updated 01:52 am EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
Doubles throughput of original TB while retaining cable compatibility
Intel, who originally developed Thunderbolt networking technology with the help of Apple (which made it a standard feature on most current Mac products) has revealed that the name of the improved version of Thunderbolt -- originally known by its codename, Falcon Ridge -- is to be simply "Thunderbolt 2." The improved version, which offers roughly a doubling of existing (and still under-utilized) Thunderbolt speeds, will enter the market early next year and offers both sufficient bandwidth for raw 4K video transfer as well as backward compatibility with existing cables and connectors.
Now offering 20 gigabits per second bi-directional support for both data and display, Thunderbolt 2 can enable video streaming to a single 4K monitor or dual QHD monitors -- enough to both view a live 4K stream and save it to disk simultaneously. The capabilities of the improved Thunderbolt 2 were unveiled in April at the NAB conference, but the technology lacked a brand name until now.
The technology also includes DisplayPort 1.2, improved power management and smaller controller sizes at lower cost with Redwood Ridge Thunderbolt controllers, aimed at fourth-generation "Haswell" Core processors. The chipmaker also promised that even thinner cables will eventually arrive, though current cables are fully compatible.