Intel shows Thunderbolt thumb drive at Computex

Ah, now there's something we haven't seen before. According to the folks at PC World, Intel showed off what it called the "world's fastest thumb drive" at Computex today: a keychain-sized drive with a Thunderbolt interface.

Judging by PC World's photo, the drive was a little bigger than a typical USB specimen. Instead of a USB connector, it featured a Mini DisplayPort plug with the trademark lightning bolt logo on it. The drive was reportedly based on a 128GB SSD from SanDisk and required no cables to use.

While this particular item was an Intel prototype, PC World says Thunderbolt engineer Oren Huber revealed that "there has been some interest in building products based on the design." Perhaps we'll see real Thunderbolt thumb drives in stores (or at least in an online listing or two) eventually.

Of course, I doubt even a fast thumb drive would really warrant the use of Thunderbolt over, say, USB 3.0. The quickest and most expensive USB 3.0 offerings at Newegg today have read and write speeds well under 300MB/s, which is about half of what the interface allows. Even high-end 2.5" consumer SSDs tend to max out at around 500-550MB/s. The current version of Thunderbolt allows speeds of over 1GB/s, which is more the realm of exotic PCI Express SSDs.

Still, an uber-fast thumb drive would be a neat way to make use of those empty Thunderbolt ports on high-end laptops.

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