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New specification is backward compatible with existing hubs, cables, and software

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced this week that it had completed the specifications for USB 3.1. This new USB 3.1 specification adds enhancements that allow SuperSpeed USB to operate at speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The latest release of the specification is available for download right now from the USB Implementers Forum.

“The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing USB 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman.
“The specification team worked hard to make sure that the changes made to support higher speeds were limited and remained consistent with existing USB 3.0 architecture to ease product development.”

The faster USB specification allows for more efficient data encoding and more than twice the effective data throughput compared to existing SuperSpeed USB. The specifications still supports current USB connectors and cables with full backwards compatibility. The specification will be compatible with existing USB 3.0 software stacks, device class protocols, and existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices.

Developers that want to implement new USB 3.1 specification will be able to learn technical details for the new specification at three upcoming developer conferences

Source: (PDF)

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By mrma on 8/1/2013 8:46:18 AM , Rating: 1
Is this intentional that the speed of all kind of data busses getting improved gradually? I mean what kind of technological breaktrough have taken place to make it happen since USB 3.0 introduced. Or is it marketing strategy again?

RE: Gradually?
By Brandon Hill on 8/1/2013 8:54:40 AM , Rating: 2
Well, this is a "theoretical" 2x throughput boost. I wouldn't exactly call that gradual.

RE: Gradually?
By bah12 on 8/1/2013 9:15:59 AM , Rating: 5
I think he meant, what part of 3.1 was technically infeasible just a few years ago when 3.0 was popularized? In other words is there some actual technical challenge holding back bus speeds, or are we being spoon fed incremental steps to encourage re-purchase?

Certainly suspicious that you can achive a 2X increase in such short time, so it begs the question why wasn't this here already.

RE: Gradually?
By KentState on 8/1/2013 9:20:27 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is that USB 3.0 was commercially available ~3 years ago. It takes years to get to that point with groups deciding on a standard, developing technology, licensing and then building equipment that supports the standard. This is a very mesasured process and throwing new features in on a whim doesn't apply.

RE: Gradually?
By inighthawki on 8/1/2013 9:56:28 AM , Rating: 3
Not to mention you have to Finalize a standard at some point. Improvements could just cost time or money not available when the spec was don, but now that things are done they have time for improvements. It's like asking a software company why they didn't just release version 2.0 firt

RE: Gradually?
By PrinceGaz on 8/1/2013 11:04:47 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It was better to have the USB 3.0 (Super Speed) standard ratified a few years ago so we could use devices where USB 2.0 (Hi Speed) wasn't fast enough, such as external SSDs. If they hadn't ratified USB 3.0 back then, their speed would have been limited by the USB 2.0 interface they would have had to use instead.

Now they've had the additional time needed to ratify a double speed version, USB 3.1 (Super Duper Speed) is now available and can be taken advantage of by those devices which need a still faster transfer-rate. All your USB 3.0 devices will still work fine, so you haven't lost anything.

RE: Gradually?
By bug77 on 8/1/2013 10:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
Looking at my USB stick that gets very hot during operation, power requirements come to mind.

I think a certain level of miniaturization had to be reached first and since no one can predict _everything_ when moving to a lower node, some things couldn't have been included in the spec ahead of time.

RE: Gradually?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2013 9:35:34 AM , Rating: 4
It's not a conspiracy man. This improvement requires no extra purchases, no new hardware, so what's in it for them?

You know how sometimes you get a video card driver update that makes your video card 20%+ faster when playing a certain game? Same deal here.

If they never released anything new until all the wrinkles and inefficiencies were weeded out, we'd never get anything new :)

RE: Gradually?
By mrma on 8/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Gradually?
By Labotomizer on 8/1/2013 9:54:40 AM , Rating: 4
Does USB 3.0 meet your needs? Then it's not old or legacy. It's just not the absolute latest spec. That will ALWAYS happen. Are you really complaining? Would you rather progress halts for 5 years at a time so you can feel better about a purchase?

Honestly, one of the worst comments on Daily Tech I've seen in a while...

