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Light Peak Demo  (Source: CNET)
Support for USB 3.0 by Intel could be as far out as 2012

Intel is an innovator in the computer market and has been for years, despite issues with anticompetitive practices around the world. Intel currently supports USB 2.0 and other connectivity like FireWire and eSATA in its mobile chipsets.

However, Intel has not offered support for the new USB 3.0 interface in its chipsets and the few machines on the market with USB 3.0 support are doing so using third-party chipsets. On-chip support for USB 3.0 from Intel is thought to be as far out as 2012. Intel is talking up its own much faster competing standard to USB 3.0 known as Light Peak. Light Peak first surfaced earlier this year and was thought to be coming in late 2010.

That date was later pushed and 
CNET News reports that Light Peak is now ready to hit the market by the middle of 2011. One industry source cited by CNET claims that support will come in the first part of the year, not the later part meaning it could be right around the corner.

Light Peak is much faster than USB 3.0 with speeds up to 10Gbps. Industry heavyweight Apple is not supporting USB 3.0 on its computers, but it is expected to fully support Light Peak and the thought is that Apple may even be the first computer maker to offer the tech on a computer. Intel has already stated when Light Peak was first unveiled that "Apple is an innovating force in the industry."

Officially Intel still has plans to support USB 3.0 reports 
CNET. An Intel spokesperson said, "We are absolutely committed to USB 3.0 and beyond that." Exactly when that commitment will start is the big question and it appears the start will be after Light Peak has time to take hold in the market.



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anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 11:34:54 AM , Rating: 4
How is this not anticompetitive?

Delay support for a mass standard until you release your own and let it gain traction first?

Is this not the exact type of thing the FTC was trying to stop?




RE: anticompetitive
By UsernameX on 11/4/2010 11:38:44 AM , Rating: 4
Intel owns both of these technologies. If you end up creating something that's far superior then what's currently being used, and without much added delay, why not put all of your time/energy into that?


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 12:18:31 PM , Rating: 5
Intel does not own USB, nor is USB3 itself an Intel specification.


RE: anticompetitive
By Loki726 on 11/4/2010 3:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps intel does not own the specification, but it was instrumental in its creation. The specification is contributed to by 23 Intel engineers (more than from any other company).

Kok Hong Chan Intel Corporation
Huimin Chen Intel Corporation
Bob Dunstan Intel Corporation
Dan Froelich Intel Corporation
Howard Heck Intel Corporation
Brad Hosler Intel Corporation
John Howard Intel Corporation
Rahman Ismail Intel Corporation
John Keys Intel Corporation
Yun Ling Intel Corporation
Andy Martwick Intel Corporation
Steve McGowan Intel Corporation
Ramin Neshati Intel Corporation
Duane Quiet Intel Corporation
Jeff Ravencraft Intel Corporation
Brad Saunders Intel Corporation
Joe Schaefer Intel Corporation
Sarah Sharp Intel Corporation
Micah Sheller Intel Corporation
Gary Solomon Intel Corporation
Karthi Vadivelu Intel Corporation
Clint Walker Intel Corporation
Jim Walsh Intel Corporation

The other major contributors were from HP, Microsoft, NEC, and TI


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 4:16:47 PM , Rating: 1
Where are you sourcing this from? I know for a fact you are incorrect as I've previously read the spec.

Texas Instruments had the most contributing members.

My I also remind you that there were almost 100 individual contributors, in which Intel accounts for only around 25% and is not even the biggest contributor.

Now as I've stated they completely wrote the book on how to implement USB3 themselves in a standardized way, but they don't really have anymore control over the USB standard than the other contributors.

Aside from implementation of course ;)


RE: anticompetitive
By Gungel on 11/4/2010 12:41:45 PM , Rating: 3
USB3.0 is much less expensive to implement than Light Peak. I wouldn't be surprised if Light Peak devices cost 5-10x more than USB3.0. Reasons for the added cost are:
1. A separate host controller on the motherboard is needed. It can't be integrated into the southbridge.
2. Cables and connectors are much more expensive to produce. The cables need both, a fiber optical line and a power line to supply juice to the devices. (Fiber optical cables are also much more prone to defects.)
3. Devices will be more expensive as the controller is much more complicated to produce.

