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Print 22 comment(s) - last by Starcub.. on May 21 at 10:51 AM

Expect a few USB 3.0 devices in time for Christmas

NEC Electronics has introduced the world’s first host controller for the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, which can transfer up to 5 gigabits per second when paired with a USB 3.0 device. Host controllers are used to connect devices external to a computer system, such as Universal Serial Bus devices, SATA and IDE drives, and Ethernet connections. Typically, a host controller is either built into the southbridge of a chipset or connected to it.

The µPD720200 host controller is expected to be used primarily on motherboards, LCD monitors, televisions, and other consumer electronic devices. Large quantities of data are being created daily, and the first consumer devices using the new standard are expected to be high resolution digital cameras and video camcorders.

A new generation of external hard drives and USB flash drives is also expected to arrive quickly to take advantage of the 10x increase in transfer speeds. USB 3.0 devices will be backward compatible with host controllers using USB 2.0, 1.1 and 1.0 versions of the USB standard. By the end of 2011, USB 3.0 will become the new standard for all USB devices as production ramps up and costs fall. Everything from cell phones to printers will use the new standard.

Samples of the µPD720200 host controller are scheduled to be available in June 2009 at US$15 each, and will include free Windows device driver software. Monthly production is expected to reach approximately 1 million units during September 2009. NEC claims its USB experience will help its production ramp, as they've shipped 161 million USB devices as of March 2009.

NEC has been a member of the USB Implementers Forum since 1996, and launched the world's first USB 2.0 compliant host controller chip in 2000. NEC Electronics plans to exhibit the µPD720200 USB 3.0 host controller at its booth during the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in Tokyo later this week.



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Now if only
By FXi on 5/20/09, Rating: 0
RE: Now if only
By SiN on 5/20/2009 9:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
I guess u want that 80mpg SUV tomorrow too then?

I would have guessed the latter half of 2009 is the best bet to see the 3.0 spec rolled out en mass. u know, to co-incide with a new PC OS release known as windows 7, back to school products and the lead up to Christmas where IT purchases are in demand.

We all have to crawl.


RE: Now if only
By Spivonious on 5/20/2009 9:53:33 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with dumping the PATA and floppy connectors, but it takes time to develop a new motherboard. I wouldn't expect to see USB 3.0 built-on to motherboards until at least the end of 2010.


RE: Now if only
By Zoomer on 5/20/2009 10:07:51 AM , Rating: 5
Firewire is not gunk.


RE: Now if only
By bissimo on 5/20/2009 10:20:17 AM , Rating: 4
I agree with Zoomer here. Firewire is still superior to USB 2.0 in my experience, and Firewire 800 blows both away. I do a lot of file transfers to external storage devices in my work, and even though USB 2.0 is rated at 480Mbps, Firewire (nominally 400Mbps) is consistently faster.
I can't wait for USB 3.0, though.


RE: Now if only
By Starcub on 5/21/2009 10:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
IIRC, Firewire does not have power integrated into the standard. The external drives I've used Firewire on have all required that I use a separate power connector to provide power to the drive. Not so with USB. Given that the performance differential was not that great, my preference for convienience has been for USB.

Right now if I really want speed, I use eSATA. However, with USB 3.0, my guess is that eSATA will become an obsolete interface.


RE: Now if only
By ipay on 5/20/2009 3:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
Probably 95% of end-users (including me) will never use a FireWire device, so for them it is gunk - a waste of space on the motherboard that would have been better used by an extra pair of SATA2 ports, for example.

Biostar has been excluding FireWire from its boards for a while, and I hope other manufacturers will take notice. If you really need it that badly, fork out a few dollars for an expansion card.


RE: Now if only
By Silver2k7 on 5/21/2009 3:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
Ive got 2 external drives that support both usb and firewire.. the problem was when vista got out there where talks that it was not to support FireWire until after SP1 was out..

Now these are disks that I dont use that often.. and my fairly expensive motherboard does not have any FW800 ports either wich is also sad.

But I feel its strange that FW was never adopted, was this someones way of saying scrw apple we won't use their standard even if it's superior?

Atleast we (PC users) are finally getting an interface thats not bottlenecking external drives anymore.. even if it took a long time..


RE: Now if only
By gigahertz20 on 5/20/2009 4:34:35 PM , Rating: 3
FireWire is on its very last legs as a mainstream interconnect. Apple's decision to drop FireWire from the Macbook doesn't quite qualify as a stroke of doom, but the trend is clear. As the years go by, FireWire support (or, at least, support for the latest standard) is being driven into a smaller and smaller group of products and systems.

