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  • B3an - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Not really worthy of a "2" name. Disappointing it don't use PCIe Gen 3. So would it not be any more capable of driving external GPU's than current Thunderbolt? Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Pretty much, they should have called it Thunderbolt 1.1. It's just as proprietary and probably just as expensive, but not significantly better. I find myself hoping we just get an industry standard external PCIe connection rather than one controlled by Intel. Reply
  • MojaMonkey - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    I have a thunderbolt egpu using a magma box and gtx 680. Works like a charm. I would estimate that its about 20% down in fps when compared to a native desktop. Some of that is because laptop cpu and some because of thunderbolt. At the moment its not worth it because the external thunderbolt enclosures are expensive. From a performance and technical perspective this is a very feasible solition. A price drop on enclosures would make this attractive for those who need compact laptop portability with near gaming desktop performance. Reply
  • jcwc - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    question: how do you tell your laptop to use the egpu instead of the internal? i'm assuming it's not as simple as plug in, reboot, play Reply
  • MojaMonkey - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    The limitation is that the egpu can only power an external display not the laptop monitor. But it is actually that simple. Plugin reboot play and the external monitor lights up powered by the GTX 680. There are no drivers the laptop and video card are connected via pcie it all works like a native card would. Reply
  • FalcomPSX - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    if they ever resolve the ability to output to the laptop display and have the graphics over thunderbolt... it could easily revolutionize "desktop replacment" laptops and blur the line between them and ultrabooks. Go on the road and leave your graphics card at home, or plug it in when you have external power. Unplug the thunderbolt graphics card and you have as much power savings, lower heat and longer battery life as any other ultrabook is capable of. Reply
  • krewn - Thursday, June 09, 2016 - link

    It would be cool to see an hdmi input on laptops. It would require a switch tho... Reply
  • kobusphoto - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Hi MojaMonkey,

    I'm very interested in your egpu via magma box setup.... What machine are you using to do this? And the operating system?

    I want to do this on my Macbook Pro 17" with thunderbolt 1. But as far as I understand Mac OSx will not see the eGPU. Unless there has been some advancements since I last did some reading up on the matter..... I eventually gave up hope of it happening in the near future.
  • purerice - Thursday, October 03, 2013 - link

    You can find more details by searching for "thunderbolt egpu magma box". You will get a forum where probably the same MojaMonkey went into more detail. There some talked about another shady solution (search "TH05 thunderbolt") that I would not trust unless ready to throw away money and using a store-bought debit card.

    When a legit product actually ships Anand will be all over it so I'm happy to wait here fwiw.
  • BMNify - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    it just so happens its been around LONG before the came around, just go and ask your local shop to buy it for you and make it popular for home use to get the prices down....
  • BMNify - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    actually charlie gives a good outline here
  • Tesselator - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    How do we know it's not PCIe v3 ??? He only says "it looks like...".

    For TB2 to be able to saturate two 20Gb/s channels it needs to either be 8 lanes of PCIe v2 or 4 lanes of PCIe v3. The language used by both Apple and Intel and a few Intel bloggers as well, indeed implies that TB2 is capable of 20Gb/s per port, two ports per controller (dedicated I/O.).

    Otherwise both Intel and Apple are lying! It would be like a single controller 4-port USB3 manufacturer saying their card supports four 500MB/s connections. If that's the game then someone will likely sue them (Apple or Intel) for false advertising.

    I see no indication that Anand Lal Shimpi is doing anything more than guessing.
  • emperius - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    This is all awesome and cool. I am not of those "who need this much? or "just like firewire" people. But if this chipset will be held restrictively and more BS happens across Mobo manufactures on not implementing based on overpriced licenses or something, then it will never be taken seriously. At least Apple will be using it at it's full. And I'm no Apple fanboy. Reply
  • danjw - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    But it is daisy chain, and cables $35 for an original thunderbolt cable, not sure if those cables will work with this new version. If a device wants to let you connect more other devices down stream, it needs 2 controllers. Also, it is Intel proprietary, so I doubt they will be licencing anyone else to make the controllers. Intel insists on high margins on their products so they won't be selling controllers cheap anytime soon. Reply
  • BrazenRain - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    They should make the A-10 Warthog its mascot. Reply
  • danjw - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    Nah, the A-10 is an awesome plane, why associate it with this joke of an interface. Reply
  • Zandros - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the update on the mystery that is Thunderbolt, Anand.

