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  • Light Peak Instead of USB 3 on 2011 Macs?


    News that Intel's Light Peak high-speed optical interface technology may be arriving sooner than expected is reviving rumors that Apple may incorporate the new standard on Macs. Light Peak, which can transfer data at twice the speed of USB 3.0, is "now on track to appear in products in the first half of 2011 - and likely earlier in the year than later," according to Brooke Crothers at CNET. Apple's been an active proponent of the technology, and - especially since Steve Jobs made comments dismissing USB 3 - observers are speculating that Apple may be an early adopter of Light Peak.

    Intel Labs has been working on the fiber optic cable interface as a single universal replacement for current peripheral bus standards like USB, FireWire, PCI Express, SATA and HDMI. The interface will be capable of transferring 10 gigabits per second full duplex, which is twice the transfer rate of USB 3.0, over cables that can be up to a hundred meters long as opposed to USB 3's three meters. And according to Intel, the standard will support speeds up to a blistering 100Gbps by the end of the decade, which will be significant as industry observers believe optical cables will be the only way to support larger HDTV and 3D displays. Engadget published a claim last year that Apple actually designed the standard back in 2007 and brought it to Intel; while there was no statement about this from either Apple or Intel, industry sources have disputed the assertion.

    Intel demonstrated the technology at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, saturating a solid-state RAID array while displaying high-definition video on a large screen, all through a single fiber optic daisy-chain. Observers were amused to note that the computer they used for the demo was a hackintosh: a caseless test rig running Mac OS X. Whether the story about Apple inventing the technology is true or not, Light Peak has gotten enthusiastic support from Apple. Intel received feedback from Apple which they incorporated into their development efforts.

    When asked about USB 3.0 on the Mac, Steve Jobs replied that "We don't see USB 3 taking off at this time." Interestingly, the Apple CEO went on to justify that statement by saying there was "no support from Intel" for the standard. Given that Intel appears to be pushing ahead with Light Peak as a next-generation standard, and Apple's focus on clean, minimal industrial design, it's not unrealistic to imagine we'll see future MacBooks with a single optical interface to replace USB, FireWire, and HDMI ports.

    Source: CNET
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Light Peak Instead of USB 3 on 2011 Macs? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      So basically this would be good for major companies that have to move large amounts of data around and can afford the hardware upgrades to actually be able to use it. For the rest of us Joe Schmoes it will be USB3 whether steve likes it or not.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by pachi1972 View Post
      It not gonna work...Everyone is used to USB...there are too many devices using USB....
      Yeah, 2.0. But USB 3 uses way different chords. I haven't even seen anything that actually comes with a USB three cable. Light Peak sounds far superior anyway. But I'm probably never getting a Mac, anyway, too expensive. Hope the best tech wins!
    1. bruinsrme's Avatar
      bruinsrme -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      Yeah, 2.0. But USB 3 uses way different chords. I haven't even seen anything that actually comes with a USB three cable. Light Peak sounds far superior anyway. But I'm probably never getting a Mac, anyway, too expensive. Hope the best tech wins!
      Here is some go info to clarify info about 3.0.
      Everything You Need to Know About USB 3.0, Plus First Spliced Cable Photos | Maximum PC

      USB3.0 will be backwards compatible with USB 2.0 connections but won't be able to take advantage of the newer specs. For that the fast bus connector is needed.

      iomega and western digital already have usb 3.0 drives available.

      PC motherboards are already coming with usb3.0 on board and there are a number of pci cards available.

      both may have their place for instance light-peak internal and usb 3 external
    1. manickbarry's Avatar
      manickbarry -
      Quote Originally Posted by bruinsrme View Post
      Like the display port?
      But wasn't that puely an apple thing this will be avalable for any manufacture to use. I think this will demolish USB in 5 years every one always wants faster I just think the name is a bit lame lol
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      Quote Originally Posted by manickbarry View Post
      If apple backs it then it will do well.
      this how i feel, steve does seem to support things that are taking off. Even removing this froms macs that he thinks are outdated

      the speeds for this are crazy.

