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Thunderbolt is an I/O technology that combines fast transmission rates for data, audio and video streams, along with in-line power, into one interface. Developed by Intel Corp. and first released on Apple's Macbook Pro line in February 2011, Thunderbolt uses existing display port and PCI Express architectures, but combines them to create a new serial data interface that provides high-speed connections to peripherals such as hard drives, RAID arrays, video-capture solutions, and network interfaces. Thunderbolt also enables high-definition video streams using the Display Port Protocol. Thunderbolt interfaces allow the supported peripherals to be daisy-chained together while retaining their original speeds. Thunderbolt was originally codenamed Light Peak.
Prior to Thunderbolt, Intel used USB and PCI Express technologies as its standard peripheral connection interfaces, while Apple used FireWire. Thunderbolt improves upon all previous peripheral technologies. Its main features include: