With the advent of AMD Threadripper and Epyc, we are about to see an explosion of PCIe lanes in the pro-sumer and datacenter market. Although many of those lanes will be taken up by conventional PCIe cards, some will be used for SSD’s (M.2 and U.2) or for external connectivity. This is where OCuLink might finally take off: As an AMD alternative to Thunderbolt for external PCIe peripheral connectivity.
So there it is. Intel’s Light Peak was launched as Thunderbolt in the new Apple MacBook Pro line. What else happened?
Apple unveiled their new line of MacBook Pro laptops today, complete with “Thunderbolt”, the trade name for a production packaging of Light Peak and Mini DisplayPort. After much speculation, we finally have some concrete information about Light Peak, and perhaps a peek into the next generation of I/O technologies!
Intel has been incredibly tight-lipped about Light Peak. Although I’ve been hounding my contacts inside the company for months, no one has spilled the beans about anything. All I know about Light Peak I learned on the Internet, as they say. Now comes another bombshell: Apple will introduce Light Peak-equipped MacBook Pros tomorrow (February 24) with “Thunderbolt”, a high-speed I/O port!
Just how fast is 10 gigabits per second anyway? To help out, I’ve prepared another napkin-tastic infographic!
This regular series features highlights from the week. The big news for me was Wednesday’s announcement of Tech Field Day 5 in February, though others might have been paying attention to Dell’s acquisition of Compellent. I also continued my series on Light Peak by musing about combining Light Peak and USB 3.0 and pondering, what if Light Peak was electrical rather than optical?
This week I started getting to know a whole bunch of wireless geeks in preparation for Wireless Field Day in March. I also wrote about Light Peak, my search for an AirPrint-compatible printer, and some more on the iPad. On the enterprise IT side, I covered Application Performance Monitoring (with a special offer from SolarWinds) and Dell’s potential acquisition of Compellent.
As I considered the possibilities of the new Apple/Intel interconnect technology known as Light Peak, an odd parallel with 10 Gb Ethernet popped into my head. Much of the confusion around Light Peak revolves around connectors, power conduction, and backward-compatibility. Then, like the Grinch, I thought of something I hadn’t before: Why use optical at all? 10 GBASE-T does just fine over twisted pair, and short interconnect distances would reduce power draw to reasonable levels. What if Light Peak was electrical rather than optical?
Yesterday I talked about Light Peak, the new optical interconnect being developed by Apple, Intel, and others. Today I’m continuing that theme, suggesting a possible productization that would really take Light Peak to the next level: Integrating it with USB 3.0.
Light Peak isn’t anything yet; it doesn’t exist. But I don’t think Light Peak will become the USB 3.0-killer that many folks suggest. Light Peak is a cabling spec only, not a new protocol that will eliminate everything that currently exists. In other words, Light Peak is a “middle connection” between a computer and peripherals that will retain compatibility with USB, HDMI/DVI, and Ethernet.