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Intel: Thunderbolt coming soon to Windows PCs

Intel has announced that its new ultra-fast connection, Thunderbolt, will be available on Microsoft Windows PCs from next year. Previously, the high-speed link has only available to users of Apple's Mac and MacBook computers.

The move was revealed yesterday to delegates at the Intel Developer Forum 2011 by the vice-president and general manager of the company's PC Client Group, Mooly Eden.

PC manufacturers including Acer and Asus are already working to create Windows-based hardware incorporating Thunderbolt. It's likely that the technology will become an integral part of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, but Eden also demonstrated a prototype Thunderbolt system running Microsoft's existing flagship product, Windows 7.

Thunderbolt connects high-speed storage and media capture devices, as well as DisplayPort-equipped monitors and other displays, via a single, thin cable in a similar manner to the recently released USB 3.0. Unlike USB 3.0, however, Thunderbolt has a theoretical maximum data transfer rate of 10Gbit/s - fast enough, Intel claims, to enable users to transfer a full-length HD movie in around 30 seconds.

See Intel's demo below: