Thunderbolt™ 3 Controllers Launch with the 6th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors at IFA Show

Posted on September 2nd, 2015

By Jason Ziller, Director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel Corporation

At IFA 2015, the 6th Gen Intel® Core™ processors have just been announced and are taking mobile computing to the next level with great performance, blazing-fast responsiveness and amazing battery life in a sleek, flexible form factor. Thunderbolt™ 3 will be a key feature on many of these new notebooks and 2-in-1s, hitting store shelves later this year and ramping in 2016. Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to the USB-C port at speeds up to 40Gbps, making it the fastest, most versatile connection to your PC. As notebooks become thinner, they have fewer connectors – with Thunderbolt 3 you have the ability to connect to everything as you would on a desktop without compromising performance. Now, one computer port connects to Thunderbolt™ devices, every display, and billions of USB devices.

New Notebooks Announcing with Thunderbolt 3

There is a lot of excitement around Thunderbolt 3 with computer manufacturers announcing new products with Thunderbolt 3. At IFA, Acer announced the Acer Aspire R 13 convertible notebooks, Aspire Switch 12 detachable 2-in-1, and V Nitro series “Black Edition” models. ASUS also announced their ROG G752, available with Thunderbolt 3. Last week at PAX prime, Dell announced their Alienware 13, 15, and 17 gaming notebooks. At Siggraph in mid-August, Lenovo launched their new ThinkPad P50 and P70 mobile workstations powered my Intel Xeon, with the P70 featuring two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Look for these products and more this holiday season.

Why Thunderbolt 3?

One of the compelling benefits of Thunderbolt 3 is “single-cable docking”, which simply means you can connect your notebook to everything on your desk using a single cable. With a single cable, you can charge your notebook, connect to your display(s), keyboard, mouse, fast storage, and daisy chain up to six devices. It’s the most advanced and versatile USB-C docking solution available! With Thunderbolt 3 and the 6th Gen Intel Core processor, it is the only solution that can connect to two 4K 60 Hz displays (or one 5K display) from a single port. 4K displays are becoming increasingly popular because they provide astonishing resolution, contrast, and color depth to see your photos, videos, applications, and text with amazing detail. Did you know that two 4K displays have nearly 16 million more pixels than an HDTV?

Acer demonstrated this capability with their new Aspire R13 convertible notebook at the IFA show.

Acer Aspire R13 convertible notebook with Acer external graphics dock

Intel® Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

The Intel Thunderbolt 3 controllers that power all this capability, codenamed Alpine Ridge, are formally called DSL6540 for the dual-port version, and DSL6340 for the single-port version. These powerful controllers provide 40Gbps Thunderbolt, USB 3.1 (10Gbps), and DisplayPort 1.2 all behind a single USB-C port. They are powerful enough for a workstation, yet small enough for a 2-in-1. Last month Intel announced the USB 3.1 certification of the Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 controller and is among the first to pass this level of acceptability set forth by the USB-IF industry group’s compliance program. Thunderbolt 3 controllers provide two ports that include USB 3.1 support with dedicated bandwidth of 10 Gbps each, instead of shared, providing more bandwidth than other USB controllers#. These controllers are in production now for use in computers.

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 motherboard with Intel Thunderbolt 3 controller connecting to two USB-C ports

More Thunderbolt 3 Benefits

For gamers, one of the key benefits is that they will now be able to connect plug ‘n’ play external graphics to their notebooks to enjoy the latest games at recommended or higher settings. With external graphics, gamers can now enjoy superior graphics performance with the convenience of taking their gaming on the go on a lightweight notebook. Thunderbolt 3 also provides a peer-to-peer connection at 10 GbE speeds to quickly transfer files between computers, perform PC migrations, or set up small workgroups with shared storage. This can be done on any operating system, PC to MAC, PC to Linux, MAC to Linux, etc. This is ideal for small workgroups who desire shared storage. At no additional cost, you get 10 GbE because it behaves as if the systems were connected with Ethernet.

More To Come…

The systems already announced with Thunderbolt 3 are expected to be in the market this Holiday season. Look for additional PCs launching over the next few months, and ramping into 2016.

# As compared to other PC I/O connection technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394 Firewire. Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used. Must use a Thunderbolt-enabled device.

## Thunderbolt 3 provides DisplayPort, which can natively connect to all displays with DisplayPort and mini-DisplayPort, and via adapters can connect to all other modem display interfaces, including HDMI, DVI, and VGA.

Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. Consult other sources of information to evaluate performance as you consider your purchase. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit Intel, the Intel logo, Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.