Thunderbolt 2 cables are now longer, and more expensive

Other World Computing starts selling a 30-meter optical cable for $899, and Corning shows a 61-meter cable

Optical cables that connect peripherals to Thunderbolt 2 ports in Apple Macs are getting longer, but also more expensive.

Other World Computing on Friday started selling a 30-meter Thunderbolt 2 optical cable for US$899. It will be able to stretch 4K video streams from a Mac to a 4K monitor for the full length.

Corning this week at International CES demonstrated optical cables stretching 200 feet, or 61 meters, that are also Thunderbolt 2 compatible. The technology transfers data at speeds of up to 20Gbps (bits per second).

Corning has already shown optical cables that extend to 100 meters on the original Thunderbolt technology, in which data transfers happen at 10Gbps. Prices and availability on the new Corning cables were not provided.

OWC is selling a new 10-meter optical cable for $319, which is comparable on price to Corning's 10-meter optical cable, which sells for $325 on Amazon.com. OWC is also selling a new 20-meter cable for $619.

Thunderbolt technology is available in both optical and copper cables. For longer distances, optical technology offers faster data transfers, but is considered more expensive than copper. Copper cables offer adequate speeds in most cases, but the products on sale are for much shorter lengths. Optical cables also require a power source, while copper cables carry power.

Apple sells a two-meter copper cable for $39. Accell sells a three-meter cable for $45 on Amazon.com.

Because optical cables are expensive to implement, adoption will depend on usability versus willingness to pay. Buyers of the long optical cable may include creative professionals using Mac Pro desktops to create 4K content. Over time, the price of optical cables will fall. Intel is also developing faster Thunderbolt technologies that could touch 50Gbps, which is when more users will likely transition over from copper to optical cables.

Thunderbolt supports the PCI-Express and DisplayPort protocols. It helps reduce the number of connectors needed to attach peripherals to computers. A large number of Thunderbolt compatible peripherals are storage devices, but Apple sells a compatible monitor, and other video and audio equipment are also available.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleperipheralsComponentsOther World ComputingSumitomo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?