Intel Thunderbolt is a new high-speed PC connection that runs at up to 10Gbps and
supports both data transfer and HD display on a single cable.
The purpose is to make PCs simpler and more flexible to use. Uses envisioned for the Thunderbolt connection are moving media faster, simplifying connections between devices, and facilitating alternative ways to build and use PCs. Combining high-speed data and HD video connections together onto a single cable is central to its development, delivered this via two communications methods, or protocols - PCI Express for data transfer and DisplayPort for displays. PCI Express can to connect to most types of devices, and DisplayPort is designed to support displays at over 1080p resolution and up to eight channels of audio simultaneously. Thunderbolt is compatible with existing DisplayPort displays and adapters. Thunderbolt compatible devices are made to share a common connector and allow users to daisy-chain their devices, connected by electrical or optical cables.
Apple is among the first of Intel’s customers to employ the system, on its new line of MacBook Pro laptops.
Thunderbolt has also been designed to extend to the requirements of professional level HD content creators, such as videographers using high-bandwidth audio and video capture/mixing devices. Intel says it should result in low latency and time synchronization accurate enough for real-time processing. At 10Gbps, larger media files may be transferred faster to reduce waiting time for video editors and, when working with archived content, data should back up and restore more quickly. For users of the newer, very thin mobile PCs, it means having a single connector potentially extending high-speed media and HD display capabilities. Thunderbolt also complements other Intel I/O systems.