Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Feb 2011 14:49 UTC
Intel Apple has just updated its line of MacBook Pros. Usually, this isn't anything to get particularly excited about, but this time around, they've got a genuine treat: Thunderbolt. Apple is the first to use this new connection technology, developed at Intel and believed to be the copper version of Lightpeak. It's pretty impressive.
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Thunderbold licensing?
by robmv on Thu 24th Feb 2011 16:06 UTC
robmv
Member since:
2006-08-12

the thing I don't like about Thunderbolt is this

http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm

"Thunderbolt products require a controller chip supplied by Intel"

so it is a chipset and it isn't a licensable spec, neither free nor with royalties?

Edited 2011-02-24 16:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Thunderbold licensing?
by tyrione on Thu 24th Feb 2011 16:33 in reply to "Thunderbold licensing?"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

the thing I don't like about Thunderbolt is this

http://www.intel.com/technology/io/thunderbolt/index.htm

"Thunderbolt products require a controller chip supplied by Intel"

so it is a chipset and it isn't a licensable spec, neither free nor with royalties?


HyperTransport requires a chipset as well. Your point?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by robmv on Thu 24th Feb 2011 16:38 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
robmv Member since:
2006-08-12

HyperTransport can be licensed by anybody from HyperTransport Consortium, anybody can license USB specs, from the wording of the Intel announcement it looks like nobody can build a chipset for Thunderbolt

"Thunderbolt products require a controller chip supplied by Intel"

it does not says

"Thunderbolt products could be built with license from Intel" or something like that

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Thunderbold licensing?
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 24th Feb 2011 16:35 in reply to "Thunderbold licensing?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

...so it is a chipset and it isn't a licensable spec, neither free nor with royalties?


...and won't work with AMD processors...?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by nbensa on Thu 24th Feb 2011 17:01 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
nbensa Member since:
2005-08-29

"...so it is a chipset and it isn't a licensable spec, neither free nor with royalties?


...and won't work with AMD processors...?
"

Now you know WHY apple didn't go AMD...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by Lennie on Thu 24th Feb 2011 18:19 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Maybe it just is because they want to include DRM ?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by kragil on Fri 25th Feb 2011 04:09 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

I don't have the time to investigate, but if mainboard manufactures have to pay Intel just a few cents for thunderbott then it will go the way of the firewire, which was a little bit more expensive than USB and so never got any real traction besides circles where 400mbit were really needed.

USB3 is cheap for manufactures and well known by the public and let's face it suffiently fast.

Bottom line: This is probably not the future.
But it is a clever replacement for the mini display port and will give iFans a thing to bragg about.

Edited 2011-02-25 04:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Thunderbold licensing?
by Drumhellar on Thu 24th Feb 2011 19:16 in reply to "Thunderbold licensing?"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I think the reason they say it requires a controller chip from Intel is that only Intel makes such a chip.

mini DP is an Apple tech, which they have freely licensed. PCIe is owned by PCI-SIG. Daisy chaining is a technique used by many bus interfaces before.

So, if all Intel did was put it all in one controller chip and pipe it through a single cable, do they have the rights to license it?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by theosib on Thu 24th Feb 2011 21:20 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

Copper wire is a noisy medium, requiring sophisticated forward error correction to get good throughput. The logical protocol may be PCIe, but the physical signal encoding is probably something proprietary to Intel. Sure, it's probably BCH codes on top of trellis modulation, just like broadcast HDTV and similar to Gigabit Ethernet, but there are probably some Intel tweaks they feel are patentable.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thunderbold licensing?
by Carewolf on Thu 24th Feb 2011 21:31 in reply to "RE: Thunderbold licensing?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

I don't think exporting PCI-express over a copper-line several meters is in the category of something you "just do". In fact it is probably the one of most difficult parts of all the technologies involved.

Then there is ofcourse the question of whether they have added something on top of PCI-express to secure it. It would suck if ThunderBolt like FireWire before it provides unrestricted access to read and write physical memory. Business laptops should be the last place you would want hotpluggable security holes.

Reply Parent Score: 3