      I also agree with another post that usb 2.0 needs an upgrade, spped needs to increase with the size of hard drives now and formats being worked with
    1. iPhoneThereforeIAm's Avatar
      iPhoneThereforeIAm -
      Copper wire is so last week - look at broadband networks.
      With 100m cable runs, commerce will be all over it like a cheap suit - to say nothing of video networking your house from a single machine.
    1. wirehedd's Avatar
      wirehedd -
      I have no doubt that Steve Jobs would be more than happy to leapfrog the industry past USB3.0 and go straight to Light Peak as he has a known knack for going to whichever tech standard is poised to be the best standard for the products he plans to introduce. How many remember when the Mac dropped the floppy? I remember some of my coworkers going nuts because all of a sudden the graphics dept machines were no longer able to use FDDs and they all had a moment of that "A-HA!" when they realized that they could use those newfangled thumbdrive thingies or rewritable opticals instead. More storage space and faster too.

      It would just make sense to go to light peak and bypass a standard they would have to implement sooner than later anyway.

      Makes sense to me anyway.

      Quote Originally Posted by bruinsrme View Post
      Here is some go info to clarify info about 3.0.
      Everything You Need to Know About USB 3.0, Plus First Spliced Cable Photos | Maximum PC

      USB3.0 will be backwards compatible with USB 2.0 connections but won't be able to take advantage of the newer specs. For that the fast bus connector is needed.

      iomega and western digital already have usb 3.0 drives available.

      PC motherboards are already coming with usb3.0 on board and there are a number of pci cards available.

      both may have their place for instance light-peak internal and usb 3 external
      Thanks for posting the link, I was just getting ready to do the same.
    1. athleticswimmer's Avatar
      athleticswimmer -
      personally, I'm just going with the fastest speeds.....
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Light Peak is a dumb name, yes...

      Who says Universal Serial Bus? Nobody. Everyone says USB. So Light Peak will become "LP cable," or "LP device."

      Not much fails on naming scheme, in the tech world, it has to be inferior or prohibitively costly to fail. Maybe Blu-Ray is the exception, lol.

      With speeds like that; corporations, gamers, and A/V enthusiasts will MAKE "LP" the winning standard.

      Besides, someone ALWAYS makes an adaptor, so compatibility with old devices is less of an issue. Think of LP replacing SATA, HDMI, Ethernet, USB, FireWire, etc... Only one type of cable for EVERYTHING! Beautiful!
    1. CrunchDude's Avatar
      CrunchDude -
      Never mind if hard drives or any other current devices will be able to "handle" the high speeds. Anything that will be faster than SSD's, and even PCI-e flash, which is faster than any solid state SATA drive, I welcome with open arms.

      Add to that the fact that everything will go through a single cable! No more proprietary standards like FireWire and HDMI, and no more complicated and costly mini-DisPlayport-to-HDMI adapters and FW800-to-FW400 scenarios, just to name a few examples, will also make designs more efficient and smaller where desirable and larger but thinner if it's some crazy 89" HD-3DTV that weighs 30lbs.

      This will be a fun decade for tech. Another one!
    1. iPhoneThereforeIAm's Avatar
      iPhoneThereforeIAm -
      Think of the possibilities.
      The day will come when houses are built with integral LP networks.
      Your house will become a PC/Mac distributed across the whole building.
      I can see displays starting to get very mobile - just hang it in whatever room you're in and you're good to go.
      Then you could go for a permanent, maybe refrigerated/water-cooled, installation running at silly overclocks to power the whole family's IT needs.
      No more Wifi issues, no more USB cable-length issues, just remote, silent (music-makers will be creaming in their proverbials), bad-*****, distributed computing with a bank of LP ports next to every power outlet.
      This is just the beginning, for I have seen the future ... and it's fibrous.