Thunderbolt Switches to USB, Reaches 40GB

Big news from Intel at Computex was the introduction of the third generation of the Thunderbolt interface, which can transfer 40Gbps of data per second. In context, that is an UltraHD film in 30 seconds. The connection can also drive two DCI-4k displays at 60Hz and 30bpp at once.

Thunderbolt 3 “fulfills the promise of USB-C for single-cable docking”, said Intel VP Navin Shenoy. Importantly, it uses the new USB-C connector, rather than its own proprietary port.

As well as video, the interface can deliver up to 100W of power and 10Gb of Ethernet. Four lanes of PCIe (Gen 3) are featured, as well as eight lanes of DisplayPort 1.2.

Products with Thunderbolt 3 will start to roll out this year, and ramp in 2016.

Intel was otherwise focused on the IoT, announcing new Pentium, Celeron and Atom processors for such devices. Fifth-generation (Broadwell) Intel Core processors for mobile, IoT and desktop products were also introduced, with integrated Iris Pro graphics.

The mobile processors were said to have compute performance up to twice that of the current generation. 3D graphics performance and video conversion are up to 20% faster, thanks to the Iris Pro 6200 graphics. Meanwhile, the desktop units have a 65W TDP and a socket scalable with Haswell processors.

Intel also said that its upcoming sixth-generation processors, known as Skylake, will arrive in products before the end of the year. The first generation will use a 14nm architecture.