    Still, the question from the previous article remains: How does dual 2560x1440 24-bit 60 Hz displays work at the same time as other devices on Thunderbolt 1?

    Also: MST hubs at the end on a Falcon Ridge chain, yes/no?
  • repoman27 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    As far as I can tell, the channels in the current versions of Thunderbolt can carry display and/or PCIe data, however this is achieved through switching between the various protocol adapters. It also seems that at any given moment, one channel per link is reserved for display, and total device bandwidth cannot exceed 10 Gbit/s.

    Thunderbolt 2 would appear to have a unified connection between the protocol adapters and the Thunderbolt crossbar switch. Overall though, Thunderbolt 2 is just Thunderbolt with channel bonding and full DP 1.2 support. Intel's demo used Dell displays daisy chained via DisplayPort MST at the end, so yes to that one.

    This Pipeline post continues the trend of confusing as much as enlightening when discussing Thunderbolt. I believe that in Intel parlance, a link (the maximum capacity of a port or cable) is comprised of 2 independent, full-duplex channels created from 4 simplex lanes. Intel tends to refer to their controllers by the number of channels they support, hence a 2-port controller is described as 4C. Thunderbolt 2 bonds the two 10 Gbit/s channels in a link to effectively create a single 20 Gbit/s channel per link. I'm not sure if this means that 2-port Falcon Ridge controllers will be referred to as 2C.

    Intel's previous demo video from NAB showed a peak of 1259.87 MB/s reading from the SSDs while driving the two displays. Since this represents more than 10 Gbit/s of both PCIe and DisplayPort packets, we can infer that the new controllers are capable of duplexing the two types of traffic. We would expect write speeds to be a bit lower (around 860 MB/s), since there isn't more than 20 Gbit/s to play with. Which makes the statement, "Peak performance to the SSD array was just under 1100MB/s," a bit suspect. Peak performance FROM the array can get that high, but not TO the array.

    And I calculate the theoretical max payload throughput for PCIe 2.0 x4 with a bare minimum of protocol overhead to be 1645 MB/s... Come on, Anand. Let's see it!
  • wiz329 - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    Can the two bi-directional 20 Gb/s channels be multiplexed so that total bandwidth is 40 Gb/s for a single device? Reply
  • iwod - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    Basically there isn't any speed upgrade, total data / signal rate transfer over the cable are the same with less overhead or higher efficiency. I wonder if the 4K problem could be solved using a little bit more innovative solution instead of calling what essentially is the same thing as Thunderbolt 2.

    I am still waiting for the promised 50Gbps from Intel. Even though the maths doesn't add up moving from PCIe Gen 2 to Gen 3. Thunderbolt Port, Cable, Hubs, Chipset needs to be both a lot cheaper and slightly faster. I am not expecting it to compete with USB3.0 or 3.5 since they really arent the same thing.
  • tipoo - Sunday, June 09, 2013 - link

    I wonder, did current external GPUs utilise the two up and two down channels well? Which is to ask, could there still be a benefit to them even though the aggregate bandwidth is entirely unchanged? Reply
  • Khenglish - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    No, current eGPU products cannot use more than 1 channel. The bplus adapter that was commonly used until mysteriously recalled (it worked fine. most people refused to return it) only negotiated an x2 2.0 connection, although a TB channel had a little more room, which the sonnet adapter did actually use (at 5x the price) . TB 2 should allow double the bandwidth to a graphics card.

    Hopefully someone will actually make a reasonably priced adapter.
  • Kevin G - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    This just seems like sidestep than a real upgrade. Overall bandwidth doesn't change: four 10 Gbit/s channel to two 20 Gbit/s channels. I was under the impression that Thunderbolt could multiplex two 10 Gbit/s, three 10 GBit/s or all four 10 Gbit/s channels dynamically based upon load. 4k display output should have been possible under current connectivity. In fact, with 40 Gbit/s of bandwidth, 8192 x 4320 at 24 bit color and 30 Hz refresh rate should be possible. So this only enables vanilla DP 1.2 pass through to non-Thunderbolt devices.

