You are on page 1of 2


Thunderbolt - An incredibly fast input/output technology

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.

Thunderbolt (originally codenamed Light Peak) is an interface for connecting peripheral devices to a
computer via an expansion bus. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and brought to market with technical
collaboration from Apple Inc. It was introduced commercially on Apple's updated MacBook Pro line up on
February 24, 2011, using the same port and connector as Mini display Port. Though initially registered with
Apple Inc., full rights of the Thunderbolt technology trademark belong to Intel Corp., and subsequently led
to the transfer of the registration.

Thunderbolt essentially combines PCI Express and Display Port into a new serial data interface that can be
carried over longer and less costly cables. Because PCI Express is widely supported by device vendors and
built into most of Intel's modern chipsets, Thunderbolt can be added to existing products with relative ease.
Thunderbolt driver chips fold the data from these two sources together, and split them back apart again for
consumption within the devices. This makes the system backward compatible with existing Display Port
hardware upstream of the driver.

The interface was originally intended to run on an optical physical layer using components and flexible
optical fiber cabling developed by Intel partners and at Intel's Silicon Photonics lab. The Intel technology at
the time was marketed under the name Light Peak, today (2011) referred to as Silicon Photonics Link.
However, conventional copper wiring turned out to be able to furnish the desired 10 Gbit/s Thunderbolt
bandwidth per channel at lower cost. Later versions of Thunderbolt are still planned to introduce an optical
physical layer based on Intel silicon photonics technology.

Data transfers for backup, sharing, and editing are faster with Thunderbolt technology, significantly reducing
times to complete these tasks. For time-sensitive data, such as video and audio during creation and playback,
data transfers can be critical to the success of the work. Thunderbolt technology was specifically designed
with video and audio applications in mind with inherently low latency and highly accurate time
synchronization capabilities.

For some power users, optimal workflows can be had with workstation performance and expandability while
using a thin and light laptop. Thunderbolt technology enables using the thinnest and lightest laptops,
connected, with in the box performance over a single external cable, to high-performance external media
drives, HD displays, HD media capture and editing systems, as well as legacy I/O hubs and devices, for the
utmost in performance, simplicity and flexibility.

References :
1. Thunderbolt Technology". Intel. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
2. "Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Next Generation Processors, Graphics & Thunderbolt I/O
Technology" (Press release). Apple. February 24, 2011.
3."Thunderbolt Technology Brief". Intel. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
4."Thunderbolt Device Driver Programming Guide". Apple. Retrieved December 21,2011.
5. "Light Peak: Overview" (PDF). Intel. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
6. "White Paper: The 50G Silicon Photonics Link" (PDF). Intel. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
7. "Thunderbolt trademark rights will be transferred from Apple to Intel". AppleInsider. May 20, 2011.
Retrieved June 16, 2013.
8. "Thunderbolt smokes USB, FireWire with 10 Gb/s throughput". Ars Technica. Cond Nast Digital.
Retrieved February 24, 2011.

Submitted by,
Roll No : 25