portion of MacBook Air motherboard with Eagle Ridge chip outlined in teal (source: iFixit)
AnandTech takes a look at the Thunderbolt controller utilized by Apple within the new MacBook Air, discovering that the company has opted to use a scaled-down “Eagle Ridge” controller chip from Intel instead of the “light Ridge” chip found in greater Thunderbolt-enabled machines.
[Light Ridge] features 4 Thunderbolt channels (4 x 10Gbps bidirectional = 80Gbps aggregate bandwidth) and up to two DisplayPort outputs. it is used within the 2011 iMac, MacBook pro and Mac mini. …
Eagle Ridge is on hand in two type elements (normal and SFF [small form factor]) and is effectively 1/2 of a mild Ridge chip. that implies you handiest get two Thunderbolt channels and one DP output. Apple used the small kind factor model of Eagle Ridge in its new MacBook Air to cut price and keep on motherboard actual estate.
With Eagle Ridge handiest helping a single DisplayPort output, MacBook Air customers are simplest able to drive a single external display by the use of the Thunderbolt port, although the desktop’s built-in Intel HD pictures 3000 would additionally avert using two exterior displays on the MacBook Air because it does on the 13-inch MacBook pro.
Thunderbolt adoption has thus far been restricted to high-end units partially because of excessive costs associated with inclusion of the know-how. Use of the scaled-down Eagle Ridge controller could assist push Thunderbolt into lower-finish products, presuming that the smaller chip carries some price savings for manufacturers.
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