Print 49 comment(s) - last by georges1977.. on Jul 6 at 12:19 AM

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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Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/2009 10:35:34 AM , Rating: -1
This is all well and good, but what's the CPU utilization and other overhead? And once again, we're going to see a whole slew of devices that advertise 5gb blah blah in speed, but use a 5,400rpm hard drive inside. It took years before the benefits of S/ATA (increased bandwidth) were realized over IDE in the real world.....yet people still flocked to it because it was 150mbps instead of 133mbps or whatever.

I really wish firewire would have taken off more......damned Sony and their closed off minds....

RE: Not impressed
By theslug on 7/2/2009 10:44:36 AM , Rating: 5
I don't see Sony mentioned in this article.

RE: Not impressed
By Morphine06 on 7/2/2009 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
There won't be many issues with compatibility because it's backwards compatible with USB 2 devices. It wouldn't suddenly be blasted back to 5,400 RPM HDDs because flash is already the dominant portable storage type.

Once your computer already comes USB3 compatible, why wouldn't you buy a USB3 device?

Firewire... her?

RE: Not impressed
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 11:19:10 AM , Rating: 5
I really wish firewire would have taken off more......damned Sony and their closed off minds....
What did Sony do to harm Firewire? I always thought it didn't take off because of the lower cost of USB because Intel integrated support for USB into the chipset, compared to Firewire which in most cases requires a separate controller chip.

RE: Not impressed
By Screwballl on 7/2/2009 11:29:23 AM , Rating: 5
I really wish firewire would have taken off more......damned Sony and their closed off minds....

FireWire was from Apple, i.LINK was from Sony although they have similar if not the same specs.

It is far from proprietary but at the same time pretty much useless for 98% of the world as USB is the connection type of choice.

FireWire is Apple Inc.'s name for the IEEE 1394 High Speed Serial Bus. It was initiated by Apple (in 1986[2]) and developed by the IEEE P1394 Working Group, largely driven by contributions from Apple, although major contributions were also made by engineers from Texas Instruments, Sony, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, and INMOS/SGS Thomson (now STMicroelectronics).

Sony's implementation of the system, known as "i.LINK" used a smaller connector with only the four signal circuits, omitting the two circuits which provide power to the device in favor of a separate power connector. This style was later added into the 1394a amendment.[3] This port is sometimes labeled "S100" or "S400" to indicate speed in Mbit/s.

RE: Not impressed
By Silver2k7 on 7/2/2009 11:40:01 AM , Rating: 5
I guess you didnt notice the much neater cables, wich made airflow better in the case.. also no more master/slave settings, just plugging in the drive.

"It took years before the benefits of S/ATA (increased bandwidth) were realized over IDE in the real world.....yet people still flocked to it because it was 150mbps instead of 133mbps or whatever."

RE: Not impressed
By icanhascpu on 7/2/2009 10:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
No more Master/Slave setting!

Let the oppressed interfaces be free!!

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Neatness is only esthetic, long forgotten once the side panel is on the case.

Better airflow is mostly a myth, air is not like light it flows around obstacles, and no passive heatsink will depend on direct inward flow from a front panel fan if the system is properly designed.

Even so, it is a small improvement over PATA's shortcomings and SATA did two different important things. It got us away from the sometimes fragile open IDC method of attaching connectors to ribbon cables, and it extended the length you could plug in two drives since an 18" PATA cable folded and routed neatly, then connecting to both a master and slave, wouldn't allow the slave to be very far away from the motherboard connector.

Not a big deal if you only have a couple of drives in the bottom of a case, quite a bit bigger deal if you want a HDD and an optical drive on the same cable but to have the HDD in the HDD bay instead of an upper 5.25" bay.

RE: Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/2009 11:51:48 AM , Rating: 3
Its my understanding that firewire remained too high of cost (and thus more devices didn't latch onto it as their interface) due to Sony's licensing costs.

USB has typically had much higher CPU utilization over firewire, since it offloads the processing. Firewire dealt with itself. And despite the leap-frogging of speeds of one interface over the other, real-world benchmarks proved Firewire has traditionally had the speed advantage. It is also my understanding that it is able to handle more power in the bus.

As for the S/ATA vs ide thing, rounded cables had been around for years. And if one couldn't figure out something as simple as one jumper, one had no business popping open their PC cover. It's not that S/ATA isn't superior to IDE, its that everyone jumped on a bandwagon for perceived speed improvements when they weren't realized from theoretical to the real world and I am attempting to make the parallel to most applications that will use USB 3.0 initially.

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say they jumped on SATA because they already had old PATA drives they could use which started filling up the available PATA positions, so it only made sense when buying new drives to buy SATA instead so they could also use the available SATA positions. That is, until SATA started being cheaper too.

Today I can get a 1TB SATA HDD for about $75, not even sure if there ARE any 1TB PATA HDD, though you can get 750GB PATA for $200... more of a cost difference than adding a PCI or PCIe SATA card or even replacing the whole motherboard.

I do wish manufacturers had kept making larger PATA drives at comparable price-points though, plenty of times I've serviced someone's system to find that their HDD died and they'd like something big enough that it's still as viable as reasonably possible when they decide to upgrade the rest of the system at a later date.

RE: Not impressed
By namechamps on 7/2/2009 12:05:43 PM , Rating: 3
Apple invented firewire.

Firewire "lost" simply because USB was good enough.
Every computer needs USB (ever seen a firewire mouse or keyboard)?

So to cut costs which would you cut?
USB which is needed and more commonly used
firewire which is a slightly better USB but only used on fast devices

It was a no brainer. Plus royalty was like $0.15 per port/device IIRC vs $0.2 for USB.

RE: Not impressed
By TomZ on 7/2/2009 1:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure there is a royalty for USB? I never heard of that.

The only fees I'm aware of for USB are the fees to join the IF and to obtain a vendor ID.

RE: Not impressed
By SecretShadow on 7/2/2009 1:45:12 PM , Rating: 1
That's exactly my point; it was priced out of competition over USB. I stand corrected that it was Apple, i thought it was Sony whodunit. Technologically speaking, firewire was the superior bus; but since they targeted it and priced it out of competition with USB, USB became the standard. Otherwise when it came time to choose for space and cost savings, we very well could have had firewire mice, keyboards, portable storage and everything else.

That certainly would have been my preference; I see much better stability out of my firewire drives over my USB ones.

RE: Not impressed
By mindless1 on 7/2/2009 11:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't the 13 cent royalty, it was that it actually costs more (than a few cents) to build a device with peer-peer (firewire) capability.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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