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Intel: optical Thunderbolt to strike in Q4

Cheaper cables too

Inside Apple's Thunderbolt cable

IDF 2012 Cheaper and longer Thunderbolt wires will be coming later this year, Intel has forecast. The extra length will arrive on the back of optical cables.

Thunderbolt cables on the market today use metal wiring, but only run to 3m in length. Updating IDF visitors on the evolution of the peripheral connectivity technology, Intel staffers today said Thunderbolt buffs will be able to buy optical cables reaching 10m or even 20m in Q4.

Thunderbolt ports built into modern Macs, notebooks from Acer, Asus and Lenovo, and a variety of motherboards from Intel, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, lack optical links so the first optical cables will feature integrated optical transceivers.

They're unlikely to be inexpensive, but Intel also promised cheaper metal cables are coming on the back of better integration of the circuitry and chips built into the terminals of today's active Thunderbolt cables. A typical cable of this kind, such as Apple's Thunderbolt Cable, will currently set you back 39 quid - a lot for a wire. How much cheaper they'll be come Q4, Intel didn't say. ®

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