When Intel (NASDAQ:
) teamed up with Apple (NASDAQ:
) to launch Thunderbolt, a new hardware interface, the company
hoped to quickly replace Firewire and USB 2.0. The latter was
followed by USB 3.0, which allows data to be transferred at
speeds of up to five gigabits per second -- more than 10 times
faster than USB 2.0.
Thunderbolt can go even faster, achieving transfer speeds of
up to 10 gigabits per second
. Thunderbolt also allows users to daisy chain six devices.
In theory, this should have made Thunderbolt the dominant
player in hardware interfacing. Thus far, that has not been the
Apple was the first to receive the new technology. The company
started by bringing it to the MacBook Pro, followed by the iMac,
Mac Mini and MacBook Air. Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:
), Acer and Asus have also developed machines that use
Meanwhile, USB 3.0 is cropping up in notebooks and desktops
from virtually every manufacturer, including Dell (NASDAQ:
), Sony (NYSE:
), Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Asus. Even Apple has started
adding USB 3.0 to its machines.
Thunderbolt may be faster, but the cost and compatibility
benefits of USB 3.0 are hard to ignore. Best Buy (NYSE:
) currently sells several 1TB, USB 3.0-supported hard drives for
less than $100
The average 1TB Thunderbolt hard drive retails for
more than $200
Things are about to get a lot more complicated for Intel.
Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:
), which is best known for developing high-end processors and
dedicated graphics chipsets, is getting ready to release a
low-cost Thunderbolt competitor in 2013. And it's called
Bloggers have been
arguing about which format will prevail
since AMD announced Lightning Bolt last year. According to
, things are not looking good for Intel. There may be as many as
seven different alternatives to Thunderbolt.
Worse yet, the Taiwanese publication said that developers are
trying to increase the USB 3.0 transfer speeds from 5Gbps to
10Gbps. If this can be achieved, it will eliminate one of
Thunderbolt's key advantages.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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