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Intel Says Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables Coming Later This Year

One of the promises of Intel's Thunderbolt technology was the possibility for fiber optic cables, offering greater cable lengths and setting the stage for faster connectivity once the standard matures. But Thunderbolt launched using only traditional copper wire cables, and there has been some dispute about just how soon fiber optic cables will become available.


IDG News now reports that Intel as issued a statement indicating that it will be launching fiber optic Thunderbolt cables "later this year".
Intel has said copper cables are adequate for data transfers over short distances of up to six meters. Optical cables will be good for data transfers over longer distances of tens of meters.

The upside to optical is that it allows for longer cable runs, and as the technology develops, more bandwidth, [Intel spokesman Dave] Salvator said in email.
The downside to fiber optic cables, however, is that devices connected using the longer fiber optic cables will require separate power cables, as running power over the cables at those distances is not currently practical. Fiber optic cables are also likely to be significantly more expensive than their copper counterparts, although Intel has not offered any guidance on pricing.

For those who already own a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, Intel notes that the existing Thunderbolt ports will be compatible with both copper and fiber optic cables, ensuring cross-compatibility once the new cables arrive.

Just last week, Intel announced that it was working on moving Thunderbolt to the PCI Express 3.0 standard, a move that could see the company double the effective bandwidth for data transfers. The company has not, however, provided a projected timeframe for a public launch of the enhanced Thunderbolt speeds.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
How about making the current cables - and accessories - more affordable first before making them even more expensive? :mad: /rant
Rating: 23 Votes
35 months ago
Awesome. I can't wait to start paying $150 each for optical Thunderbolt cables.
Rating: 20 Votes
35 months ago
A longer Thunderbolt cable, exactly what I needed!

Oh wait.
Rating: 19 Votes
35 months ago

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A

2 meters of copper wire for 50 USD is cheap in your opinion?

Manufacturing costs = 50 cents


What about the active chip? What's the price on this component?

http://www.ifixit.com/blog/2011/06/29/what-makes-the-thunderbolt-cable-lightning-fast/





http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC913ZM/A

I would like those peripherals now please, and cheaper than USB 3.0 if possible.


Not possible by design. USB's host controller is your CPU. This is why it's so cheap. TB technology is more akin to something like Firewire where the I/O and host controller do not depend on the CPU so you get more consistent speed and lower CPU utilization.

TB will never be as cheap as USB 3.0.
Rating: 12 Votes
35 months ago

How about making the current cables - and accessories - more affordable first before making them even more expensive? :mad: /rant


That's bound to happen once PC manufacturers start putting them into their products, which should rapidly ramp up the scale and adoption of Thunderbolt. Hopefully that happens sooner than later, or it will end up like Firewire, if not worse off.

As for Firewire, I don't expect any new Macs coming out (except for a potential Mac Pro refresh) to support it natively any more. Most likely it will be done through a Thunderbolt->Firewire adapter. (And I suspect it won't be cheap).
Rating: 11 Votes
35 months ago
Well, it's great to see Intel moving along with the technology.

On the other hand, Thunderbolt still means nothing to me, the average consumer. Not only is it unique to only Macs at the moment, but there is very little support for it unless you pay triple digits, at the least.

Still waiting for that clever Thunderbolt solution from Apple.
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago
Sure it would be nice to have affordable thunderbolt accessories right now, but when I upgraded from a 2010 --> 2011 macbook pro, the only thing it did was add additional functionality to the existing display port. It didn't hurt me any, and I'm glad I have that option if I need it.

If apple waited and released the 2011 mbp without thunderbolt built in, everyone would have complained in 2012/2013 about how apple could have included thunderbolt in their computer but chose not to. Apple is late to adopt USB 3, people complain. Apple is early in adopting thunderbolt, people complain.
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago

Sonnet announced one a year ago but they keep pushing its release. They may have cancelled it altogether since they removed it from their website. I bought a MBA thinking this adapter would be released (I need FireWire) and got screwed hard. At least if the new MBP doesn't have one, some other brand will feel the need to release such an adapter.


While it is a bit of a kludge solution Sonnet does offer a TB to ExpressCard adapter. It might be a workaround if you already have a Firewire ExpressCard or absolutely need to have that functionality.

ThunderBolt -> ExpressCard (http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresscard34thunderbolt.html)

Apple does sell a TB->FW adapter, unfortunately it is bundled into a display. ;)

----------

Do you own a thunderbolt device??

I frankly cannot afford them, whilst I have plenty of USB 3 devices for my PC.

With the "pro" macbooks having less and less interfaces these days TB is a waste for 95% of users.


I believe the same thing was said of the transition from serial to USB. ;)
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago

How about making the current cables - and accessories - more affordable first before making them even more expensive? :mad: /rant


Comparatively speaking Thunderbolt cables are cheap. If you were expecting UB pricing for cables with active chips embedded you were highly mistaken


LOL, what a failure thunderbolt is becoming. All this hype and time.... where are devices for consumers?

Have any of you;

- seen anyone having a thunderbolt device?
- seen a thunderbolt device on a store shelf?


Ahhh Wikus trolling the Thunderbolt threads again to provide nuggets of misinformation.

There are plenty of Thunderbolt devices available or in the pipeline for people that actually need the drive speed.
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago

LOL, what a failure thunderbolt is becoming. All this hype and time.... where are devices for consumers?

Have any of you;

- seen anyone having a thunderbolt device?

- seen a thunderbolt device on a store shelf?

-No. The technology is also not even a year old yet. (Edited to make 'Wikus' happy. Thunderbolt actually turned a year old seventeen days ago.)

-Yes.

Seriously you need to get over yourself. Of course it won't have the support of USB 2.0 at the present. And no one in their right mind should expect it to.
Rating: 8 Votes

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