Intel prepping Thunderbolt 3 with 40Gpbs throughput

An Apple Thunderbolt cable

Intel's plans to upgrade its Thunderbolt interface and reports suggest the third generation will be able to transfer data at speeds up to 40Gbps.

Chinese site VR Zoneclaims to have obtainedslides from Intel, showing the specification of its USB 3.1 rival.

Codenamed Alpine Ridge, Thunderbolt 3 will reportedly be smaller than the current Thunderbolt 2 port, meaning an adaptor will have to be used to convert existing peripherals.

Thunderbolt 3 will allow charging at 100 watts and power consumption is reduced by 50 per cent, meaning it's much more efficient and it will also support PCIe generation-3 standards.

Thunderbolt 2 was announced in April last year and integrated into Mac computers in October. PC-makers have opted to use the USB standard instead because it is backwards compatible with existing equipment.

However, that could all change when the USB Type-C port comes into affect. The new standard will be a lot smaller than the current USB connector and will be reversible.

Intel's Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, acknowledged in December that while USB technology is well established there was a need to develop anew connector.

"The new Type-C connector will fit well with the market's direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB," he said.

It's unclear when Thunderbolt 3 will be launched and whether PC makers have shown any interest in swapping USB 3.

Last year, HP expressed an interest in switching to Thunderbolt technology, integrating Thunderbolt 2.0 support into its desktop and mobile Workstation portfolio because it offers superior performance and workflow advantage.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.