Episode 22: Thunderbolt and Lightpeak

You’ve likely heard about the new interconnect technology called Thunderbolt now that it is released, but Lightpeak during development at Intel. With two 10 Gbit/sec channels this has some interconnect power, at budget pricing. It’ll make a big difference when momentum gathers.

We also talk about the implications for hardware design, and whether or not there will be need for a “tower” configuration in the future.

[Update 4/6] Apple sure look like they’re spreading Thunderbolt across their entire product line, not just Macs: Apple expanding Thunderbolt team for new devices equipped with high-speed ports. and Apple patents Hybrid USB 3.0/Display Port Connector. Thunderbolt connects via DisplayPort.

Many thanks to Isai Espinoza for editing the show again and making us sound smart.

4 thoughts on “Episode 22: Thunderbolt and Lightpeak

  1. Good stuff guys, although one small point you didn’t mention in the “why we still need towers…for now” part of the discussion is that, in addition to needing a place to leverage GPUs, the towers are the only place to get super-maxed-out RAM, and up to 12 cores today. In addition to that, simply taking the GPU external isn’t going to work until the ‘next’ lightpeak as today’s GPUs saturate 16 lanes and Thunderbolt is only 4.

    The biggest thing keeping us from more cores in laptops is power consumption and heat. I/We need that performance, perhaps not for basic editing but certainly for effects, motion graphics and stuff like that. It will be interesting to see if my main rig in 3 years is a bunch of mac-minis bootstrapped together or still some kind of tower.

  2. In the tower of today, yes, but a mini tower or other form factor is probably on the cards for tomorrow, once we get to the full speed Thunderbold. BTW four lanes in each direction, but not enough yet to run a graphics card. But the full optical Thunderbolt could do four cards externally.

    BTW I think you saw Cringely’s take on Thunderbolt and minis? http://www.philiphodgetts.com/?p=2900 Not that I’m sure he’s right about using Grand Central Dispatch in that configuration.

  3. I think the large Mac tower’s days are numbered, but I dream of a Mac Pro a quarter the size of today’s with two (or more!) Thunderbolt busses and that still has multiple CPU sockets and ECC RAM. It may never happen, but I did say it was a dream…

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