Intel Details 20Gbps Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt 2 at Computex

Posted by Jim Tanous on June 5, 2013
Thunderbolt 2

After first announcing the next generation of Thunderbolt technology at the NAB show in April, Intel provided further details on the upcoming Falcon Ridge update last night during Computex. The company declared that the new technology, set for release in late 2013 or early 2014, will now be called “Thunderbolt 2” and will be capable of simultaneous 4K video transfer and display.

Current Thunderbolt technology, which launched on Apple computers in early 2011, performs at 10 gigabits per second in each of two channels. While much faster than most other I/O technologies, such as USB 3.0, current Thunderbolt speeds cannot accommodate real-time 4K video editing and display.

With Thunderbolt 2, Intel and its partners will increase total bandwidth to 20 Gbps in each channel, doubling the current bandwidth and enabling new options for 4K video editing, among other capabilities. Thunderbolt 2 will also include support for the latest DisplayPort specification, 1.2. DisplayPort 1.2 is a requirement for passing high-refresh-rate 4K video to 4K monitors.

Like the shift from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 will be fully backward compatible with current Thunderbolt technologies: existing cables and devices will operate normally when connected to new computers with Thunderbolt 2 capability, but they will be limited to 10 Gbps. Similarly, Thunderbolt 2 devices and cables can be connected to first-generation computers, but will also operate at the slower 10 Gbps speed.

Thunderbolt 2 is expected to first launch in limited fashion by the end of the year, with production ramping up alongside the release of new devices in early 2014.

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