Thunderbolt is one of the connectivity options offered primarily on Apple’s computers. It’s Apple’s alternative to USB 3.0 and is supposedly much faster at 20Gbps at its current iteration. However thanks to a recently leaked slide obtained by the folks at Chinese website, VR Zone, it seems that Intel is working on a next-gen Thunderbolt specification that will significantly boost data transfer speeds.
As it stands, Thunderbolt 2 transfers at 20Gbps, but according to the leaked slide, the next version of Thunderbolt which is apparently codenamed “Alpine Ridge” will be able to double those speeds to 40Gbps. Users will be able to send the data through a variety of ports such as DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0, and HDMI 2.0.
In terms of power consumption, you would think that being able to transfer more data at faster speeds would take up more power, but it seems that Intel has not only managed to figure out a way to increase transfer speeds, but also decrease power consumption at the same time. Assuming the slide is the real deal, power consumption will allegedly be decreased by 50%, making it faster and more efficient at the same time.
There will also be adapters for the plug that will ensure backward compatibility, so fret not if you have Thunderbolt 2 devices and were worried it might not work with it. Intel’s Thunderbolt “Alpine Ridge” is expected to see a release in 2015 alongside the company’s new CPU, “Skylake”, assuming that the rumors are true.