We report an 850-nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL)-based optical link that achieves a new record in speed. The laser driver and receiver ICs are fabricated in standard 90-nm bulk CMOS, and the optoelectronic devices are commercial components. Operation at 30 Gb/s with a bit-error rate < 10-12 is achieved, representing to the authors' knowledge the highest speed reported to date for a CMOS-based full optical link. Transmitter feed-forward equalization is shown to improve maximum data rate from 25 to 30 Gb/s, timing margin by 17% at 23.5 Gb/s, and receiver sensitivity by 4 dB at 23.5 Gb/s. © 2013 Optical Society of America.