We've been pretty critical of Intel's lackadaisical attitude when it comes to adding USB 3.0 support to its chipsets, instead leaving it up to board makers to solder third-party SuperSpeed solutions from the likes of NEC. That's about to change, says DigiTimes, which is reporting that Intel has begun prepping its partners on what's going on with Chief River.
Chief River is the codename for Intel's next-generation notebook platform, and according to reports, it includes native support for USB 3.0. The upshot is that these boards should be cheaper to produce than ones with third-party chips, and Intel's decision to finally support the spec should kickstart USB 3.0 development.
USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so your old devices will still work. But unlike the previous spec, USB 3.0 offers significantly higher transfer rates and new power management features. See our "Everything You Need to Know About USB 3.0" write-up for an in-depth look at what this spec brings to the table.