    Ultimately Thunderbolt 2 should have doubled bandwidth per lane for 80 Gbit/s total bandwidth.
  • repoman27 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Well, the reality is that while Intel could currently bump the lane rate to 14 Gbit/s with existing technology, more than that would require some new magic. The first experimental chips that can support 20+ Gbit/s are just being taped out now.

    Thunderbolt links only contain 4 simplex lanes, so the maximum achievable bandwidth at the 10 Gbit/s lane rate is 20 Gbit/s, full-duplex. When operating in DisplayPort signaling mode, the 4 lanes form a single simplex DisplayPort main link with a lane rate of 2.16 Gbit/s (after deducting 8b/10b encoding overhead), or, in the case of Redwood/Falcon Ridge, up to 4.32 Gbit/s. This works out to 8.64 or 17.28 Gbit/s per link. DP 1.2 at 17.28 Gbit/s is the highest bandwidth digital display source currently available, but it is still not enough for 8K over a single link.

    4K output is possible with current generations of Thunderbolt, just not over a single cable. Since all but the newest 4K displays lack DP 1.2 support and instead rely on 2x DP 1.1a (or multiple DVI/HDMI) links, it's really not much of an issue.
  • Jaybus - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    It isn't possible to just keep cranking up the lane rate over copper, certainly not without making the cables shorter. It will require an optical cable. The current optical cable has embedded converter and detector, but is expensive and still has to use a copper run from TB controller to the optical transmitter/receiver embedded in the cable.

    The breakout in lane speed will not happen until the optical components are directly embedded so that the TB controller itself takes optical input/output, an idea they are calling "silicon photonics". Avalanche photodiode detectors as well as lenses, waveguides, and other optical components can already be made using CMOS. The missing component is the light source, or at least a cheap light source that can be implemented in CMOS. It requires an extra layer of a material with suitable optical properties be bonded or embedded to the wafer. A company called Skorpios Technologies has demonstrated a CMOS process for embedding the material. The tech is not there yet, but it is getting close.

    Also, the ability to have embedded optical i/o is a significant paradigm shift. The optical signal is capable of higher bandwidth than the current on-chip buses. TB is just an extension of the PCIe bus. But in addition, it is also possible to replace the slow copper memory bus, or any other chip-to-chip i/o. For example, if a DRAM chips can be linked to the CPU/GPU optically, then there is no need for L3 cache and all of that die area used for cache can be re-tasked for more cores or removed to save power and allow smaller (and so higher yield) dies.
  • HisDivineOrder - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Thunderbolt has failed to make any traction and changes like this aren't going to change that. I think we can call it what it is. Thunderbolt is today's firewire. Reply
  • 8steve8 - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    does this mean new MBA has Redwood Ridge? Reply
  • R3MF - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    agreed, the amd alternative is much more interesting, if only because its openness makes it the modern day USB to thunderbolts 'firewire'. Reply
  • tygrus - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    It doesn't double overall bandwidth. The only change is to enable a dual-channel mode for single use devices. This re-allocates existing bandwidth, hardly worth hearing. Reply
  • BlackBamba - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    External Graphics can be used in Laptops while driving the monitor of the laptop or any other locations. Also, the main issue the the Sudden Removal of the cable while 3D is running or even when nothing is running - as a device with "disappear from Windows".

    Just see the solution here :
  • Mogster - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    Is this still using copper wires instead of fiber? Reply
  • anadgp - Wednesday, October 02, 2013 - link

    I have a computer that supports Thundebolt 1 (TB1). I'm planning to buy a TB1 peripheral this week. I am likely to purchase a TB2 computer from Apple in the future. Will I still be able to use my TB1 device on the TB2 computer? Will I need a new TB2 cable to make it work? Will TB2 devices require TB2 cables? Will TB1 devices require TB1 cables on a TB2 computer? Will TB2 computers require TB2 peripherals? Very simple questions. I can't see the answers here. I admit I'm not as smart as the average person here. Reply
  • AJ_NEWMAN - Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - link

    Q1) Does anyone know if Thunderbolt cables can be used to connect 2 x computers together?

    Q2) Does anyone know if two computers will be able to connect to an external Storage system that has 2 Thunderbolt ports?

    I am asking these trying to work out if Thunderbolt 2 is could to high speed replacement for a 'farm' of new MacPros?

  • AJ_NEWMAN - Saturday, October 12, 2013 - link

    Found the answer on a Technology forum ;)

    Post 78.



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