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Intel unveils 10-gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Networking coming to Macs, PCs

Intel on Monday took the covers off of Thunderbolt Networking, an addition to the Thunderbolt 2 interconnect standard that will allow users to transfer data between two Macs and PCs at up to 10 gigabits per second over an emulated Ethernet connection.

Mac users with Thunderbolt 2-equipped Macs running the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, can already take advantage of the feature, the chipmaker said in a release. A PC driver allowing data transfer across operating systems will be available "soon."

Thunderbolt has long had the ability to carry networking signals, but was previously practically limited to throughput of just 1 gigabit per second. Thunderbolt Networking increases that limit by an order of magnitude, though the connection appears to be purely local — limited to two computers — for now.

There is no word on when Thunderbolt Networking will be available for PC, though Intel is giving demonstrations of the technology at the annual National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. Video professionals will especially appreciate the boost in transfer speed as the industry moves toward ultra-high resolution 4K video, which means a significant increase in file sizes.

Apple, as a co-inventor of the Thunderbolt standard, generally ships new Thunderbolt features well in advance of the rest of the industry. However, only the newly-redesigned Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets.