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HP downplays Thunderbolt in favor of USB 3.0

updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue May 17, 2011

Could hurt adoption as standard

PC maker HP is, at least for the time being, choosing USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt, according to IDG News. "We did look at [Thunderbolt]. We're still looking into it. Haven't found a value proposition yet," says HP's worldwide marketing manager for desktops, Xavier Lauwaert. Whereas USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with most USB devices, Thunderbolt is only compatible with native, PCIe and DisplayPort hardware.

The standard is a creation of Apple and Intel, and has so far been restricted to Apple computers. Even now only two Mac lines, the iMac and MacBook Pro, actually have Thunderbolt ports. Consequentially the number of Thunderbolt peripherals has been relatively limited; a variety have been announced but have yet to ship.

Intel is working on chipsets supporting both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, but these will only starting appearing next year. Thunderbolt development should meanwhile open up to non-Apple computer makers this quarter. HP's absence could slow or harm the new standard's adoption, as the company represents a sizable portion of the Windows PC market, which dwarfs Mac sales.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011


    Thunderbolt is the new Firewire

    Anyone remember when Firewire was announced? Only a handful of companies hopped on the bandwagon. Years later, few if any computer manufacturers other than Apple offer it on their machines.

    Same thing appears to be happening with Thunderbolt. Whether you like it or not, fact remains this new technology needs the likes of HP (and Dell) if it wishes to gain widespread adoption.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    Maybe .... Maybe not

    Maybe Thunderbolt is the new USB..... Remember when Apple came out with the first iMac and it had this crazy new thing called USB.... and no floppy drive.... Apple will die with this configuration.

    Then , years later, PCs finally ship with USB and hardware is everywhere and who has a floppy drive now?????? Just a thought.... towards the future.


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  1. lysolman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Makes sense

    Because Firewire didn't last for very long, because it wasn't widely adopted by PC manufacturers.

  1. Bicycle

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2011



    Thunderbold cannot be compared to FireWire, if only because USB 3 will work through the same port next year,

  1. macnews1

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2011


    Why this isn't Firewire part 2

    The big reason why Firewire didn't take off is that USB 2.0 was supposed to come out and eventually did approaching speeds close to Firewire400. If you look at it on paper, USB 2.0 looks like it equals FW400 so to the consumer why do they need a FW port?

    The difference this time is that USB 3.0 comes no where CLOSE to Thunderbolt. USB 3.0 will come out and still majorly lack what Thunderbolt can provide and not even compare speed wise which will come in to play with external hard drives. Plus, as Bicycle mentioned, in about a year you will be able to support USB 3.0 through Thunderbolt.

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    Value proposition...

    That's funny, Mr. Lauwaert, because I haven't found a value proposition to justify buying any of your crappy products then have to deal with your useless tech support staff.

    Like I said, funny.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999



    HP still sells PCs with PCIe slots that often go unfilled. Imagine the cost savings of shipping smaller PCs with no PCIe slots and a Thunderbolt port instead.

    Leave the slots to the high-end PCs where the margins are there to afford it and there's a market for internal PCIe cards (for now).

  1. Geoduck

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2010



    I don't blame HP at all. There's no hardware for Thunderbolt yet. By this time next year we'll see if the new standard is going anywhere. If there's drives and hubs and displays that accept the new standard then it'll take off and HP and Dell etc will jump onboard. If there's two drives and a few Apple products only than it'll die.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    wasn't adapted by pc makers just like usb wasn't. usb was designed by intel and many computer makers would ship with it but no one new what to do with it. i worked in pc support years ago and we all new what it was called but not what is was for as there was nothing to connect to it.

    apple took that technology and created an industry.

    for years many pc pundits called for firewire to be included in pc's (even dvorak!) but they either didn't want to adopt apple's technology or lacked vision. it was only after apple made the usb industry that usb 2 came about and then the pc makers had another reason not to go to firewire.

  1. gmsquires

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    No support for Firewire

    Many PC mfg's didn't support Firewire initially but many did add it on later even though there weren't amny external peripherals that used it. Digital video cams were one of the major exceptions along with some scanners, and external DVD/CD drives. I used to work for HP through a 3rd party company for their retail marketing, and they initially didn't support USB or Firewire but eventually they added both for their external DVD drives and some scanners and added ports to their PCs for video cameras. Remember Sony also pushed Firewire through their own name for the technology for use with their video cameras..

    HP will eventually come around once they see that external peripheral mfgs start to come out with stuff. It will then be a "me too" issue for use with their external or even internal storage drives or with other peripherals.

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