Archive for September, 2011

Thunderbolt – The Fastest I/O Ever

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Hardware
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I don’t know much about computer hardware but I certainly like powerful hardware.

Today, we have external hard disk. Tomorrow we are going to have external GPUs hosted in docking stations in our homes. Imagine this. You carry a lightweight notebook around when you only need to online, but once you are back at home, you plug in your notebook into some external GPUs to turn it into a true workstation. This is one of the vision developed at Intel,  and is now possible due to the new Thunderbolt interface.

Thunderbolt is designed as an interface that carries the PCI Express and DisplayPort through a serial data interface. At a theoretical maximum speed of 20Gbps, it is currently the highest throughput achievable through conventional copper wires. The interface is also able to transfer a maximum of 10W of power to the connected device.

Thunderbolt Speed Comparison

Thunderbolt Speed Comparison

 

If you could now move PCIe device out of your computer, that would leave much room for imagination of what you can do. Currently, Apple is the installing Thunderbolt in its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini.

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Three days ago, Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Developer Preview, which is a pre-beta version, and is available for everyone to download. It has support for Intel and ARM processor, but the ARM based version is not ready for preview yet.

The new Windows 8 features a Metro style interface, which is specially designed for mobile device such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones with a touch-screen functionality. The newly designed touch interface makes navigation by fingers highly intuitive and natural.

Besides, it will run Internet Explorer 10, a Metro style browser optimized for touch-browsing, and the new Windows Store will host thousands of free and commercial apps.

Meanwhile, for the general x86 and x64 PCs, the user can still switch to the more powerful desktop interface. Therefore, all Windows 7 desktop application may continue to work on Windows 8.

Below are some screenshots of new interface.

Windows 8 Start Screen

Metro style Start Screen

Touch Keyboard

Windows 8 Touch Keyboard