Intel’s optical connectivity standard Light Peak may not be a huge success once the company begins offering it to PC makers, but as a technology it could open the door to future furiously fast optical interconnects extending all across the gamut of the consumer and the professional/server markets, an engineer from an unnamed “top-tier” PC company said today.
He also noted that Light Peak “could be adopted in consumer systems from Apple “because [Apple’s users] already pay a premium and they want the coolest gadget,” said the engineer,” as reported by EE Times.
In case you missed it, a quick refresher on what Light Peak is: Light Peak is a new interconnect being developed by Intel. It is understood Apple wanted the chip giant to do this work.
The vision is a super-fast interconnect standard which can tie your entire digital ecosystem together, capable of driving a monitor or filling a hard drive, all at a flaming fast 10 Gbits/second, which is Light Peak’s current top speed.
Naturally, that’s too hi-tech for the beige box makers, who are opting for the copper-based USB 3.0 standard which manages 3Gbits/second, and most have no plans for any wide deployment of Light Peak, the engineer said.
“I think there will be some who will use Light Peak, but not the volume OEMs like the Acers, HPs and Dells….They won’t have a need for it,” he said.
Intel first announced Light Peak at the Intel Developer Forum in September 2009, suggesting it could be the successor to USB. Last week at IDF 2010, Intel said all the components for Light Peak—including discrete controllers from Intel—will ship this year, enabling systems in 2011.
This is in line with previous reports.
The engineer argues that for the cost (around $5 more than using a USB controller), Light Peak doesn’t deliver sufficient utility. Even the fact that it supports distances of up to 100 m doesn’t do it for the PC man.
It is possible the Apple-inspired connectivity standard is a solution waiting for the relevant problem to appear to kick-start a market in the standard.
This begs the question just what sort of data requires transfer at speeds like this at distances of up to 100 metres? Perhaps Apple has an idea for Xserves? Perhaps for use in colleges where it hopes to sell all you can eat iTunes subscriptions, folllowing Napster’s previous model? That is complete speculation, of course. The question remains — even for Apple — what implementation will make this standard sexy?