Friday, March 16th 2012

Thunderbolt To Become Standard for PC in 2013, Optical at That

Towards the end of 2012, Intel will alter Thunderbolt specification from a copper wire-based interconnect to a fiber-optic or photonic interconnect. An analysis by DigiTimes which takes into account information by industry sources, states that Thunderbolt will become standard for PCs only in 2013, and that too the optical one. This comes even as copper wire-based Thunderbolt is beginning to feature on some high-end socket LGA1155 motherboards based on Intel 7-series chipset.

Thunderbolt will get its big push in 2013, when the port will be standard on mainstream desktops and notebooks by OEM majors such as Lenovo, and several PC motherboard vendors, such as ASUS. The optical Thunderbolt IO, apart from allowing greater cable-lengths than 6 m (a limitation of copper-wire Thunderbolt), could push bandwidth greater than 10 Gbps, as a possible incentive for the industry to facilitate the transition to the optical variant.

Source: DigiTimes
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28 Comments on Thunderbolt To Become Standard for PC in 2013, Optical at That

Kreij said:
You're right, Ford, to do it right would mean a complete redesign of almost everything in computers as we know it today.

I envision all peripheral cards losing their card slot pins and plugging direcly into fiber channels on the mobo. Their outputs would then be fed to some kind of fiber multiplexers for a single output from the case.

If the in-die optical switching technology ever goes mainstream, it would be kind of silly not to use fiber for all I/O also.

No, it's not going to happen anytime soon.
I have said it before, this sounds like the perfect way to drop ATX form factor. Why ATX bothers me is a mystery, but I think it's gotta go.
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"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Maybe because it's old. CPUs are drawing much more power than when the ATX spec was made so now we have expanded 20-pin main connectors to 24-pin and added an additional 8-pin connector for dedicated CPU power. There's also the issue of the audio header almost always ending up in the lower left corner of the board when the external audio is usally on the upper right side of the case. Audio wasn't on motherboards when ATX was originally introduced so they stick it where it fits. Not to mention why all the reset switch, case speaker, power switch, power LED, and HDD LED don't use a standard single header that encompasses all of them instead of every motherboard and case doing their own thing. Oh, and can't forget the expansion slots aren't spaced to allow for modern, furnace graphics cards and other massively heat generating cards. Because so much has been integrated into the motherboard, fewer, farther spaced slots are becoming preferable to a full 7 slots available on ATX.

So yeah, ATX is just old but it is so common, it's nearly impossible to unseat (look at BTX for example).
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i think a new format will take over, but only if its in a different size (ex: ITX, where ATX simply wont work)
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