Thunderbolt 2: The sequel with the un-original name, now official

Maybe this should be titled; Thunderbolt 2: Return of the Thunderbolt. But, in any case, the successor to the original has been formalized by Intel with an un-original name but some pretty awesome specifications. Originally known as the slightly more exciting "Falcon Ridge," Intel demonstrated the new Thunderbolt for the first time at the NAB show in April.

Importantly, the output has been doubled to 20Gbps, and Thunderbolt 2 is capable of transferring and displaying 4K video simultaneously. Impressive to say the least. The inclusion of Displayport 1.2 also means that video streaming is possible to one 4K monitor, or dual QHD monitors. And, for those of us already invested in a bunch of Thunderbolt accessories, Thunderbolt 2 is backwards compatible, so you aren't going to have to start all over again.

Production is set to begin this year, ramping up as we go in to 2014. There's a lot more nerdy information available from Intel at the source link below, so who's excited for this?

Source: Intel

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Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Thunderbolt 2: The sequel with the un-original name, now official

10 Comments

I'll be excited if and when other manufacturers get on board -- otherwise, this seems to be more Firewire (technically great, just doomed since few outside of Apple and some niche makers bothered) than USB.

I think Intel wants other people on board, there is a very limited number of PC makers that have added Thunderbolt to a small number of products. With 4K video on the way though, Thunderbolt seems to make good sense?

According to
http://web.forret.com/tools/video_fps.asp?width=4096&height=2160&fps=24&...

the uncompressed bitrate of 4k video is 3.82 Gbps. While current USB monitors do not support resolutions that hight, USB 3 itself handles 5 Gpbs, and the USB group claims that it will soon be updated to handle 10 to compete with Thunderbolt. Either way, this seems to be enough to handle 4k video, albeit without the daisy-chaining and other niceties that Thunderbolt offers.

Don't get me wrong, I *like* Thunderbolt, but I am afraid Thunderbolt USB3/4 being a repeat of Firewire/USB, where the market rushes to a cheaper good-enough alternative, crowding out the technically superior one.

Thunderbolt 2 is capable of transferring and displaying 4K video at the same time, though. How far will USB 3 take it? (I'm no hardware nerd, genuine question!)

Im not enough of a nerd to answer :) Thunderbolt definitely has more room, but as people here love to point out, specs don't matter compared to what you can do with it. If simultaneous to/from is a niche use case, will customers/manufacturers bother when there is a cheaper alternative they are used to?