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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RE: Now if only
By Zoomer on 5/20/2009 10:07:51 AM , Rating: 5
Firewire is not gunk.

RE: Now if only
By bissimo on 5/20/2009 10:20:17 AM , Rating: 4
I agree with Zoomer here. Firewire is still superior to USB 2.0 in my experience, and Firewire 800 blows both away. I do a lot of file transfers to external storage devices in my work, and even though USB 2.0 is rated at 480Mbps, Firewire (nominally 400Mbps) is consistently faster.
I can't wait for USB 3.0, though.

RE: Now if only
By Starcub on 5/21/2009 10:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
IIRC, Firewire does not have power integrated into the standard. The external drives I've used Firewire on have all required that I use a separate power connector to provide power to the drive. Not so with USB. Given that the performance differential was not that great, my preference for convienience has been for USB.

Right now if I really want speed, I use eSATA. However, with USB 3.0, my guess is that eSATA will become an obsolete interface.

RE: Now if only
By ipay on 5/20/2009 3:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
Probably 95% of end-users (including me) will never use a FireWire device, so for them it is gunk - a waste of space on the motherboard that would have been better used by an extra pair of SATA2 ports, for example.

Biostar has been excluding FireWire from its boards for a while, and I hope other manufacturers will take notice. If you really need it that badly, fork out a few dollars for an expansion card.

RE: Now if only
By Silver2k7 on 5/21/2009 3:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
Ive got 2 external drives that support both usb and firewire.. the problem was when vista got out there where talks that it was not to support FireWire until after SP1 was out..

Now these are disks that I dont use that often.. and my fairly expensive motherboard does not have any FW800 ports either wich is also sad.

But I feel its strange that FW was never adopted, was this someones way of saying scrw apple we won't use their standard even if it's superior?

Atleast we (PC users) are finally getting an interface thats not bottlenecking external drives anymore.. even if it took a long time..

RE: Now if only
By gigahertz20 on 5/20/2009 4:34:35 PM , Rating: 3
FireWire is on its very last legs as a mainstream interconnect. Apple's decision to drop FireWire from the Macbook doesn't quite qualify as a stroke of doom, but the trend is clear. As the years go by, FireWire support (or, at least, support for the latest standard) is being driven into a smaller and smaller group of products and systems.

Ironically, most mid-range/high-end discrete motherboards now ship with FireWire 400/1394a support, but FireWire 1394b is virtually nowhere to be found. I won't go quite so far as to say it's literally nonexistent, Apple still supports it on the MacPro among others, but a search of even the highest-end boards on NewEgg doesn't reveal a single 1394b-equipped board. Given just how expensive premium boards can run these days, it seems fair to say that manufacturers aren't including it because they don't see it as an option consumers want, as opposed to it being an issue of cost.

One of my core concerns with USB 3.0 is that the sockets are apparently limited to providing just 500mA of power (unchanged from USB 2.0), and the bus will remain relatively CPU intensive.

RE: Now if only
By Jansen on 5/20/2009 5:46:25 PM , Rating: 3
Continuous device polling is gone in USB 3.0

Charging through the connection is at 900mA max.

RE: Now if only
By bigboxes on 5/21/2009 2:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
No, firewire is dead. I know it. Apple knows it. And hopefully you'll know it before it's officially dead. My condolences.

"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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