Intel Light Peak technology is demonstrated, we want it yesterday

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2010 - 03:42 PM |

Yes, you hear me rant and rave about how awesome USB 3.0 is - and I still think that is the case.  No doubt we should be trying as much as possible to move away from legacy USB 2.0 crap and move into the world of USB 3.0 that is about 10x faster.  But at PC Perspective we are always looking ahead (except when we are looking behind us for that guy with the knife) and the light at the end of the connectivity tunnel might just be Light Peak.

This is a prototype Light Peak card we spotted at CES

The Intel developed Light Peak technology is an optical interconnect that can transmit data at up to 10 Gbit/s bi-directionally.  The connection could be used for everything from network connectivity to mass storage devices and even become a substitute for HDMI/DisplayPort outputs.  Intel's eventual goal is to have just a single Light Peak connection split off into basically all of these functions.  The ability to "dock" a high powered notebook computer to a monitor, keyboard/mouse, storage and network with just a single Light Peak cable is very compelling.

The news today however comes from PC Pro as Intel had their first public demonstration of Light Peak running to/from a notebook computer. 

The demo shows a single laptop pushing a pair of HD video streams to a display (seen on the left).  The Light Peak integration on the notebook is built around a rather large chip (12mm) that is the analog-digital converter and since the TV didn't have the technology integrated there is a converter box there as well.  Obviously in an ideal situation in 2011 the ability to receive this data would be integrated into displays as well.   

Intel's CTO Justin Rattner commented at the showcase that there was no real limit to the speeds of the optical technologies and even though Light Peak was starting at 10 Gbit/s of bi-directional bandwidth Intel expects to "increase that speed dramatically."  How does trillions of bits per second sound to you?  Good by me, sir.

Finally, Rattner says that Light Peak technology should be available to manufacturers starting in late 2010 but no word on when we might see the first bits of consumer implementations.

Source: engadget