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Old 05-23-2011, 06:08 AM   #1
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Default Is Intel's Thunderbolt Dead in the Water?

When Intel unveiled its 'Thunderbolt' connector this past February, it seemed there were reasons to be both excited and a little disappointed. The latter was due to the fact that Thunderbolt wasn't quite the 'Light Peak' we had come to know. While offering similar functionality, it totally lacks a fiber-optic connection, which was the reason for the 'Light' in its codename. Instead, we received a much slower copper-based solution, though a still rather impressive one.

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Old 05-24-2011, 11:01 PM   #2
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I don't know... a few sites went as far as to call ExtremeTech dead in the water too when Ziff Davis Media filed for bankruptcy and they lost most of the entire staff!

But seriously, that's a fair point. To date Thunderbolt seems like another USB vs Firewire situation. Firewire B offered vastly higher transfer rates, but only gained niche adoption partly because it cost much more for manufacturers to license into their products. The IEEE group didn't drop licensing costs significantly until after their window of opportunity was gone, so not even Apple's strong support could save it.

That said I think it's too early to call with Thunderbolt. For one thing Intel has plenty of market muscle to back it with, and despite the need USB 3 is taking off slowly... due to Intel refusing to adopt it until the standard was officially certified. Secondly, unlike Firewire, I've read that there are no per-port licensing fees or royalty payments required for manufacturers to use the port. Given the size of the chip controller itself I can well believe the $90 cost quoted though, which will make sure it stays a boutique or enterprise class standard for quite awhile to come.

All of that aside, I do think there will be a growing need for such bandwidth... in the future. Given SATA 3 and USB 3 can already be saturated by some types of SSDs then there's going to at least be one niche for Thunderbolt if nothing else.
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