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The PC world is quickly preparing for USB 3.0

News reports from Asia indicate PCs with USB 3.0 will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2009.

USB 3.0, with speeds 10 times faster than USB 2.0, will offer transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits of data per second.  Manufacturers are expected to introduce a new generation of USB flash drives, external hard drives, and other devices that will make use of the significantly faster transfer speeds.

NEC Electronics is expected to lead the pack among companies adopting USB 3.0, with the company recently becoming the first to introduce a USB 3.0 controller.  The company began shipping host controller samples last month, and in September will begin manufacturing an expected one million units per month.

In 2007, Intel unveiled USB 3.0 during its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) conference, but was accused by AMD and NVIDIA of keeping the open host controller specifications a secret to create an unfair advantage against competitors.  Intel later released the open host controller specifications in November 2007, with companies expected about the increased speed of the technology.

There has been some talk about whether or not the PC industry will be ready for USB 3.0.  During the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference, held two months ago in May, manufacturers outlined their aspirations to utilize the superior USB 3.0 -- devices also were shown to be faster than eSATA, which offers 3Gbits/s transfer speed.

NEC anticipates 140 million PCs will ship in 2011 utilizing USB 3.0, with that number expected to climb up to 340 million in 2012.  Microsoft Windows 7, which launches in October, will not support the standard at launch, but will add in support later.

Both home users and businesses will benefit by using the faster technology, with large-scale data backup becoming much faster thanks to the 5Gbit/s transfer speeds.  Expect external HDDs with increased storage capacity from Western Digital, Seagate, Iomega, and other companies specializing in storage.

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By Byte on 7/2/2009 10:27:59 AM , Rating: 1
I'm more excited about this than Nehalim. I'm def waiting for a USB3 mobo before upgrading. I really hate how slow usb2 is and dread plugging any external hard drives to it. Thumb drives have been able to saturate usb2 for a while now too. It's a shame win7 won't have support, i wonder how much of a headache it would be to have a USB standard not in the OS.

RE: Yay
By matt0401 on 7/2/2009 10:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
Can't a simple update or SP provide USB 3.0 support when it becomes available?

RE: Yay
By Devo2007 on 7/2/2009 10:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
It most certainly can... as evidenced by Windows 95 OSR2 adding support for USB.

Granted, that might be a poor example, because it wasn't until Windows 98 that we saw a good, stable USB driver.

RE: Yay
By diego10arg on 7/2/2009 11:30:57 AM , Rating: 3
Granted, that might be a poor example, because it wasn't until Windows 98 that we saw a good, stable USB driver.

Wow. I've never expected to see the word stable in the same sentence as Windows 98. Not even if referred to a driver on it.

RE: Yay
By namechamps on 7/2/2009 12:16:02 PM , Rating: 2
98SE was VASTLY superior to 95 when it came to plug and play.
One of my first IT jobs was tech support in late 90s.

Getting USB cameras (canon) to work on win 95 was a nightmare.
Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.

So yeah relatively speaking 98SE was a godsend compared to plug & pray in win95.

RE: Yay
By cheetah2k on 7/2/2009 7:08:02 PM , Rating: 3
"News reports from Asia indicate PCs with USB 3.0 will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2009"

News reports from US, Europe and Australia indicate USB 3.0 devices and cables will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2015..... <sarcasim>

Just remembering the back to the start of USB 2.0 days... :-D

RE: Yay
By murphyslabrat on 7/3/2009 4:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
Last year, the IT club at my school was given the ancient computers from one of the PC-equipped classrooms. These Pentium III computers came with a COA for Win98SE, so I tried to see how far I could push them. With some significant mods, including a Vista theme, and custom USB and network stacks, some of the support specialists weren't able to tell that it wasn't Vista, short of opening System Information.

The only real issues left were the fact that it was as secure as a screen door, and that there is no DotNet support for Win95/98.

RE: Yay
By chick0n on 7/2/2009 12:22:39 PM , Rating: 3
Win98 was ok for me.

SE was better tho.

and most problems I've seen with Win98 were people with "garbage" computers.

RE: Yay
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 1:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
I remember doing Windows software development on Win98. It was very amusing...the thing I most remember is many reboots throughout the day, every day. When I upgraded to Win2K, I was doing the same kind of work, just no more reboots.

Yeah, Win9x sucked. It was the best available at the time, but in today's context, it sucked.

RE: Yay
By foolsgambit11 on 7/2/2009 2:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
Or USB 2.0 with Windows XP SP2.

RE: Yay
By Byte on 7/3/2009 11:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure a driver is all that was needed, and it's backwards compatible so it won't be as bad. I just hated the days when I was in college and had to bring a tiny CD with me to load USB drivers to older machines. I just really like how USB2.0 nearly everything you can just plug in and it will work like magic.
This will pretty much obsolete eSATA too. eSATA is nice, but who needs a new special cable and only a small percentage of computers will have eSATA. It's also taking them a while to release powered eSATA, and I think it will only be able to power 2.5 disks, not enough for 3.5. Only one of my external drives have eSATA but i'll probably switch them all over to USB3 rather than dealing with eSata. USB3 will also be able to deliver almost a whole amp, 10x as much as USB2, maybe they can do something with that.

Also some dude named colton,, just emailed me saying USB3.0 will not help in any speeds. Quote: "In response to the usb article on dailytech. I see way too many uneducated comments on there. Anyhow.. you realize that most commercial harddrives today can only reach sustained speed limits of 50 - 70 megaBytes per second? I just did a test on my harddrive, which is a new WD Caviar, and it can only reach sustained speed of 57.3 megaBytes per second... If you do the math.., 480 megaBits per second for USB is 60 megaBytes per second.. It doesnt matter if usb 3.0 goes at 5 gigBits per second.. Thats 640 megaBytes per second.. Since a harddrive can only go so fast, usually in the 50 - 70 mB/s range, usb 3.0 is completely useless. Did you realize this before posting your comment? It is the same thing with the next version of serial ATA. The interface has the potential to run at massive speeds, but we are still limited by physical harddrive speeds."

He seems to have ran out of porn to watch to personally send me an email on what he did on his pocket calculator and faulty logic and no experience in real world tasks. I already sent him numbers from anandtech showing real world usb xfer rates, but he still lives in a world where his pocket calculator gives real world results. Maybe you guys can set him straight.

RE: Yay
By menting on 7/2/2009 11:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
i'm sort of in the same boat as you. I've been looking to upgrade my computer (which is about 5-6 yrs old), and the release of Windows 7 and Core i5 in sept/oct timeframe seems like a perfect time to upgrade.
I'm wondering however, how long it'll take before USB3.0 trickles down the the midrange motherboards and becomes a standard there? Same for SATA III. Chances are it won't even be available on high end boards when I upgrade, which is a shame since I'm hoping to not have to upgrade again in another 4-5 yrs.

RE: Yay
By Silver2k7 on 7/2/2009 11:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Same with EFI wich was about to replace the 20+ years old BIOS... Vista started supporting it with SP1.. but where are the motherboards!!

RE: Yay
By Parhel on 7/2/2009 11:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm typically an enthusiast who upgrades yearly with each generation. But right now I have a Core2 Duo @ 4.0Ghz and 4Gb of RAM, and I think I've reached a point where my system is . . . just . . . . fast enough. I can't believe I just said that.

I don't think I'm going to worry about upgrading for a while. At least not just for speed. Once USB 3.0 is standard, SSDs and BluRay are cheaper and more mature, and DirectX 11 cards are out, I'll start thinking about it.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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