Everything You Need to Know About USB 3.0, Plus First Spliced Cable Photos

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JimTolly

Here is a good update to the USB 3.0 interface.

Point Grey USB3 FAQ

Its all about cameras and how it relates to machine vision though (like cameras used for factory automation). This is for Point Grey's USB3 Flea3 camera. They push it to around 280 MByte/s of image data. They also make FireWire cameras and there is some good info on how USB 3.0 fixes lots of the problems with USB 2.0 as well as how its more closer to the quality of FireWire. One of the questioned answered is how does this interface relate to FireWire, Ethernet, and USB 2.0. It says that even with USB3 out, FireWire is still a strong contender.

 

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Dimatteo231

I am all for USB 3.0 and/or standardization if it proves to be capable of being an actual replacement for firewire.  http://www.jammerall.com/ I don't see that happening though, even with all the advances.  The really sad thing is, there will be people out there with, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars worth of unusable equipment if firewire disappears completely. 

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I think if the USB keeps on increasing their bandwidth more faster, it is going to be much beneficial to our web host uk servers. The more important and appealing thing about the USB 3.0 is that it will be able to read and write at the same time from the portable storage device which is a really good thing for heavy traffic websites. It will boost the performance of the server as well.

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mariaakerry

With a single core processor populate all of your usb ports with devices like cameras and your CPU will really start to lag as it communicates with each device.

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Moving my music collection around has always been a huge pain. I have over 55 GBs of music and waiting for it to copy is intolerable. Or doing a complete fresh back up of my main workstation with over 120 GBs can be about as much fun as watching paint dry. In testing the new usb 3.0 hard drive dock I got a huge improvement over both tasks and dropped the time well over two thirds which is a big improvement.

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daveyd

"Power is one of the big concerns for Wireless USB, since no one (not
even Tesla!) has figured out a practical way to transmit power
wirelessly."

 I beg to differ, check out this device that can power a device without a direct cable connection.

http://www.pwrmat.com/technology.htm

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jrocknyc

ignoring anyone who uses the phrase "i beg to differ" has always been an effective policy.

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onewithazureskies

Welcome slashdot.

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ranron

Ever since USB came out people have been unhappy with the rectangular plug--with 3.0 at least make it so it will only fit in one direction!

I'm going to have to stay with Firewire.

---
Ran

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AntiHero

Agreed, the rectangular connector blows. I always get confused, and fumble around shoving the cable into place finally, in frustration. I am an IT Support guy, and being unfamiliar with the computer can be annoying, since some the usb fits the backwards way to your home computer, depending on the maker. I also hate ps2 ports, since it's not always 100% clear how it fits. Firewire is a good port, also the PSU cables are simple enough to do with your eyes closed. (a lot of the time i can't see the back of a computer when i plug stuff in, so i go by touch.

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doggitydogs

It does only fit in one direction. That's what the rectangle inside the rectangle is for.

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AntiHero

Yeah, you're right but if you can't see where you're plugging it into (say the back of a pc, and you can't unplug a bunch of stuff since it's all running and there aren't ports on the front, you'd be amazed at how often this happens.) then fumbling with the standard usb cord is a pain.

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Keith E. Whisman

Your right it's amazing how hard it is to insert a usb cable or even a USB thumb drive for Vista ReadyBoost in the ports in the back of the PC without pulling the computer away from the wall and actually getting on my hands and knees and snaking my head behind the PC so I can see. It's harder than you might think and I have to agree about the damn PS2 ports as well. 

Sometime that PS2 key in the plug is orriented to the right and others to the left and yet others up and others down. There needs to be a standard.

And why are PS2 ports color coded and labled for Keyboard and mouse? I've switched the ports around and found it doesn't matter what PS2 port you put you mouse and keyboard in. It works regardless. Makes no sense. So I take it that regardless of the labels the PS2 ports are universal for keyboard or mouse.  

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Keith E. Whisman

Hey now look here USB kicks ass. It is one cable and one connector that allows me to attach my keyboard, my mouse, my external hard drive, my thumb drive, my joystick, my gamepad, my Ipod, my cell phone and my Printer to my computer. It's just one cable type and one type of connector for all these things. Back in the day I needed a Printer port for my printer with one of three cables, I needed a special large round 9pin keyboard connector to connect my keyboard to my computer, I needed a serial port for my mouse and a com port for my modem and a game port for my game pad and joystick. My external hard drive used either an External SCSI port or a printer port or some other port. What I'm getting at is that USB has made the home pc a true multi media all in one machine. Back in the day I had to disable my sound card just to use my printer because the printer used the same interupt as the sound card. It was a mess back befor USB brought order and ballance to the force.

