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WhatMeWorry
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What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am

Back in 2017, Intel announced plans to drop Thunderbolt 3 royalties and add CPU Integration. Whatever became of that initiative? Whenever I try to pull up new information, I just get references to the 2017 announcement. Has intel set this aside while combating Zen, Epyc, etc?
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:56 am

My working theory is that we'll be seeing Thunderbolt 3/4 in iPads and iPhones next year.

Beyond that, there is a chance that nVidia and AMD have both licensed it for inclusion on their GPUs. This would be a timely coincidence as Intel has had to fuse of the GPU on the few 10 nm Cannon Lake parts they are currently shipping. I know Thunderbolt 3 was being considered as the one cable solution for VR headsets but it looks like a new USB-C alt-mode was created just for that use-case. Technically it is still possible to provide both DP, VR and Thunderbolt 3 from the same connector.

Companies like TI, Via, Microsemi, Xilinix, and Avago may have been interested in licensing that technology for inclusion in some of their controllers and/or PCIe switches but I have not heard of any formal announcement from them.
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:07 am

TB3 titan ridge cards actually work on amd now, at least tested on asrock boards so far. No tb header required but does use a usb2 connector for something. Ironically only gigabyte makes the card and it doesn't work on their own X399 board that has a tb header.

No hot plug on pci stuff (detected and can even install drivers, yet won't initialize until reboot) but otherwise all functions work. I threw a 10GbE card, external gpu and even charged my laptop on the 100W port. Apparently the card by itself will even let people use those tb3-only displays if you just give it pci power (easy if you know how) and DP video in.
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:19 am

the wrote:
My working theory is that we'll be seeing Thunderbolt 3/4 in iPads and iPhones next year.

I don't see Thunderbolt 3 in iPads anytime soon (years).

Thunderbolt 4? Is that a thing yet? Sounds like it would be based on PCI Express 4.0. I doubt we will see Thunderbolt 4 for many years yet.

John Gruber on USB-C appearing in iPhones: "I don’t think that’s going to happen, ever. I could be wrong — there are definitely some compelling reasons why they might. But I don’t think they will for a few reasons.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:40 am

TB3 should be as ubiquitous as USB Type-A at this point (on high end motherboards at the very least) but it is still a rarity. I just ordered a z390 Aorus Master and it has no TB3. I'm lucky the board came with one USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port on the back panel. It still has USB 2.0/1.1 ports! If I had my way the back panel would have nothing but USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 2, TB3, ethernet, and power/reset buttons.

Laptops and Apple desktops are where TB3 is making headway.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:25 pm

the wrote:
My working theory is that we'll be seeing Thunderbolt 3/4 in iPads and iPhones next year.

Is PCIe even in the Apple A-series? Since TB is really low-level, wouldn't that introduce all sorts of attack surfaces and/or insane peripheral certifications along with a power-hungry interface?
Imo, I don't see the use case. Perhaps future A-series-based Macs, I suppose.

Even if TB3 is free, it's still hard to implement. Wires need to be as noise-free as possible--that means no changing PCB layers, short but equal trace lengths with no hard corners, etc. Drivers have to be well-trusted and run as low as possible.

The point is this isn't like USB where you just add a chip and port and be done with it. TB is so cutting-edge that you have to consider physics, power, security, etc. for it to be worthwhile. And that's not including the extensive market research to find the four people on earth who would actually use TB3 instead of USB-C on such a device.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:33 pm

Duct Tape Dude wrote:
And that's not including the extensive market research to find the four people on earth who would actually use TB3 instead of USB-C on such a device.

I don't think Apple does market research (well, not on ports). They force their customers to switch. And for that I thank them.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:42 pm

There are so many things wrong with that post I'm not even sure where to start, so I won't.
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:50 pm

Redocbew wrote:
There are so many things wrong with that post I'm not even sure where to start, so I won't.

Chicken.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:15 pm

There's still no killer mainstream application that needs anything more than what USB 3.0 can muster. The unfortunate consequence of this there's no push to increase the number of PCIe on mainstream platforms. So there's barely any lanes to allocate a sizable number of TB3/USB Type C ports. The extra lanes tend to allocated toward M.2 Express devices and other integrated peripherals.

Thunderbolt 3 will remain a premium feature on laptops and desktop system in the foreseeable future.
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:10 pm

Krogoth wrote:
There's still no killer mainstream application that needs anything more than what USB 3.0 can muster. The unfortunate consequence of this there's no push to increase the number of PCIe on mainstream platforms. So there's barely any lanes to allocate a sizable number of TB3/USB Type C ports. The extra lanes tend to allocated toward M.2 Express devices and other integrated peripherals.

Thunderbolt 3 will remain a premium feature on laptops and desktop system in the foreseeable future.

External graphics on "gaming" laptops would be the ideal usage. It would need a big push from manufacturers and NVidia/AMD, but I also think it's a lucrative and untapped market.
 
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Re: What's the latest with Intel Thunderbolt 3 integration?

Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:19 pm

wonder if there's any PCIe internal TB3 cards to add to any given motherboard. I could only find TB2s so far.

Edit: Oh... seems that the motherboard needs to ALSO support TB3 - I guess it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be heh...

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