It is time to face facts: The world is addicted to speed. It is also addicted to full immersion in every experience. Every wireless carrier and cable manufacturer is dedicated to making the fastest connectivity available, with the best data transmission rate that also provides the clearest signal. If something is fast, it is good, but to really be worth the money, it also better have the ability to dazzle. From 4G wireless connections, to 3D, to HDMI cables that provide picture and sound for devices that haven’t even been invented yet, the technology race is all about bringing the best and the brightest to the user right now. Ethernet is old news, T3 cable connections don’t give us the data people require, component cables seem silly to most, with their archaic analog technology. The world moves fast, and in order to keep pace, people need to be able to move fast with it.
In the spirit of both speed and quality, Intel has released a new way to transfer data, and they are calling it “Thunderbolt” (formerly “Light Peak”).
Intel is one of the experts in making technology that is blazingly fast. The majority of PCs are equipped with an Intel Core processor, and the reason is very simple: Intel knows how to make something that works faster than liquid thought. They made a name for themselves making the fastest computer processors on the market, and now have set their sights on something even bigger, making connectivity work as quickly as their processors.
“Thunderbolt” is an input / output cable that is basically a souped up version of HDMI cables. It is a juggernaut that manages to process 10 Gigabits per second both uploading and downloading, meaning it has high speed data and display capability all wrapped into a single cable. This means there are ten billion (10,000,000,000 just because it looks more impressive) bits of information travelling in both directions on this cable. While that might not mean anything to you, put another way it means that:
A full HD movie can be transferred in 30 seconds.
The cable moves information more than 10 times faster than the fastest HDMI cable.
A year (525,948 minutes of play) of continuous mp3 play can be downloaded in just under 10 minutes.
This ability to move high quantities of data means great things on the engineering front. All data transfer, whether that data is sound, picture, or raw information, is measured in bits. While a cable may then turn those bits into a display of 1080p or a 130 db thump from a subwoofer, it all starts with the bit transmission along the cords that connect devices. The higher the rate that the data impulses can be sent along the wire, the louder the noise, the clearer the picture, the richer the color, the more enjoyable the experience.
In addition to being extremely fast, the Thunderbolt technology threatens to undermine every other cord type out there, simply because of its simplicity. It can eliminate every wire that is attached to your home PC right now. It can also allow devices to be daisy chained together, meaning that instead of a half dozen cables running from the monitor, printer, scanner, fax machine, mouse, speakers, etc. One cable would go from device to device, able to carry the data of all of them on one cable that would then connect to the computer with the entire network of information moving seamlessly along it, with data able to be sent back out to all the devices along the same cable. It is one connection that eliminates the need of messy wire nests and trying to decipher which wire goes to which device through the tangled mass that occurs under the desks of so many people.
The most amazing thing about this cable is that it is not as thick as a tree root, but very clearly resembles the USB plug and cord that is so common among many devices. In fact, it is actually smaller than the USB plug. It also uses copper based wiring, which makes inexpensive.
Currently, the Thunderbolt technology is standard for many Apple products, but has not yet been embraced by the entire technology industry, as many are waiting to see if Thunderbolt has the chops to unseat USB 3.0 as the reigning champion when it comes to computer connections. Even if Thunderbolt is defeated in the computer market, the uses of such powerful technology for interconnectivity of video, audio, and communication devices would be able to trump anything out there as being both smaller, more effective, simpler, and better than the best that money can buy. The big question is not whether Thunderbolt is good, but if it is embraced by the industries that produce televisions, Blu-Ray players, and home stereo systems.
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