Print 22 comment(s) - last by Starcub.. on May 21 at 10:51 AM

Expect a few USB 3.0 devices in time for Christmas

NEC Electronics has introduced the world’s first host controller for the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, which can transfer up to 5 gigabits per second when paired with a USB 3.0 device. Host controllers are used to connect devices external to a computer system, such as Universal Serial Bus devices, SATA and IDE drives, and Ethernet connections. Typically, a host controller is either built into the southbridge of a chipset or connected to it.

The µPD720200 host controller is expected to be used primarily on motherboards, LCD monitors, televisions, and other consumer electronic devices. Large quantities of data are being created daily, and the first consumer devices using the new standard are expected to be high resolution digital cameras and video camcorders.

A new generation of external hard drives and USB flash drives is also expected to arrive quickly to take advantage of the 10x increase in transfer speeds. USB 3.0 devices will be backward compatible with host controllers using USB 2.0, 1.1 and 1.0 versions of the USB standard. By the end of 2011, USB 3.0 will become the new standard for all USB devices as production ramps up and costs fall. Everything from cell phones to printers will use the new standard.

Samples of the µPD720200 host controller are scheduled to be available in June 2009 at US$15 each, and will include free Windows device driver software. Monthly production is expected to reach approximately 1 million units during September 2009. NEC claims its USB experience will help its production ramp, as they've shipped 161 million USB devices as of March 2009.

NEC has been a member of the USB Implementers Forum since 1996, and launched the world's first USB 2.0 compliant host controller chip in 2000. NEC Electronics plans to exhibit the µPD720200 USB 3.0 host controller at its booth during the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in Tokyo later this week.

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I don't get it..
By Storkme on 5/20/2009 7:59:08 AM , Rating: -1
(individual) hard drive speed is still limited to like 100MB/s on a good day, so what do we need 5Gbps external devices for? I guess monitors and such could be attached with it, but isn't the CPU overhead for USB connections pretty darn high?

RE: I don't get it..
By troysavary on 5/20/2009 8:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine that by time USB 3.0 has widespread adoption, we will be seeing flash drives fast enough to take advantage of the speed.

RE: I don't get it..
By Motley on 5/20/2009 8:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
I think you are missing some conversions. Today's fastest hard drives can transfer data well in excess of 120MB/s, and SSD's can do over 250MB/s sustained. There are SSD's that will be shortly released that have a sustained rate of over 450MB/s. 450MB/s is approximately 4.5Gbps. That's just the sustained rate, and a burst speed would need to be much higher to keep up. By the time it comes out, it will already be too slow to keep up with the fastest SSDs. Still, much better than what we have today, but I suspect eSata 3 will be available not too long down the road as well.

RE: I don't get it..
By davekozy on 5/21/2009 2:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
SATA 3 isn't that much faster at 600 MB/s. SSD's are going to be choking for bandwidth in a couple years.

At least it's a decent improvement and it'll be on most motherboards by next year.

RE: I don't get it..
By Silver2k7 on 5/21/2009 3:21:14 AM , Rating: 2
correct me if im wrong but new conventional disks with 64MB cache can have a 400MB/s+ burst speeds.

RE: I don't get it..
By regnez on 5/20/2009 8:28:53 AM , Rating: 1
Let me clarify multiple things:

1. USBs current 480Mbps claim is completely false. Even at its theoretical best, that is only 60MB/s, and in reality it is always much less.

2. USB devices all share the same chunk of bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the better, no matter what.

3. This is the first controller, so expect USB 3.0 peripherals soon. Giant, fast external hard drives, giant (and fast) flash drives, external video cards (?), etc.

More speed opens more possibilities. In the tech world, saying "so what do we need X for" makes you look very short-sighted.

RE: I don't get it..
By futrtrubl on 5/20/2009 8:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
1. Yes 480M b /s is less than 60M B /s (51 in actual fact) that does NOT make the claim false.

RE: I don't get it..
By Starcub on 5/21/2009 10:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
8b/B => 60MB/S is correct. In claiming that it is actually 51MB/S, you are making his point. In practice, I would think that the overhead is even greater than that though... I've never gotten over 30MB/S through a USB 2.0 interface.

RE: I don't get it..
By Jansen on 5/20/2009 8:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0 no longer has continous polling, AFAIK. This significantly reduces CPU overhead.

SSDs already read faster than 200MB/s, and the SXDC format will go above 100MB/s.

Don't forget that with overhead, you're only getting 40MB/s max with USB 2.0

There is already concern that USB 3.0 does not provide enough room for future technologies.

RE: I don't get it..
By swizeus on 5/20/2009 9:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
This technology will go along way to the future... USB 2.0 has been with us since 2000, and has been 9 years now...

Perhaps we just repeat the same mistake... i think there was someone saying 'why would we need something like USB 2.0, when there's no device could accomodate that speed at the moment'

RE: I don't get it..
By JakLee on 5/20/2009 12:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's more about "why is it only that fast now" rather than what do we need it for.... while the overall speed & bandwidth increase is impressive, usb 2.0 has been considered slow for many years now....

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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