Print 49 comment(s) - last by georges1977.. on Jul 6 at 12:19 AM

The PC world is quickly preparing for USB 3.0

News reports from Asia indicate PCs with USB 3.0 will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2009.

USB 3.0, with speeds 10 times faster than USB 2.0, will offer transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits of data per second.  Manufacturers are expected to introduce a new generation of USB flash drives, external hard drives, and other devices that will make use of the significantly faster transfer speeds.

NEC Electronics is expected to lead the pack among companies adopting USB 3.0, with the company recently becoming the first to introduce a USB 3.0 controller.  The company began shipping host controller samples last month, and in September will begin manufacturing an expected one million units per month.

In 2007, Intel unveiled USB 3.0 during its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) conference, but was accused by AMD and NVIDIA of keeping the open host controller specifications a secret to create an unfair advantage against competitors.  Intel later released the open host controller specifications in November 2007, with companies expected about the increased speed of the technology.

There has been some talk about whether or not the PC industry will be ready for USB 3.0.  During the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference, held two months ago in May, manufacturers outlined their aspirations to utilize the superior USB 3.0 -- devices also were shown to be faster than eSATA, which offers 3Gbits/s transfer speed.

NEC anticipates 140 million PCs will ship in 2011 utilizing USB 3.0, with that number expected to climb up to 340 million in 2012.  Microsoft Windows 7, which launches in October, will not support the standard at launch, but will add in support later.

Both home users and businesses will benefit by using the faster technology, with large-scale data backup becoming much faster thanks to the 5Gbit/s transfer speeds.  Expect external HDDs with increased storage capacity from Western Digital, Seagate, Iomega, and other companies specializing in storage.

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By Byte on 7/2/2009 10:27:59 AM , Rating: 1
I'm more excited about this than Nehalim. I'm def waiting for a USB3 mobo before upgrading. I really hate how slow usb2 is and dread plugging any external hard drives to it. Thumb drives have been able to saturate usb2 for a while now too. It's a shame win7 won't have support, i wonder how much of a headache it would be to have a USB standard not in the OS.

RE: Yay
By matt0401 on 7/2/2009 10:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
Can't a simple update or SP provide USB 3.0 support when it becomes available?

RE: Yay
By Devo2007 on 7/2/2009 10:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
It most certainly can... as evidenced by Windows 95 OSR2 adding support for USB.

Granted, that might be a poor example, because it wasn't until Windows 98 that we saw a good, stable USB driver.

RE: Yay
By diego10arg on 7/2/2009 11:30:57 AM , Rating: 3
Granted, that might be a poor example, because it wasn't until Windows 98 that we saw a good, stable USB driver.

Wow. I've never expected to see the word stable in the same sentence as Windows 98. Not even if referred to a driver on it.

RE: Yay
By namechamps on 7/2/2009 12:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
98SE was VASTLY superior to 95 when it came to plug and play.
One of my first IT jobs was tech support in late 90s.

Getting USB cameras (canon) to work on win 95 was a nightmare.
Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.

So yeah relatively speaking 98SE was a godsend compared to plug & pray in win95.

RE: Yay
By cheetah2k on 7/2/2009 7:08:02 PM , Rating: 3
"News reports from Asia indicate PCs with USB 3.0 will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2009"

News reports from US, Europe and Australia indicate USB 3.0 devices and cables will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2015..... <sarcasim>

Just remembering the back to the start of USB 2.0 days... :-D

RE: Yay
By murphyslabrat on 7/3/2009 4:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
Last year, the IT club at my school was given the ancient computers from one of the PC-equipped classrooms. These Pentium III computers came with a COA for Win98SE, so I tried to see how far I could push them. With some significant mods, including a Vista theme, and custom USB and network stacks, some of the support specialists weren't able to tell that it wasn't Vista, short of opening System Information.

The only real issues left were the fact that it was as secure as a screen door, and that there is no DotNet support for Win95/98.

RE: Yay
By chick0n on 7/2/2009 12:22:39 PM , Rating: 3
Win98 was ok for me.

SE was better tho.

and most problems I've seen with Win98 were people with "garbage" computers.

RE: Yay
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 1:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
I remember doing Windows software development on Win98. It was very amusing...the thing I most remember is many reboots throughout the day, every day. When I upgraded to Win2K, I was doing the same kind of work, just no more reboots.

Yeah, Win9x sucked. It was the best available at the time, but in today's context, it sucked.

RE: Yay
By foolsgambit11 on 7/2/2009 2:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
Or USB 2.0 with Windows XP SP2.

