Optical Thunderbolt Cables and Thunderbolt Storage

Intel is promising optical Thunderbolt cables later this year. What's the big deal? From Intel,
“Copper cables provide adequate data transfer for use over short distances of up to six meters (about 20 feet), but optical cables will be good for data transfers over longer distances of tens of meters”
The name of the game with Thunderbolt is speed, namely in connecting peripheral devices to a computer. So how fast are we talking? Here's what Apple who helped bring Thunderbolt to market on February 24, 2011 in the updated MacBook Pro claims, "Capable of delivering a blistering two channels of bi-directional 10Gbit/s (1.25GB/s) per port of performance...".

Here are some speed numbers for comparison purposes (theoretical top speeds):

Thunderbolt = 10Gbps
USB 3.0 = 5Gbps
eSATA = 3Gbps
Gigabit Ethernet = 1Gbps
FireWire 800 = 800Mbps
USB 2.0 = 480Mbps
10/100 Ethernet = 100Mbps

And in a related story, Western Digital just announced the My Book Thunderbolt Duo that comes in two flavors—4TB/$600, or 6TB/$700. There's also the LaCie 2big Thunderbolt™ Series (4TB/$649, 6TB/$799) or you could live on the bleeding edge of speed and storage (and price) and get the Thunderbolt-enabled Promise Pegasus 12TB (6x2TB) R6 RAID System for $2,499.

labjr's picture

Optical Thunderbolt cables should  work well to galvanically isolate a DAC from the computer power supply noise, grunge etc.. also might be nice to have the computer across the room or in another room from the DAC. 20 foot limit on copper cables isn't really that far. Especially in a studio environment.