Intel's Thunderbolt 2 with 20Gbps speeds now official

Intel shed more details on Tuesday about its next-generation Thunderbolt, called Thunderbolt 2, emphasising that the protocol offers full-backward compatibility

Previously codenamed Falcon Ridge, Intel said Thunderbolt 2 uses a new controller chip that combines two 10Gbps uni-directional channels from the original Thunderbolt into a single 20Gbps bi-directional channel. The result doubles bandwidth and allows simultaneous transfer and display of 4K Ultra HD video.

Read: What is Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt 2 also supports DisplayPort 1.2, enabling video streaming to a single 4K video monitor or dual QHD monitors, without any new cables or accessories. This notably means Intel's forthcoming protocol is backward compatible with existing Thunderbolt products. 

Intel previously announced its next-generation Thunderbolt in May, although the company wouldn't provide an official name at the time, noting only that the technology would allow the connection of external peripherals at insane speeds. 

Most of Apple's current Mac line offers the first-generation Thunderbolt as a standard feature, but Intel claimed 30 PCs and motherboards also use the technology worldwide. That statistic doesn't include Thunderbolt accessories like the products and peripherals by hardware company LaCie, which Intel made sure to name-drop in its announcing blog post. 

Read: More clues point to MacBook refresh at WWDC

Thunderbolt 2 will begin production by the end of 2013 and ramp into 2014, so it's not likely to debut in the MacBook refreshes expected at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next week.



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