RE: Yay
By Byte on 7/3/2009 11:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure a driver is all that was needed, and it's backwards compatible so it won't be as bad. I just hated the days when I was in college and had to bring a tiny CD with me to load USB drivers to older machines. I just really like how USB2.0 nearly everything you can just plug in and it will work like magic.
This will pretty much obsolete eSATA too. eSATA is nice, but who needs a new special cable and only a small percentage of computers will have eSATA. It's also taking them a while to release powered eSATA, and I think it will only be able to power 2.5 disks, not enough for 3.5. Only one of my external drives have eSATA but i'll probably switch them all over to USB3 rather than dealing with eSata. USB3 will also be able to deliver almost a whole amp, 10x as much as USB2, maybe they can do something with that.

Also some dude named colton,, just emailed me saying USB3.0 will not help in any speeds. Quote: "In response to the usb article on dailytech. I see way too many uneducated comments on there. Anyhow.. you realize that most commercial harddrives today can only reach sustained speed limits of 50 - 70 megaBytes per second? I just did a test on my harddrive, which is a new WD Caviar, and it can only reach sustained speed of 57.3 megaBytes per second... If you do the math.., 480 megaBits per second for USB is 60 megaBytes per second.. It doesnt matter if usb 3.0 goes at 5 gigBits per second.. Thats 640 megaBytes per second.. Since a harddrive can only go so fast, usually in the 50 - 70 mB/s range, usb 3.0 is completely useless. Did you realize this before posting your comment? It is the same thing with the next version of serial ATA. The interface has the potential to run at massive speeds, but we are still limited by physical harddrive speeds."

He seems to have ran out of porn to watch to personally send me an email on what he did on his pocket calculator and faulty logic and no experience in real world tasks. I already sent him numbers from anandtech showing real world usb xfer rates, but he still lives in a world where his pocket calculator gives real world results. Maybe you guys can set him straight.

RE: Yay
By menting on 7/2/2009 11:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
i'm sort of in the same boat as you. I've been looking to upgrade my computer (which is about 5-6 yrs old), and the release of Windows 7 and Core i5 in sept/oct timeframe seems like a perfect time to upgrade.
I'm wondering however, how long it'll take before USB3.0 trickles down the the midrange motherboards and becomes a standard there? Same for SATA III. Chances are it won't even be available on high end boards when I upgrade, which is a shame since I'm hoping to not have to upgrade again in another 4-5 yrs.

RE: Yay
By Silver2k7 on 7/2/2009 11:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Same with EFI wich was about to replace the 20+ years old BIOS... Vista started supporting it with SP1.. but where are the motherboards!!

RE: Yay
By Parhel on 7/2/2009 11:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm typically an enthusiast who upgrades yearly with each generation. But right now I have a Core2 Duo @ 4.0Ghz and 4Gb of RAM, and I think I've reached a point where my system is . . . just . . . . fast enough. I can't believe I just said that.

I don't think I'm going to worry about upgrading for a while. At least not just for speed. Once USB 3.0 is standard, SSDs and BluRay are cheaper and more mature, and DirectX 11 cards are out, I'll start thinking about it.

By matt0401 on 7/2/2009 10:03:47 AM , Rating: 5
Nobody will ever need more than 640 Mbit/s!

RE: Meh
By Shig on 7/2/2009 10:23:59 AM , Rating: 2
Bah, wires are obsolete. I need these speeds on a full wireless system :)

RE: Meh
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2009 11:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
Microwaves, electrons in my cranium! *puts on tinfoil hat*

Seriously though wireless is the future, I just think we are a little ways away from (what would be super cool) wireless USB Thumbdrive devices. I wish I could upgrade my existing ports to 3.0 without a mobo swap-out. :( Perhaps they'll have a PCI-x minicard for it.

RE: Meh
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 11:16:33 AM , Rating: 3
Wireless is nice, but copper will always be faster. Because of this, I don't expect wired connections to become obsolete any time in the near future.

RE: Meh
By Souka on 7/2/2009 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
how about more reliable also...

besides, in a thumbdrive a copper connector will be smaller than a battery and wi-fi chip to power the "thumbdrive"...

Oh...and how would you charge the battery? oh yeah, plug it into your computer... heh


RE: Meh
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2009 12:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Really what I would like to see is an advancement in technology that allows devices to be powered... wirelessly - much like what Nikola Tesla was working on before his death, albeit on a smaller scale.

