What's Light Peak Good For?

Written by John Ponio    Thursday, 24 February 2011 13:33

Intel Logo

If you haven't heard, Apple today announced their new lineup of Macbook Pros. If you want to see a good comparison of the past few revisions to the current, a good thing to look at is Tested's chart. Most notably new on the Macbook Pros is Intel's Light Peak technology under the guise of "Thunderbolt." What this technology is is a 10Gb/s (bit, not byte, (8 bits in a byte) for those of you who don't know the difference in abbreviations) transmission technology that can transmit both data and display signals in the same, bi-directional cable. This compares to USB 3.0's 4.8Gb/s for data transmission. These are some crazy fast transfer speeds. While this is all fine and dandy, you might ask, "If it's only on Apple's laptops, what can I use it for?" Well, Intel is working with companies such asĀ Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise, and Western Digital to make new devices such as "computers, displays, storage devices, audio/video devices, cameras, docking stations and more" with this connection. But for right now, you can use the plug on the Macbook for connecting a display to any Displayport-enabled display or adapter. Personally I'm very interested to see how Light Peak, or "Thunderbolt," is adopted. USB 3.0 took forever to get some recognition, and even now after being out for over 2 years it's not widely used at all.