So USB is not so much crap after all. It is old now and needs to be updated or replaced but when it came out and was actually fully realised it really made the PC alot more easier to use and enjoy. Look at all the peripherals that are out there now. USB and the Plug and Play standard have revolutionized the PC experience and therefore you had better respect it damnit. Now Damnit respect it now.

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allaun

Talk about flawed realtiy here. Ok, first off, eSata is not in any shape, way or form related to usb in either standards or speed. Thats like trying to say OH WOW! My zip drive is soo much faster then my floppy drive. Second off, just how much kool-aid have you people been drinking lately? Seriously, USB is a flawed standard at best. At worst is a cheap marketing ploy. You will NEVER reach any advertised speeds. Look at what is stated as its maximum then scale it to about 30% of that. Even then thats being optimistic. USB is a host based architecture. Meaning your proccessor does all the calculations for its devices, instead of the device doing it. Which translates into both craptacular performance and sub par usability. You want true speed, go firewire. Otherwise don't complain when that "nifty" usb 3.0 camera doesn't even begin to approach the speeds it claims.

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Inx

They probably compared eSATA to USB b/c many external HDD's have one or both types of ports.  Like it or not, firewire+USB both compete against eSATA for market-share, when it comes to many devices and the choice of which of these 3 types of port(s) to incorporate.

Your figure of 33% (real-world vs. nominal speed) is not "optimistic" for USB 2.0... many USB devices reach 50% of USB 2.0's nominal speed and that's where it starts getting "optimistic".  And, USB is anywhere from only 16% slower than firewire 1394a, to a significant 70% slower, depending on whether reading or writing, and whether using lots of small files or vice-versa (www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm" mce_href="http://www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm) so depending
on what your primary uses are, firewire can be as little as 16% more
"craptacular" than USB...but yes, it has significant speed advantages
over usb SOME of the time... but even that does not negate the reasons
I give below for why firewire sucks despite its speed advantage.

Gigabit ethernet is widely known to reach only 33%-66% of its stated speed (wikipedia's article links to real-world testing).  The internal speed of most SATA HDD's is also 1/3 or less of the "nominal" speed. So USB 2.0 is not alone in having real-world performance that much slower than their "nominal" performance.

 

So long as people inform themselves of real-world instead of "nominal" perfomance, there's no "flawed reality": Even once informed that Firewire is faster, the reasons NOT to use firewire are too compelling.  The reason I personally don't use firewire is this:

the only firewire flash-drives I've ever seen are $100 for a pitiful 2GB... and for larger capacities than a flash-drive --namely external HDD's-- I do find faster file-transfers to be VERY necessary, so I use eSATA b/c both firewire and USB are slower than many external HDD's (and even 800mbps firewire is slower than eSATA...and costs way more)... I can't find any cellphones that use firewire... I have no reason to look for firewire ports on a MoBo or any other hardware, until peripheral manufacturers and Apple itself give me a reason.

Firewire is like Apple got a great caterer, best champagne, and great band for a party... i.e. in and of itself, it has potential to rock, and it puts USB 2.0 to shame... but the problem is that firewire's party is LAME cos Apple forgot to (a) invite everyone to the "party" (get manufacturers to make devices that can slide into their "party"... First they scared off consumers with too many reliability issues that Apple took too long to fix, and they scared vendors (peripheral-makers) off with hard-to-control RFI issues, and they allowed Sony+others to make iLink devices which didn't work on most Wintel PC's, only Apple: this confused and alienated consumers even further than the hardware breaking.  They've had some success with SCSI, at least, but that's still far from what they need to steal the show back from USB 2.0-3.0).

(b) then they charged too much for "admission"

and (c) the timing for their "party" was all wrong (they scheduled it in the city that was hosting the "superbowl" on the same date as the "superbowl" --and didn't provide a big-screen TV-- and their timing was such that people went to USB 2.0's "superbowl" party and drank beer instead of firewire's "champange" ...cos at least USB 2.0 has EVERYTHING like flash-drives [akin to having "big-screen TV's"] ;-) , and at reasonable prices).  Or let's just say...