RE: Meh
By mmnno on 7/3/2009 5:37:31 AM , Rating: 2
This already happened right? IIRC David Pogue reviewed a system that enabled a user to recharge mobile devices by setting them down on a pad that provides power to them somehow. It's not free-roaming, but it is wireless.

RE: Meh
By georges1977 on 7/6/2009 12:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
Electric toothbrushes have had similar charging docks for ages - like you say, wireless, but not truely free roaming. (I assume these work with some kind of induction loop?)

free-roaming would be cool though - can't be far off...

RE: Meh
By Jeffk464 on 7/2/2009 7:10:43 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering about that, but is the pci interface fast enough?

RE: Meh
By icanhascpu on 7/2/2009 10:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
640 M Byte /s

RE: Meh
By matt0401 on 7/4/2009 11:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
While I appreciate the correction, I was going with the joke but applying it to what speeds USB is measured it, typically Mbit/s.

I wouldn't be too quick to jump on that bandwagon
By AntiM on 7/2/09, Rating: 0
By TheSpaniard on 7/2/2009 10:18:54 AM , Rating: 2
there are always problems with early adoption of technologies...

if esata was making a move on marketshare then I could see waiting. but these ports were designed with USB in mind

By TheSpaniard on 7/2/2009 10:19:39 AM , Rating: 2
USB 2.0 compatibility in mind*

By twhittet on 7/2/2009 11:37:24 AM , Rating: 2
Even if there aren't a bunch of USB 3.0 devices out yet, I would still at a minimum want a USB 3.0 mobo. My current system (AMD socket 939 X2-4600) is 4 1/2 years old, and I'd hate to have to wait 4 years before my next upgrade to get native USB support.

By RU482 on 7/2/2009 1:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
but what if the initial implementation of it is flawed?

I'm gonna give this some time on the market before i run out and pay extra for a motherboard or card that has it

By TomZ on 7/2/2009 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt the initial implementation of the hardware would be flawed. More likely, the initial software implementations will have problems. One of the design concepts behind USB was to have really simple hardware at the expense of higher software complexity.

USB3 harddrives ?
By Nitrof on 7/2/2009 2:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
Is there any chance that hard drivesd (internal( will
migrate to USB3 ?

The advantage : one type of connector, instead of two
(three, if one includes IDE).

Smaller, easily found, cables.

Your opinion please...

RE: USB3 harddrives ?
By MScrip on 7/2/2009 5:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
Not unless USB 3.0 can provide 12 volts of power.

Or, you wanna use 2.5" hard drives inside a desktop computer, and take a performance hit.

RE: USB3 harddrives ?
By Jeffk464 on 7/2/2009 7:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, sata is great. I would even prefer external sata over usb 3 for external hard drives. But really I only use said drives once in a while for back up so its not a huge issue to me.

RE: USB3 harddrives ?
By smilingcrow on 7/3/2009 5:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
‘Not unless USB 3.0 can provide 12 volts of power.’

You could use an internal hard drive with a USB3 interface without the drive being powered by USB; it would be powered directly from the system power supply with a SATA or even a Molex connector.
External hard drives using 3.5” drives aren’t powered via USB so I don’t see what the issue is! The OP was referring to data connectors and not power connectors.

Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not impressed
By theslug on 7/2/2009 10:44:36 AM , Rating: 5
I don't see Sony mentioned in this article.

RE: Not impressed
By Morphine06 on 7/2/2009 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
There won't be many issues with compatibility because it's backwards compatible with USB 2 devices. It wouldn't suddenly be blasted back to 5,400 RPM HDDs because flash is already the dominant portable storage type.

Once your computer already comes USB3 compatible, why wouldn't you buy a USB3 device?

Firewire... her?

RE: Not impressed
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 11:19:10 AM , Rating: 5
I really wish firewire would have taken off more......damned Sony and their closed off minds....
What did Sony do to harm Firewire? I always thought it didn't take off because of the lower cost of USB because Intel integrated support for USB into the chipset, compared to Firewire which in most cases requires a separate controller chip.

RE: Not impressed
By Screwballl on 7/2/2009 11:29:23 AM , Rating: 5
I really wish firewire would have taken off more......damned Sony and their closed off minds....

FireWire was from Apple, i.LINK was from Sony although they have similar if not the same specs.

It is far from proprietary but at the same time pretty much useless for 98% of the world as USB is the connection type of choice.

FireWire is Apple Inc.'s name for the IEEE 1394 High Speed Serial Bus. It was initiated by Apple (in 1986[2]) and developed by the IEEE P1394 Working Group, largely driven by contributions from Apple, although major contributions were also made by engineers from Texas Instruments, Sony, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, and INMOS/SGS Thomson (now STMicroelectronics).

