Thunderbolt (codenamed Light Peak) is an interface for connecting peripheral devices to a computer via an expansion bus. Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and brought to market 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. Though the Thunderbolt trademark was registered by Apple, full rights belong to Intel and subsequently led to the transfer of the registration from Apple to Intel.
Thunderbolt combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into a serial data interface that can be carried over longer and less costly cables. Thunderbolt driver chips fold the data from these two sources together, and split them back apart again for consumption within the devices. This makes the system backward compatible with existing DisplayPort hardware upstream of the driver.
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