Intel has released further details of the next generation of Thunderbolt, the high-speed hardware interface it originally developed with Apple. Thunderbolt 2 doubles data transfer rates to 20 Gb/s which, with the incorporation of DisplayPort 1.2, will allow the transmission of raw 4K video as well as data.

The current Thunderbolt standard has two separate 10 Gb/s copper channels: one for data and one for video. But 10 Gb/s is insufficient for streaming 4K video. For Thunderbolt 2, Intel has combined the two into a single two-way channel cable of devoting necessary bandwidth to video, and using the rest for data.

Sick of Ads?

More than 700 New Atlas Plus subscribers read our newsletter and website without ads.

Join them for just US$19 a year.

More Information

Intel says that, by daisy-chaining hardware, it will be possible for users to simultaneously view and back up 4K video files on an external storage device via a display. "Backing up terabytes of data will be a question of minutes, not hours," the company says. And it appears that Intel is already thinking about Thunderbolt 3. "[O]ur labs aren't stopping there, as demand for video and rich data transfer just continues to rise exponentially," says Intel's Thunderbolt Marketing Director, Jason Ziller.

Thunderbolt 2 will be backwards-compatible, so Thunderbolt hardware will continue to work when connected to or through Thunderbolt 2 connectors and cables. Production is scheduled to begin before the year's end.

Source: Intel