That's why I think that USB3.0 has a bright future ahead because it's cheap and reliable.


RE: anticompetitive
By brshoemak on 11/4/2010 12:54:59 PM , Rating: 3
I agree but I think Apple is the perfect platform to launch Light Peak. Not trying to get in a flame war, but we can almost all agree that Apple charges a premium for their product for x,y,z reasons. The people who want the new 'magical' lazer-light technology will pony up the extra cash for it to come by default - something many PC users wouldn't do. The helps with market penetration early on.

Early adopters are great - they work out any bugs in the product, help reduce costs by economics of scale, etc.

I'm willing to put up with some Apple extremists, and no they aren't all like that, who will buy these systems then act as though USB is now the anti-Christ (zomg! 10 gigawatts of throughput! PC's suck!) if I means I can get a good, fast product at a lower price.


RE: anticompetitive
By Gungel on 11/4/2010 1:26:18 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed, Apple can easily charge more for peripherals with light peak connectors and I already can see Monster making Light Peak Cables for $200 each. But this could backfire and light peak will be perceived as very expensive and high end niche product while USB3.0 is the more wide spread and affordable solution. Like a repeat of FireWire and USB.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 1:52:06 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I agree but I think Apple is the perfect platform to launch Light Peak.
I'm sure Apple thinks so too, considering they were the ones that brought the LightPeak concept to Intel in the first place :)


RE: anticompetitive
By Boze on 11/4/2010 7:38:29 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed.

Even the name sounds Appleish. Macheads like names more than acronyms. Acronyms are scary. They require that you actually know stuff. Like words.

"USB". You can rearrange that to spell "SUB". Sub... submarines. Submarines carry nuclear weapons. They run on evil nuclear energy.

"LightPeak". That sounds friendly. Light. Its warm. Comes from the Sun. The Sun is good. Except when its bad. I remember Aunt Beatrice had stage IV metastatic melanoma... but peak is good. Like a mountain. Mountains are pretty. And clean. They're part of nature!

That's how some of these brainwashed kooks think...

USB has been working just fine for us thus far. USB 3.0 is supposed to offer about 3.2 Gbits/s if I recall correctly. That's 400 MB/s. That's quite faster than most SSDs, and even accounting for a 30% overhead, you're still hitting over 200 MB/s. When would someone ever complain about a "mere" 200 MB/s transfer rate between their desktop and an external hard disk, or a USB flash drive, or to their MP3 player, or smartphone? Even moving a couple of gigabytes of data would only take half a minute or less.

I just can't see this becoming a big concern in the next 3 to 5 years. I imagine in 5 years USB 4.0 will arrive on-scene to solve this problem. The cost-benefit ratio doesn't seem to jive, in terms of switching from a hugely adopted industry standard that's served us well for over a decade.


RE: anticompetitive
By Mjello on 11/6/2010 4:41:30 AM , Rating: 3
Marketing when its greatest. Apple makes mediocre products, but has one of the most succesfull marketing departments ever.


RE: anticompetitive
By Flunk on 11/4/2010 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but it's not illegal because you have an alternative. You can always buy your processors/chipsets from AMD.


RE: anticompetitive
By bruce24 on 11/4/2010 12:04:31 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Yes, but it's not illegal because you have an alternative. You can always buy your processors/chipsets from AMD.


It's really not an issue, motherboard makers can include a USB 3 chip for a few bucks. If you go to newegg, you will find around 70 Intel motherboards that currently support USB 3.



RE: anticompetitive
By bruce24 on 11/4/2010 12:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Intel motherboards


Should have said motherboards that support Intel processors.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 1:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
When the majority of the market starts building their own PC's then it won't be an issue.

Just go look at low-mid tier offerings from Dell and HP, pretty much all do not come with USB3. (Not even close to all the higher end machines do either)

Compared to PC makers like these, those who build their own machines are a fraction of the market.

