Intel’s next-gen Thunderbolt doubles in speed, supports 4K

Intel next-generation Thunderbolt_NAB2013

According to Intel, the next-generation Thunderbolt will be a multi-tasker that’s twice as fast. Although Thunderbolt ports have become standard on Macs since 2011, the high-speed ports are going to be incorporated into more PCs and motherboards this year as the technology matures and offers a significant advantage over existing standards like USB 3.0 and HDMI. Intel said it already has over 200 licensees that use its standard, including storage manufacturers like G-Tech.

While current-gen Thunderbolt is capable of moving data at 10Gbps, the upcoming Thunderbolt ports can do 20Gbps. That’s four times as fast as USB 3.0’s transfer rate of 5Gbps. In addition, the new Thunderbolt technology, codenamed “Redwood Ridge” (Intel DSL4510/4410), supports DisplayPort 1.2, so you can string multiple monitors together as long as one is plugged into your computer’s Thunderbolt port. In GameFront‘s opinion, this will really help gamers and power users simplify the wiring of multiple displays, which the HDMI port isn’t really designed to handle. Intel also promises that Redwood Ridge will be more energy efficient, cheaper for manufacturers to make, and will be a part of systems that use the fourth-gen Intel “Haswell” processors.

That’s not all. Intel also took the wraps off its upcoming generation of Thunderbolt technology, codenamed “Falcon Ridge.” Not only can it move a 4K video at 20Gbps, it can also simultaneously hook up to a 4K display, so you will be able to watch a 4K movie stored on your computer on your 4K television using Thunderbolt. “Falcon Ridge” will be backwards compatible with your current Thunderbolt cables and devices, so your current set of Thunderbolt peripherals won’t be obsolete by 2014, which is when this generation will be expected to be available to consumers. As you can see from Engadget’s video of the Intel demo, the next-gen Thunderbolt runs at 1,200 MBps – faster than anything on the market today.

[Image via Intel’s presentation at NAB 2013.]