If Intel thought that launching Light Peak would help tamp down the nervousness over its new I/O technology, it certainly isn’t playing out that way.
Light Peak, now dubbed Thunderbolt, was never without controversy but now that it’s finally here, the critics aren’t ready to put away the slings. After its launch, the New York Times opined: Is Thunderbolt Really a Thunderbolt? and questioned its consumer value. Slate wondered if it was a worthless grasp at the past? and questioned why Intel should even pursue wired in an age of wireless. The Financial Times accused Intel and Apple of shunning USB 3.0 to the detriment of consumers while others called it Firewire 2.0 (an allusion to the failure of Firewire to win the standards war).
Even though Intel and AMD haven't introduced boards with native USB 3.0 support, third-party manufacturers like NEC have stepped in to fill the void. Chances are if you purchased a high-end motherboard within the last several months, it's equipped with USB 3.0 ports. But is your case's front panel up to the job? Depends on when you bought it. Corsair's Obsidian Series 800D and 700D full-tower cases ship sans SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support, but before you hand it down to little Johnny in order to upgrade to a new chassis, consider Corsair's inexpensive USB 3.0 upgrade kit.
We still have a ways to go until AMD and Intel implement native USB 3.0 support on their motherboards, but in the meantime, third-party chip makers have picked up the slack. NEC is one of them, and so is VIA, the latter of which has begun sampling new USB 3.0 controllers for external hard drives, DigiTimes reports.
Wires. Cords. Cables. Coils. Lines. Connectors. Whatever you call 'em, you've probably got plenty of them running between various pieces of beloved hardware. In this wired, wired world of ours, we rely on various cables and connectors to get our technology working in sync, to provide us with internet, with data, with everything from a picture on a display to power. But how many of us really know what's going on in those twisted strands?
To that end, we present to you three common connection technologies - explained, unveiled, and detailed so that you're well versed with the inner workings of your interfaces.
Read on to get the goods on HDBaseT, USB 3.0 and Light Peak!
You can't claim you're living in a high tech abode if your power outlets don't boast USB ports. And even if they do, will they support SuperSpeed USB 3.0 devices? TruePower's U-Sockets do.
Fastmac.com is currently taking preorders for the redesigned, two-port socket for $20/pop, down from the regular price of $30. Each one includes a pair of standard three prong power outlet ports, plus two USB ports nudged over to the side that are capable of "charging any USB (1.0 to 3.0) powered device including mobile, iPod, iPhone, PDA, MP3, PSP, MP4 players, and digital cameras."
Curiously missing is any specific mention of Apple's power hungry iPad, so if that's important to you, you'll want to look into it before depleting your Paypal balance outfitting your home with new power sockets.
The U-Sockets are slated to ship 4-5 weeks from the date of order.
From the company that gave the world its first external USB 3.0 drive comes another unprecedented product. The 10mm thick Mobile Drive Mg is the world’s thinnest mobile hard drive. The SuperSpeed USB 3.0 drive offers 320GB of storage and data transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s inside a sturdy magnesium enclosure for the reasonable price of $89.99. However, not everything about the drive is great.
The Mobile Drive Mg’s biggest problem is that it is a Mac-formatted drive. Many of you will probably agree that Freecom has erred by restricting this petite drive to Mac users alone. However, fortunately for PC lovers who also have something resembling a Mac buried deep inside their basement, there are apps like MacDrive and HFSExplorer for using Mac-formatted drives with a PC.
It's officially 2011 and native USB 3.0 support still isn't all that close to fruition. Blame both Intel and AMD for dragging their feet, and credit NEC and other USB 3.0 chip makers for filling in the gap.
According to DigiTimes, AMD isn't planning to integrate native USB 3.0 support until July of this year. Intel will take even longer adopting the SuperSpeed spec by baking it into its Ivy Bridge platform all the way in January 2012, exactly a year from now.
In the meantime, NEC, ASMedia, and Etron are leading the charge with USB 3.0 chips, more recently turning their attention to AMD's new Ontario and Zacate platforms. This will give the trio at least another year of profitability, DigiTimes says, and maybe longer.
Both Intel and AMD will start pushing the new standard in the months to come, although it's expected that Intel will relegate native USB 3.0 support to only its high-end boards at first.
Since the USB 3.0 spec has already claimed the designation "SuperSpeed," Patriot opted to go with a slightly different nomenclature for its newest USB 3.0 flash drive family: Supersonic.
Patriot's new Supersonic series features a native single-chip USB 3.0 controller and Quad-Channel technology. Combine the two and Patriot says you're left with one helluva fast drive.
"Patriot is one of the first companies to integrate a native single-chip USB 3.0 flash memory controller. By pairing the controller with our Quad-Channel technology, we're able to maximize performance with the Supersonic series," says Les Henry, Patriot Memory's Vice President of Engineering. "We are able to shrink the physical size of the USB 3.0 flash drives for even greater portability."
Available in 32GB and 64GB capacities, Patriot says the Supersonic series is capable of hitting 100MB/s and 70MB/s sequential read and write speeds, respectively.
The Supersonic series will ship in early 2011 for an as yet undetermined price.
With both LGA1156 and AM3 scheduled for termination sooner rather than later, there’s only one safe harbor that will carry you through this year: LGA1366.
Fortunately, it’s no longer a major financial stretch to get into Intel’s enthusiast socket. Yes, you can spend a massive amount of cash on a board that you can boot using the Bluetooth on your phone, but for many DIYers, $200 is the maximum they’ll spend on a mobo. Enter Gigabyte’s GA-X58-USB3. As the name implies, it’s a USB 3.0 board using Intel’s elderly but still quite capable X58 chipset.
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.”