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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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questions
By Visual on 11/24/2008 6:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
I want to know if this 5Gbps figure is a total for all the USB ports on a system, or for each of them individually? Will it be real, achievable transfer speed or is it just some theoretical max that doesn't take into account any protocol overhead... and is that overhead as huge as with USB2.0?

What will the latency be like?
What about the power that it can provide?
Will the optical USB cables also have a wire component to provide power or USB2 backward compatibility?
Will devices be able to claim their expected power usage so that it is automatically known when power might not be enough if you are daisy-chaining too many devices, before a problem actually has occurred?

What are the expected applications for this interface? The theoretical bandwidth matches that of PCI-express 2x or HDMI 1.2, so I imagine external high-performance RAID controllers or video cards are possible, but are such planned yet? Also, would it be usable for direct PC-to-PC connections? It is five times faster than the current 1Gbps LAN interface so this might be useful.




RE: questions
By mindless1 on 11/25/2008 1:52:44 AM , Rating: 2
See topic title. USB specs now available, you can find out the answers to these questions. Briefly, it's individual, not real - after overhead 400MB/s, high latency (it's USB), 900mA, yes wire backward compat.,devices request power and only 900mA in USB3 mode, apps are whatever you can think of that was bottlenecked by USB2. As alway, you will want to avoid external RAID and Video (it's USB!!) and go with low latency, low overhead PCI-E. Yes PC-PC connections with a crossover cable will be useful up to 3 meters, in theory (how many actually saturate GbE between two peers often without some other bottleneck already?).

Best use, streaming video and external storage arrays. More current for USB missile launchers is a bonus.


"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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