More Data: Faster and Cheaper Thunderbolt is Coming

At DollyDrive, we’re a bunch of data geeks. OK, maybe that’s not really surprising, considering that storing, sharing, and protecting data is what we do. We get excited about new technologies for moving digital stuff from point A to point B. Which is why the Intel’s recent Thunderbolt announcements at NAB are big news.

Thunderbolt is the Intel-developed hardware interface that Apple moved to starting in 2011. The promise of Thunderbolt was speed—the interface is capable of 10 gigabits/second. And Thunderbolt turned out to be mighty fast, but it’s downfall has been price. While USB is essentially free, being baked into all sorts of chipsets. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, requires it’s own hardware, which explains why Thunderbolt drives are rarer and more expensive than USB—and why Thunderbolt cables still cost 50 bucks.

But with Intel’s latest announcement, Thunderbolt will be getting a speed boost. Thanks to new “Falcon Ridge” chips coming down the pipe in 2014, Thunderbolt will be able to push twice as much data, up to 20 Gbps. And while that date is still a way off, Intel also had something to tease the data geeks with in the meantime—an update that will integrate Thunderbolt into Intel’s Haswell chips. The speed will be the same, but fewer chips means a lower cost, which could spur more production of Thunderbolt devices.

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