The news follows Intel's official launch of the new tech which was brought to the market in collaboration with Apple this week. Previously Intel dubbed the tech as Light Peak and was to rely on fiber optics, but Intel has instead renamed it to Thunderbolt and fallen back on a cheaper alternative for now: copper.
In a nutshell, the overall Little Big Disk package consists of two 250 GB Intel 510 Series SSDs (which have yet to be announced) in a RAID 0 configuration, two Thunderbolt connectors, and a sturdy aluminum chassis specially designed to provide enhanced heat dissipation.
As reported earlier, Thunderbolt features two bi-directional, multi-protocol channels (PCI-e, DisplayPort) with transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps each. The first jack can cover a multitude of devices like peripherals, displays, storage, docking stations, audio/video devices, and more given the right adapter. The second jack is for daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt devices, eliminating the need for USB hubs (think MIDI).
"Using copper cables, the Thunderbolt technology offers transfer rates superior to rack mount fiber channel storage," LaCie said. "These cables have a proven track record of extraordinary flexibility and durability no matter where they are used. Further, the cables easily fit into a Mini DisplayPort interface to assure backward compatibility with numerous displays."
Currently LaCie isn't revealing actual transfer numbers, but a previous storage prototype exceeded transfer rates of 700 MB/s while daisy-chained between a computer and monitor. Intel claims that Thunderbolt's blast of speed is enough to transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. The tech can also supposedly back up one year of continuous MP3 playback in just over 10 minutes.
“Intel believes Thunderbolt technology in combination with LaCie’s unique portfolio of storage products and displays will drive new levels of performance and simplicity for consumers,” said Jason Ziller, Director, Thunderbolt Planning and Marketing, Intel Corporation.
LaCie's Little Big Disk external SSD with Thunderbolt will be available this summer. Currently pricing is unknown.