Is Apple behind Intel's speedy optical link?
The high-speed Light Peak optical interconnect that Intel unveiled at last week's developer confab was developed as a result of a CEO-to-CEO interconnect between Apple's Steve Jobs and Intel's Paul Otellini.
That is, if Engadget's "extremely reliable source" is correct. According to that website's report, the idea for Light Peak originated at Apple back in 2007 and was developed by Intel at Cupertino's urging.
This, of course, wouldn't be a unique event. Other now-widespread technologies have been conceived at One Infinite Loop then gone on to become industry standards. Think FireWire and OpenCL, for example, and the now-open source Grand Central Dispatch multicore-code helper.
The Reg believes that Engadget's mole knows what he's talking about, considering that Light Peak's coming-out party was hosted on a lucite-encased collection of boards running Mac OS X 10.6, better known as Snow Leopard - check out this video:
Light Peak also fits in well with Steve Jobs's mantra of "simplify, simplify, simplify." One cable to rule them all, as it were.
An additional interesting tidbit that wasn't announced during Light Peak's IDF rollout was noted by Intel Senior Fellow and Communications Technology Lab director Kevin Kahn during a separate session. "One of the things that was running over that optical fiber," he said, "was PCI Express."
Light Peak itself is an impressive piece of technology - hot-pluggable, full-duplex (10Gbps each way), multi-protocol - but it's only the beginning of what Kahn referred to as a "decade-type technology."
Currently based on well-tested Vixel optical-interconnect technology, Light Peak is slated to move up to Intel's breakthrough silicon photonics technology. "Relatively near future we'd like to get that up into the somewhere between 25 and 40 [Gbps] range," said Kahn, adding that "When we look at where do we go next with [Light Peak], we think the silicon photonics-type technology is probably the way we get to the higher data rates."
Intel is already working on speeds well beyond that. As Kahn told us, "If you're talking about applying the technology to very high-end systems, then 100 and up is interesting - and we've been kind of looking at that in the labs and have some prototypes just about done of some 100-class systems using silicon photonics. They're not cost-effective today, but will they be cost effective in few years? Probably yes."
And when Kahn says cost-effective, he doesn't mean only for high-end systems for deep-pocket high-end customers. He's talking mass acceptance. "This stuff has to cost a couple of bucks. Literally," he said. "And we think that's very achievable."
So when in the not-too-distant future we're hot-plugging tens of gigabits of connectivity into our portable devices, we may have Steve Jobs to thank for getting the ball rolling. ®
I'd love a monitor that can deal with everything. However as me PC is right next to me monitor, having the USB ports on my monitor isn't really that much of a priority.
However with the hundreds of computers I deal with at work, it would be great. However I don't deal with purchasing.
To be fair
>> This is the same Apple that forces custom USB cables for the iPod and introduces proprietary standards for video connection and so forth?
The iPod dock connector is (depending on the device) capable of not just USB, but Firewire, audio input, audio output, composite video output and remote control (and possibly others that I am not aware of). So whilst it isn't 'one cable to rule them all', it is one connector to rule them all. That said, I would have much preferred a standard mini usb cable.
BTW, it looks like this may be 'one cable for all self powered devices'. However it looks as though you will still need another cable for powering the device. No doubt Apple will be able to provide proprietary connectors and cables that combine data and power. Powered USB may be troublesome at times, but at least it is one less power supply to plugin and one less cable to trip you up. I have owned a few firewire devices, and none of them were bus powered.
DMA or NOT DMA, that is he question!
"When I think about Firewire I don't get a whole lot. Problem with that statement is this, Firewire was a good idea yes"
OC Firewire is and was from day one DMA capable, were as USB is not, i dont even htink the new USB3 is now made to be DMA capable, hopefully this new 10Gbit+ generic link is, and you Can always Bond several togetehr too it seems, IF they write that capability into its generic master/slave firmware....
the questionis when can we go down our local PC UK shop and buy 2 or more cards and i assume some form of router/hub to plug all this into and use PC to PC....
and what price inlusive of UK VAT and P&P
then we Might get to see mass x264 realtime Encoder patch to fast Encode over this great speed interconnect for instance.
"Light Peak also fits in well with Steve Jobs's mantra of "simplify, simplify, simplify." One cable to rule them all, as it were."
This is the same Apple that forces custom USB cables for the iPod and introduces proprietary standards for video connection and so forth?
Job's mantra is "complicate, complicate, complicate... and then charge for fixing the complications".
Apple charges 25c per port for firewire licensing. Is that exorbitant? Not in my book ..