USB 3.0, Thunderbolt are 'complementary,' says Intel


— 9:32 AM on April 14, 2011

We already know AMD will offer USB 3.0 support in the chipsets that accompany its Llano processors later this year. What about Intel? According to CNet News, Intel VP Kirk Skaugen addressed that subject at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing... but didn't stop there.

Skaugen reportedly stated, "Intel is going to support USB 3.0 in the 2012 client platform. We're going to support Thunderbolt capability. We believe they're complementary." He added, "We encourage all of you working on peripherals around the PC to engage on both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt."

Thunderbolt, of course, is the marketing name for Intel's Light Peak technology, which premiered in Apple's new MacBook Pro laptops in February. Thunderbolt ports look just like DisplayPort, er, ports and can push up to 10 Gbps of bandwidth per channel. (Each of the MacBooks' Thunderbolt ports has two channels.) Apple doesn't seem to view Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 as complementary, though—at least not yet—because I'm not aware of any shipping Apple products with USB 3.0 support.

AMD, meanwhile, has gone on the record as downplaying the importance of Thunderbolt, pointing out that regular DisplayPort 1.2 connections allow higher bandwidth, and a single PCI Express 3.0 lane isn't much slower, either. So far, AMD appears to sit firmly in the USB 3.0 camp.

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