Right now those with USB3 are nothing but early adoptors, and thanks to Intel it will most likely remain in the phase longer than it should.


RE: anticompetitive
By bruce24 on 11/5/2010 10:17:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just go look at low-mid tier offerings from Dell and HP, pretty much all do not come with USB3. (Not even close to all the higher end machines do either)


The same appears true with Dell and HP's AMD based machines, so I'm not sure what your point is.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 12:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
You don't have to retain a monopoly to be anticompetitive.

If Intel is in no rush to roll out USB3, then manufacturers will be in no rush to roll out USB3 devices.

Its nice AMD is on the forefront, but it seems almost irrelevant to me. If the masses don't have USB3, then why would manufacturers target such a market until they do? (not saying some won't, heck I already have a few USB3 devices, but if Intel were on board already we would most likely see a much faster deployment)

Now I know Intel will have it long before 2012, abeit via third party alternative, but they won't be pushing it, that is for sure..


RE: anticompetitive
By Solandri on 11/4/2010 2:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If Intel is in no rush to roll out USB3, then manufacturers will be in no rush to roll out USB3 devices.

Its nice AMD is on the forefront, but it seems almost irrelevant to me. If the masses don't have USB3, then why would manufacturers target such a market until they do?

The flip side of that argument is that if USB 3.0 is really such an important feature, then it would provide AMD a substantial advantage by incorporating it sooner, leading to AMD gaining market share at Intel's expense.

Personally, I'm not really sure USB 3.0 has much of a market. The only place I can think of where I can use the extra bandwidth right now is with large sequential transfers from an external hard drive. USB 2.0 tops out just below 30 MB/sec in RL, which is fast enough for most people. Current external hard drives can typically hit 60-120 MB/sec in sequential read. You can go higher with a 10k RPM drive or SSD, but why would you have one of those as an external? Most of the people who need that extra speed have already gotten enclosures with eSATA connectors.

That's not to say USB 3.0 is a bad thing. Going forward, I'm sure the average speed of external devices will improve to where it'll offer a significant advantage over USB 2.0 for most people. But I don't see much market to roll this out on all platforms right now. It's not at all like USB 2.0, which was a breath of fresh air compared to how dog slow USB 1.x was.


RE: anticompetitive
By bug77 on 11/4/2010 12:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
USB3.0 is an open standard and there are already implementations out there. You can't force everyone to implement it, though.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 1
I understand this, but the entire situation seems fishy.

While USB3.0 is an open standard, Intel's Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) specification is Intel controlled (everyone was waiting for this before they went ahead with USB3). They had every intention of impelenting USB3 from the get go.

So why the huge delay before implementing it into their chipsets? They should have had a huge headstart over everyone else (as they had access to the specification long before everyone else), not the other way around.


RE: anticompetitive
By PsychoPif on 11/4/2010 1:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
It's obvious they were working on Light Peak at the same time than USB3. I would'nt be surprise if they slowed down on USB once they had proof of concept that their proprietary connector would work.

Outside of Intel though, I doubt it will have a real impact on USB3 adoption. As stated by other, there is already plenty of motherboard with USB3. You also can't deny the huge advantage that backward compatibility with USB2 is.

USB is'nt going anywhere. Hell I still got a PS/2 input on my brand new GA-H55N-USB3


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 1:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the most important part of my post. They controlled the way in which USB3 was actually implemented, which means that they have been performing the R&D pre 2008. It does not take 4+ years to bring a standard in which you wrote the book on its implementation to the market. It makes absolutely zero sense. Its also not so obvious that they were working on it at the same time. The Light Peak concept was not even brought to Intel until 2007. In fact the USB3 specification was almost finished before Intel received the concept.(I don't even think it was demonstrated until this year)
quote:
As stated by other, there is already plenty of motherboard with USB3.
No, there are plenty of motherboards when you are buying single components. I just never understand why posters on DT think that these buyers account for more than a fraction of the market? Go look at offerings from Dell, HP etc.. That is what counts when it comes to mass adoption.

