Subject: General Tech | December 27, 2011 - 03:49 PM | Scott Michaud
A little standard known as Thunderbolt has made its way around the industry for its high bandwidths and promise of transporting data optically rather than electrically. Intel, the creator, eventually needed to drop optical communication from the spec with a return loosely planned but firmly believed. For the last year, Apple was the only source for Thunderbolt-capable computers; starting in April, several PC manufacturers are expected to participate in adopting Intel’s technology.
Intel weighed in on the adoption of the standard in a statement to their partners.
To speed up the standardization of Thunderbolt, Intel is cooperating with Apple and Apple is the sole vendor currently to have PC products featuring Thunderbolt technology. As demand for the technology has seen obvious growth, Intel is ready to release the technology for public use.
While I am not too fond of the more proprietary platforms, several technologies await better external busses: high-speed storage and dockable processing accelerators such as external video cards are two very good examples. We will also at some point need to break free from electron transistor-based computing methods; optical integrated circuits based on photonic crystals appear to be a logical albeit distant next step. Advancements in optical bus technology for Thunderbolt, now, would be applicable for the advancement of that technology when it becomes ready, much later.
What would you do with a faster external bus? The crazier the prediction, the better.
Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2011 - 09:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thunderbolt, magma
Magma introduces ExpressBox 3T, an expansion chassis with three PCIe slots and a lightning fast connection through Thunderbolt. Magma’s ExpressBox 3T provides an easy, rock solid migration path to newer and faster computers while protecting the customers’ investment in specialized PCI Express peripherals made for video capture and edit, broadcast video, pro audio, communications, data acquisition and more.
ExpressBox 3T provides an 'outside-the-box' solution for using PCIe® cards with Thunderbolt-equipped computers. High-performance flows are possible by connecting a Thunderbolt equipped computer to a Magma ExpressBox 3T containing PCIe cards such as video capture, media transcoding, audio processing, and fast data storage. And because Thunderbolt is also based on DisplayPort technology, you can daisy chain a high-resolution display with your Magma ExpressBox 3T.
Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 04:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thunderbolt, sony, pci-e, optical
See that blue port that looks like USB 3.0? It actually has some optical prowess up its sleeve
Sony is well known among technology enthusiasts as being a company that loves to take the proprietary route; however, in a rather paradoxical twist Sony's new optical port on the VAIO Z did not start proprietary. In fact, it was only made proprietary after Intel and Apple changed the design of the connection that became named Thunderbolt.
Both Thunderbolt and the new Sony connection are based on Light Peak, the optical standard championed by Intel that promised up to 100Gbps optical connections over 100 meter cables (though this was only in lab conditions). OEMs influenced Intel into postponing the optical variant of Light Peak in favor of a cheaper electric variant, which is what today's Thunderbolt implementation is. Thunderbolt uses an electric connection over copper using active cables to promises 10Gbps (20Gbps bidirectional) transfers. The original design for the connector for Light Peak was a connection that looked like a USB connection and would be able to support USB connections as well as accommodate the Light Peak cables. However, Apple and Intel decided a few months before what would become Thunderbolt launched to change the connector to a mini-Display Port connection.
The Sony connection on the other hand, employs the USB-like connector, and is capable of handling USB 2.0, USB 3.0 devices as well as the Sony VAIO Z's Power Media Dock which uses the optical connection that is "based on Light Peak," according to This Is My Next. While Thunderbolt devices will not be able to plug into the VAIO Z's new optical connector and Sony has not released any specifications on what it is capable of, the inclusion of a Blu Ray drive, lots of I/O options in the form of VGA, DVI, HDMI, one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a discrete 1GB AMD HD 6650M graphics card the connection (whatever its specific transfer capabilities) seems to be no slouch in the transfer speed(s) department.
This Is My Next has the full story on how Sony's (now) proprietary connection joined the companies lineup of proprietary technology despite Sony's efforts to use an non propriety standard (surprisingly) which you can read here. It is certainly an interesting tale of karma and surprise. What are your thoughts on the new connection?
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel
Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.
The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"
Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy
The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.
You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.
Introduction, Design and Ergonomics
Watching today’s smartphone market brings back memories. Right now the transition from single-core to dual-core products is being made, as is a transition from older 3G networks to the latest 4G technology. I’m reminded of the excitement of the first dual-core x86 processors, as well as the rabid arguments surrounding them.
Many dual-core phone are still “coming soon”, however, which means that single-core flagships like the HTC Thunderbolt are still able to impress. This 4.3” smartphone is everything you’d expect a premier high-end Android handset to be. As I’ll explain, that has its positive and negatives, but the specifications look great on paper.