RE: Gradually?
By Jeffk464 on 8/1/2013 11:03:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm still stuck on usb 2.0, it seems to be doing what I need.

RE: Gradually?
By tunap on 8/2/2013 11:55:26 AM , Rating: 2
You may jest, but my USB 3 devices fail to recognize/mount more times than not. 3 devices on multiple systems & environments(7x64, XPx32, Puppyx32 and failed boots w/ bootable thumb). OTOH, I cracked the GoFlex open and put HD in a 2.0 enclosure & it works flawlessly every time.

RE: Gradually?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2013 11:28:56 AM , Rating: 3
Totally agree. How does this render his entire motherboard obsolete anyway? Just buy a PCIe USB 3.1 spec card if it's that big of a deal! Woohoo a whole $50 or whatever.

I guess I misinterpreted the article, however. It seems like they are saying this would require no hardware changes to implement. So I took that as meaning a firmware update.

I personally just bought the bare bones for a new Haswell rig, and don't feel my motherboard (GA-Z87X-ud3h) is any less relevant that it was before I read this article.

Anyone who knows anything about PC hardware knows: your new computer will never remain on the cutting edge, no matter how much you spend today.

RE: Gradually?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2013 11:38:52 AM , Rating: 3
Oh and let's remember, it could be years before this is actually adopted and put in commercial products. It's not like tomorrow people are going to have this and you'll be all envious or whatever lol.

RE: Gradually?
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 12:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
I personally just bought the bare bones for a new Haswell rig, and don't feel my motherboard (GA-Z87X-ud3h) is any less relevant that it was before I read this article.
I keep trying to convince myself to upgrade to Haswell but my i5-2500K works perfectly. Maybe I'll just get another MB instead. I do have to buy another power supply (running with an old backup 550W) as my failed UPS smoked mine (Corsair HX750). :(

RE: Gradually?
By bug77 on 8/1/2013 12:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hear, hear!

I have the exact same CPU and the only reason to upgrade would be to get more native SATA3 or USB3.0 ports. Thus I'll pass.

RE: Gradually?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2013 2:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well I'm always looking for excuses to buy pc parts and build systems lol.

Ummm, Haswell has better onboard graphics, if my video card blows up, I can get by on that and still game while the replacement is coming!

Bingo! :)

RE: Gradually?
By bug77 on 8/1/2013 4:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather not have to pay to have half of the die always powered off.

RE: Gradually?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2013 11:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Okay whatever that means...

RE: Gradually?
By bug77 on 8/2/2013 6:50:55 AM , Rating: 2
Half of the die is the GPU ;)

RE: Gradually?
By retrospooty on 8/1/2013 10:04:44 AM , Rating: 2
"I've just paid over 200 dollars for a so called future-proof motherboard which unsurprisingly supports up-to USB 3.0 specs "

If you just boought a USB3 mobo, what changed in your world where USB3 suddenly wasnt fast enough. It didnt change, nor did any peripheral you own...

And "future proof" ? That doesn't exist. You thinking it does is just silly. I would like to see the marketing ad that said that phrase.

RE: Gradually?
By ammaross on 8/1/2013 5:37:26 PM , Rating: 3
"Future-proof" does exist. The mobo has PCIe x1 slots, right? Pop an expansion card into one. USB3.1 now supported! Bingo!

RE: Gradually?
By retrospooty on 8/1/2013 9:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
That isn't future proof, its a USB 3.1 upgrade. It solves the OP's dilemma, but the OP's dilemma is unsound.

RE: Gradually?
By kattanna on 8/1/2013 10:10:49 AM , Rating: 2
I've just paid over 200 dollars for a so called future-proof motherboard which unsurprisingly supports up-to USB 3.0 specs and it is already old and legacy, like your laptops which come with USB 3.0 slots.

LOL.. thank you for my morning laugh


RE: Gradually?
By Jeffk464 on 8/1/2013 11:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
yup, $100 is my max for a mobo. I never pay for bleeding edge tech, wait until it goes mainstream.

RE: Gradually?
By Labotomizer on 8/1/2013 9:52:58 AM , Rating: 4
It wasn't that long ago that the fastest Cat5 could go was 100mb. Then we hit Gb on Cat5e. And now we're hitting 10gb on it at short distances.

