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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RE: Thunderbold licensing?
by Drumhellar on Thu 24th Feb 2011 19:16 UTC 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