Apple needs to get others in the computer industry behind them (or failing that, produce firewire peripherals themselves) and do it for competitive prices: give people more performance for the same cost, otherwise they won't gain back market-share from a virtual-monopoly like USB; they blew it and failed to do this with firewire-800 (1394b), and thereby made many people fail to forgive-and-forget that their early versions of firewire-400 ports BLEW UP and supprted so few devices.  When you consider all of the above:

It's amazing that Apple is still even bothering to invest in the design+manufacture of faster firewire ports, without securing widespread industry support that can manufacture more peripherals to fit INTO those oh-so-superior -- yet oh-so-useless -- 800/1600/3200 firewire ports. ("useless" cos an 800mbps port that goes unfilled...that's like a battleship that never leaves the harbor.) "If you build it, they (owners of non-Apple PC's) WON'T come" ...not when so few peripherals are manufactured to FILL the firewire ports.

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ReggieM1

 

Inx,

 

You are obviously not a musician or videographer.  However, the sad truth is, as much as you're right about Apple messing some things up, upwards of 95% of any and every piece of audio and video equipment worth anything relies either mostly or solely on firewire.  Yeah, you can get a crappy low-end USB audio device to record a couple of tracks, but you can bet anything that it's going to choke up after about 8-10 tracks and a couple of effects on most computers, even recent ones with pretty good specs.  As much as I love ProTools, I would never buy a USB Digidesign Mbox because most computers I've dealt with can't seem to handle any real amount of A/D conversion, processing, and D/A conversion via USB simultaneously.  The standard USB Mbox costs about $450 new, and a comparable firewire interface is in the same price range or a little less.

 

In terms of your distaste of firewire, you might get your wish - Apple appears to be in the process of phasing out firewire, as they removed it from their lower end laptops.  The funny thing is, Apple has really marketed its optimization of Apogee interfaces and Logic Pro to musicians.  In the music world, Apogee (next to Digidesign) is probably the most popular manufacturer of more ultra high-end quality audio interfaces, and every one of their current models are firewire or PCIe-based - the two interfaces that Apple pushes are firewire only.  I am a long time Mac user, but this kind of stupidity and gross negligence on Apple's part is a huge kick in the face of all a/v professionals that have supported them during the period when Apple was really stuggling.  At one time, Apple had only about 10% of the total market, but Macs were still far superior to Windows machines for music and graphics, and it was people like myself that kept their heads afloat.  Trust me, I'm not scolding you for having a problem with Apple, but you definitely shouldn't have any love for Microsoft and their nickel and dime to death licensing policies either - what you don't pay for the machine, you very quickly make up for in Microsoft's much more expensive operating system and can't do without basic functional software (which Apple either includes free or makes available at a fraction of the cost, by the way).  However, if Apple keeps pissing people off, they're going to become exclusively a manufacturer of iPods and iPhones, which wouldn't surprise me because that appears to be all they care about these days anyway.

 

All corporate bashing aside, my real point is that just that you have to try and see things from the point of view of all the people out there that have invested so much money into quality, useful a/v equipment that relies on this wonderfully-designed, poorly-marketed thing called firewire.  You've really pointed out how useless it is to your needs, and your utter rejection of it seems to stem from your inherent dislike toward Apple.  I think it sucks that they own it, because too many people in both the Mac and PC world rely on it.  I am all for USB 3.0 and/or standardization if it proves to be capable of being an actual replacement for firewire.  I don't see that happening though, even with all the advances.  The really sad thing is, there will be people out there with, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars worth of unusable equipment if firewire disappears completely.  And unlike computers, which are basically worthless as soon as you buy them, this equipment does not really get obsoleted at nearly the dizzying rate that computers do.  Pretty much all semi-professional and higher 3CCD camcorders that someone would actually use to do something novel like make a living rely completely on firewire to transfer info to your computer - either that or spend many thousands of dollars on proprietary video editing equipment.  A Sony VX2100 was the standard professional wedding videographer camcorder 5 years ago, and it still is today - it cost about $2700 then, and it still costs about $2200 or more.  Apple says get a new camera, but that's making an awful assumption that everybody has a typical camcorder that is full of cool acronyms and inflated numerical specs, but lacking in true professional quality.  SSD video is nice and neat and convenient, but tapes really do rule in terms of quality, even in HD, and firewire is the only good way to extract that amount of info into a computer in real time at this point.

