Those nifty Trinity APUs weren’t the only cool technology AMD was showing off at CES this week; the company spent time showing off a new I/O technology behind closed doors, too. Dubbed Lightning Bolt – take that, Thunderbolt! – the concept merges USB 3.0, DisplayPort and a power supply into one multifunctional cable. Well, kinda.
According to Anand from AnandTech, while Lightning Bolt uses miniDisplayPort connectors, it requires one end of the cord to be plugged into a “Lightning Bolt breakout box.” The box itself contains separate DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and AC adapter ports that you use to connect to other devices. (Or electrical sockets, for that matter.) The USB 3.0 functionality isn’t quite the USB 3.0 functionality we’re currently familiar with, though; AMD told Anand that the ports definitely outspeed USB 2.0, but power limitations limit it from achieving full USB 3.0 transfer speeds.
So what’s the point? AMD envisions future laptop docking stations built around this single-cable solution. Of course, you’ll probably need an AMD-powered notebook to take advantage of it. AMD expects Lightning Bolt to hit the streets by the end of 2012, with a price point comparable to current USB 3.0 hubs.