Earlier this year Intel revealed some details about Falcon Ridge, its 2014 Thunderbolt controller. Today it went a little further and gave the updated Thunderbolt spec a new name: Thunderbolt 2.

New details are scarce unfortunately. Thunderbolt 2 moves to a new 20Gbps bi-directional channel that can handle both data and/or display. Current implementations are limited to 10Gbps per channel for data or display, both can't be sent over the same channel.

Thunderbolt 2 will support DisplayPort 1.2 and 4K video. Intel expects the first Thunderbolt 2 controllers to go into production by the end of this year, and ramp into early 2014. Given the timeframe I no longer believe this is a Broadwell play. It also seems too early for the rumored 9-series chipset refresh. Thunderbolt 2 may end up appearing out of phase with both of those. 

Source: Intel

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  • repoman27 - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Would you care to point me to a single Thunderbolt device that costs more than 10x what a comparable USB 3.0 product does? While there are some very expensive Thunderbolt products on the market, they are often expensive for reasons other than just the interface. Comparing a Thunderbolt 10GbE interface to a generic USB Ethernet adapter is not really a direct comparison of the cost of Thunderbolt vs USB.

    And the cost multiplier remains constant regardless of the number of devices and cables one buys: (n*a)+(n*b)+(n*c) = n*(a+b+c).

    There isn't so much a dearth of devices as there is a dearth of devices that you personally require. DP is display only and uses a simplex main link, eSATA is storage centric and tops out at 4.8 Gbit/s or less, and SuperSpeed USB currently hits a wall at 4 Gbit/s. If your application requires more than that, you turn to Thunderbolt. There is also a fair amount of PCI/PCIe to x silicon out there for which no USB to x silicon currently exists. You could argue that most PCIe slots in desktop PCs are useless as well since the majority of users are content plugging devices into the other ports available to them.
  • Dentons - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    10x is nothing. How about a 30x price premium? That's how much more you'll pay for Belkin's $300 Thunderbolt hub, or as they say "dock". Sure, it has some add-on features, but most users are never going to use them.

    Want a cheaper Thunderbolt hub without the extra ports? The cheapest I've seen is $200.

    Face the truth. Most users don't need the features offered. The overwhelming lack of devices and exceptional cost has made Thunderbolt a format with one foot in the grave and the other quickly following.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    And what is it exactly that one is supposed to buy for $10 that is comparable in any way to the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock?

    Well, in any event, good luck with your continued trolling.
  • Dentons - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - link

    Ok then, show me a Thunderbolt hub for less than $200? The only hub other than the $300 Belkin seems to be a $200 LaCie. Yes, $200 to $300, for a hub.

    If Thunderbolt isn't the dying format I believe it to be, prove me wrong. Why, in the 2 + years since the format's release is there such a dearth of devices? Why does a simple hub cost 20 to 30 times that of a USB hub? Why, two years later are the vast majority of Thunderbolt peripherals a handful of hard drives? Devices that would run equally as fast over far cheaper, existing standards.

    Clearly, you don't want to accept the truth, but calling me a troll isn't going to change it. Thunderbolt will be lucky to ever be a 10th as popular as Firewire, and that's saying something.
  • repoman27 - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    If you're not trolling, then you have no idea what you're talking about. There are no "Thunderbolt hubs". What LaCie makes is a daisy-chainable Thunderbolt 2-port eSATA 3Gb/s adapter. LaCie, a company known for making high-priced gear, lists it at $199.00. The cheapest 2-port eSATA 3Gb/s adapters I could find with a quick search of Google shopping and Newegg start at $19.99, i.e. the Thunderbolt version is 10 times more expensive. This is an extreme case, and exactly the one I was considering when I said there were no Thunderbolt devices that cost more than 10x the price of a comparable alternative.

    The Thunderbolt docking solutions from Belkin and Matrox are not USB hubs. They're designed so you can quickly and easily plug a single cable into a laptop and by doing so connect it to a display, Gigabit Ethernet, speakers, storage devices, keyboard, mouse, etc. There are a lot of USB 3.0 solutions, most of them based on DisplayLink silicon, that provide similar features. The cheapest one of those I could find is the Kensington sd3000v which you can pick up for $122.09. That makes the Belkin less than 2.5x as expensive, and the USB docks can't do FireWire and require real-time compression / decompression to do display output which results in artifacts and noticeable lag. Furthermore, the Belkin dock is currently one of the very few ways to add USB 3.0 capability to a 2011 Mac.

    I'm not out to prove Thunderbolt isn't withering on the vine; it's a technology that has some serious issues to contend with. It just annoys me when folks such as yourself continue to make ridiculous and erroneous claims. For instance, less than a third of the Thunderbolt devices currently available have anything to do with hard drives. If you took the time to check out some of that gear, you'd see why the manufacturers chose Thunderbolt instead of far cheaper, existing standards.
  • DarkXale - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    You sure that math is right?
    2560(x-res) * 1440(y-res) * 24(bit-depth) * 60(refresh rate) = 5,308,416,000 bits
    Thats roughly equal to 4.94 gigabits per display if my math isn't busted.
  • DarkXale - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    oh damn, where'd this reply run off to?
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - link

    Yep. You forgot that CVT even with reduced blanking still requires sending more "pixels" than are actually displayed. There's blanking, front porch, sync and back porch in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions which works out to 2720 * 1481 * 24 * 60 = 5,800,780,800 or near as makes no difference 5.8 Gbit/s. There's no dividing by 1024 here either, 1 Gbit = 1,000,000,000 bits.
  • wizfactor - Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - link

    This still doesn't solve the cost problem that Thunderbolt faces. I remember when Thunderbolt was first introduced, I couldn't help but feel giddy because external GPUs were now within reach. 2 years later, and we are still no closer to reaching that reality.

    It's honestly getting hard to get excited about a mainstream tech (well, mainstream enough to be shipping with every Macbook) that can only be utilised by deep-pocketed professionals. I'm starting to become crazy enough to think that we will see external GPUs running on 10 Gbps USB 3.0 or USB 4.0 before Thunderbolt becomes affordable for mainstream users.
  • Joel Kleppinger - Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - link

    A yawn is the best I can muster. When it costs an extra $50-70 per port/device, it's just not going to happen. Intel has to decide to make it ubiquitous on motherboards to even give it a chance... but it seems like they don't really care.

    And if they don't, why should we?

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