Congratulations to any of you who picked "Ivy Bridge" in the office pool trying to guess which chipset Intel would finally implement native USB 3.0 support in. At the Intel Developer's Forum (IDF) in Beijing, Intel's Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, confirmed that at long last, USB 3.0 would be in the chip maker's cards, putting to rest conspiracy theories that the suits in Santa Clara would shun the spec in an attempt to promote Thunderbolt (Light Peak).
The Inquirer says that the announcement came on the same day that the USB Association said AMD will be integrating USB 3.0 support into its Fusion-based A75 and A70M chipsets. Looking down the road, this means that board makers can stop looking to third parties, like NEC and VIA, for USB 3.0 chips, which adds another layer of cost and support.
According to a recently leaked Intel roadmap, Ivy Bridge will debut in the first half of 2012 and mostly occupy the mainstream performance level, and part of what Intel dubs "Premium Performance." Incidentally, Ivy Bridge will also support Thunderbolt, which so far is only available on Apple's Mac platform. The dual-support of both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt underscores Intel's stance that the two technologies are meant to be complimentary, a point Sakaugen reiterated at IDF.