Meet the 2012 Thunderbolt Controllers: Cactus Ridgeby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 13, 2011 11:37 AM EST
Thunderbolt has seen limited use this year - the standard has only been implemented by Apple and Sony, the rest of the PC market will have to wait until next year when Intel offers a new pair of Thunderbolt controllers to OEMs designing Ivy Bridge systems.
Currently there are two Thunderbolt controllers available: Light Ridge and Eagle Ridge. Light Ridge is the bigger chip that features four Thunderbolt channels (4 x 10Gbps bidirectional = 80Gbps aggregate bandwidth) and two DisplayPort outputs, it's used in the MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac. Eagle Ridge is a smaller version of the controller (also available in a small form factor package) used in the MacBook Air. Eagle Ride is effectively half of a Light Ridge, sporting two Thunderbolt channels and one DP output.
Next year we'll see the introduction of two new Thunderbolt controllers, both called Cactus Ridge. The specs are identical to Light and Eagle Ridge, there will be a four and a two channel version. Both chips will be available in a 12mm x 12mm package. No word on pricing but let's hope they are reasonably priced so we may actually see widespread adoption of Thunderbolt next year.