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Corning's Optical Thunderbolt 3 Cables Now Available in Lengths From 5 to 50 Meters

dvanwinkle

macrumors member
Feb 9, 2009
64
121
Ohio
You would need a VERY specific use case for these with USB4 40Gbps around the corner. USB4 is loosely based on Thunderbolt3(same tech, but different specs).

Not really. USB4 40Gbps will still need to be similarly optical for these lengths to achieve the same speed. Copper over these lengths will degrade rapidly. You also couldn't bury them underground without grounded conduit. These, being optical, can easily be buried underground in ungrounded conduit and be safe to use. The prices are very similar to that of fiber networking cables, which are used even for short distances at these speeds (or lower). The fact that these run on very low power with a very high rate of speed is worth focusing on it now and worrying about USB4 when it's as widely adopted as Thunderbolt 3. I would be interested in knowing the processing speed of the chips inside the cable to convert the signal. I would imagine that there is a decent amount of latency if they're too slow.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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Why not just concentrate on USB4?
Same question for Thunderbolt 4.

Thunderbolt 4 is largely just not skipping over the optional parts of the USB4 ( like covering Thunderbolt 3). These cables should work just fine with any Thunderbolt 4 system. TBv4 covers TBv3. USB4 implementations don't necessarily do that.
 
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deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
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You would need a VERY specific use case for these with USB4 40Gbps around the corner. USB4 is loosely based on Thunderbolt3(same tech, but different specs).

USB4 40Gbps is technically optional. That's way. TBv3 40Gbps is not optional. TBv4 (which covers TBv3) again not optional. IF looking for a entirely stable market where each plug of that standard does 40Gbps.... USB4 isn't it. If selling a $300-500 cable do you really want to be exposed to various implementors cutting corners on what they deploy that has performance impacts on your very expensive cable. The first person the customer is likely to complain to is you the expensive cable vendor when the under performance may clearly be elsewhere.

Thunderbolt holds implementors to a higher and much more uniform standard.
 
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Kabeyun

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Mar 27, 2004
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Glad these are now shorter. Hope they’re not plagued with reliability issues as other Corning optical TB cables have been. Was going to pick up an Areca one to drive my wall monitor from the Mac mini in the closet, but opted for a USB 3.1 cable instead. Drives 4K video beautifully. Doesn’t carry audio but a BT speaker addressed that, for a total still far less than an optical TB3 cable!
 
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827538

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Jul 3, 2013
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Does anyone know if this uses OM or OS? If it’s single mode (doubt it) should be fairly straightforward to splice a longer section in.
 
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JohnnieBBadde

macrumors member
Dec 11, 2014
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As someone with multiple Corning optical USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 cables I wonder if the transceivers in the cable ends are lasting longer than an Epstein on suicide watch this time around.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,107
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San Diego, CA, USA
Glad these are now shorter. Hope they’re not plagued with reliability issues as other Corning optical TB cables have been. Was going to pick up an Areca one to drive my wall monitor from the Mac mini in the closet, but opted for a USB 3.1 cable instead. Drives 4K video beautifully. Doesn’t carry audio but a BT speaker addressed that, for a total still far less than an optical TB3 cable!
How much latency are you getting with the BT speaker though?
 
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jlocker

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Jun 20, 2011
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Lake Michigan
Reminds me of the cable for the Facebook Oculus Quest 2. Optical for fast data and but the oculus like also has copper for recharging.
 
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tobiastimpe

macrumors member
Jul 13, 2011
96
113
Apple promised to ship a 3m Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable with the announcement of the Mac Pro. I just want that one for my LG 5K display.
 
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[AUT] Thomas

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Mar 13, 2016
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Graz [Austria]
yeah right... meanwhile 40Gbit/s QSFP+ 850nm tranceivers cost 40$.
Can we just have a mediaconverter to do TB over standard fibre channel with -if possible- standard SFPs? Embedding this into a single assy imho is outright stupid.

This would be a major game changer in modern computing. Why? Just put all the "desktops" into a rack in the basement. Fibrechannel a Thunderbolt dock on the desk, perhaps integrated in the monitor.
Tada! Even thin clients become obsolet.

Frankly, I'm highly disappointed this isn't already the status quo...
 
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manu chao

macrumors 604
Jul 30, 2003
6,880
2,784
Really useful idea, actually. People will guffaw at the price—I did—but you know what it’s novel and genuinely a lifesaver to have for the captive pros who need it, so they’re able to price them to hell. I hope that this becomes more standard, because one of the worst aspects of thunderbolt is how its nearly impossible to actually connect anything at a normal USB-type distance. What use is an external device when it has to tethered within three feet of its host?
Aren’t copper TB cables able to be longer if you accept lower speeds?
 
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ninjadex

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
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Just wanted to chime in that I also had two of the previous Thunderbolt 2 version. Both of them dead 1 year later.

Never again.
 
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sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,220
543
You would need a VERY specific use case for these with USB4 40Gbps around the corner. USB4 is loosely based on Thunderbolt3(same tech, but different specs).


