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.
If you thought USB 3.0 was going to be fast, just wait for Intel’s Light Peak technology. The new optical interconnect standard was just shown off at IDF. Light Peak is capable of 10Gbps of bandwidth, with a theoretical upper limit of 100Gbps. At the initial offering of 10Gbps, you could transfer an entire Blu-Ray movie in about 30 seconds.
The standard would also be capable of multiple operations on a single cable. This is all possible over a cable that can be up to 100 meters long. The Light Peak technology consists of a controller chip, and an optical module that converts light to electricity and vice versa. Intel claims that current electrical cabling is reaching the limits of speed and cable length, something Light Peak can circumvent.
Intel hopes to see the technology adopted for use in PC’s as well as handheld devices. They believe adoption could happen quickly, as Light Peak is complementary to existing technologies. As for a shipping date, Intel claims components could be going out as soon as 2010.
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) today approved the first SuperSpeed USB 3.0 product. The product in question is a host controller from NEC Electronics. Having this certified host controller will be a boon to other manufacturers, as they will be able to easily test products using the USB 3.0 spec.
The controller, known as the µPD720200 host controller, uses a PCI Express Gen 2 interface bus. This allows 2 USB 3.0 ports to be easily added to any system supporting the PCI Express bus. Analyst firm, In-Stat, estimates nearly one-third the market will support the SuperSpeed standard by 2013.
NEC Electronics originally announced the µPD720200 in May, but the product has just now been certified. “NEC Electronics has supported the development of SuperSpeed USB technology since the earliest efforts, and it is gratifying to help make the technology become a reality,” said Masao Hirasawa, General Manager, SoC Systems Division, NEC Electronics Corporation.
Point Grey has developed the “world’s first” Superspeed-enabled USB 3.0 digital video camera and has plans to show it off at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in San Francisco next week. The camera takes advantage of the massive throughput advantages USB 3.0 is expected to offer.
As a prototype, the camera uses a Sony IMX036 CMOS image sensor capable of 3 megapixel video. The Sony sensor also boasts a raw output format streaming video at full 1080p with 60 frames per second. "One of the potential benefits of the increased bandwidth of USB 3.0 is that it allows the main processor to handle compression," explained Point Grey spokesperson Vlad Tucakov.
“This demonstration gives users insight into some of the other applications that are possible with SuperSpeed USB in addition to the high-speed data transfers with external storage devices that we have seen so far," added Jeff Ravencraft, Chairman of the USB Implementers Forum.
Are your USB 2.0 gadgets starting to feel a little slow? Well, luckily USB 3.0 controllers are about to enter mass production. Genesys Logic plans to start churning out the faster controller chips in the first quarter of 2010. Expect to start seeing it around later next year. Genesys expects to turn a profit almost immediately.
USB 3.0 was approved by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group last November. The new technology uses a 0.13µ process instead of the 0.18µ process used in USB 2.0. Early indications are that the 3.0 standard is capable of up to 10 times the speed of current USB technology. USB 3.0, or “SuperSpeed USB” as it’s also known, is expected to make up a quarter of the market by 2013.
USB 2.0 rated at 480Mbit/s sounded great when it was released back in April 2000, but more than 9 years later its becoming pretty easy to saturate with our never-ending collection of high speed external drives. USB 3.0 clocks in at a much more respectable 4.8 Gbit/s, but those patiently awaiting hardware will have to cool their heels just a bit longer.
According to the Inquirer, Asus is cancelling what would have been the world’s first USB 3.0 motherboard the P6X58. The company hasn’t given any specific comment on it’s reason for the cancellation, but I would surmise it has something to do with the fact that you still can’t find any devices to pair up with it yet.
Speculation aside, I’m sure Asus still has USB 3.0 on it’s roadmap, but we still have no idea when the first motherboards / devices will hit the market. Want to learn more about the new standard? Make sure to take a look at our comprehensive guide to all things USB 3.0.
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.
"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.
There's been a lot of buzz on the internet in the past few days about the speed of USB 3.0. Some sites are reporting that recent tests of the new standard are producing slower-than-expected results, and many readers are confused about how realistic the touted theoretical bandwidth of 5000 megabits/sec really is. We spoke with Jeff Ravencraft, President of the USB Implementer's Forum, (who also gave us our first look at USB 3.0 back at last year's IDF conference) to set the matter straight and get a demo of the latest SuperSpeed hardware in action.
Read on to find out what speeds you can really expect from USB 3.0!