Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables Begin Mass Production, Available Up to 30m in Length

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Intel has signed off on active fiber optic cables made by Sumitomo Electric Industries, the first of their kind to go into mass production.

    The cables can be up to 30 meters (just under 100 feet) long, and provide full 10Gbps throughput with little performance degradation even when pinched by up to 180 degrees or tangled in knots. The cord is the same thickness as current standard Thunderbolt cables, but the connector size is slightly longer.

    As ZDNet points out, these currently unpriced cables could be used to put Thunderbolt data storage devices like the Drobo 5D in a soundproofed closet, away from the host Mac.

    There have been a number of reports about the development of fiber optic Thunderbolt cables over the past year, with no official timeline laid out for their availability. Pricing is also unknown, but given the more advanced active fiber technology in the cables, it's possible they could be significantly more expensive than current cables.

    One significant difference between the optical cable and the metal is that the new optical Thunderbolt cables do not carry on-board power. Any devices connected with them, like smaller portable hard drives, need external power supplies to work. They cannot be bus-powered.

    For those who already own a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac, Intel notes that the existing Thunderbolt ports will be compatible with both copper and fiber optic cables, ensuring cross-compatibility once the new cables arrive.

    Article Link: Fiber Optic Thunderbolt Cables Begin Mass Production, Available Up to 30m in Length
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
  3. macrumors 68040


    Feb 5, 2009
    30m .. why? Lol

    That's 100 feet.

    Because of "noise"? #FirstWorldProblems ... mechanical HDD's are hardly annoying, and SSD is the future especially for thunderbolt.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2008
    Intel has also announced that the optic technology has increased bandwidth and price, to a full $100 per cable, at each end.
  5. macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
  6. macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
  7. macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2012
    New York State, USA
    Its coming in March

    I wouldn't be surprised if they added this little invention to the next Apple Announcement coming in early 2013. Chances are it will be in March or it might be June. Who knows for sure!
  8. macrumors 65816


    May 29, 2011
    East coast, USA
    perfect for connecting to that thunderbolt display in the next room ;)
  9. macrumors member

    Feb 23, 2012
  10. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    I imagine it would be best suited for server based systems. Follow my train of thought.

    Imagine a new Mac Pro (or even Mac Mini server), a smaller form factor akin to the ill-fated G4 Cube. Perhaps it has 2 PCIe slots, 2-3 internal SATA III bays, 1-2 Xeon (or Core i7) processors, RAM, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 connections (Ethernet, et al). Place the unit in a closet, and run a fiber optic Thunderbolt cable to a workstation for display(s) and HIDs. A graphics box and more devices can be attached via copper Thunderbolt cables for bus support.

    You have a nice, small yet powerful system tucked away and out of sight.

    ...and it'll cost


    (apologies, couldn't resist)

    Attached Files:

  11. macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2002
    Lexington, KY
    Now you can leave the end of your Thunderbolt cable in another room, so you don't have to be reminded that nothing is connected to it.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2007
    Def add some flexibility to setup options. Great news as far as I can see, price permitting.
  13. macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2007
    New York City & South Florida
    Great, because current Thunderbolt cables are so cheap :rolleyes:
  14. CIA
    macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    Step 2 is now complete. Now that fibre is available, it's time to bump up the speeds.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2008

    Its good for conecting cameras for live streaming event for exemple...
  16. macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2012
    Helsinki, Finland
    I am a proud owner of 5 thunderbolt slots in different devices. Never have used them and never will used them. :confused:
  17. macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    This would be nice for putting a Mac Mini in the basement and having just the TB display on the desk. Completely quiet all the time :)
  18. macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2011
    I imagine these could also be used in instances where you are feeding HD projectors with your mac, reducing the need for adapters.
  19. macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    hmmm. I like the sound of fiber optic cables.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2011
    Rack-mounted workstations would work perfectly for this too. A whole entire room of workstations with all of the towers located in one closet. Only things that would be on the desk is a docking stations with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

    Can imagine this with Mac Minis, since then if the computer needed to be replaced or fixed, all you'd have to do is disconnect the power and TB cable and install the new one. Would mean no more climbing underneath a desk to get a tower out. Also would be way more secure too since the workstations can be locked away then too.
  21. macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    i think this is a good thing. hopefully the price will start going down now
  22. macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
  23. macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2003
    down on the upside
    video and audio studios, when the whirl of a single fan in a hotter than hell RAID enclosure effects playback/monitoring performance. you get to keep the physical studio interfaces and connections (i.e. to ProTools interfaces) in the control room, and the computer, hard drives, etc. in a sound proofed remote room.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2011
    If multiple machines/people need to use the same piece of equipment, they could put the equipment in a central control room and have them all connected to it from separate rooms. I've seen edit suites do this with decks and firewire. Firewire has a length limit though, so it had to be converted to cat5 and then go through a patch bay.
  25. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    Excellent example, makes perfect sense

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