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Intel says Light Peak is ready to go, fuels Apple rumors

updated 09:20 pm EST, Sat January 8, 2011

Intel says Light Peak is already available

Intel in an interview late Friday revealed that Light Peak was finished and ready to be used. Architecture Group head David Perlmutter confirmed rumors that the company would use copper early on instead of true fiber optics and thus get the 10Gbps speeds faster than first thought. He wouldn't tell IDG's interviewer which companies were the first supporters and when complete products were shipped, but was optimistic for the uptake.

"The copper came out very good, surprisingly better than what we thought," Perlmutter said.

Fiber optics were considered a problem as they were relatively expensive to use. They should better reach the speeds in more conditions, especially over longer distances than in a typical computer. Intel will ultimately need fiber to implement future iterations of Light Peak that could top out at 100Gbps.

Light Peak was originally conceived both as a direct peripheral format of its own and as backend pipe that could handle very large amounts of traffic from many different peripheral formats, such as FireWire, USB 3.0 and even Ethernet. Intel has acknowledged that it has had input from Apple in development, although they aren't necessarily the chief architects.

The mention of copper backed up, though didn't necessarily confirm, rumors that Apple and Sony had been pushing Intel to implement Light Peak sooner than its 2012 goal. Their exact reasons and products have never been unearthed, but it would most likely be to help dramatically speed up syncing with mobile devices like the iPad as well as to help consolidate the number of ports needed on ultraportable computers. A single light Peak port could theoretically attach a breakout box with many different port standards onboard and allow a slimming down of the system as a whole.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. IxOsX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009

    +6

    No dough, good news. But...

    No dough that this is good news. No dough if we compare USB3 against LightPeak, without retro compatible questions, the last one wins by far.

    So I think there are a good way and a bad way to implement it.

    THE GOOD:
    Besides an external lightPeak interface input/output, they use it mostly as an internal communication interface. One of this could handle lots of USB, FIREWire Interfaces,etc. so we save internal space, and raise the internal speed and number of interface ports.

    And we will be all happy.

    THE BAD:
    If they begin right now to use only Pure lightPeak interface ports.
    Problems that will surge:
    1) how the accessories market will handle with this new interface.
    2) How much will cost the converter LightPeak to other formats like USB, VGA, HDMI, RJ45, etc.
    3) How practical will be to people witch use notebooks on the move and to work, to carry at least 3 or 4 interfaces converters to use actual or old USB devices, VGA or DVI and a RJ45 local network.

    Besides the good and bad points, I am curious to know what will be the real impact of this on energy consume. The future will tell.

  1. dmsimmer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +1

    Brick

    I believe a solution to the multi-port problem is an external brick that will act as an adaptor with multi ports. Isn't there a patent for a device such as this that includes power as well?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: No dough (or doubt)

    THE GOOD:
    Besides an external lightPeak interface input/output, they use it mostly as an internal communication interface. One of this could handle lots of USB, FIREWire Interfaces,etc. so we save internal space, and raise the internal speed and number of interface ports.


    In first iterations (except maybe for Apple, who likes to be so far off on bleeding edge, all they do is wow the geeks and irritate the actual users), LightPeak is going to be used for internal communication only. It's basically a big fast internal bus. It will transfer data from the ports to the core of the computer.

    However, you still need your USB chips, your Firewire chips, etc, to control the interfaces. It isn't some magical concept where you can just plug 15 different types of external interfaces into it and it will magically understand them all. And all the current ports still work the way they did before. LightPeak isn't going to make USB 2.0 faster than 400 Mbps, say. Or fix it's communication slowdowns.

    And we will be all happy.

    Well, I'm not sure who 'we' are, since most people won't even notice it and could care less. The geeks, sure, they'll be happy.

    THE BAD:
    If they begin right now to use only Pure lightPeak interface ports.

    They won't. That would be stupid. (Oh, wait, we're talking apple and new technology. You know how they are sometimes, esp. with something no one else is using).

    Problems that will surge:
    1) how the accessories market will handle with this new interface.


    Some might embrace it. But most will not. There isn't much of a demand for new mice, keyboards. Even hard drives, where they're using USB vice Firewire and such.

    2) How much will cost the converter LightPeak to other formats like USB, VGA, HDMI, RJ45, etc.
    3) How practical will be to people witch use notebooks on the move and to work, to carry at least 3 or 4 interfaces converters to use actual or old USB devices, VGA or DVI and a RJ45 local network.


    That's the big thing. This would only affect Mac users, as most other laptop makers wouldn't just throw out old interfaces, since most users want their self-contained computers to be self-contained, and not carry a bunch of dongles. Esp. travelers, who might be attaching in unknown environments.

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