Thunderbolt (codenamed Light Peak) is an interface for connecting peripheral devices to a computer via an expansion bus. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel with technical collaboration from Apple. It was introduced commercially on Apple's updated MacBook Pro lineup on February 24, 2011, using the same connector as Mini DisplayPort (MDP). Though the Thunderbolt trademark was registered by Apple, full rights belong to Intel which subsequently led to the transfer of the registration from Apple to Intel.
Thunderbolt combines PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort (DP) into a serial data interface that can be carried over a single cable. Thunderbolt controller chips multiplex data lanes from these two sources for transmission via a duplex Thunderbolt lane then de-multiplex them for consumption from receiver chips. A single Thunderbolt port supports hubs as well as a daisy chain of up to six Thunderbolt devices; as many of these as the host has DP sources may be Thunderbolt monitors. A single legacy MDP monitor or device of any kind may be connected directly or at the end of the chain, allowing full backwards compatibility and no loss of functionality compared to MDP.
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