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For those who don't want a new mobo

Technology enthusiasts have been eagerly awaited products supporting the 5Gbps bandwidth of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 since NEC announced its first chips using the interface. Amongst the first products are Super Talent's USB 3.0 flash drive capable of 320MB/s using a UAS protocol driver. It began shipping to the channel this week and should be available to consumers soon.

The first motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA hit the market last month, but there are many who don't want to upgrade just for those features. ASUS is making a PCIe X4 adapter with two 6Gbps SATA ports and two USB 3.0 ports for around $40.

Other manufacturers want to get into the mix. Vantec has announced a PCIe adapter of its own, as well as an adapter for the ExpressCard format used in most laptops. The company is known for its external hard drive enclosures, and will be introducing 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch enclosures supporting USB 3.0 as well. Expect to see these hit stores in January.

Buffalo recently began shipping the DriveStation HD-HXU3, sporting a USB 3.0 external hard drive. They have also announced PCIe and ExpressCard adapters of their own.

Unfortunately, there have been delays in Intel's chipset roadmap,and there won't be any USB 3.0 chipsets from the blue team until 2011. AMD is planning support for USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA, but details have been light.

Ultimately, several motherboard makers have decided to got ahead and put these features on the motherboard themselves or provide adapter cards. In the competitive enthusiast motherboard market, these features are increasingly a must have, and will move to more mainstream boards as economies of scale kick in and chip prices drop.

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Expresscard 1.0 can't get the full speed
By FXi on 12/12/2009 12:05:47 AM , Rating: 2
For self powered drives and memory sticks esata just never filled the bill. For video recorder transfers, same, esata never made it.

USB is the #1 method of laptops communicating with the outside world. It's taken 10 YEARS for the speed to get upgraded to deal with today's world, with today's file sizes. And Intel, a founding member on the creation of the new standard is going to take 2 YEARS AFTER the standard is ratified to include it in chipsets. Congress ought to ask Intel a few very pointed questions as to what the delay is all about.

Expresscard 1.0 only reaches x1 speeds, if you are lucky. If you have a USB based expresscard you get no better than USB 2.0 connection to the main chipset. So while you might get USB 3.0 to the device you don't get it into your machine. If you get x1 speed, you get 1/2 the USB 3.0 speed into the chipset, which is good, but clearly only 1/2 good.

Expresscard 2.0 (ratified at the same time as USB 3.0) will double the bandwidth so an expresscard 2.0 based USB 3.0 card will get full speed capable to the chipset.

USB 3.0 also carries less overhead and TWICE the power limit of USB 2.0. Think of all those USB powered devices out there that are at the very limit of the power draw. There are a lot. That will no longer be a problem with USB 3.0.

If you plan to get some lifetime out of your laptop purchase, you'd best wait till USB 3.0 is truly included, either via an addon chip (with hopefully at least a x2 or x4 connection the chipset) or integration when Intel actually wakes up.


RE: Expresscard 1.0 can't get the full speed
By mutarasector on 12/12/2009 1:54:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ditto on all points!

This was why I was truly bummed to hear Intel was pushing back USB 3.0 on their chipsets. I've been holding off on anew laptop for this very reason, and because of the reasons you cite about USB 3.0 adapters used in ExpressCard 1.0 slots.

A lot of folks looking to buy the 1st gen USB 3.0/ExpressCard 1.0 adapters are going to be sorely disappointed.

What a lot of folks seem to be either forgetting or totally unaware of is the reason Expresscard 2.0 took as long to be ratified was *because* it incorporates USB 3.0 as part of of the ExpressCard 2.0 standard.

By Jansen on 12/12/2009 12:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, ExpressCard 1.0 gets 2.5 Gbit/s of bandwidth in PCI Express mode.

ExpressCard was designed for PCIe and USB modes.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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