Originally Posted by jragosta
Maybe, but since I don't expect them to be used unless the added performance is critical, the price difference won't matter much. They're not going to be replacing existing cables with optical (especially since existing devices don't have optical Thunderbolt ports).
I assume that the Mac Pro will have optical TB ports, but haven't seen anything about that yet.
I guess I was wrong. Existing TB devices will accept the optical cable:
All these **optical** Thunderbolt (and optical USB 3) cables do the "optical stuff" in the cables' connector plughead itself, hence rather than the copper ones which are 25mm in connector length, these optical connectors are actually a bit longer at 35mm in length, instead.
Some key facts:
• What's great, is because it's the *cable* itself (in the connector) that contains the optical processing, virtually all Tbolt 1 (10Gbps) & 2 (20Gbps) devices new and old can use them! (Tbolt 2 just channel-bonds two of the fours lanes together in each direction, one reason why they're forward-compatible with the newer faster standard.)
• ...provided they are self-powered devices though, as only the shorter copper cables can provide power to some smaller low-power devices.
• Corning's Optical Cables™ are coming in lengths of 3.5m/5.5m/10m/30m/50m/100m (aka 12ft/18ft/33ft/100ft/165ft/330ft).
(incidentally, their optical USB 3 ones will only be up to 50m/165ft in length).
• Pricing per-metre is around the same as the copper ones, which is really not too bad a deal. For example B&H NYC quoted me $240 for the 10 metre Tbolt Corning cable (so $24 per-metre) — not too bad a price IMO (certainly perfectly acceptable pricing to pro's and prosumers needing such a length.) As you can then usually just use cheaper shorter cables to daisy-chain to the first device that has the long connection.
• Given they're made out of glass and not copper, they're about half the weight and 35% thinner than copper ones. This is another great point, as storing, carrying, and maneuvering into place is really easy.
• If choosing between Tbolt and USB 3 for new peripherals, Tbolt is a better transport offering much lower latency — certainly important for pro usage like video editing, but prosumers should aim to use Tbolt too, as it will give a better experience with virtually zero lag on almost all activities when accessing Tbolt peripherals. The USB 3 will be useful for certain access point reasons, for devices users need USB for.
• Additionally, Tbolt can join PC-to-PC (Mac-to-Mac), as well as host-to-peripheral (whatever it is: storage, monitor, or anything else) using the same connector at each end. Whereas USB 3 generally uses different connectors at each end (e.g. type-A goes to type-B) with/without additionally using a great deal of differing connector sizes (e.g. miniUSB, microUSB, male-to-female, etc.), meaning Tbolt cables have more versatility in what one can use them for as the same Tbolt connector fits in all components.
US sales start Oct.2013 (available now!), but unbelievably for some reason UK/EU sales won't start until JULY.2014 (!) — very annoying delay for us lot (gee, thanks Corning!). I'm guessing this may be down to constrained manufacture and thus low supplies.
Corning sales/distribution info page: http://www.corning.com/CableSystems/OpticalCablesbyCorning/where-to-buy/default.aspx
AFAIK, who else makes optical Thunderbolt cables?
• Germany brand DeLock are also making some optical Thunderbolt cables (in 10/20/30m lengths). Llittle info found on them though, apart from here: http://www.delock.com/produkte/G_83257/merkmale.html?setLanguage=en !
• Japanese company Sumitomo have previously over the last 6-12 months now had optical Thunderbolt cables (in 10/20/30m lengths) but in limited supply and only sold in Japan (though recently, I found them on Amazon.de too, as Sumitomo's only non-Far East office is in Germany: http://www.amazon.de/gp/aag/main?ie=UTF8&asin=&isAmazonFulfilled=1&isCBA=&marketplaceID=A1PA6795UKMFR9&orderID=&seller=A1UJ6LRYW8TWYC ). Though initially at very VERY high prices, they've reduced recently, but still higher than Corning's (see here: http://global-sei.com/ewp/E/thunderbolt – e.g. Amazon.jp has their 10m at around ¥47,250/US$500/€400/£300), and both these companies only offer up to 30m length compared to Corning offering up to 100m.
This is all I have managed to find out, as all info on these optical Thunderbolt cables seems to be under-wraps, and extremely difficult to come-by. Literally zero mainstream sales info is out there generally, for inexplicable reasons; you really have to hunt the info out, it's like they all want to keep them secret or something &/or have shite marketing/pr departments!? They certainly don't sell them to users very well, that's for sure.
Hope this helps someone anyway.
Edited by jimthing - 10/3/13 at 10:47pm