Thunderbolt will no doubt get more backing from top-tier PC, display and disk drive makers. But it remains to be seen whether it will provide sustained impact or, like FireWire, flame out.
I think it definitely looks like a niche Firewire scale system.
Intel argues Thunderbolt will let OEMs build systems that put previously internal resources, such as fast disk drives or graphics, outside the box. Opponents counter that such designs are already possible with a cabled PCI Express spec—and that no one, thus far, has found those compelling.
In the end, Thunderbolt’s detractors want the industry to put the full weight of its collective effort behind USB—a relatively low-cost, well-understood technology that’s already shipping billions of ports across computers, peripherals and consumer devices.
The USB 3.0 version, much like Thunderbolt, was architected in a way that supports its extension to optical links and higher speeds. Intel has not backed USB strongly enough and has delayed plans to support the interface in its PC chip sets, Thunderbolt’s critics say.