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USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt - data connectors of 2012

By DominicD
Computer cables and connectors are not left behind in terms of technological advancement. The widely know “USB” port is getting an upgrade to USB 3.0 (in case you didn't know, your laptop is probably running USB 2.0). Also making a game changing appearance is the Thunderbolt - an Intel innovation that achieves twice the speed of USB 3.0. Expect the computers of 2012 to be equipped with the new standards of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt

The image below shows a good comparison of the current and upcoming technologies
  • The current standard USB 2.0 attains a modest speed of 480 Mbps
  • The upcoming USB 3.0 is set to super speed at 5 Gbps (5,000 Mbps)
  • Intel’s Thunderbolt soars at 10 Gbps (10,000 Mbps!)

USB is here to stay

USB 1.0



USB 3.0 is the latest standardized incarnation of the one universal connector. With the millions of USB devices and cables, USB is definitely here to stay. USB 3.0 ensures backward compatibility with older v2.0 devices. While the Thunderbolt connector surpasses the USB 3.0 performance, the numerous devices already made for USB 2.0 is the primary reason for keeping USB as the standard. Manufacturing USB cables and connection ports are currently cheaper in production cost than Thunderbolt. Every major motherboard manufacturer is already in hot production of USB 3.0 devices.

Thunderbolt (Intel’s “Lightpeak” Technology)

A quick history of the USB connector is always a good intro to the Thunderbolt.. The USB connector was invent by Intel Employee, Ajay Bhatt. After three incarnations of USB, Intel has made its own alternate connector – the Thunderbolt.

Imagine copying one full HD movie in just 30 seconds -- now that is Thunderbolt technology. While Intel is pushing for its new connector, its unlikely that the Thunderbolt can completely replace the USB. Currently, Apple is the only major motherboard manufacturer that has integrated a full Thunderbolt feature. Other motherboard manufacturers are expected to follow this trend. Also, the limited number of Thunderbolt devices in the market is to be a proving ground for Thunderbolt’s acceptance.

The future is both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.. Much like with the other technologies dubbed to complement USB, this time it’s the Thunderbolt to pair with USB 3.0. Future devices may include both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectors. A safe and future-proof decision for buying your 2012 computer is indeed USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. Remember that the current SATA interface for internal hard drives may be going to the next level as well. The current SATA speed reaches only up to 3 Gbps (6 Gbps for Sata6). This means that if USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt was implemented now, the hard drive transfer speed would be a bottle neck in performance! Welcome to the life cycle of computers and technology

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