Intel shows off speedier Thunderbolt tech

Intel's next-generation Thunderbolt technology boasts double the speed and backward compatibility, though it isn't immediately available.

The tip of Apple's Thunderbolt cable.
The tip of Apple's Thunderbolt cable. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Intel today announced the next generation of its Thunderbolt technology, which doubles the speed and works with previous inputs.

The technology, which Intel announced at the National Association of Broadcasters conference today, supports up to 20Gbps bidirectionally (up from 10). That extra speed means the cables can now support both transferring a 4K video and putting it on screen at the same time, reports Engadget.

Thunderbolt is the input/output technology that brings transfer speeds that exceed what is currently available with USB 3.0 (though not for long), as well as extending that speed across several devices at once.

The port was introduced following a collaboration between Apple and Intel in early 2011, and is now found on all Apple computers save the Mac Pro tower. It's since made its way into a number of PCs, initially on machines from Lenovo and Acer.

Intel plans to build the newer version of Thunderbolt hardware, codenamed Falcon Ridge, into its next major generation of chipsets, and it will make its way into products at the "end of this year," with a "ramp in 2014."

You can read more about Thunderbolt in CNET's FAQ.

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