Intel’s LightPeak – big reveal to happen Thursday

23 Feb 2011

LightPeak, a new technology from Intel believed to be faster than USB 3.0, is likely to be unveiled tomorrow. The chip giant is holding a press conference tomorrow in San Francisco to discus the new technology.

Over the weekend it emerged that LightPeak is likely to feature in the next generation of MacBook Pro notebook computers, due to be released by Apple this week.

The new technology has been touted by Intel as the ‘Holy Grail’ of connector technologies. The technology is believed to be faster than USB 3.0 and other manufacturers, including Sony, are planning to release computers sporting the new connector technology.

It is aimed at replacing the myriad of cables that connect monitors, external drives, scanners and printers. The technology was first demonstrated at an Intel developer conference in 2009 on a computer running Mac OS X.

What is LightPeak capable of?

Here are some fast facts provided by Intel on the LightPeak technology:

  • If you were using LightPeak at 10Gbps, you could transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds.
  • If all the books in the Library of Congress were digitised, they would amount to more than 20 terabytes of data (a 2 with 13 zeroes after it).
  • If you used LightPeak technology operating at 10 Gb/s, you could transfer the whole library of congress in less than 35 minutes.
  • If you had an MP3 player with 64GB of storage, it would only take a minute to fill it up with music using LightPeak at 10Gbps.
  • The optical fibres used in LightPeak have a diameter of 125 microns, about the width of a human hair.
  • With LightPeak at 10Gbps, one could transfer close to 10m tweets in one second.
  • LightPeak can send and receive data at 10bn bits per second. That is a 1 with ten zeros after it.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years