Intel’s Maple Ridge (JHL8540) Thunderbolt 4 Controller Now Transport

Following the launch of Thunderbolt 4 earlier this yr as a part of Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs, the following piece of the TB4 {hardware} stack has dropped this week with the discharge of Intel’s first stand-alone Thunderbolt 4 controller, Maple Ridge (JHL8540). Beforehand introduced again in July as a part of Thunderbolt 4’s reveal, Intel this week up to date their Ark database so as to add a product web page for the Maple Ridge controller household and flag that the primary half is now transport. With the discharge of the discrete Thunderbolt 4 controller, it should now be potential for {hardware} distributors to construct TB4 hosts with extra ports, or in gadgets not utilizing Intel’s Tiger Lake Silicon.

This late-December launch comply with’s Intel’s earlier roadmap, which had the launch of standalone controllers set to happen earlier than the tip of 2020. These included the Goshen Ridge (JHL8440) system controller – to be used in docks and peripherals, and the Maple Ridge (JHL8540 and JHL8340) host controllers – to be used in computer systems, tablets, and different consumer gadgets. Goshen Ridge went into manufacturing quickly after the announcement. And with the discharge of Maple Ridge Intel has additionally stored its promise right here, getting it out simply previous to the tip of the yr.

For fairly a while, Thunderbolt ports had been discovered solely on methods with Intel processors. Nonetheless, final yr we noticed distributors akin to ASRock innovate with the introduction of a Thunderbolt 3 port on the X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3, an AMD Ryzen platform motherboard. This was adopted a number of months again by the introduction of M1-based Macs that includes Thunderbolt 3 (backed by Apple’s in-house controllers). The usage of Maple Ridge will now allow motherboard distributors to create methods with Thunderbolt 4 ports that don’t essentially must be based mostly on Intel processors.

The JHL8540 Maple Ridge controller interfaces with the host processor utilizing a PCIe 3.0 x4 hyperlink and in addition takes in two Show Port 1.4a inputs. On the downstream aspect, the controller allows two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which together with their native Thunderbolt (packet encapsulation) talents will also be used as straight-up USB4 ports, or as DisplayPorts by way of USB-C’s DP alt mode.

The PCIe swap and, generally, the PCIe help in Maple Ridge has been up to date to work with many non-obligatory options, conserving safety in thoughts and the wealthy number of PCIe gadgets coming into the market. For instance, Maple Ridge contains PCIe peer-to-peer help which permits two PCIe gadgets related to the 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports to change knowledge with one another with out having to make it journey upstream to the host RAM. From a safety viewpoint, Entry Management Providers (ACS) can be supported to supply isolation between totally different units of PCIe gadgets and make them all the time undergo the IOMMU. Precision Time Measurement (PTM) can be a supported function, permitting totally different downstream PCIe gadgets to precisely synchronize with one another and the host system.

It have to be famous that Thunderbolt 4 brings extra assured bandwidth to end-users. With Thunderbolt 3, system distributors might skimp on the connection of the controller to the host processor – utilizing solely a PCIe 3.0 x2 upstream hyperlink as an alternative of PCIe 3.0 x4, however nonetheless get hold of Thunderbolt 3 certification. This diminished the minimal accessible PCIe knowledge bandwidth to only 16 Gbps. With Thunderbolt 4, that’s not potential. Distributors are mandated to make use of a full PCIe 3.0 x4 hyperlink in the event that they want Thunderbolt 4 certification. Thunderbolt 3’s bandwidth sharing mechanism between video and knowledge additionally put in some dampeners – even within the absence of tunneling DisplayPort streams, 18 Gbps of bandwidth was all the time reserved for video visitors, and solely 22 Gbps accessible for precise knowledge switch. Thunderbolt 4 apparently fixes that with as much as 32 Gbps of information visitors (full PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth) accessible, permitting gadgets akin to Thunderbolt 4 SSDs to supply 3GBps+ speeds.

Intel has not printed official pricing of the brand new Maple Ridge controller, nonetheless Mouser Electornics is itemizing the controllers for as low cost as $11.34 in bulk portions. As for the supply of gadgets that includes the JHL8540, I believe we’ll see them prior to later. Intel’s next-generation desktop platform, Rocket Lake-S, just isn’t anticipated to have built-in help for Thunderbolt 4, as this function was noticeably absent from Intel’s Rocket Lake reveal again in October. So including Thunderbolt 4 to Rocket Lake-S will probably require utilizing Maple Ridge.

This might be in step with different documentation from Intel, such because the Intel 500 collection chipset tips, which apparently level to directions to make use of a discrete USB4-compliant Intel Thunderbolt 4 controller connecting to 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes from the chipset for USB4/Thunderbolt 4 help. To that finish, we count on that the event of precise {hardware} by Intel’s companions utilizing the Maple Ridge controller ought to be nicely beneath manner by now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *