Thunderbolt Details Emerge: Bus Power, Mini DisplayPort, and More


With today's introduction of Thunderbolt by Intel and new MacBook Pros from Apple featuring the technology, long-standing questions regarding how the technology would be implemented are finally coming to rest. Intel just held a media event to provide additional details on the technology, and CNET provided a live blog of the event.

True to recent developments, Thunderbolt is initially being implemented solely over a copper connection, with optical connections set to come later this year. The technology essentially combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into one protocol, allowing displays and other peripherals to be driven off of the same bus.

140014 thunderbolt diagram

Other Notes:

- 10 Gbps per channel (bidirectional - that's about 900 MB/s).
- 10 W bus power (less than FireWire, but more than USB). According to Intel, bus power will likely not be supported over future optical cables (so no additional copper lines just for bus power)
- One bus can drive two DisplayPort displays simultaneously.
- Low 8 ns latency over 7 daisy-chained devices.
- Maximum single cable length is 3 meters for current copper implementation.
- Any DisplayPort 1.1 device needs to be the last in a daisy chain.
- In a hands-on demonstration of Thunderbolt, Engadget was able to see a 5 GB file transferred in just a few seconds. The connection was also capable of playing four simultaneous uncompressed HD video streams from a RAID device.
- Ars Technica notes that its compact, inexpensive controller combined with Mini DisplayPort makes Thunderbolt well suited for mobile computing.
- According to Intel, Apple has a head start of anywhere from several months to a year over the competition when it comes to Thunderbolt.

Vendors who have already committed to producing Thunderbolt devices include Promise (Pegasus RAID) and LaCie (Little Big Disk).

Popular Stories

Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
airpodsproinear

Apple Facing Lawsuit After AirPods Allegedly Ruptured Child's Eardrums With Amber Alert

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:40 am PDT by
Apple's AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360). The child, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning ...
apple store palo alto

Apple Reinstating Employee Mask Mandate at Approximately 100 U.S. Retail Stores

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:11 am PDT by
Apple retail employees at around 100 stores will need to go back to wearing a mask while working, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple is mandating masks for employees again due to a rising number of COVID cases across the United States. Customers who visit an Apple Store are not required to wear a mask at this time, but Apple is continuing to recommend masks for all Apple Store...