We have seen this movie before. Although Intel Thunderbolt I/O technology is demonstrably superior (image below) to USB 3, only a small number of vendors are building it into portable and desktop Windows PCs. Very much like Apple’s FireWire before, Thunderbolt looks set to fizzle due to cost issues.
The bottom line is that a Thunderbolt controller chip costs around $20, which up to 40 times more expensive than a USB 3 controller.
Currently, with the exception of the Mac Pro, every Mac Apple makes includes Thunderbolt. However, the news out of Asia, where the vast majority of notebook and desktop motherboards are manufactured, is that only about 10 percent of all Windows PCs ship with Intel Thunderbolt built in.
It’s a chicken and egg issue. Whereas video pros demand Thunderbolt’s high and stable throughput, consumer devices and application that use the technology are essentially nonexistent.
Why? Well, a big part of the problem has to be cost, which is an issue that can only be resolved by high-volume manufacturing.
Yes, technically speaking Thunderbolt, like FireWire before it, is greatly superior. However, there’s very little chance it will succeed in the mass market…
What’s your take?