What you need to know about Thunderbolt 2

Macworld by James Galbraith

Thunderbolt 2 made its debut when Apple released the latest version of its MacBook Pro last October, but it’s become more prominent with the relase of the new Mac Pro. How different is Thunderbolt 2 from its predecessor? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Thunderbolt?
Thunderbolt is an interconnect technology developed by Intel in cooperation with Apple. Thunderbolt combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into a single connection, allowing for a combination of up to six peripherals, like storage devices and monitors, to be daisy-chained together. You can also connect USB and FireWire peripherals via Thunderbolt, as long as you have the proper adapter. Those connections won’t run any faster just because they’re on a Thunderbolt connection.

We covered much of Thunderbolt’s background in our FAQ on Thunderbolt. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into Thunderbolt at an introductory level, you should read that FAQ. I’m focusing on Thunderbolt 2 here.

What is Thunderbolt 2?
Thunderbolt 2 is an update to the original Thunderbolt specification and takes the original’s two 10 Gbps bi-directional channels and combines them into a single 20 Gbps bi-directional channel. The amount of data able to go through a Thunderbolt connection hasn’t increased, but the throughput of a single channel has been doubled.

What does Thunderbolt 2 have to do with 4K video?
4K video (a video format that has four times the resolution as 1080p and is gaining popularity with video professionals) requires more bandwidth than the original Thunderbolt can accommodate. Thunderbolt 2 will be able to stream that 4K video and write it to disk at the same time. read more...

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