The truth is out there. Somewhere. And in No BS Podcast Episode #155, we'll find it. Join Gordon, Alex, Nathan and Andy as they discuss Intel's USB 3.0 internal header spec, alien conspiracy theories, Star Wars in 3D, and Android apps that spy on you. Gordon rants about the Green Lantern, losing your job for sassing Steve Jobs, and leveling the playing field in online games.
Plus, we're giving away a sweet Asus AM3 motherboard, but you'll have to listen to the podcast to figure out how to enter!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Want to know if you’re a tier 1 nerd? You are if the phrase USB 3.0 Internal Connector Cable Specification Revision 1.0 gets your nerd on. Yeah, we thought you’d get as excited as we did. This is, afterall, one of the final hurdles to getting native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 down in the motherboard.
Not sure what the hell we’re talking about? It’s the spec that defines what an internal motherboard header will be for SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Up until now, case enclosure vendors have had to hack together work arounds for front mounted USB 3.0 ports by running pass through cables that go out the back of the case and plug into the motherboard’s USB 3.0 ports on back.
Don't read any further until you've grabbed something squishy that you can chuck across the room without fear of breaking something or putting someone's eye out. We'll wait. Ready?
According to reports -- and you can get in the throwing position now -- Intel announced it won't be installing native USB 3.0 support into its chipsets until 2012. That's according to TechOn, who claims to have heard this from an Intel engineer at IDF. And if that weren't enough, Intel rubs a barrel full of salt and ground up chili peppers into the wound by fully recognizing how big of a role the chip maker's participation will play in promoting USB 3.0 devices.
"For example, the market for USB 3.0 peripheral devices will explode," the engineer said, referring to the SuperSpeed spec becoming a standard feature once Intel throws its weight behind it.
The engineer's statements run counter to previous reports that Intel would get behind the SuperSpeed spec sometime in 2011, and at this point, it's really anyone's guess as to when the world's No. 1 chip maker will get on board. In the mean time, expect to see companies like NEC continue to push their third-party USB 3.0 host controller chips.
LaCie has expanded its lineup of USB 3.0-enabled external hard drives (maybe because the Rugged USB 3.0 mobile hard drive it launched in late April had begun pining for siblings). The Minimus and Rikiki are the company's latest USB 3.0-powered HDD offerings. If you believe in love at first sight, then an innate predilection for “sturdy brushed aluminum”will surely boost the odds of you falling for these two drives.
"The Minimus and Rikiki USB 3.0 offer our customers easy and affordable options to access the super speeds of USB 3.0," Philippe Rault, LaCie Consumer Product Manager, is quoted as saying in a release. "Since these products offer backward compatibility with USB 2.0, they will work on any PC or Mac with no worry."
We've been pretty critical over Intel's decision to delay the adoption of USB 3.0, thus ensuring another generation of USB 2.0 products before we step forward to the faster the spec. Unfortunately, Intel's move appears contagious and we've received word that several IC makers are delaying the rollout of USB 3.0 chips too.
These include Taiwan-based IC design houses ASMedia Technology (a subsidiary of Asus), VIA Labs (a subsidiary of VIA), and Etron Technology, plus one U.S.-based firm, Fresco Logic. All four design houses had grand plans of implementing USB 3.0 chips onto motherboards by the end of 2010, but none of them have yet passed certification by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF).
According to some Taiwan-based motherboard makers, IC design houses have been sending out buggy USB 3.0 samples that are basically unusable. The challenge for these chip makers comes not only in terms of hardware, but in developing their own software since Windows 7 doesn't natively support USB 3.0.
It's not all bad news, though. NEC continues to supply USB 3.0 parts, like the ones found on boards built around AMD's 890FX chipset, and Intel is reportedly slapping the SuperSpeed spec onto its upcoming Cougar Point chipset for desktops using Sandy Bridge CPUs. These could ship as soon as November.
