Light Peak/Thunderbolt, the end of USB/Firewire/HDMi and more? - diyAudio
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Old 24th February 2011, 04:46 PM   #1
SunRa is offline SunRa  Romania
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Default Light Peak/Thunderbolt, the end of USB/Firewire/HDMi and more?

Split off from here http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digit...ml#post2483191


Actually firewire seems on it's way out with what seems to be a LightPeak implementation. Today Apple launched the new MacBook Pro, and while it still retains the firewire it also includes Thunderbolt.

Apple - MacBook Pro - A notebook full of innovations.

DailyTech - Apple Reveals Revamped MacBook Pro Lineup with AMD Graphics, Thunderbolt I/O

If thunderbolt really is fiber optic based this would be extremely cool for high res audio. It would mean no groundloops...


Back ontopic. Just to make sure I understand the clock schematic of the exa device. The system clock is generated onboard, and the PC, as well as the DAC are slaved to the fpga? And the ESS dac would run great on this due to the build-in ASRC?

Thanks!
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Old 24th February 2011, 07:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunRa View Post
Actually firewire seems on it's way out with what seems to be a LightPeak implementation. Today Apple launched the new MacBook Pro, and while it still retains the firewire it also includes Thunderbolt.
It is Intel's intention that Light Peak replace a lot of exixting I/O with a single connection.

Quote:
Light Peak I/O port that Apple calls Thunderbolt and intends as a replacement for Firewire, USB, Ethernet, and HDMI connections, among other things
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Old 24th February 2011, 07:53 PM   #3
NeoY2k is offline NeoY2k  France
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!!!! I thought they would launch it later! I wanted to sell my old non unibody macbook pro before, so it would be worth more than 100$... I'll have to keep it till it's dead now I think
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Old 24th February 2011, 07:59 PM   #4
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More on Light Peak.

Quote:
Intel has lifted the lid on its much-anticipated Thunderbolt I/O technology. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know about this new technology.

Dual-channel offering a whopping 10Gbps per port (to put that into perspective you can push a full-length HD movie through the connection in less than 30 seconds).
The port is bi-directional, so it offers 10Gbps in both directions simultaneously.
Dual-protocol support for PCI Express and DisplayPort.
Fully compatible with existing DisplayPort devices.
Daisy-chain up to six peripherals.
Supplies 10W of power over bus to peripherals.
Supports electrical (copper) or optical (fibre optic) cabling.
Low latency.
Supports HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)/HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection)
Apple is the first to offer Thunderbolt to its customers.
Note: Thunderbolt is an Intel trademark term, not Apple.
Intel Press Release

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Old 24th February 2011, 08:11 PM   #5
NeoY2k is offline NeoY2k  France
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That it embeds PCI Express just is brilliant. Was missing PC-card extension when they removed it to create the Unibody - that's why I stayed on the older one. Now PCI comes back... in a rather clever form. And 10G Ethernet and Fibre Channel will allow it to conform to HD post production facilities...

Damn. Good job on that one, Intel!
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Old 25th February 2011, 10:03 AM   #6
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RE: Light Peak / Thunderbolt and Fibre Optics

Codename: Light Peak had been in development by Intel for quite some time. Although it was well evolved, they had come up against roadblocks with implementing the fibre connectivity, and were under the belief that copper would not meet the goals.

Where Apple came in (" brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple" is how Intel puts it) was in offering to develop and implement a copper interface that met the goals. They had developed Mini DisplayPort, which they had already released as an openly adoptable subset of the DisplayPort standard, and felt that it could form the basis of a copper implementation.

So, the Thunderbolt is copper via Mini Display Port, and is the official name of the technology from Intel (trademark is registered to Intel, not Apple). Intel still hopes to implement the fibre-based version in the future but has no firm release schedule nor are they positive they will be able to, and so for now there won't be any fibre option. Apparently the controller chip is fibre-ready; it's the rest they have issues with.

Any manufacturer is free to use Thunderbolt. It requires a controller chip from Intel. Apparently Intel has guaranteed Apple supply to 2012 whereupon it will be available to all motherboard manufacturers.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 25th February 2011 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 26th February 2011, 04:36 AM   #7
AR2 is offline AR2  United States
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What is also interesting about this one it could be compeletely back compatible. Through Thunderbolt, Firewire and USB wil be able to feed preexisting hardware, at the same time with new I/O units. Outstanding!
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Old 26th February 2011, 05:38 AM   #8
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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Exactly.

Pretty much any standard interface you care to name - USB, SATA, ethernet, FireWire, etc. - already has a chipset(s) in the market which is designed to go on the motherboard and connect to the CPU side via PCIe. By making Thunderbolt a PCIe tunnel, those existing chips can simply get hooked on to a T-bolt endpoint, and presto - you now have that interface present on the other end of a cable (3m Cu or 100m optical)! From both a hardware and software perspective, it's essentially no different from actually having that IO port right on the motherboard.

Thus, there can be a very short runway for 3rd parties to develop Thunderbolt implementations - the hardware and software pieces already exist.

I'm a bit bemused that more people didn't sniff out what was going on a long time ago... there was a huge clue dropped at IDF 2009 when intel first demo'd Light Peak (check out the YouTube vid of it) - notice which OS was running on the demo platform? No coincidence. Yet, scarcely anyone seemed to take notice at the time...
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Old 26th February 2011, 09:21 AM   #9
SunRa is offline SunRa  Romania
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The first major downgrade from the initial specs is that they are using copper and not fiber. It seems there are still some problems with it. Fiber would have been great for audio purposes in terms of isolation. I don;t know in terms of latency though.

Second, this stuff is designed for video and audio editing so I expect the standard should be pretty straightforward for audio streaming. It's already supporting 8 channel audio according to the press release. The question is how, through HDMI?
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Old 26th February 2011, 11:35 AM   #10
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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myself, i'm glad its copper, one less conversion needed and given this is bound to be buffered, what exactly are you needing isolation from?

one things fir sure, this just delayed my purchase of a mac mini for running my xo until theres a model with it, or silly cheap outdated top models

Last edited by qusp; 26th February 2011 at 11:50 AM.
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