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Windows PCs with Thunderbolt ports on track for early 2012

By Chris Foresman | Published about a month ago
2012 may be the year that Thunderbolt finally comes into its own, with a new report suggesting PC vendors will launch products with support for the new high-bandwidth connectivity standard as early as April next year. Apple was that first vendor to support the standard, having worked with Intel to develop the technology, but support among Windows-based computers has so far been nonexistent. Among the companies that could have products ready next spring are Asus, Acer, Sony, and Gigabyte.

Intel has reportedly informed its partners that it will “fully release” Thunderbolt in April 2012, according to DigiTimes, though the company declined to comment when we asked for confirmation. Still, Intel did indicate that its plans do seem to coincide with the cited timeframe.

“Our guidance remains that we expect to see Windows-based systems with Thunderbolt in the first half of 2012,” Intel spokesperson Dave Salvatore told Ars.

Gigabyte Technology reportedly plans to have Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards available around that time, while Sony is expected to incorporate the standard in its high-end laptops. Sony’s current Vaio Z ultraportable already uses Thunderbolt controllers mated with a modified, optical-equipped USB 3 port; the report suggests Sony may adopt the standard Thunderbolt port, based on the Apple-developed MiniDisplay Port, for future products.

Acer and Asus both announced plans to ship products with Thunderbolt ports beginning next year during the Intel Developers Forum in September. HP, currently the world’s largest PC maker, has so far decided to pass on Thunderbolt, despite initially claiming support for the standard in early 2011. Dell, still one on the largest PC vendors despite continually declining sales, hasn’t committed to Thunderbolt support, nor has Lenovo or Toshiba.

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