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Expect Hundreds of Thunderbolt Devices, Says Intel

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  • erm... what? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by FrozenFood ( 2515360 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:36PM (#39659591)

    call me 5 minutes old, but what is thunderbolt? a new x86 standard? a new arduino clone?

    rate me down... again.. but I think the header should have had more info.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:40PM (#39659681)

    I understand it's just another port to plug things in. Just what we need, laptops with fifteen different input and output ports

    You don't appear to understand it at all.

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:54PM (#39659969) Journal

    Ah, finally we can have one port to rule them all! It's about time.

    I think this [] is appropriate.

  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:13PM (#39660349)

    So by taking the stuff out of the computer, and putting it into other "stuff", we are going to create an explosion of soul-sucking, space-sucking, power-sucking transformers and cheap little crappy enclosures for externalized ports.
    That is until some vendor says: "Hey, let me put all those external ports you need into one box for you!"
    And then the next vendor says: "Hey, let me put those ports in the monitor for you"
    And then the next vendor says: "Hey, my monitor and computer are the same box, so lets put it all back inside"
    At that point we will be right back where we started, but will have spent tons of money we didnt need to spend.
    And what happened to DisplayPort. Thats gotta be the shortest obsolescence cycle on record.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:24PM (#39660577) Journal
    Architecturally, this is true: with the ugly exception of the fact that a very high speed peripheral bus and a video-out interface were bodged into the same connector for no wildly obvious reason.

    Because Firewire was a data-only thing, the probability that a given device would daisy-chain was actually pretty decent in the real world, and you could put the non-cooperative freak on the end of the chain. Thunderbolt more analogous to a port that sneaks firewire into your VGA-out(albeit in a way that makes splitting much more complex than a simple mechanical pinout adapter, is my understanding). Because there are loads of video-only devices in the world, the vast majority don't daisy-chain because video devices aren't expected to.

    This is the trouble for Thunderbolt: As with classy firewire devices, most of the "thunderbolt peripherals" daisy-chain just fine. However, your Thunderbolt port is also your only video-out port, and something north of 99% of monitors, TVs, projectors, etc. have never heard of this 'daisy-chain' business.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:31PM (#39660743) Journal
    All a geek should need to know is "externalize PCIe". All the speed of an internal bus (and more) without having to physically put the card into the machine, and even being able to do it at a distance.

    You left out "insanely expensive active cabling, safely locked up under patent for its entire realistic lifetime".

    This will survive right up until people actually take notice, buy something using it, then shit a uranium brick when they go to buy a longer cord.
  • by Sez Zero ( 586611 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:36PM (#39660837) Journal

    Or your VESA bus, or your MCA bus, or your EISA bus. Or your firewire...

    But what about my short, yellow bus? Can parent still use that?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:55PM (#39661217) Journal
    Oh, don't get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for the engineers who got a very fast bus working over cables that Joe User can be trusted with, for comparatively cheap. My point was merely that, because the bus is tied to the displayport, rather than just being an external 4x PCIe port, it is assured that most every use case already has a daisy-chain incompatible peripheral in the mix, the video device. Had the two not been combined, that wouldn't have been true.

    The fact that getting the two signals into one connector is technically impressive is true; but it's still a handicap for all but terminal minimalists.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:59PM (#39661307)
    "for no wildly obvious reason"
    Except for a single cable that replaces a laptop dock. You might argue that there isn't much additional functionality that Thunderbolt has over a dock, the major advantage is that Thunderbolt will be universal while a dock is limited only to a manufacturer and even only to certain models from that manufacturer.

    Also, DisplayPort or mini-DisplayPort is the the connector which is cable compatible with HDMI and you don't need to daisy chain it.

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:59PM (#39661313)

    You make a somewhat valid point, but think about it from the vendor's point of view:

    You need to have computers support TB before you can really sell devices using TB. People don't buy a hard drive or monitor, and then find a computer that will use it; they find a computer they want and then buy a hard drive or monitor that will work with *that*, simply because it's cheaper to buy a new monitor than it is to buy a new computer.

    The laptop I have on preorder has a TB port. I don't particularly care about that either way - it seems to have displaced the eSATA port, and the only eSATA device I have works as USB just as well. But, when I'm out shopping for [device] in a year from now, TB will be an option, and possibly the best option.

    Vendors know, through long experience, to build up the supporting devices (ones that support the new standard as well as old ones) well before making devices that primarily or exclusively use the new standard. Even a decade after USB 1.1, computers had legacy PS/2 ports for keyboards and mice. Even years after DVI was itself made technically obsolete, computers were coming with VGA ports.

    Remember when USB first came out? At first, nothing really used it. You'd see printers support it as an option, right next to the old parallel port; you'd see a few USB mice and keyboards, often packaged with a PS/2USB converter. But now, you have to look long and hard to find a computer *without* USB, and finding legacy PS/2 keyboards or parallel cables is rather difficult.

    Thunderbolt isn't guaranteed to take off the same way (remember FireWire? Or the countless mini-DVI ports? Or any other failed standard?), but it *could*. And so device manufacturers throw it in, especially since Intel's chipsets support it *anyways*. It's another bullet point to put on the marketing, but it could be that small little edge against [competitor], right?

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