Thunderbolt to strike soon

The next big thing in computer and multi-media connections will not be USB 3 or some new version of FireWire. It will be the Thunderbolt port.

I came to this conclusion after a chat with a geek friend who edits a computer magazine and website.

The latest models of Apple laptops already have Thunderbolt ports and one company has already marketed a Thunderbolt external hard disk drive.

And in the Weiss (manufacturer of the respected DAC202 Digital-Analogue Converter) website, you will see an ad for a third-party component called the Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt adapter which enables you to connect FireWire and eSata peripherals and high-speed memory cards to laptops with Thunderbolt ports.

The Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 thunderbolt adapter enables
you to use a laptop with Thunderbolt  with a FireWire device.

It has to be stressed that the Thunderbolt port was designed specifically for audio and video functions.

From "The technology was specially designed for audio and video enthusiasts, Intel said. Users can get real-time processing by synchronizing high-bandwidth audio and video between PCs and other devices, cutting the lag time that exists with other technologies.

"Thunderbolt will be able to transfer a full-length high-definition movie from an external storage device to a PC in less than 30 seconds."

From "Thunderbolt began at Intel Labs with a simple concept: create an incredibly fast input/output technology that just about anything can plug into. After close technical collaboration between Intel and Apple, Thunderbolt emerged from the lab to make its appearance in Mac computers.

"Intel co-invented USB and PCI Express, which have become widely adopted technologies for data transfer. Apple invented FireWire and was instrumental in popularizing USB. Their collective experience has made Thunderbolt the most powerful, most flexible I/O technology ever in a personal computer.

"MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini now give you access to a world of high-speed peripherals and high-resolution displays with one compact port. That’s because Thunderbolt is based on two fundamental technologies: PCI Express and DisplayPort.

"PCI Express is the technology that links all the high-performance components in a Mac. And it’s built into Thunderbolt. Which means you can connect external devices like RAID arrays and video capture solutions directly to your Mac — and get PCI Express performance. That’s a first for any computer. Thunderbolt also provides 10 watts of power to peripherals, so you can tackle workstation-class projects. With PCI Express technology, you can use existing USB and FireWire peripherals — even connect to Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks — using simple adapters.

"All that power and blazing-fast data transfer flows through the Apple Thunderbolt Cable, one of the most advanced cables ever made. No single cable has been able to do so many things and do them with such astonishing speed. It doesn’t just connect high-performance devices. It is one in its own right.

"And because Thunderbolt is based on DisplayPort technology, the video standard for high-resolution displays, any Mini DisplayPort display plugs right into the Thunderbolt port. To connect a DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA display, just use an existing adapter.

"Thunderbolt I/O technology gives you two channels on the same connector with 10 Gbps of throughput in both directions. That makes Thunderbolt ultrafast and ultraflexible. You can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and up to 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. You also have more than enough bandwidth to daisy-chain multiple high-speed devices without using a hub or switch. For example, you can connect several high-performance external disks, a video capture device, and even a display to a single Thunderbolt chain while maintaining maximum throughput.

"Thunderbolt I/O technology provides native support for the Apple Thunderbolt Display and Mini DisplayPort displays. It also supports DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA displays through the use of existing adapters. So you can connect your Apple LED Cinema Display or other display, along with multiple high-speed devices, all from a single port."

So it is very likely that next-generation Blu-Ray/DVD players and LED/LCD and plasma TVs will have Thunderbolt ports. Media streamers and DACs will also migrate to Thunderbolt ports while more companies will market Thunderbolt to USB and FireWire adapters so that older DACs can still be used. Canon has already announced that it will have Thunderbolt ports in its higher-end DSLR cameras and soon the video camera makers will follow suit.

Canon's high-end DSLRs will have Thunderbolt ports.

With the capability to move 10 Gb of data per second, streaming 24bit 192KHz music files will be a breeze and - who knows? - audiophiles will be talking about the quality of 32bit 384KHz files by then...


  1. I'm looking forward for new generation high end speakers that incorporate thunderbolt and wireless connectivity

  2. i am not sure about speakers with thunderbolt ports, but i know for sure that psb is working on wireless speakers. click this link

  3. It seems that most of the manufacturers are working on wireless speakers. Hoping to audition the outcomes of it couple with DAC and high fidelity audios.


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