Cable is another great example. DOCSYS2.0 to 3.0, which used the same physical cables, was a massive increase in performance. I'm not sure why people don't understand that our signaling gets better, our understanding of maximizing data throughput gets better and devices at each end get better at rapidly decoding information.

But, I suppose it could be the man trying to make more money. I mean, SATA 1, 2 and 3 ultimately use the same cables, and 3 is backwards compatible with SATA 1 so clearly they could have done SATA 3 speeds 10 years ago.

RE: Gradually?
By BRB29 on 8/1/2013 10:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
But, I suppose it could be the man trying to make more money. I mean, SATA 1, 2 and 3 ultimately use the same cables, and 3 is backwards compatible with SATA 1 so clearly they could have done SATA 3 speeds 10 years ago.

That's like saying they could do 30mbps DSL when 14k dial up was the top dog. Same wire.

RE: Gradually?
By Labotomizer on 8/1/2013 10:43:10 AM , Rating: 3
Well, sarcasm doesn't exactly translate well. I understand why things improve in speed, even while using the same cables.

RE: Gradually?
By XZerg on 8/1/2013 1:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
To add, if usb 3.0 wasn't released at the time then Thunderbolt could have really enjoyed some no competition and gathered even higher demand. Luckily usb3 came just in time for rescue.

RE: Gradually?
By devhead18 on 8/29/2013 9:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
USB 3.1 is here because of competition from Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2.

By lagomorpha on 8/1/2013 9:22:52 AM , Rating: 5
Guess we can skip the overpriced Thunderbolt cables.

RE: Nice
By JPForums on 8/1/2013 2:33:29 PM , Rating: 2
I never felt like thunderbolts and electronics were a good mix anyways.

RE: Nice
By XZerg on 8/1/2013 2:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
if it wasn't for the proprietary nature of TB [hence cost/price as well] then it has some great benefits over USB or other options. i really liked the idea that it can provide enough bandwidth and at a such low latency that there can be very portable devices which could get the extra juice externally. USB3 offers the bandwidth but it is not as good when it comes to latency [key for gpu and display] and cpu usage.

RE: Nice
By boeush on 8/1/2013 7:45:16 PM , Rating: 1
Thunderbolt as an interface is more general than its current hardware implementation. I believe the ultimate goal is to build Thunderbolt over fiber-optic channels, for some really sick bandwidth and low latency. Only things required would be sufficiently miniaturized, low-power and cheap high-bandwidth optical transmitter/receiver modules integrated on-silicon (which I believe Intel, among many other companies, continues to work on...)

And... there goes the need for Thunderbolt
By bill.rookard on 8/1/2013 9:24:32 AM , Rating: 2
Backwards compatible with all devices back to USB 1? check.
Allows for charging/power? check.
Enough bandwidth to drive video-over-usb? check.

I think that just about ends the need for a new connector/interface.

RE: And... there goes the need for Thunderbolt
By Labotomizer on 8/1/2013 10:44:47 AM , Rating: 2
Thunderbolt could be useful at 20gbps. On an array of SSD SAS drives at any rate. Although I'd probably go FC or iSCSI if I had that kind of money to spend since you get the benefit of multiple hosts connecting to it.

By kingmotley on 8/1/2013 11:03:23 AM , Rating: 2
Well, today's SSDs just about saturate their links at 6gbps, so USB 3.1 would only be able to handle 1 SSD of today's speeds. If you try to hook up two in a RAID-0, even with 0 latency, and 0% overhead, USB 3.1 would still be a bottleneck. Even a medium sized array of spinning metal could saturate USB 3.1 fairly quick, and the added latency and overhead would probably be noticeable.

By Jeffk464 on 8/1/2013 11:06:58 AM , Rating: 2
I agree completely, usb is the most practical interface out.

By ritualm on 8/1/2013 3:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
Says the guy who is stuck without an external GPU option for his computer.

By davidecreagh on 8/1/13, Rating: -1
By davidecreagh on 8/1/13, Rating: -1
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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