Thunderbolt is a next-generation display and peripheral connection technology that offers a theoretical maximum of 10Gbps of throughput, dwarfing even FireWire 800, which has a theoretical maximum of 800Mbps of throughput. It can also be daisy chained, meaning you can have a RAID and a display on the same chain, with plenty of room left over for a printer and several other devices.
Apple introduced Thunderbolt to the world with the release of new MacBook pro models in February of 2011. In May, the company released new iMacs with Thunderbolts, and Mac minis followed in June, and then the MacBook Air in July. The only remaining Mac without Thunderbolt is the Mac Pro.
Despite the millions of Macs that are now in the wild with this technology, there are so far only a few Thunderbolt-equipped external hard drives and Apple’s own Thunderbolt Cinema Display available to take advantage of it. With Acer and Asus coming on board, this should boost hardware makers’ interest in the technology.