Ironically, most mid-range/high-end discrete motherboards now ship with FireWire 400/1394a support, but FireWire 1394b is virtually nowhere to be found. I won't go quite so far as to say it's literally nonexistent, Apple still supports it on the MacPro among others, but a search of even the highest-end boards on NewEgg doesn't reveal a single 1394b-equipped board. Given just how expensive premium boards can run these days, it seems fair to say that manufacturers aren't including it because they don't see it as an option consumers want, as opposed to it being an issue of cost.

One of my core concerns with USB 3.0 is that the sockets are apparently limited to providing just 500mA of power (unchanged from USB 2.0), and the bus will remain relatively CPU intensive.


RE: Now if only
By Jansen (blog) on 5/20/2009 5:46:25 PM , Rating: 3
Continuous device polling is gone in USB 3.0

Charging through the connection is at 900mA max.


RE: Now if only
By bigboxes on 5/21/2009 2:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
No, firewire is dead. I know it. Apple knows it. And hopefully you'll know it before it's officially dead. My condolences.


I don't get it..
By Storkme on 5/20/09, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it..
By troysavary on 5/20/2009 8:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine that by time USB 3.0 has widespread adoption, we will be seeing flash drives fast enough to take advantage of the speed.


RE: I don't get it..
By Motley on 5/20/2009 8:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
I think you are missing some conversions. Today's fastest hard drives can transfer data well in excess of 120MB/s, and SSD's can do over 250MB/s sustained. There are SSD's that will be shortly released that have a sustained rate of over 450MB/s. 450MB/s is approximately 4.5Gbps. That's just the sustained rate, and a burst speed would need to be much higher to keep up. By the time it comes out, it will already be too slow to keep up with the fastest SSDs. Still, much better than what we have today, but I suspect eSata 3 will be available not too long down the road as well.


RE: I don't get it..
By davekozy on 5/21/2009 2:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
SATA 3 isn't that much faster at 600 MB/s. SSD's are going to be choking for bandwidth in a couple years.

At least it's a decent improvement and it'll be on most motherboards by next year.


RE: I don't get it..
By Silver2k7 on 5/21/2009 3:21:14 AM , Rating: 2
correct me if im wrong but new conventional disks with 64MB cache can have a 400MB/s+ burst speeds.


RE: I don't get it..
By regnez on 5/20/2009 8:28:53 AM , Rating: 1
Let me clarify multiple things:

1. USBs current 480Mbps claim is completely false. Even at its theoretical best, that is only 60MB/s, and in reality it is always much less.

2. USB devices all share the same chunk of bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the better, no matter what.

3. This is the first controller, so expect USB 3.0 peripherals soon. Giant, fast external hard drives, giant (and fast) flash drives, external video cards (?), etc.

More speed opens more possibilities. In the tech world, saying "so what do we need X for" makes you look very short-sighted.


RE: I don't get it..
By futrtrubl on 5/20/2009 8:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
1. Yes 480M b /s is less than 60M B /s (51 in actual fact) that does NOT make the claim false.


RE: I don't get it..
By Starcub on 5/21/2009 10:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
8b/B => 60MB/S is correct. In claiming that it is actually 51MB/S, you are making his point. In practice, I would think that the overhead is even greater than that though... I've never gotten over 30MB/S through a USB 2.0 interface.


RE: I don't get it..
By Jansen (blog) on 5/20/2009 8:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0 no longer has continous polling, AFAIK. This significantly reduces CPU overhead.

SSDs already read faster than 200MB/s, and the SXDC format will go above 100MB/s.

Don't forget that with overhead, you're only getting 40MB/s max with USB 2.0

There is already concern that USB 3.0 does not provide enough room for future technologies.


RE: I don't get it..
By swizeus on 5/20/2009 9:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
This technology will go along way to the future... USB 2.0 has been with us since 2000, and has been 9 years now...

Perhaps we just repeat the same mistake... i think there was someone saying 'why would we need something like USB 2.0, when there's no device could accomodate that speed at the moment'


RE: I don't get it..
By JakLee on 5/20/2009 12:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's more about "why is it only that fast now" rather than what do we need it for.... while the overall speed & bandwidth increase is impressive, usb 2.0 has been considered slow for many years now....


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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