Intel's 'Thunderbolt 2' official, coming later this year

Intel's next Thunderbolt technology -- hitherto known by the code name Falcon Ridge -- now has an official moniker. The tech is slated to be built into future Intel chipsets.

Intel's 'Falcon Ridge' tech is now officially called Thunderbolt 2.
Intel's 'Falcon Ridge' tech is now officially called Thunderbolt 2. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Intel has officially dubbed the next version of its high-speed port "Thunderbolt 2."

The technology was actually revealed at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in April under the code name Falcon Ridge.

Technically, Thunderbolt 2 is a controller chip that doubles the speed of the first-generation port, supporting up to 20Gbps bidirectionally.

That means the cables can now support both transferring a 4K video and putting it on screen at the same time.

Current versions of Thunderbolt are limited to an individual 10Gbs channel each for both data and display, less than the required bandwidth for 4K video transfer, Intel said in a blog post Tuesday.

Also, the "addition of DisplayPort 1.2 support in Thunderbolt 2 enables video streaming to a single 4K video monitor or dual QHD monitors," Intel said.

Full backward compatibility is maintained with the same cables and connectors used with today's Thunderbolt.

The port, which allows transfer speeds that exceed what is currently available with USB 3.0, 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 also available on select PCs, including those from Lenovo and Acer.

Intel plans to build Thunderbolt 2 into future chipsets and it is expected to make its way into products by the end of this year, ramping in 2014.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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