The USB 3.0 SuperSpeed spec really is all that and a bag of Baked Lays (unless you're not a fan of Baked Lays, in which case insert your own awesome variety of chips). For starters, USB 3.0 crushes USB 2.0 in maximum theoretical transfer rates at up to 4.8Gb/s versus 480Mb/s. But speed isn't the only benefit. The SuperSpeed spec supports full-duplex data transfers, delivers more power to devices, and allows for longer cable runs. And best off, it's backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
So why the frak aren't we seeing USB 3.0 all over the place? Blame it on Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker who happens to be dragging its feet in supporting the new spec. The only way you'll find USB 3.0 on boards now is through a third-party chip, primarily from NEC.
That's about to change. According to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report, Intel is expected to announce its own USB 3.0 host controller for its Couger Point motherboard reference design at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum (IDF).
Once Intel makes the announcement, you can expect USB 3.0 devices to start barreling through the market. We've already seen a handful of SuperSpeed products pushed through the mainstream pipeline, but by this time next year, the USB 3.0 landscape should look decidedly different.
EVGA this week added another X58-based board to an already crowded lineup built around Intel's flagship chipset. It's called the X58 SLI3, which builds upon the X58 SLI LE by adding a pair of USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6Gb/s ports to the mix.
The board also comes equipped with 6 x SATA 3Gb/s ports and 10 x USB 2.0 ports, as well as a handful of features geared towards overclockers. These include 100 percent solid state capacitors, VDroop control, EVGA's EZ Voltage, and the E-LEET tuning utility software.
The rest if pretty standard fare for a $200 X58 board, including SLI and CrossFireX support, RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD configurations, a pair of Ethernet ports, and support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1600+ in tri-channel form.
We have to hand it to ioSafe for taking constructive criticism to heart. The company's latest external enclosure, the SoloPRO, now features both USB 3.0 support and eSATA, two features that were missing from the original Solo.
Like before, ioSafe promises an insane amount of protection for your data, including the ability to withstand temperatures up to 1,550F for 30 minutes, or being submerged in liquid to a depth of 10 feet for up to 3 days. More than just marketing bullets, ioSafe backs these claims with up to a $2,500 guarantee towards the cost of third-party forensic data recovery.
"Both homes and businesses need to store ever-increasing volumes of data quickly without worrying about data loss. ioSafe has always been about safely and securely storing data locally and now with its introduction of USB 3.0 and eSATA, home and businesses can accomplish that more quickly than ever before," said Jerome Wendt, Principal and Lead Analyst at DCIG.
The SoloPRO will begin shipping October 1, 2010, and is available for pre-order now for $250 (1TB), $320 (1.5TB), and $420 (2TB).
Lian Li has just added a new all aluminum chassis to its Mini Q series, the PC-V354. Designed for small setups, Lian Li's latest mini tower serves up support for micro-ATX, mini-ITX, and mini-DTX form factors.
The case measures 245x320x420mm (W.H.D.) and boasts enough room to accommodate up to seven 3.5-inch hard drives. Each HDD cage is modular, so if you plan on installing an elongated videocard, you can remove one of the cages and gain access to nearly 14 inches of space.
On the cooling front, the PC-354 comes with two 120mm blue or red LED fans on the front and a single 140mm fan on the top. Lian Li says that each one comes mounted with special anti-vibration grommets and dust filters, making them capable of running near silent while keeping your system free from debris.
Other features include a pair of USB 3.0-ready ports, a single external 5.25-inch drive bay, and integrated SD card reader.
Look for the PC-354 to ship at the end of August for $180 (silver/black) and $200 (red).
If iBuyPower were to write a boutique system vendor's Declaration of Independence, it would go something like this this:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all systems are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are SuperSpeed USB 3.0 at no additional cost."
iBuyPower didn't actually write any such declaration, but the company did announce that is now offering USB 3.0 on all if its desktop systems for free, and that includes systems with motherboards that don't feature onboard SuperSpeed USB support. For rigs that don't, iBuyPower will throw in a free internal USB 3.0 PCi-E x1 expansion card.
"The upgrade future-proofs new iBuyPower desktops by ensuring their compatibility with new as well as unreleased handheld recorders, digital cameras, smartphones, and more," iBuyPower said.