The use case is cable length. Data streams degrade and corrupt over long copper runs. Photonics avoids this.

Prices will drop with time, as technology always does.
 
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Internet Enzyme

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2016
907
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I'd say that's useful about 99% of the time, actually.

yeah, thats true. Not really a literal statement, i suppose. But you know what I’m getting at, right? Thunderbolt is novel because it’s external pcie but if its so hampered in its external potential because of exorbitant cable pricing then that’s a bit silly, isnt it?
 
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jimthing

macrumors 68000
Apr 6, 2011
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London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
Quick link to prices & product codes from previous related MR thread:
 
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cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
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yeah, thats true. Not really a literal statement, i suppose. But you know what I’m getting at, right? Thunderbolt is novel because it’s external pcie but if its so hampered in its external potential because of exorbitant cable pricing then that’s a bit silly, isnt it?
I don't really agree, but I respect your right to have a different opinion.
 
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glindon

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2014
339
612
Phoenix
Not really. USB4 40Gbps will still need to be similarly optical for these lengths to achieve the same speed. Copper over these lengths will degrade rapidly. You also couldn't bury them underground without grounded conduit. These, being optical, can easily be buried underground in ungrounded conduit and be safe to use. The prices are very similar to that of fiber networking cables, which are used even for short distances at these speeds (or lower). The fact that these run on very low power with a very high rate of speed is worth focusing on it now and worrying about USB4 when it's as widely adopted as Thunderbolt 3. I would be interested in knowing the processing speed of the chips inside the cable to convert the signal. I would imagine that there is a decent amount of latency if they're too slow.
Based off the fact they don’t support 6k XDR I’d avoid these cables. What good is a TB3 cable that doesn’t actually support TB3? The transceivers on both ends should be transparent to the devices they’re plugged into. Unless Apple is running the 6k out of spec which could be possible too. I wonder if anyone has tried to run a 6k connected to a PC.
 
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lostngone

macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2003
1,399
3,292
Anchorage
USB-C is horrible!!!! Bring back the era of the DB-25/DE-9! Obviously physical there are size issues with those exact examples however with most of the new(last 25 years) PC connectors have no or limited positive feedback when fully inserted and most are fragile and lack a secure locking method.
I want a connector with strong positive feedback on insertion and/or some way to lock it in place so the connector doesn’t get damaged if the cable is tugged or jostled about a few times in the devices lifetime.
 
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CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,107
8,593
San Diego, CA, USA
USB-C is horrible!!!! Bring back the era of the DB-25/DE-9! Obviously physical there are size issues with those exact examples however with most of the new(last 25 years) PC connectors have no or limited positive feedback when fully inserted and most are fragile and lack a secure locking method.
I want a connector with strong positive feedback on insertion and/or some way to lock it in place so the connector doesn’t get damaged if the cable is tugged or jostled about a few times in the devices lifetime.
USB-C is better than the previous USB connectors, but that’s not saying much (Lightning is more secure in that size). But DB-25s stayed in place largely because of the screws. I wouldn’t hold them up as a goal. Now FireWire 400, there was a nice connector that snapped in nicely, and couldn’t be inserted improperly. I’m still rather partial to RJ-45 connectors for Ethernet. They’re simple/cheap, easy to connect, and lock in very solidly. And, of course, the original MagSafe is still the best power connector ever.

I still want a MBP for the 2020’s with MagSafe and Ethernet.
 
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amartinez1660

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2014
542
467
You would need a VERY specific use case for these with USB4 40Gbps around the corner. USB4 is loosely based on Thunderbolt3(same tech, but different specs).
Regarding the use case, anything that requires a thunderbolt connection at long distances? I can see film/news/music studios using these as they have to tether a lot of things (monitors, centralized disk storage, cameras, etc etc) along the way. Daisy chaining capabilities would be very useful for this too.

Potentially dumb question incoming, is it possible for some cables to be up to spec to be compatible with USB4?
 
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amartinez1660

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2014
542
467
Based off the fact they don’t support 6k XDR I’d avoid these cables. What good is a TB3 cable that doesn’t actually support TB3? The transceivers on both ends should be transparent to the devices they’re plugged into. Unless Apple is running the 6k out of spec which could be possible too. I wonder if anyone has tried to run a 6k connected to a PC.
Never thought of this... like bursting over the rates because they know it’s theoretically possible.
That would be so risky though as some cables might just not work but still be TB3 certified... we have seen that happening before where a specific cable <-> device combination could sometimes just refuse to work.

Glad these are now shorter. Hope they’re not plagued with reliability issues as other Corning optical TB cables have been. Was going to pick up an Areca one to drive my wall monitor from the Mac mini in the closet, but opted for a USB 3.1 cable instead. Drives 4K video beautifully. Doesn’t carry audio but a BT speaker addressed that, for a total still far less than an optical TB3 cable!
Such a creative use of tech.
May I ask, is it a computer screen monitor or a TV style screen?
Would straps or Velcro attaching the Mac Mini to the back or around the screen be unadvisable (if possible that is, if the screen isn’t flush framed to the wall for example)
 
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