As part of Computex, Intel invited the worlds media to discuss Thunderbolt.  While nothing much new was said over what Anand has already discussed and public, we did come away with some information and an interesting look at some of the future Thunderbolt enabled devices.

A lot of the discussion was about Windows certification, given how TB has been an Apple only technology until fairly recently.  In the Q&A, I asked specifically about hot-plug capabilities.  I was told that Windows certification will only be given if the device or the host in the thunderbolt chain can fully support hot-plug.  Given the results we have seen with the current certified motherboards with pre-certification Windows drivers, it seems there is still some way to go to support this feature.

We got a glimpse at the Thunderbolt controllers to be part of 2012 : 

The final device only Thunderbolt controller measures 5.6mm across.

On display were a few motherboards that will feature Thunderbolt technology.  Anand has already probed the MSI Z77A-GD80, the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium and the Intel DZ77RE-K75, but on display were a pair from Gigabyte (Z77X-UP5 TH, UP4 TH), an unnamed Foxconn board, and a pair from ASRock (Extreme6/TB), one with a pair of Thunderbolt ports however judging by the chip layout it only has one TB controller.

Several TB-enabled ultrabooks were on display, including models from Gigabyte, ASUS and Toshiba, as well as an All-In-One from MSI.  Storage was also shown, with ODM models as well as RAID devices from Promise, QNAP and Areca.  We were also told that Belkin announced today that it will be selling via etailer their Thunderbolt cables.

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  • Impulses - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    Any info on the ASUS/Toshiba ultrabooks with TB? Or were they just prototypes?

    I'm in the market for one and I actually care more for TB than any of the touch craziness and tablet convergence by way of Win 8...
  • KitsuneKnight - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    With Belkin announcing they'll be selling Thunderbolt cables, does that make them the third source of cables?

    I remember back before the start of this year, there was some other manufacturer that was making them, and were supposed to start selling them at the start of this year to consumers. From checking various sites, I've yet to see any of their cables appear, which is rather disappointing. Until we get at least a few different makers, we'll likely be stuck with the $50 Apple charges (I doubt the first couple additional players will try to start a price war)... which certainly will massively hurt Thunderbolt's adoption in consumer space (much less so the prosumer space).
  • Impulses - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    TB isn't going anywhere in the consumer space anyway until laptops with TB are commonplace, since docking applications will be the biggest draw for it, so they've got a while more to keep milking Mac users with $50 cables. (no offense to them, Apple's TB display is a sexy implementation of what TB can be)
  • KitsuneKnight - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    Sure, there's lots of things standing between Thunderbolt and taking a nice chunk out of the consumer space. Thunderbolt is just now starting to appear on new systems/motherboards, so at least there's progress on that front. It seems reasonable to me that by the end of the year Thunderbolt might become moderately common on new notebooks (at least if you ignore the low end market).

    One interesting question is if we'll ever see Thunderbolt appear on a system with an AMD processor, or an add-in card. I've not heard of any technical reason why either of those wouldn't be possible (licensing might be another issue... but whether that's an issue with Thunderbolt, or just Intel's specific controllers would make a major difference).

    Speaking of AMD... whatever happened to Lightning Bolt?
  • OrionAntares - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Didn't they demo the recent prototype of Lighting bolt at Computex?
  • mevans336 - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    I clicked on this looking for a review.
  • jhoff80 - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    I'm wondering when we'll start to see some thunderbolt external GPUs for use with laptops / docking stations. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants a thin laptop with good battery life when out, but sometimes wants to fall back on having a more powerful dedicated GPU at home when plugged in.
  • ATWindsor - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    One of the main points of the system is optical cables (that is cables which can be much longer), when are the comming? Thunderbolt looses much of its usefullness without.
  • IanCutress - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    They did have a 20m optical cable on display, though not in use. Projections for those are 2H 2012.


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