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Mockup USB 3.0 cable  (Source: Tech On)
Intel says open host controller specifications have cost gazillions of dollars to develop

According to Intel’s Nick Knupffer, there are a lot of myths going around concerning USB 3.0 and Intel’s involvement in the development of the specification. Knupffer wrote a blog post on Intel’s website in an attempt to dispel these myths.

Knupffer points out that Intel is not developing the USB 3.0 specification. What Intel is developing is the host controller spec which Knupffer describes as a “Dummies Guide” to building a USB 3.0 compatible piece of silicon.

Knupffer says in the blog post that Intel has invested “gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours” in developing the open host controller and despite its significant investment still plans to give the specification to competing manufacturers for free. Knupffer also says that Intel loves it when CPU performance is used to the max and the huge increase in bandwidth of USB 3.0 will mean larger file transfers and more processor usage. This in turn is expected to lead to an increased demand for faster processors.

AMD and NVIDIA leveled allegations at Intel recently that claim Intel was withholding the open host controller specifications in an attempt to give itself a market advantage. Intel and AMD claim that by withholding the specification the lead Intel will have in bringing USB 3.0 compliant products to market will be in the six to nine month range.

Intel denied the allegations of withholding the open host controller specifications at the time AMD and NVIDIA made their charges public and announced they would be designing their own open host controller. In Knupffer’s blog post, he again says that Intel isn’t holding the open host controller specifications back from competitors.

According to Knupffer, the significant investment in the open host controller specifications is specifically to get USB 3.0 into the market faster, so why would it withhold the specification. Intel still maintains that the specifications aren’t ready and that it plans to give the specifications to other manufacturers in the second half of 2008.

The final myth that Knupffer addresses in his post is that USB 3.0 technology borrows heavily from technology used in PCI Express. Intel points out that it was involved with both the PCI-SIG and the USB-IF at the design stage for both PCI Express and for USB 3.0. The insinuation form Intel is that the technology that is similar in both devices was developed on its dime.

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RE: USB processor
By theapparition on 6/12/2008 4:36:58 PM , Rating: 5
It is my understanding that Firewire is a lot less processor intensive.

Your understanding is correct, but interpretation is all wrong.
USB is a LOW COST interconnect that uses the processor to manage communication. Implementation of USB into integrated chipsets is soooo low cost, it's almost not even worth mentioning.

Firewire (IEEE1394) has it's own logic to control comms. As such, it's implementation costs signifigantly more. It did have the added benefit of not loading the computer as much.

As such, both formats have co-existed and will both continue to evolve. You see this clearly diferentiated between target markets. Where devices exist that need high speed serial communication between devices where a computer isn't present, you'll only see Firewire. TV's, Camcorders, STB's, etc. All Firewire because a CPU isn't required. Where computers are involved, you'll see mainly USB.

See, there is reason behind the madness and not all is for "nefarious motives".

RE: USB processor
By mattclary on 6/13/2008 9:39:09 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the response, that makes a lot more sense to me now.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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