Sony's implementation of the system, known as "i.LINK" used a smaller connector with only the four signal circuits, omitting the two circuits which provide power to the device in favor of a separate power connector. This style was later added into the 1394a amendment.[3] This port is sometimes labeled "S100" or "S400" to indicate speed in Mbit/s.

RE: Not impressed
By Silver2k7 on 7/2/2009 11:40:01 AM , Rating: 5
I guess you didnt notice the much neater cables, wich made airflow better in the case.. also no more master/slave settings, just plugging in the drive.

"It took years before the benefits of S/ATA (increased bandwidth) were realized over IDE in the real world.....yet people still flocked to it because it was 150mbps instead of 133mbps or whatever."

RE: Not impressed
By icanhascpu on 7/2/2009 10:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
No more Master/Slave setting!

Let the oppressed interfaces be free!!

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Neatness is only esthetic, long forgotten once the side panel is on the case.

Better airflow is mostly a myth, air is not like light it flows around obstacles, and no passive heatsink will depend on direct inward flow from a front panel fan if the system is properly designed.

Even so, it is a small improvement over PATA's shortcomings and SATA did two different important things. It got us away from the sometimes fragile open IDC method of attaching connectors to ribbon cables, and it extended the length you could plug in two drives since an 18" PATA cable folded and routed neatly, then connecting to both a master and slave, wouldn't allow the slave to be very far away from the motherboard connector.

Not a big deal if you only have a couple of drives in the bottom of a case, quite a bit bigger deal if you want a HDD and an optical drive on the same cable but to have the HDD in the HDD bay instead of an upper 5.25" bay.

RE: Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/2009 11:51:48 AM , Rating: 3
Its my understanding that firewire remained too high of cost (and thus more devices didn't latch onto it as their interface) due to Sony's licensing costs.

USB has typically had much higher CPU utilization over firewire, since it offloads the processing. Firewire dealt with itself. And despite the leap-frogging of speeds of one interface over the other, real-world benchmarks proved Firewire has traditionally had the speed advantage. It is also my understanding that it is able to handle more power in the bus.

As for the S/ATA vs ide thing, rounded cables had been around for years. And if one couldn't figure out something as simple as one jumper, one had no business popping open their PC cover. It's not that S/ATA isn't superior to IDE, its that everyone jumped on a bandwagon for perceived speed improvements when they weren't realized from theoretical to the real world and I am attempting to make the parallel to most applications that will use USB 3.0 initially.

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say they jumped on SATA because they already had old PATA drives they could use which started filling up the available PATA positions, so it only made sense when buying new drives to buy SATA instead so they could also use the available SATA positions. That is, until SATA started being cheaper too.

Today I can get a 1TB SATA HDD for about $75, not even sure if there ARE any 1TB PATA HDD, though you can get 750GB PATA for $200... more of a cost difference than adding a PCI or PCIe SATA card or even replacing the whole motherboard.

I do wish manufacturers had kept making larger PATA drives at comparable price-points though, plenty of times I've serviced someone's system to find that their HDD died and they'd like something big enough that it's still as viable as reasonably possible when they decide to upgrade the rest of the system at a later date.

RE: Not impressed
By namechamps on 7/2/2009 12:05:43 PM , Rating: 3
Apple invented firewire.

Firewire "lost" simply because USB was good enough.
Every computer needs USB (ever seen a firewire mouse or keyboard)?

So to cut costs which would you cut?
USB which is needed and more commonly used
firewire which is a slightly better USB but only used on fast devices

It was a no brainer. Plus royalty was like $0.15 per port/device IIRC vs $0.2 for USB.

RE: Not impressed
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 1:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure there is a royalty for USB? I never heard of that.

The only fees I'm aware of for USB are the fees to join the IF and to obtain a vendor ID.

RE: Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/2009 1:45:12 PM , Rating: 1
That's exactly my point; it was priced out of competition over USB. I stand corrected that it was Apple, i thought it was Sony whodunit. Technologically speaking, firewire was the superior bus; but since they targeted it and priced it out of competition with USB, USB became the standard. Otherwise when it came time to choose for space and cost savings, we very well could have had firewire mice, keyboards, portable storage and everything else.

That certainly would have been my preference; I see much better stability out of my firewire drives over my USB ones.

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't the 13 cent royalty, it was that it actually costs more (than a few cents) to build a device with peer-peer (firewire) capability.

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