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Intel Corp. officially confirmed the rumours that the company's Light Peak interconnect technology in its initial flavour will not use optical cables, but will rely on common cables with copper wires inside. Such solution greatly lowers cost of LightPeak products, but naturally reduces performance substantially.

"The copper came out very good, surprisingly better than what we thought. Optical is always a new technology which is more expensive," said David Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's architecture group, in an interview with IDG News Service.

The first version of Ligh tPeak was supposed to have 10Gb/s bandwidth over distances up to 100 meters, two times higher than the maximum bandwidth of USB 3.0 (which maximum distance is 1.5 - 2 meters). With fiber optics cable it should be possible to increase the bandwidth of LightPeak to  up to 100Gb/s eventually, according to earlier claims. But with copper wires, the speed and range of data transmission may not be as great, according to the executive. Earlier rumours claims that it should be possible to transfer data at up to 10Gb/s over copper wires.

Fiber optics are very expensive at present and it is natural that hardware makers would prefer to avoid them. At the same time, new interconnection naturally attracts attention of consumers and catalyzes them to upgrade their hardware, for example, digital cameras or external storage devices. Perhaps, in order to kick off the adoption of LightPeak by end-users, manufacturers need to make the technology as affordable as possible, which is why they decided to use copper cables instead of fiber optics.

Perlmutter declined to say on when devices using Light Peak would reach store shelves, adding that shipment depended on device makers. But earlier rumours pointed to the plan to start shipments of Light Peak-equipped devices in 2011. Even though it is possible that LightPeak will hit commercial market in 2011, it is unlikely that it will get popular. Very few devices, apart from external graphics cards or solid-state drives may actually need speeds like 10Gb/s. At the same time, the cost of USB 3.0-enabled devices has been decreasing and end-users may prefer to stick with the standard that offers 5Gb/s maximum speed at a very low cost.


Tags: Intel, Light Peak, USB


Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 01/10/11 11:43:40 PM
Latest comment: 01/13/11 08:43:07 PM


So will this be named, "Copper Peak?"
0 0 [Posted by: Postoasted  | Date: 01/10/11 11:43:40 PM]

LOL!! )))) LIGHT peak with copper!!! )))
And besides, USB 3.0 is an excellent interface, and not even the latest SSDs don't use the max 5Gbps bandwidth, so 10Gbps for at least 4x price, is not worthed!
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 01/11/11 01:52:13 AM]

i am no better than the people at Intel but to me, this is just stupid. how can this be any better than 10Gbps ethernet, USB 3.0 and 2.0, SATA3, or HDMI?

i thought this was great for enterprises, they wouldn't mind the expense anyway and the cable never needs to be replaced.

but then, i just realized the reason, they couldn't make the device (transmitter and/or receiver) any faster!
0 0 [Posted by: zodiacfml  | Date: 01/11/11 05:12:03 AM]

Just look at the spec: 10Gb/s, 100m over copper. It was still great if the cable can be made cheap and thin.
It can be named as as super-link or something else. But why stupid Intel release it as LightPeak? It makes a great design to be a joke.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/11/11 06:57:32 AM]

Hey Intel, stop teasing us with LightPeak and start putting your own friggin' USB 3.0 into your own friggin' chipsets.

0 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 01/11/11 10:53:57 AM]

odd that the main message of original Light Peak stuff was silicon photonics. with that gone, why is it called Light Peak? as other comments point out, it's more like usb version n+1. or is Intel trying to say that a new protocol is the centerpiece?

it's a bit sad, actually, since one of the exciting things about Light Peak was that it hinted at a cheap, commoditized high-bandwidth interface that could, for instance, possibly break the lock that Infiniband (AKA Mellanox-net) has on the high-performance market.
0 0 [Posted by: markhahn  | Date: 01/12/11 12:14:47 PM]

I was looking forward to the extended range offered by copper err I mean Light Peak as USB3 range is pitiful, oh well looks like I'll be waiting another 10 years
0 0 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 01/13/11 08:43:07 PM]


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