Intel shadows the demise of USB 3.0 with Light Peak

Executives at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing have hailed the optical technology called Light Peak as a successor to USB 3.0.

But Intel has been holding back on USB 3.0 anyway, with sources telling TechEye two weeks ago that it was unlikely to produce a chipset that supports it until the end of this year or the beginning of next.

Senior fellow Kevin Kahn said in a presentation that it will make Light Peak available towards the end of this year and products will start appearing early next year.

A Light Peak cable can theoretically run different protocols including USB. The cynical might view the move as Intel stabbing USB 3.0 to death before it’s even really come to life.

But Intel maintains that Light Peak and USB 3.0 will exist simultaneously. The big question is whether Intel will sit tightly on Light Peak as a proprietary technology, or open it up to other vendors.

Light Peak throws data over the cable at 10Gbps but will scale to 100Gbps eventually.

AMD is expected to intro a chipset with integrated USB 3.0 towards the end of this month. USB 3.0 controller chips cost a fortune right now, at $9 a pop.