Thunderbolt is a revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. It dramatically redefines the idea of expansion.
Thunderbolt technology gives you access to a world of high-speed peripherals and high-resolution displays via one simple port and a cable that carries both DisplayPort and PCI Express data.
Now with Thunderbolt 2 built into the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac with Retina 5K display, you can connect the latest displays and get double the bandwidth for your peripherals. And the two generations of Thunderbolt technology are compatible with each other.
PCI Express is the technology that links all the high-performance components in a Mac. And it’s built into Thunderbolt. Which means you can get PCI Express speed outside the box. With Thunderbolt, your external devices like RAID arrays and video capture solutions become hot‑pluggable and easy to move between your Mac computers.
Thunderbolt gives you two channels on the same connector with 10Gb/s of throughput in both directions. Ultrafast, ultraflexible Thunderbolt 2 pushes that to 20Gb/s. You can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2 and up to 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. You also have more than enough bandwidth to daisy-chain multiple high-speed devices without using a hub or switch. For example, you can connect several high-performance external disks, a video capture device, and even a display to a single Thunderbolt chain while maintaining maximum throughput.
Expansion is no longer confined by the space inside your Mac. Now you can plug in your PCI Express cards using a Thunderbolt chassis. You can even connect more than one chassis together to plug in many more cards than you could in a computer with a finite number of expansion slots. With PCI Express technology, you can use your USB and FireWire peripherals — and connect to Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks — using simple adapters.
Thunderbolt 2 gives you access to the latest 4K monitors. In fact, with the Mac Pro, you can connect up to three 4K displays at once. And because Thunderbolt is based on DisplayPort technology, it provides native support for the Apple Thunderbolt Display and Mini DisplayPort displays. DVI, HDMI, and VGA displays connect through the use of adapters.
If you’re a video editor, imagine using a single port to connect high-performance storage, a 4K display, and high-bit-rate video capture devices to handle all the post-production for a feature film. Thunderbolt I/O technology allows you to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt peripherals, including an Apple Thunderbolt Display and the Promise Pegasus 2 RAID or LaCie 2big disk.* You can even use a Thunderbolt cable to create a fast 10Gb/s link between Mac computers, thanks to IP over Thunderbolt support in OS X.
All that power and blazing-fast data transfer flows through the Apple Thunderbolt Cable, one of the most advanced cables ever made. No single cable has been able to do so many things and do them with such astonishing speed. It doesn’t just connect high-performance devices. It is one in its own right. Thunderbolt also provides double the power of USB 3, delivering 10 watts to peripherals like external solid-state drives for improved performance on the go. And with cables available in lengths from half a meter to 30 meters, there’s plenty of room to grow.