 

Think of what a horrible waste it would be for all the musicians and videographers out there that have such a large investment in good, still useful equipment if firewire goes away altogether.  Progress is great, but there can't be a lapse in functionality and availability of things that meet people's basic needs for true progress to take place.  USB is great for mice, keyboards, printers, and other things that standard computer users facilitate on a regular basis, but for all the bigger throughput-heavy stuff, USB really just doesn't cut it, and I have serious doubts that it ever will.  I love all the things that USB is great at and the fact that it is a convenient standard connection, but I dread the day that I get stuck with USB and nothing better.

 

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jtroll

I like the sound of this, to put it mildly. It can't come soon enough.

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xalseqsn

Both quintuple and x10 are correct, depending on how you want to phrase it.

The spec's bit-rate is 5x faster, but "doubles" that increase by moving from half-duplex to full-duplex, for a total of 10x *bandwidth* -- used IF and only if the device needs bi-directional maximum data transfers.  Which most devices don't, so you'll SEE a slightly greater than 5x bandwidth increase from the bit-rate and handshaking-latency-eliminating-full-duplex change.  But not 10x in most devices.

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brostbeef

Has there been any information when we might be able to see USB 3.0 support come to MOBOs?

I'm currently waiting for Core i7 chips so I have a socket that will last, but I'm wondering how long until USB 3.0.

Anyone have any news/opinions regarding this?

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sirphunkee

"Hardware partners are expected to have USB 3.0 controllers designed by mid 2009, and consumers won't see the first end products utilizing the spec until early 2010 (though a late Holiday 2009 push for new products isn't out of the question)."

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nduanetesh

Hey Norm,

 

In the first paragraph you say USB 3.0 will quintuple the bandwidth of USB 2, but in the third paragraph you say that USB 3.0 will offer a ten-fold increase over the bandwidth of the last data spec.  So...I'm guessing the "quintuple" was wrong?

 

Very good info, though.  I've been wondering what was up with USB 3.0 and you've laid out all of the fundamental info very well.  Does it look like either of the wireless USB standards are ready to take off?  

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norman

you're right about the typo -- it's fixed now.

Wireless USB details coming later today, actually. 

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Talcum X

 By the time I'm able to upgrade, it should be mainstream in current Mobos.  I wonder how it's speed compares to eSata?  Most modern BIOS's support USB bootable devices, this could give the eSata a run for it's money.

***********

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

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trh70

You got that right, eSata is going to take a back step here. Im looking foward to this coming out.

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johnny3144

forget eSATA... doesn't this kinda mean this will be faster than SATA? if so... who will use SATA to connect HDD(SSD) anymore?

does this mean SATA will become history?

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dRock1286

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/with_sata_6gbs_specification_coming_sataio_provides_naming_guidance

 

 

I don't think that SATA has anything to worry about right now...but if USB keeps increasing its bandwith faster than SATA, then yes.  It might go the way of the slot processor...

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Keith E. Whisman

Well serial ATA is completely controlled by the chipset. While USB requires a chunk of processor time for each device plugged in.  With a single core processor populate all of your usb ports with devices like cameras and your CPU will really start to lag as it communicates with each device. SATA communicates with the chipset and memory and utilyzes very little cpu resources even when all SATA ports are populated.

So SATA will always be a great way to connect your hdd's and cdroms to your pc.

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Inx

Amounts of CPU time eSATA vs. USB vs. firewire each require:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/19/kangurus-new-e-flash-thumbdrive-marries-esata-and-usb/

 or http://eshop.macsales.com/NewsRoom/Framework.cfm?page=articles/article_extre_hdmerc.html

...just samples from 2 sources.

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tomgreen

I understand the arguments that FireWire and such is faster, but you have to remember that USB is largely used by mainstream consumers for things other than storage. Cheap flash drives, for instance. You can't put a firewire chip in there. Also, charging devices like my bluetooth headset - FW is overkill. USB is more about doing a wide assortment of things, not raw speed or the best transfer protocols or CPU usage.

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