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Thunderbolt™ Technology: Technology Brief

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Thunderbolt™ technology is a transformational high-speed, dual protocol I/O that provides unmatched performance over current I/O technologies with 10Gbps bi-directional transfer speeds. It provides flexibility and simplicity by supporting both data (PCIe*) and video (DisplayPort*) on a single cable connection that can daisy-chain up to six devices. Thunderbolt technology enables flexible and innovative system designs, and is ideal for thin profile systems and devices such as Ultrabooks™.

Key Thunderbolt technology benefits
Thunderbolt technology dramatically increases the data transfer rate enabling faster backup, editing and file sharing, significantly reducing the time to complete key tasks. Thunderbolt technology was specifically designed with inherently low latency and highly accurate time synchronization capabilities. These features enable extremely accurate audio and video creation, playback and editing that no other standard interconnect technology can match.

Some users need workstation performance but demand an Ultrabook form factor. With Thunderbolt technology, it is now possible to enable the thinnest and lightest laptops connected over a single cable to high performance storage, external media drives, multiple HD displays, HD media and editing systems, as well as legacy I/O hubs and devices, giving users the ability to have thin and light Ultrabook systems but also the power, capability and expandability of a traditional workstation.

Rethink I/O
As every generation of information technology progresses, I/O technologies evolve to provide higher bandwidth for getting data into and out of computers. At its simplest, two discrete types of I/O have resulted – display (with formatted video and audio components), and data. Traditional approaches to this evolution were to make an existing technology faster. Thunderbolt technology combines the next step in higher performance with the innovation of mapping two of the most fundamental I/O protocols at the heart of computing onto a single highly efficient metaprotocol, transmitting them over a single cable, and managing the traffic routing with intelligent hardware controllers.