Thunderbolt technology is a new, high-speed, dual-protocol I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity, and flexibility. This high-speed data transfer technology features the following:
- Dual-channel 10 Gbps per port
- Dual-protocol (PCI Express* and DisplayPort*)
- Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices
- Daisy-chained devices
- Electrical or optical cables
- Low latency with highly accurate time synchronization
- Uses native protocol software drivers
- Power over cable for bus-powered devices
Intel's Thunderbolt controllers interconnect a PC and other devices, transmitting and receiving packetized traffic for both PCIe and DisplayPort protocols. Thunderbolt technology works on data streams in both directions, at the same time, so users get the benefit of full bandwidth in both directions, over a single cable. With the two independent channels, a full 10 Gbps of bandwidth can be provided for the first device, as well as additional downstream devices.
See the Intel site at http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm for more information. See the technology brief at http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/325136-001US_secured.pdf if you want something you can print.
I could use some higher speed interconnects but adoption, price, etc. will determine a lot. USB 3.0 hasn’t exactly taken the industry by storm so we’ll see what happens with Thunderbolt 1.0.