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USB 3.0 is one step closer to being included in our computers

It seems like everything uses USB today from cell phone chargers to keyboards, mice, printers, and cameras. What many really want are faster USB connections. USB 3.0 has been on the horizon for a while now and for a time the future of the specification and cross compatibility was unknown.

The USB 3.0 Promoters Group announced yesterday that the USB 3.0 specification was finally complete. The specification is a sort of roadmap that allows manufacturers to build controllers and products utilizing the USB 3.0 standard. The specification has now been turned over to the USB Implementers Forum, the managing body for USB specifications.

Members of the USB 3.0 promoters group including -- HP, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, ST-NXP, and Texas instruments -- have had a long road with accusations from non-forum members that it was keeping the completed specification from other manufacturers in order to give member companies a competitive edge in the market.

The accusations led AMD and NVIDIA to announce that they intended to begin work on their own open host controller for USB 3.0. This move was potentially catastrophic for USB 3.0 as different manufacturers would not have been able to guarantee compatibility across platforms for USB 3.0 devices.

USB-IF president and chairman Jeff Ravencraft said in a statement, "SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology. Today’s consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa. SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user."

The specification for USB 3.0 debuted at the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in San Jose on November 17. Among the new improvements that USB 3.0 will bring are higher data speeds and enhanced power efficiency.

The first USB 3.0 discrete controllers will be available in the second half of 2009 and the first consumer products using USB 3.0 are expected to be available in 2010. The first products to be commercially available for the specification will be flash drives, external hard drives, and digital music players.

Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA went around and around in June with accusations over how complete the open host controller specifications for USB 3.0 were. AMD and NVIDIA claimed the specification was complete and Intel wasn't releasing it in an attempt to gain a competitive edge. Intel maintained that the specification wasn't complete and when it was complete, they would release it to other manufacturers.

This is what led AMD and NVIDIA to announce they were starting work on their own specification for USB 3.0 open host controller. Exactly how far the two firms went with their own specification was never announced. The competing specification was never made available and if the two firms did begin developing their own product and just haven’t released it yet, the project is certainly dead now. It's a safe bet that the first specification to market will be the standard for USB 3.0. An AMD source claimed that it was at work on its own specification in June.



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Speed, power savings details ?
By MarcLeFou on 11/18/2008 10:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
Anybody has any details on the increase on speed from going to usb 2 vs usb 3 and the power gains that can be realized ?

Transferring data to a usb HDD is currently painfully slow and I'd love to know by what order of magnitude they plan to improve transfer speeds.




RE: Speed, power savings details ?
By shaw on 11/18/2008 11:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
It's suppose to be 5 Gbps (640 megabytes per second).

Current Hi-Speed USB transfers at 480 Mbps (60 megabytes).

I tell you one thing, if USB 3.0 can sustain even half that speed I will be too damn happy!


RE: Speed, power savings details ?
By amanojaku on 11/18/2008 11:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
The USB 3.0 spec defines the maximum transfer rate to be 5.0Gbits/sec and a maximum cable length at that speed of 3 meters. I have no numbers either way, but I would imagine the power usage would go up as there is an additional pair of wires and the interface now works in full duplex mode. This makes the circuit simpler (no directional negotiation logic required to transfer data,) but requires twice the logic in the same space (interface buffers, clock signalers, etc...) Power usage might not be quite double, but it most likely won't be less.


RE: Speed, power savings details ?
By dice1111 on 11/18/2008 11:13:56 AM , Rating: 4
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/everythi...

Maximum PC has a good article about it.


By ggordonliddy on 11/18/2008 8:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
You mean "Anybody have any details"?


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