updated 03:20 am EST, Sat January 14, 2012
AMD Lightning Bolt in development
AMD is developing a parallel to Intel's Thunderbolt, the chip designer unveiled at a closed-doors demo late into CES. Conspicuously known as Lightning Bolt, what AnandTech saw would similarly use Mini DisplayPort jacks and would share both power, USB 3.0, and video over a lone cable. Unlike Thunderbolt, it would make very minor changes to the cable and cost as little as a dollar premium over a basic Mini DP connection.
Shaving costs would have some setbacks over Intel's approach. It wouldn't transmit data at USB 3.0's full speed, AMD said. In exchange, low-cost notebook docking stations would be an option, in some cases costing as little as a USB hub.
AMD plans to ship Lightning Bolt before the end of 2012, although it may arrive too late to be a part of the first wave of Trinity-based processors for notebooks. It could still even the balance for AMD and give it a high-speed, notebook-oriented interface. Thunderbolt has the full speed advantage but often costs much more for controller chips and special cables.