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Acer ditches Thunderbolt for USB 3

Thunderbolt

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 16 Jul 2013 at 11:37

Acer has ditched Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, omitting support for the interconnect from its latest PC models.

The PC maker told CNET that USB 3 is an "excellent technology" compared with the costlier Thunderbolt, and noted it offers a wider range of accessories.

"We're really focusing on USB 3 - it's an excellent alternative to Thunderbolt," a spokesperson told CNET. "It's less expensive, offers comparable bandwidth, charging for devices such as mobile phones, and has a large installed base of accessories and peripherals."

Acer has dropped Thunderbolt support from its budget Aspire M5 laptop and the Predator AG3 gaming series.

Intel defended its technology, saying other OEMs are continuing to add support for Thunderbolt.

"We are comfortable with Thunderbolt in terms of market adoption," a spokesperson told PC Pro. "Thunderbolt has been targeted towards premium systems, particularly for users working with video and photos."

"PC adoption is increasing in 2013, with over a dozen new fourth-generation Intel core processor-based systems with Thunderbolt announced last month," the spokesperson added.

Acer's move is still a blow for the standard, as Acer is the fourth-biggest PC maker globally. It’s also difficult to see how Intel will make good on an earlier promise to ramp up mainstream adoption of Thunderbolt this year, especially as the technology still isn't a compulsory part of its Ultrabook specifications.

Some PC makers are still keen on the technology though, with Apple unveiling the updated Mac Pro earlier this year with six Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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User comments

Seems like VHS/Betamax over again

I dare say Thunderbolt is technically superior, but USB has a lot of momentum and users won't see any real benefit, so what's the incentive.

By jgwilliams on 16 Jul 2013

Intel needs to cut the price.

By Mark_Thompson on 16 Jul 2013

Backwards compatibility

Agree with the above comments, but backwards compatibility is also a major thing to consider. How many people have USB keyboards, mice, printers, flashdrives, etc? At least all of these can be plugged into a USB 3 port.

By mystic_dan on 16 Jul 2013

Re. backward compatibility

@mystic_dan

Agreed. As for Thunderbolt's adoption by Apple? Enough said! They don't seem to be too bothered about backward compatibility for peripherals. Their new iPhone/iPod/iPad connector being a prime example.

By Menorca_man on 17 Jul 2013

Thunderbolt?

I thought Thunderbolt was the internal connection and lightening was the external connection.
I'm obviously very confused because I thought lightening was a programable connection which was far superior to USB3 but as I don't seem to know my Thunderbolt from my Lightening I should probably shut up.

By confucious on 18 Jul 2013

confucious -
Confusing? Exactly!

On the iPad, the connector is almost useless anyway. It's only reason to exist is to sync to iTunes.

By Wilbert3 on 24 Jul 2013

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