Optical Thunderbolt cabling will become available this year, Intel, the chip maker behind the high-speed bus technology, has said. Thunderbolt - aka 'Light Peak' - links are currently limited to copper cables, but the spec has always presented optical as an option. As is stands, the technology offers data transfer speeds of up …
That's lovely, but can we please can this standard become more widespread so that everyone can take advantage? Then it would also be nice to get some more high speed devices available.
As long as this doesn't replace USB I've no objection. Personally I don't need those speeds , I do need to be able to supply power to the attached device - usb ( for me ) is mostly about temporary connections to devices - I really don't want to faff around trying to find a power source for them and carrying around another cable to provide it.
Re: Not convinced
In theory all other protocols could run over the top of light peak / thunderbolt. i.e. there is one high speed bus inside your computer and USB, esata, HDMI, displayport etc as endpoints talking over it. The as the original vision for tech but I don't know how well it would fare with the gimped copper based version that eventually appeared.
Hang on, why does this mean an end to bus powered devices?
Sure, you're putting light down an optical cable, and you can't draw pwoer from that. But what is stopping you from creating a cable that has a fiber optic line for data and a copper line for power? The connector will be the same, so you just route the power to appropiate pins, and you're sorted.
Might not resistance become an issue at longer lengths, though?
Yeah, but the guy has a point. Just because an optical cable is in there, it doesnt mean that some sort of conductive material can be used to power devices from the bus.
@ Charles 9
Resistance is always an issue, you just compensate for it (e.g. the longer USB cables use thicker wires for the power than the data)
For example, how far do you live from a power station? :-p
Re: @ Charles 9
resistance is useless.
What a mess
By releasing a gimped version with copper they have just ensured that much of the interest in the format disappeared and early adopters were lumbered with buying expensive cables to make it work even in at reduced speeds and cable lengths. A 2 metre thunderbolt cable costs £39 and already contains error correction circuitry. I wonder how much a cable will cost which contains light receivers and emitters at each end.
I'm not sure either why moving to optical means the end to powered devices. What's so hard with wrapping a couple of wires around the fibre to supply power to devices that need it?
It's all a mess really. Intel should have delayed the tech until it worked properly as originally envisaged.
I thought that at least one other maker has added TB to their stuff? Isn't there a Sony lappy with a TB port and a docking station that uses it? Also Toshiba uses the same connector for mini-displayport so they probably aren't far behind Apple. (And don't tell me to use Google; it doesn't work where I am right now :(
Just saying thanks for the literary subhead. Much appreciated.
Duh, I have optical thunderbolt already.
Look at the thunderbolt/lightpeak connector on a Sony Vaio Z2.
Not just for gadgets
How about remote keyboard and screens? The return of the the multi-user computer, anyone?
The connections may not be cheap for plugging in your phone but spread the cost of a one pc across several users and televisions and things begin to even out. (Less so since the advent of cheap linux mini-systems, but you get the idea): Who wants a smart TV when I can put it on the end of a 100m optical link and back it with a 12-core mac (running linux obviously), which can also transcode, play games and run windows in a VM for different users at the same time.
How about plugging my dinky work laptop with rubbish GMA chipset into my stonking home system and just passing keyboard, mouse and video over lightpeak without involving the laptop processor. Then I can play on my home box's gaming graphics system with my work screen. Cool.
Just dreaming I suppose...