At NAB last week, Intel demonstrated a prototype of its forthcoming Thunderbolt controllers, code-named Falcon Ridge, that run at 20 Gbps — enough, Intel noted, for 4K video files to be transferred and displayed simultaneously. The company said production is scheduled to begin before the end of 2013, with a ramp-up in 2014. And don't panic — the company said the new version will be backward-compatible with the existing spec, using the same cables and connections.
For now, Intel introduced two new Thunderbolt controllers (the DSL4510 with four channels and two ports and the DSL4410 with two channels and one port) that add DisplayPort 1.2 compatibility, use less power, and cost less to manufacture. Those are targeted for systems that utilize the company's fourth-generation Core processors.
In a presentation at the show, Intel sought to reassure users who may have been put off by the slower-than-expected roll-out of Thunderbolt enabled gear. The company shared a laundry list of the technology's supporters, claiming more than 200 Thunderbolt licensees worldwide. It said more than 75 different devices have been released, with prices steadily dropping. Those pricey cables are getting easier to find, too, Intel said. Longer cables (up to 100m) should be available in the second quarter, Intel said, with thinner cables "coming soon."