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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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More power?
By Lazarus Dark on 11/18/2008 6:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
Does it include more power? like for running a 3.5 hard drive without the stupid power cord. I use 2.5 drives for portable storage that will run off usb alone because I hate having to carry a power cord around. In fact, I'd like to see enough power to run a small printer straight off of usb, that would be fantastic. maybe even run a low power monitor off usb. hey, we've already combined audio and video on hdmi, why can't we add power too. the less cords the better. (cords are the bane of my existence, no matter how hard I try to keep them straight, the back of the TV always ends up a rats nest!)

RE: More power?
By ggordonliddy on 11/18/2008 8:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
> Does it include more power?

I don't know how much power a 3.5" HD needs, but the Maximum PC article referenced above says:

USB 3.0 will charge more devices, quicker

Not only will USB 3.0 cables facilitate faster transfer speeds, but they’ll carry more power, too. The USB-IF recognizes the growing number of portable devices that charge via USB (cellphones, MP3 players, digital cameras), and have bumped the power output from about 100miliamps to 900 milliamps. That means not only will you be able to power more than 4 devices from a single hub, but the increase current will let you charge up heftier hardware as well.

RE: More power?
By rudolphna on 11/18/2008 10:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
thats interesting. the USB ports on my comptuer all supply up to 500ma (.5 amps) per port at +5v. A full amp per port would be nice.

RE: More power?
By mindless1 on 11/25/2008 1:24:07 AM , Rating: 2
Why? It's not enough power for a 3.5" HDD, not enough for a printer, not enough for a CCFL lit scanner and LED lit scanners already run off 500mA.

As they suggested, the primary thing this'll help do is increase charge rates for portable devices and yet, since most people won't yet have USB3 those devices will probably still be designed around a 500mA max charge rate unless a special charger is used, since it'll still be 5V AFAIK. I don't mean forever of course, but if fast charging is that important it would be trivial to rig up a 2A, 3A, whatever, power brick to charge up devices if charge speed were very important.

Then again i'm sure there are other devices I'm overlooking, so many USB devices these days like Force-feedback joysticks, USB powered speakers for low-end systems, etc, etc.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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