Intel this week announced plans to discontinue its first generation Thunderbolt 3 controllers it launched in 2015, coming as a consequence of an industry transition from leaded to lead-free components. The company has had newer controllers in its fleet for quite a while, so it should not be a problem for PC makers to switch to them as they migrate to newer Intel platforms, such as Cannon Lake or Coffee Lake.

Intel on Thursday published plans to discontinue its DSL6340 and DSL6540 TB3 controllers it released in Q3 2015. Intel’s customers should place their orders on the chips by February 2, 2018, and the final shipments will be made by August 3, 2018. Replacing the DSL chips, Intel is advising its customers to instead use the JHL6340 and the JHL6540 controllers that were launched back in Q2 2016.

At first glance, there is no difference between Intel's DSL- and JHL-series Thunderbolt 3 controllers: both belong to the Alpine Ridge family and even their power consumption is the same: 1.7 - 2.2 W depending on port configuration. Intel has also confirmed that the DSL- and JHL-series TB3 controllers are similar in terms of features and functionality: 6340 supports one Thunderbolt 3 port, whereas 6540 supports two Thunderbolt 3 ports, every TB3 chip carries two DP 1.2 streams and so on.

Intel's Thunderbolt 3 Controllers Codenamed Alpine Ridge
  DSL6240 DSL6340 DSL6540 JHL6340 JHL6540
Launch Date Q2 2016 Q3 2015 Q2 2016
TDP 1.2 W 1.7 W 2.2 W 1.7 W 2.2 W
Number of Ports 1 2 1 2
DisplayPort 1.2
Package Size 10.7 × 10.7 mm
Recommended Price $6.45 $8 $8.55 $8 $8.55

Meanwhile, there is a difference between how different families of Intel's Thunderbolt 3 controllers are made. The DSL-series controllers use a lead-containing solder alloy, whereas the JHL-series use a lead-free solder alloy based on tin, silver and copper (such alloys are called SAC - Sn, Ag, Cu). The European Union restricts the use of lead (as well as many other hazardous materials) because its fumes increase risk of lung and stomach cancer, along with the other known risks of lead exposure and heavy metals in general. So, as it appears, Intel is EOLing its first-gen Thunderbolt 3 controllers as part of the broader effort to phase out the use of lead in electronics products.

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Source: Intel

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  • rahvin - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    The person you're responding to is wrong and liar. Anyone can do research, anyone can apply for grants to do research and there is nothing stopping anyone from funding their own research. Once that research is published if it shows something new other researchers will generally try to duplicate or advance the study. Or if the researcher screwed up consensus among fellow researchers will bear that out.

    The GP is just anti-science and doesn't understand it so is attacking it. As they don't understand science or trust it I'd urge them to eat some lead and conduct their own research on the effects of lead on the human body.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    "The person you're responding to is wrong and liar. Anyone can do research, anyone can apply for grants to do research and there is nothing stopping anyone from funding their own research."

    Rahvin, why don't you go do some research yourself and find out how much research costs and how one goes about getting funding before you make a response.

    "Or if the researcher screwed up consensus among fellow researchers will bear that out."

    Science is not about consensus. It's about demonstrable fact. Consensus does get formed, but it should get formed through proper method. The goal is to discover and demonstrate the fact not to reach consensus.

    "The GP is just anti-science and doesn't understand it so is attacking it. As they don't understand science or trust it I'd urge them to eat some lead and conduct their own research on the effects of lead on the human body."

    I am not anti-science at all. I am very much pro-science. Perhaps you didn't understand what I typed. What you are obviously interested in is not science, but rather trust in authority. If someone says to you that government can be corrupted would you assume that that person is an anarchist? So if I say to you that "science" (as in the institution) can be corrupted, why, please tell me, do you assume that I am anti-science? You probably do believe that politics and government can be corrupted. And of course you know that politics and government intersect with the institution of science. So why do you find it so hard to believe that the institution of science can be corrupted? I have even cited to you an example and given a mechanism for it that you have completely ignored in your response to me, instead simply insisting "it isn't so" and that "money grows on trees".
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    Sorten, a great number of researchers are dependent on federal grants. University administrators are also interested in public opinion and afraid of being shamed. They pass down pressure applied to them to their faculty. Grants can and will be denied if they are not politically favorable, and researchers soon find out where to go to find the money.

    As far as what you said about corporations putting up a defense (and I use that term because to them that's what it is. In the situations you describe, they are generally not interested in science. They probably view the situation no differently from fighting a court case. But in the end it's their arguments that must be considered, not their motives), I think you are overestimating the amount of research that is funded that way. A respected academic generally does not get mixed up in such things, and such research usually has a cloud of doubt hanging over it. Well, how it is perceieved depends on how it lines up with what is socially acceptable, I think.

    In any case, you are casting your net too narrowly. Corrupt research of the sort you mention does exist, but I think people are well aware of it. In fact I'm guessing there's an over-estimation of its prevalence and effectiveness in a good portion of the population. The scope of what I am talking about is much more pernicious. For it concerns the research everyone trusts, not the research everyone loves to hate.
    Reply
  • nevcairiel - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    And people also used to die at a much younger age. Certainly thats not leads fault alone, but all sorts of factors contribute. Reply
  • davidedney123 - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    Just because we did it for a while (and a short while in the scope of all human history) before we realised it was a Bad Idea doesn't mean it's foolish to stop doing it now. If it was up to people like you we'd still be covering our crops and towns with DDT, insulating our houses with asbestos, putting mercury in makeup, filling the air with lead from petrol, and burning witches. Hurrah for the age of reason, I'm glad I caught at least the tail end of it. Reply
  • Hurr Durr - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    You certainly sound like a DDT victim. Reply
  • Yojimbo - Sunday, August 6, 2017 - link

    Like me? No, you're making incorrect assumptions. I'm about applying what we know. About following facts. About resisting groupthink and simple "good" and "bad" narratives. I'm for independent science and looking at true risks and benefits. Reply
  • edzieba - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    An argument against RoHS due to longevity issues (mitigation of 'tin whiskers' in lead-free solder) I can get. Arguing against is as "but industrial use of Lead is totally not all that bad" is into clean-coal bonkers land. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    The early problems of whiskers have long been mitigated by much more precise control of the reflow process and the addition of other materials like Indium to the alloy. The only reason not to use a lead-free process is because the process is slower (due to the higher temperatures) and more expensive (due to the more precise equipment required) but those concerns are really only applicable to Chinese garage shops...

    It totally beats me why on earth Intel even produces non-RoHS-compliant components nowadays, that's utterly ridiculous...
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    What's even more ridiculous is according to ARK, the DSL series controllers *are* RoHS compliant. https://qdms.intel.com/MDDS/MDDSView.aspx?mm=94469...

    This seems like a bullshit story that marketing made up as they were brooming away the first stepping of Alpine Ridge, which was rumored to have some problems. Considering Apple never used those controllers, yet other PC OEMs shipped systems that incorporated them but with only the USB 3.1 xHCI and possibly DP PHY features enabled, perhaps they were just garbage anyway.
    Reply

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