No doubt you’re familiar with the Universal Serial Bus – we ranked it as our top PC innovation of all time. But what do you know about the next version of this ubiquitous interface? USB 2.0 (otherwise known as USB Hi-Speed) boosted the original 12Mbps data rate to 480Mmb/s over eight years ago, and now USB 3.0 (dubbed USB Superspeed) is set to multiply that bandwidth tenfold. The USB Implementers Forum (led by Intel) released the USB 3.0 spec to hardware partners last week after some reported disputes with AMD and Nvidia (who, afraid Intel would have a jump start in incorporating the tech in chipsets, threatened to develop their own USB standard). But how does this affect you? We dug up some new information about USB 3.0, got our hands on the new connectors, and even took a look inside the new cables.
Click through for the five reasons why we’re excited about USB 3.0
Toms Hardware reports that Intel’s "Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification revision 0.9 in support of the USB 3.0 architecture, also known as SuperSpeed USB" is now available. This is a good indicator that we might see the first USB 3.0 demonstrations at next week’s IDF in San Francisco.
xHCI draft specification provides hardware component designers, system builders and device driver developers with a description of the hardware/software interface between system software. It is being made available under RAND-Z (i.e. royalty free) licensing terms to all USB 3.0 Promoter Group and contributor companies that sign an xHCI contributor agreement.
It doesn’t appear that the new spec will be backward compatible past USB 2.0. I find it hard to believe that USB 1.1 devices will be out of luck, so I plan to keep an eye on that aspect. USB 3.0 at 600 MB/s will offer a ten-fold increase in the bandwidth of USB 2.0 at 4.8 Gb/s. That is pretty impressive if it approaches it’s spec yield. USB 2.0 spec rate is 480 Mbit/s but typical USB PC-hosts rarely exceed sustained transfers of 280 Mbit/s.
Will you be wanting USB 3.0 on your future system?