One of the biggest pet peeves in a technology enthusiast's life is the plethora of proprietary power cables that plague the consumer market, each with a slightly different design. Can't we all just get along and charge via USB? That utopian vision took one step closer to becoming reality yesterday, as the USB 3.0/2.0 Promoter Groups announced a USB power delivery spec that makes the every-port capable of delivering up to 100W of pure power. Yep, your PC can now charge a notebook. Heck, a laptop could even theoretically charge another notebook.
Antec is willing to bend over to backwards if that's what it takes for you to be able to use those blue colored SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports on your new P280 or Eleven Hundred computer case. The problem for some users is that their motherboards don't support USB 3.0. Rather than render those front panel USB 3.0 ports useless, Antec tells us it's willing to ship USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapters to P280 and Eleven Hundred case owners at no cost.
NAS (network-attached storage) adapters are a very useful, affordable alternative to dedicated NAS storage. Addonics, a company that has a fair amount of experience making these devices, has announced the launch of the third generation of its USB NAS adapter. Prosaically called the NAS 3.0 Adapter, the latest NAS dongle from Addonics boasts a number of new features, including “support of NTFS and exFAT file system, WebDAV server, two drive volumes and a few others.” Hit the jump for more.
Now that third-party USB 3.0 chips from the likes of NEC and VIA are appearing on nearly every new motherboard, it's high time device makers jump on the SuperSpeed bandwagon. Super Talent says it has, introducing a new line of USB 3.0 flash drives the memory maker says will cost about the same as USB 2.0 thumb drives.
Earlier this year, Super Talent Technology introduced the USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache range of flash drives. Featuring a DRAM caching system, the Express RAM Cache family supposedly offers exponential performance gains over USB 2.0 drives. According to a press release issued by the company back then, the addition of DRAM caching boosts small block random performance by “up to 110x over USB 2.0 speeds.”
“The introduction of USB 3.0 and DRAM cache has created a brand new breed of flash drives which are now outperforming the fastest of hard disk drives. Ceedo adds value to our product line by enabling customers to use flash storage in a whole new way,” SuperTalent COO CH Lee is quoted as having said in a release.
“It enables you to install and carry standard Windows applications for use on any PC. Armed with our new USB 3.0 Express RAM Cache, now any PC is your PC.”
Verbatim has announced the launch of its maiden USB 3.0-equipped portable hard drive. The Store 'n' Go SuperSpeed USB 3.0 compact portable hard drive will be available in 500GB and 750GB capacities in October, with a 1TB variant to follow in November. If your world is rife with USB 2.0 ports like everyone else's, the drive's compatibility with the ubiquitous interface will ensure that you don't feel out of place. We are still waiting for Verbatim to spill out the price of the portable hard drive, but we do know that it will be covered under a 7-year warranty.
"We're excited to introduce the Store 'n' Go, the first portable hard drive in Verbatim's USB 3.0 collection, and allow consumers to experience a significant improvement in data transfer speeds that will let them complete their tasks in a fraction of the time," said Charles Klinker, Verbatim's Director of Marketing, HDD Products. "With the Store 'n' Go, users can seamlessly enter into the new generation of USB 3.0 and safely and reliably share, store and back-up their data anytime, anywhere."
The market for ultra rugged eSATA portable hard drives has to be pretty small, but hey, here at Maximum PC we're all about catering to a niche right? If your still with us then you might want to check out the LaCie Portable Bus Powered eSATA drive which unfortunately, currently only comes in a 500GB capacity.
The manufacturer promises write speeds of up to 90MB/s, and even offers up a trusty old USB 2.0 connection just in case you find yourself without access to eSATA. The transfer speeds and storage capacity of this drive definitely makes it a compelling product, but some might find the $240 price tag a bit on the high side.
Is this amount of high speed portable storage worth the price?
There's still innovation in PC audio, as evidenced by VIA Technologies, who on Thursday unveiled its Vinyl Envy VT1730 USB 2.0 audio controller chip. According to VIA, it's the industry's first USB 2.0 audio controller.
"Over 10 years of experience in the audio component industry and extensive knowledge of peripheral interfaces has enabled this technology breakthrough," said Richard Brown, VP of Marketing, VIA. "Audio enrichment, through our successful VIA Vinyl Audio line of controllers and codecs, has long been a core element of VIA's multimedia product focus, and the VIA Envy VT1730 further extends our reach beyond the PC into high-end audio systems."
The Envy VT1730 produces 8-channel, 24-bit/192kHz audio, and according to VIA, is designed for cinema-quality sound recording and playback in high fidelity USB and MIDI systems, such as high-end headphones, USB soundcards, audio hubs, and recording consoles.
No word yet on when the new chip will show up on retail parts.
Don’t be fooled by the Vantec ezShare’s unassuming looks. This simple six-foot white cable with its Type A USB plugs on either end is actually one of the easiest ways to quickly moves files between two computers. Just plug one end into an available USB port on a box running Windows (XP and up), and plug the other end into the second box.
A Windows Explorer–like app will auto-launch on each machine, letting you drag and drop folders and files between the two PCs. If this sounds an awful lot like Data Drive Thru’s Tornado (reviewed November 2007), that’s because the two products are pretty similar. The file-explorer UI and software functionality of both products are virtually the same. It’s close enough that we have a pretty strong suspicion that the underlying chipsets and software come from the same factory in China. There are a few key differences, though.
"All PCs, and most PC peripherals have transitioned from full-speed to high-speed. Most of these devices will eventually transition to SuperSpeed, the only issue is the speed of the transition," said Brian O’Rouke, an analyst with In-Stat. As per In-Stat’s prognosis, Superspeed USB 3.0 devices will capture 25% of the USB market by 2013, with USB-enabled computer mice persisting as the most populous USB-enabled device category.