History has shown what happens when Intel backs/does not back a standard, so I don't know why anyone should be surprised by my statements.


RE: anticompetitive
By foolsgambit11 on 11/4/2010 3:32:47 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
History has shown what happens when Intel backs/does not back a standard, so I don't know why anyone should be surprised by my statements.
Exactly. Look at those titans of the computing world, Rambus, IA64, and EFI.

It took a while for USB 2.0 to go from a niche product to widespread adoption, as well. I remember buying a PCI card to add USB2.0 slots to a brand new computer at least a couple of years after USB 2.0 came out. As for LightPeak, I don't expect the release in 2011 will mean widespread deployment. There will be initial hardware, but I doubt it will be standard on Intel motherboards or integrated into a south bridge chip for at least couple of years. Essentially, I predict the release of LightPeak will be similar to the release of USB 3.0 almost two years ago.


RE: anticompetitive
By SPOOFE on 11/4/2010 8:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It does not take 4+ years to bring a standard in which you wrote the book on its implementation to the market.

Perhaps the delay is not of a technical nature; perhaps it is due to market demographics. Perhaps Intel does not see a huge need for the faster speeds of USB3 among vast swaths of the population. Perhaps they recognize an inherent limitation of maintaining backwards compatibility with an older, slower standard. Perhaps they view the need for faster transfer speeds from external devices to be mostly the domain of professionals or the very high-end enthusiasts, and want to offer something for them that is markedly different than consumer-oriented standards.

There are so many details and possibilities that I'm amazed you think this is a matter of Intel being incapable of doing it, or having trouble implementing it. The vehemence with which you post indicates that there is somehow a great, pressing need for faster transfer speeds amongst the masses. I'd love to know why you think this is the case, if in fact you do.


RE: anticompetitive
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 11/4/2010 12:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
I know, right? This is like Apple and FireWire for gosh sakes.


RE: anticompetitive
By Motley on 11/4/2010 2:47:21 PM , Rating: 3
Just because the biggest entity in a field decides to delay or not implement a technology doesn't make them anti-competitive. They are not forcing AMD to not implement anything, nor are they manipulating the marketplace outside of what they themselves do.

How is this anti-competitive?

What makes this a "mass standard", and how fast is required by you before it's not considered delayed? Please state your experiences in chip design, processes, testing, and rollout on a global scale so we can compare it to Intels. If you are really that good, we welcome you to roll out your own chipset and beat Intel to the punch; You could make gabjillions.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 3:14:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How is this anti-competitive?
How is The biggest entity in the field writing the book on how to implement said technology and not implementing it themselves while they develop another set of technology and release it first not anti competitive?

Sure AMD has USB3 all to themselves for now, but what happens when Intel releases their solution a year before USB3 is implemented into Intel chipsets? That means that 80% of computers sold could come with Intel's technology and not USB3.

They could easily have more market saturation in that one year, than AMD and its less than 20% share can accomplish in many.


RE: anticompetitive
By omnicronx on 11/4/2010 3:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
I have no specific problem with either techology, but it seems to me that Intel has zero excuse not to integrate USB3 other than to leverage their own products using their market dominance.

Or can anyone else give me a reason as to why the company that had full access to the not only the USB3 spec but the implementation spec more than 2 years ago could not beat those waiting on Intel for one of the specifications to the market.


RE: anticompetitive
By someguy123 on 11/4/2010 6:45:46 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't anti-competitive, it's basic competition. They're in no way hampering USB3 adoption by forcing 3rd parties to choose either-or (like they did with their anti-amd kickbacks), and they're not sabotaging or hiding implementation information from anyone. Using their market position to push lightpeak adoption does automatically equate to stifling USB3.0 adoption, especially when you're already seeing 3.0 being offered on intel platforms by other companies before lightpeak has been released.

It's fair game to not implement USB3 as a standard on their products if they don't choose to do so because, regardless of how low the cost is, its still an additional cost to implement.


RE: anticompetitive
By someguy123 on 11/4/2010 6:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
does automatically equate to stifling USB3.0 adoption
>

should be "does not".


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