World's first all fibre-optic Thunderbolt cables to strike 'in coming weeks'

Thunderbolt cable
Thunderbolt 2 promises to deliver x2 speeds

Corning is readying the world's first all-optical fibre cables for use with devices equipped with Intel's super-speedy Thunderbolt ports.

The tough materials company announced at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2013 that the cables had been Thunderbolt certified by Intel and will be available at a starting length of 10 metres.

It claims that the electrically isolated, noise-reducing cables are up to 50% smaller in diameter and 80% lighter than copper Thunderbolt cables.

Clearly, that would be useful if you're the type that snakes cables around different parts of the house as data can be transferred down them at lengths up to 100 metres without the need for 'daisy chaining' - that is - linking cables together. USB 3.0, on the other hand, maxes out at around 30 metres.

Twice is nice

You'll also get a speed boost as they're compatible with Intel's Thunderbolt 2 specification.

Also announced at IDF, Thunderbolt's successor bumps up transfer speeds from 10GBps to 20GBps, which ups the transfer rate to the point where 4k video can be viewed and transferred in real time with a single cable.

But don't worry – Corning's new cables are also backwards compatible with original Thunderbolt ports, so you won't lose out if your devices aren't equipped with the new spec, which they aren't likely to be for a short while.

Details around availability are scant with Intel giving a timeframe of "the coming weeks". You can find out where to pick them up on this section of Corning's website.

  • That's made us wonder: how does USB 3.0 shape up against Thunderbolt 2?
Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.