Falcon Ridge Will Double Thunderbolt Bandwidth to 20Gbps

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2012 - 10:19 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, falcon ridge, thunderbolt controller, displayport 1.2, optical cable, redwood ridge, haswell

Intel’s Thunderbolt technology came to the Windows PC side of the computer market in a big way with high end desktop motherboards and add-in cards. The current generation “Cactus Ridge” Thunderbolt controller is able to offer up to 10Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth with either two or four PCI Express lanes as well as a DisplayPort connection that does not interfere with file transfer bandwidth. In 2014, that bandwidth may double to 20Gbps with a new Falcon Ridge controller.

With current-gen tech, Thunderbolt is based on using copper cables and electronics on either end of the cable. Right now, the cables are still fairly expensive at $50, but with new vendors the prices will hopefully go down soon. Next year we should see the Cactus Ridge successor Redwood Ridge. According to DigiTimes, this Thunderbolt controller will add support for DisplayPort 1.2 but will otherwise be very similar with 10Gbps and copper cables.  It is slated for a 2013 release, and a release coinciding with Intel’s Haswell processors and motherboards sounds logical.

Will Falcon Ridge finally give us optical-based Thunderbolt at retail?

In 2014 we will reportedly see the release of a fourth-generation Thunderbolt controller called Falcon Ridge that will offer up to 20Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth. While the cables will likely be even more expensive, I’m excited to see Thunderbolt progressing as it is a high performance transfer medium for professionals and enthusiasts. One thing that is not clear is whether Intel will be able to get DisplayPort + 20Gbps bi-directional bandwidth from copper cables. With Falcon Ridge we may well see the company finally make the move to optical cabling, which would return Thunderbolt to its initially-planned roots.

What would you do with the extra bandwidth provided by Falcon Ridge?

If you haven’t already, please check out our Thunderbolt coverage.

Source: DigiTimes

July 25, 2012 | 12:33 PM - Posted by Zanthis

Yay for bigger GBs that I will never use!

July 26, 2012 | 08:13 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

And you speak for everyone in the world?

July 26, 2012 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Considering he used "I," I'm pretty sure that's a no ;).

July 25, 2012 | 01:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wow I could do a system image backup PDQ with 20 gigabits per sec. Going to need a fast raid to keep that much bandwidth any where near saturated! I hope they get these things in Laptops First, as desktops have so many options already.

Hay Laptop OEMs laptops need dual channel Thunderbold controllers not single channel! Desktops have plenty of expansion options, while Laptops have so few!

July 28, 2012 | 10:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If they did require optical cables that would basically put a wrench into the already non existent market that thunderbolt has.

August 29, 2012 | 10:17 AM - Posted by LB (not verified)

This should have come out as an optical format as originally planned. Basically only gonna be used for professional applications where high bandwidth is needed. I thought longer cable runs was one of the advantages touted for making a new format in the first place. Otherwise stick with USB. No reason to compete with USB in short cable copper cabling.

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