How Big a Deal Will Thunderbolt Be?

By  |  Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The single most interesting thing about Apple’s new MacBook Pro models–by far–is their incorporation of Intel’s Thunderbolt (formerly code-named Light Peak), a new high-speed connection technology that has the potential to replace just about every other sort of computer connector. GigaOm’s Darrell Etherington does a good job of explaining why it’s not yet clear whether Thunderbolt will be a neat-but-nichey technology like FireWire or a truly universal connector that could someday replace USB.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Sammy Brence Says:

    They already need to change the name.. i see Thunderbolt, I think Cell Phone.. Or The Comic Book Series.. Bad name for a technology Where the name has already been taken for the HTC Thunderbolt.

    As for the Intel Thunderbolt … Meh.. Geeks may Like it.. But It will be a Firewire fad at best.. Gotta think about the “non” Geeks who live everyday life with computers but dont know much about them.. Thats the Majority of the world. They Know and Understand USB, and it wasnt till here in the past couple of years more and more people Understand.. hey I have a USB Stick.. or a Thumb Drive.. Plug it in and go.. USB wont ever go away just because of that simple fact. People know it and its simple for the Non-Geek/Tech people to figure it out. When you throw another I/O interface into the mix.. its just going to Confuse people and ask hey will it save me money if I dont get that option since I dont know what it is or what it does.

    Dunno.. Id get one on a PC, Just like I did when Firewire was around.. but im a Geek.. but also a realist.. Its a Fad.. Wont last long because it wont ever go Mainstream..

  2. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    I think the advantages of Thunderbolt over USB3 right now are way to slim: the only advantage is the increased speed (10Gb/s vs 5Gb/s. Although this may be slightly more since thunderbolt promises a lot less overhead than USB).

    Although that's a significant difference, it's not something consumers are really waiting for. The 5Gbps USB3 can deliver will suffice for most users for at the very least another 5 years, and USB3 has a HUGE advantage over Thunderbolt: compatibility.
    Yes, I know you can connect a USB3 controller to Thunderbolt, but that's a major inconvenience most consumers don't want to deal with.

    Back when Thunderbolt was called Lightpeak and Intel promised us an optical conenctor bringing multiple 10Gbps, even scaling up to 100Gbps each (effectively giving you a cable with over 1Tbps speeds!), I saw major possibilities for the technology. However, Intel choose to first release an electrical version of the technology. Making it 'only' twice as fast as the competition.

    In it's current form, I expect Thunderbolt to replace FireWire800. But not USB. Not by a long shot.