Kudos and high-fives go out to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group today for announcing the completion of the USB 3.1 specification, which adds enhancements to enable SuperSpeed USB to operate at up 10 Gbps. The added throughput compared to regular USB 3.0 is made possible via more efficient data encoding, allowing the USB 3.1 spec to reach speeds twice as high over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables.
Why lug around a USB 2.0 flash drive when you could slip a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 stick onto your keychain? Oh, your PC isn't equipped with a USB 3.0 port? Point taken as we shake an angry fist at Intel and AMD. Still, at some point USB 3.0 ports will become commonplace, so if you're the type that likes to think ahead, a USB drive like Kingston's DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Generation 2 (DTU30G2) is about as future proof as you can get at the moment.
Lexar Media decided to kick things up a notch with its media card reader line by introducing a new model capable of reading faster cards and thrusting data through the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. And as its name would imply, the new Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader supports two cards at once for card-to-card file transfers.
Conspiracy theorists contend that the reason it's taking Intel so long to natively support the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface is because the Santa Clara chip maker is invested in its Thunderbolt (formerly known as Light Peak) interconnect. If that's the case, the plan isn't working, because at least one major OEM is having trouble finding value in Thunderbolt.
Rest assured, as soon as you have a USB 3.0 port, Super Talent will be ready with a reasonably priced flash drive to stick in it. The company has announced its new USB 3.0 Express Drive. The drives will be available in 16GB and 32 GB sizes. When used with a USB 3.0 port, users can expect to see read speeds around 125 MB per second and write speeds of 50MB per second.
These speeds are roughly twice as fast as USB 2.0 on writes and four times as fast on reads. That’s nice, but USB 3.0 devices are supposed to be 6-10 times faster. Well, this is a budget drive. They are a bit slower than some other USB 3.0 drives will be, but the price will be low. The 16GB should go for around $70 and the 32GB for about $150.
The drive is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, so you can get one to use right now. With some USB 3.0 drives going for over $300, is the slightly slower speed worth the savings?
If you’re anything like us, you’re hankering for some SuperSpeed USB, also known as USB 3.0. Adoption slowed after Intel’s decision to hold off on 3.0 until 2011, but now we’re hearing about the first Dell laptop to ship with the fabled ports. The Dell Precision M6500 will have USB 3.0 as well as new Core i5 CPU options, some of them dual-core.
The professional level notebook was previously only available with USB 2.0 ports and a Core i7. The machines will also come equipped with a 3.2-megapixel webcam and 64GB SSD mini card support. This means the M6500 will be able to run in a three hard drive configuration. A 3G modem, 17in screen, and Nvidia Quadro graphics round out the package.
The previous version was going for nearly $2800. No word yet on pricing for this model. Does this mean machine interest you at all?
Do you need USB 3.0 ports on your laptop right now? If you positively cannot wait, StarTech has you covered. Well, as long as you have an ExpressCard slot. Their new USB 3.0 card adapter will get the job done by adding 2 USB 3.0 ports to your current lappy. However, this is one of those products that comes fully equipped with caveats.
Each USB 3.0 port requires 900mA to run. Since an ExpressCard slot doesn’t output that much current, StarTech has included an AC adapter. Yep, you’ll need an AC adapter for your USB ports. Then there’s the card itself, which is already on the chunky side. Having this hanging off the side of a laptop seems like a bad idea. If carrying all this extra weight around sounds reasonable to you, it can be yours for a mere $50.
The first USB 3.0 controller was just recently certified, and now there’s a speedy external hard drive to go with it. Freecom has announced their “Hard Drive XS 3.0” as the first to support the new USB SuperSpeed standard.
The drives will come in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB sizes. The enclosure contains a standard 3.5 inch drive and is capable of data transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s. Not bad for a first attempt. The XS drives are backwards compatible with USB 2.0, meaning users can purchase them right away with the intention of upgrading to USB 3.0 when it becomes widely available. They will be on sale starting this November in Europe. The 1TB version will go for a not completely outlandish $175.
The chip features Fujitsu’s AES encryption/decryption engine that supports data encryption/decryption at a rate of up to 300MB per second. The first PCs equipped with Superspeed USB are expected to become available during the far end of the year, according to the July issue of Nikkei Electronics Asia.
Japanese company NEC Electronics Corp shipped samples of the first USB 3.0 host controller in early June and expects to churn out a million every month beginning this September. The first devices based on the interface will most certainly be external hard disk drives, with more exciting applications like hd video streaming expected to follow later.