I remain impressed by CalDigit’s USB 3.0 products. My own tests show that these cards are fast and compatible, and I was pleased to see that CalDigit recently updated their driver for Mac OS 10.6.7, which changed some of the core features used by the previous driver. This is the kind of commitment I expect, both in terms of interoperability and support.
So there it is. Intel’s Light Peak was launched as Thunderbolt in the new Apple MacBook Pro line. What else happened?
Yesterday, Apple refreshed the entire MacBook Pro line. Although the new machines look identical to the old ones, massive changes were made below surface. I have been waiting to upgrade my now three-year-old Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pro, and seize the opportunity yesterday to pick up a brand-new 13 inch model. What made me pull the trigger? Read on!
My experience using USB 3.0 on a Mac has been wonderful. It’s so well-integrated you might not notice it except for the performance. At over 200 MB/s, it blows FireWire out of the water and is even faster than nearly any device you’re likely to throw at it. CalDigit sent me their Mac OS X-compatible USB 3.0 PCI Express card for evaluation, and I’m pleased as punch with the card.
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!
After testing the Iomega USB 3.0 SSD extensively both in terms of benchmarks and real-world usability, I’m sold on it. the only outstanding question is the high price of the unit: The 64 GB drive starts at an attainable $190, but the big 256 GB drive is downright expensive at $620 (street price). It’s hard to knock the drive’s performance, component choices, or build quality, but is it worth more than a budget laptop?
Just how fast is 10 gigabits per second anyway? To help out, I’ve prepared another napkin-tastic infographic!
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.