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Intel reveals Light Peak, possible USB 3.0 successor

Posted at 16 April 2010 07:05 CET by Randomus

Manufacturers are just now beginning to generate consumer attention for USB 3.0 products, but Intel reportedly is showing off a new technology that could eventually become a so-called ‘USB killer.’

During the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, Intel demonstrated the Light Peak high-speed optical cable technology that is supposed to be faster out of the box than the 4 Gb/s – 5 Gb/s speed USB 3.0 promises.

Light Peak reportedly has a standard speed of 10 Gb/s, and could eventually reach speeds upwards of 100 Gb/s.  Light Peak is expected to continue to scale up towards 100 Gb/s over the next 10 years.  A transfer speed of the minimum, 10 Gb/s, transfers an entire Blu-ray movie in 30 seconds or less.

There are additional advantages of Light Peak over USB, such as the ability to connect multiple devices to one Light Peak cable — this is possible because Intel designed Light Peak so it is able to simultaneously use multiple protocols.

USB 3.0 is still seen as a technology of the future, with speeds up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0.  However, Intel is able to offer its various technologies as onboard hardware, and the company still hasn’t offered built-in USB 3.0 support just yet.

I don’t think having two competing technologies will be good for the consumer market, but also doubt USB 3.0 will suddenly be replaced by Light Peak.  If the format begins to see speed increases in the years to come, that is when I think USB 3.0 could be under pressure.

What do you think of USB 3.0 and Light Peak?

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There are 6 comments

Blown to smitherines
Posted on: 17 Apr 10 11:23
    Optical cable is more expensive than copper cables ... and more fragile.
    When they figure out cordless lightpeak, I'll be there
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 17 Apr 10 21:30
      Intel trying to make themselves indispensable. They won't get a penny from me. I'd rather pay for an AMD chip or products from other manufacturers. If Intel offers it as a generic product available to whoever, that might change things. Their monopolistic policies irritate me.
      MyCE Member
      Posted on: 17 Apr 10 23:31
        Unless they figured out how to provide power over fiber it's not going to displace USB.
        Senior Administrator and Reviewer
        Posted on: 17 Apr 10 23:41
          Originally Posted by RTV71
          Unless they figured out how to provide power over fiber it's not going to displace USB.
          I agree.
          MyCE Resident
          Posted on: 18 Apr 10 19:47
            I would be very easy to run power lines along side the optical cable. It will be the way they market it that will make or break it. If it is licensed to everyone at a fair price, then it could be a good thing. I just don't know why I don't see this happening.
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 21 Apr 10 02:55
              So now we know the real reason why Intel is lagging on support for USB 3.0... they've got a competing format that they think can make them more money.

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