We live in an age that is fully saturated by technology and data consumption, and what’s more is that the amount of data we consume is growing exponentially with each and every new generation of computer chips and phones. Every medium is trending towards higher and higher fidelity but in this fast-lane paced society, nobody can afford to sacrifice time when processing this high quality data. Intel’s new Thunderbolt interface aims at tackling this issue in new intuitive ways.
It seems as though Intel had audio and video production in mind when engineering Thunderbolt technology and focused on creating a solution that exhibited extremely low-latency and accurate synchronization for superior video capture and playback. The technology definitely accomplished what was intended and now Thunderbolt is paving the way for more productive workflows in the world of post-production. With Thunderbolt 2 sports a unique bi-directional design, which enables two 20GB/s channels in one cable. This allows video professionals to stream 4K-video (a video format that has 4 times the resolution as 1080p) while simultaneously writing it to a disk, all over one single cable. This is a definite plus for post-production professionals on the go.
Portable professionals that primarily work on the go can employ the use of Thunderbolt for graphics and audio card expansion to maximize their workflows. Typically, freelance post-production professionals require stationary desktop set ups with high-performance graphics and audio cards, and immense storage drives installed or connected externally. While this is still likely the most effective route for large budget studios that handle terabytes of data every day, the on-the-go professional can benefit from Thunderbolt by expanding a laptop set-up to those same high-performance graphics. If storage is also an issue, many companies are now producing high-performance combined PCIe and JBOD storage enclosures that operate via Thunderbolt.
Another plus for creative professionals is that the Thunderbolt interface was designed to promote the use of daisy chains. The concept isn’t exactly new; in fact, Fire wire was also optimized for daisy-chainable devices. However, with the 20GB/s transfer rates of Thunderbolt, this feature has been taken to a whole new level. Thunderbolt allows you to daisy chain up to 6 devices without latency or performance loss.
In a 2011 press conference held by Intel, the company painted the Thunderbolt interface not so much as a competitor to USB 3.0 or other interfaces, but rather as a premier interface that would flourish with more of a niche appeal. Thunderbolt’s mainstream adoption has actually been speeding up with the introduction of Thunderbolt 2 and newer PC technologies beginning to adopt it, but true to the interface’s initial dogma, Thunderbolt has definitely been stirring up the creative niche markets and will surely continue to do so in the future.