A leaked slide purporting to offer a glimpse of Intel's upcoming Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller promises a significant speed boost over current-generation implementations, offering 40Gb/s throughput for connected devices.
Developed in partnership with Apple and featured as standard on the company's computers, Intel's Thunderbolt technology aims to offer a single cable type for all peripheral devices. In addition to high-bandwidth data connections, Thunderbolt offers PCI Express lanes and DisplayPort connectivity as well as carrying power to recharge portable devices.
The current Falcon Ridge Thunderbolt chipset
offers 20Gb/s of throughput, double the 10Gb/s of first-generation parts and twice that of USB 3.0
. A slide published to Chinese technology site VR-Zone
claims that Alpine Ridge will result in another doubling of throughput, offering 40Gb/s of throughput and support for the PCI Express Generation 3 standard.
As well as doubling the peak throughput, the Alpine Ridge controller is claimed to run at half the power of its predecessor. The new chipset will also come with a new connector standard, reducing its height by 3mm to ensure compatibility with future ultra-thin portable devices. The new connector will support power transfer of up to 100W for rapid charging, the slide claims, while adapters will be available for backwards compatibility with existing Thunderbolt devices. Two Alpine Ridge SKUs are claimed for launch: a 4C version, which offers two ports and support for daisy-chaining of client devices; and the LP version, which offers just a single port and no daisy-chaining support.
Intel, as is usual for the company, has not commented on the slide to confirm or deny its authenticity, nor is it willing to discuss unannounced products.