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Intel's fastest connector lights up data transfers

Agam Shah | March 11, 2014
After more than a decade of research, Intel's new connector that uses light as a speedy way to shuffle data between computers is finally ready to replace slower copper cables.

The technology could also reduce component costs by consolidating power supplies and fans in a data center, Paniccia said.

The cables could support existing protocols including InfiniBand, Ethernet and PCI-Express. For example, Intel is proposing an Optical PCI-Express (OPCI) protocol for use on optical wires. Support for existing protocols makes it easier to implement MXC in data centers, but servers will need to have a new port designed for the cables.

"This is about technology that can plug into standard interfaces and protocols," Paniccia said.

Intel is also opening up the technology so companies can put MXC ports in their servers, and Paniccia is open to rivals like Advanced Micro Devices adopting the technology. Intel is working with the Facebook-backed Open Compute Project with the hope for wider adoption in open server designs. Backers for MXC also include Microsoft, Altera, Huawei and Hisense.


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