updated 11:25 pm EST, Mon December 26, 2011
Thunderbolt said ready to go for April
Intel's Thunderbolt for Windows PCs could arrive in April, purported insiders stated Monday night. Apple is reportedly helping Intel adopt the standard the two co-created, Digitimes heard. PC builders ASUS and Sony, as well as mainboard builders ASRock and Gigabyte, are expected to be part of the first wave.
Apple is believed to have achieved Intel's hoped-for goal of building an ecosystem of demand and accessories. The expansion would help overcome some of the trepidation over the standard, where a Thunderbolt controller chip is believed to cost over $20 where USB 3.0 is much cheaper.
Thunderbolt was developed partly at Apple's prompting to develop a very high-speed yet small cable that could also merge the display signal. Although few devices exist that use it, it has given Apple an advantage where even a MacBook Air can use a multi-disk external RAID drive as quickly as it could if it were an internal drive. USB 3.0 is less expensive but has half the effective bandwidth and isn't officially meant to drive more than data, although it can be used for video.
An April target may be a clue as to when the first Ivy Bridge chips are in the market in earnest. Intel rarely launches chipsets and their processors separately.