Thunderbolt™ is the latest data and display connectivity interface pioneered by Intel to enable the connection of external peripherals to a computer and support multimedia transmissions. The standard combines DisplayPort and PCI Express onto a single serial signal alongside a DC power connection to enable video and data signals to be carried over longer and less costly cables. Because PCI Express is built into most of Intel’s modern chipsets and is widely supported by device vendors, Thunderbolt can be introduced to existing designs with relative ease.
The Thunderbolt standard is also based on the existing Mini DisplayPort (MDP) connector, and up to seven peripherals can be supported across one connector. Reuse of the DisplayPort connector, however, introduces the requirement of being able to mux between DisplayPort and Thunderbolt signals.
At Thunderbolt’s high data rates – transfers speeds reach up to 10 Gbps per channel over copper and 20 Gbps per channel optically – signal quality becomes a key design consideration. To help developers differentiate their designs with the highest image quality and reliability, Diodes Incorporated provides a complete portfolio of Thunderbolt devices to ensure signal integrity across the entire signal chain, from source clock to end-point peripheral. Diodes Incorporated technology is also part of a key Thunderbolt reference design with Intel.