Intel To Launch Light Peak As Apple Updates Macbooks With Thunderbolt


Intel is reportedly preparing to launch its Light Peak optical cable technology on Thursday to compete with USB 3.0, and Apple's upcoming refreshed Macbook Pro line is rumored to include Light Peak re-branded as Thunderbolt.

Intel will hold a press event on Thursday in San Francisco to discuss new technology that is set to hit the market. During the event, Intel plans to unveil its Light Peak technology, according to published reports.

Light Peak is designed to use light instead of copper and create an interface based solely on fiber-optic hardware in order to transfer data significantly faster compared to other connectivity technology, according to Digital Times.

However, Intel in January said that the first version of Light Peak will use copper connections instead, but that the change in material won’t affect data transfer speeds. Intel says Light Peak offers transfer speeds of up to 10GBps, about twice as fast as USB 3.0 technology, as well as multiple device connectivity on a single cable.

Meanwhile, Apple on Thursday is expected to refresh its Macbook Pro line, which is rumored to include Light Peak under a different moniker.

Mac Rumors on Wednesday published pictures of the upcoming 13-inch Macbook Pro and said Apple is planning to release its implementation of Light Peak running inside the updated notebooks under the codename Thunderbolt.

According to the leaked images, the 13-inch version of Apple's updated Macbooks will feature Intel's dual-core i5 Sandy Bridge processors, with each core running at 2.3 GHZ with 3 MB cache. The pictured low-end 13-inch Macbooks include 4 GB of DDR3 memory running at 1333 MHz, a 320-GB Hard Drive running at 5400 rpm, and 1280x800 pixel screen resolution. It also reportedly comes with an HD camera, an SDXC card slot, Firewall 800 and two USB 2.0 cables in addition to Thunderbolt, which is compatible with I/O devices and high-speed MiniDisplay port.

There is a precedent for Intel to debut its optical interface on Apple's Macbooks. Intel in 2009 first demonstrated its Light Peak technology running on Apple's OS X platform.

In addition, Intel's Sandy Bridge processors are rumored to be featured in upcoming refreshed models of Apple's 13-inch and 15-inch Macbook PC models as well as the 11-inch Macbook Air, paired with Nvidia discrete GPUs. Intel on Feb. 1 recalled its Sandy Bridge products, citing a design error in its Cougar Point chipset that causes SATA ports in some chipsets to degrade over time, affecting the performance of attached SATA hard disks and DVD drives in PCs that feature Sandy Bridge chips.

A week after the recall, Intel chose to resume Sandy Bridge shipments for PC configurations that had not been affected, upon consulting with its OEM partners.