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Intel Networking Windows Hardware Technology

Thunderbolt On Windows: Hardware and Performance Explored 177

MojoKid writes "Intel's Light Peak technology eventually matured into what now is known in the market as Thunderbolt, which debuted initially as an Apple I/O exclusive last year. Light Peak was being developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple. It wasn't a huge surprise that Apple got an early exclusivity agreement, but there were actually a number of other partners on board as well, including Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise and Western Digital. On the Windows front, Thunderbolt is still in its infancy and though there are still a few bugs to work out of systems and solutions, Thunderbolt capable motherboards and devices for Windows are starting to come to market. Performance-wise in Windows, the Promise RAID DAS system tested here offers near 1GB/s of peak read throughput and 500MB/s for writes, which certainly does leave even USB 3.0 SuperSpeed throughput in the dust."
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Thunderbolt On Windows: Hardware and Performance Explored

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  • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <slashdot3@just[ ... t ['con' in gap]> on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @04:46PM (#40300631)

    If only they could have just multiplexed a USB over the displayport, or firewire, but no, they had to provide a root access connector that is now standardized across many devices.

    You don't have even the slightest idea what you're talking about. You grabbed hold of a few concepts that you apparently don't fully comprehend and then used them to rant about surveillance. A sibling of mine posted the IOMMU thing already, but that wasn't the only howler in your post. Firewire also allows DMA [] so your purported solution wouldn't work for exactly the wrong reasons you were complaining about Thunderbolt. And even if they were legitimate objections, you're screwed if an attacker has physical access anyway.

  • by bobcat7677 ( 561727 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @04:59PM (#40300779) Homepage
    Not quite right. The current generation of SSDs (Intel 520 and others) are already pushing the bandwidth limits of SATA 3.0 (600MB/s including overhead) and are already leaving USB3 (400MB/s including overhead) in the dust now. And that is just a single disk. If you want to attach a DAS RAID for high bandwidth media editing or whatever, you better be using SAS for dedicated bandwidth to each disk or you are wasting your time. USB3.0 is worlds better then 2.0 was for storage, but it's already been outpaced by drives and SATA will soon be in the same boat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @05:45PM (#40301453)

    I don't think that's the target. Look what Apple has done with Thunderbolt: it's their primary docking adapter for their laptops and they've made their new monitors the equivalent of docking stations. Basically, it has just enough bandwidth to carry a DisplayPort signal plus USB.

    I realize you're not trashing it and it was probably a verbal slipup, but I have to say, you seem to have an odd definition of "just enough". ;)

    One Thunderbolt connector carries two full-duplex 10 Gb/s links, or 20 Gb/s total (bidirectional). 60Hz refresh of a 2560x1440 27" display with 8 bits per channel needs 2560*1440*3*8*60 = 5.3 Gb/s. One lane of PCIe 2.0 is equivalent to 4 Gb/s (5 nominal, but 8b10b line coding means it's 4 actual, while Thunderbolt has a much-closer-to-100% efficient line coding). So Thunderbolt can refresh Apple's Thunderbolt Display with enough bandwidth left over for >3 PCIe 2.0 lanes.

    The Thunderbolt Display doesn't just have USB, by the way. It also has a gigabit ethernet port and FW800. Those, and the USB, are all local PCI Express host controllers which communicate to the computer by tunneling PCIe through Thunderbolt. That's how Thunderbolt works: it tunnels PCIe and DisplayPort packets. All other protocols require a PCI Express host controller at the far end.

  • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @05:53PM (#40301555)

    I remember USB being very rare in the Bondi iMac days... Intel might have put the controllers on their boards but a lot of manufacturers don't use Intel motherboards, and even if they used the chipsets. Nobody (for large values of n) who owned a PC in 1998 was ready for USB when MS "got on board," they got USB when they bought their first Windows 2000 or XP system in the subsequent three years.

    The question is, will Microsoft getting on board even a factor this time? Thunderbolt doesn't require drivers, it's just serialized PCI Express -- manufacturers can put these ports on their motherboards and they work out of the box.

  • by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:05PM (#40301707)

    Get out the hot glue gun... Any device with thunderbolt has the full PCI bus exposed. Plug in the right gadget, which cops and crooks WILL have, and you completely and utterly own the system down to the lowest level, memory and drive contents.

    Sorry, no. I'm a professional linux kernel developer. Unless you have something cooperating within the OS to set up a mapping any DMA request from the thunderbolt device is going to get dumped on the floor by the IOMMU. (See the IOMMU wikipedia article if you're unsure how this works.)

  • by 6ULDV8 ( 226100 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:06PM (#40301719)

    Yeah, but back then it stood for Useless Serial Bus.

  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:28PM (#40302709) Homepage

    I remember having a ten pin USB header on my motherboard (AT style) for many months before I knew what an actual USB port even looks like.

    I never ended up even using USB on that motherboard; that machine just got upgraded to a newer one that did have external ports (my first ATX motherboard!) and even then, I didn't actually USE those ports until I bought a USB optical mouse months after *that*.

    USB definitely got a VERY slow start on the Wintel side. Which is ironic, because the opposite just happened recently with USB 3.0; generic whitebox PCs have had 3.0 for over a year now, whereas Macs are only just getting them right now.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @10:30PM (#40304243)

    If memory serves me correctly, it took years before USB became the defacto peripheral port. In that case Apple also was an early adopter. And you are complaining about Intel's newest technology taking a year. Please let's not let history and logic get in the way of your Apple hatred.

    Thunderbolt is not meant to replace USB which is another Intel technology. So if you think USB3 is going to compete with Thunderbolt, I think you need to read more about what Thunderbolt is. Thunderbolt is meant more to replace eSATA and more as eSATA is really only for the one purpose of connecting drives. You can't run USB and ethernet over eSATA.

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