Much ink has been spilled about those Intel Thunderbolt ports on Apple’s new MacBook Pros, but according to a story by X-bit labs, AMD doesn’t share the enthusiasm. In fact, an anonymous spokesperson quoted by the site suggests AMD doesn’t see much of a point to Thunderbolt at all.
"Existing standards offer remarkable connectivity and together far exceed the 10Gb/s peak bandwidth of Thunderbolt. These solutions meet and exceed the bandwidth utilization of many peripherals," the spokesperson reportedly stated. He (or she) went on to note that DisplayPort 1.2 already supports bandwidth of "up to 17Gb/s," and that total per-channel Thunderbolt bandwidth "is only 20% higher than one PCI Express 3.0 lane and about 52% higher than a single USB 3.0 port."
Now, fair enough: 10Gbps is probably overkill for most devices, and the DisplayPort 1.2 standard indeed supports greater bandwidth, which means Thunderbolt could be a curse rather than a blessing by limiting output to 10Gbps.
My geek sensibilities are slightly offended by some of the numbers quoted, though. A single PCI Express 3.0 lane can push 1GB/s, or 8Gbps, per direction, and USB 3.0 maxes out at 4.8Gbps. That would make Thunderbolt 25% faster than a PCIe 3.0 lane and a whopping 108% faster than USB 3.0—not exactly small potatoes. Of course, with few—if any—Thunderbolt devices available on the market, that point may be moot right now.