We’ve seen a few USB 3.0 external drives here at Maximum PC, and we do appreciate the long-overdue speed boost. It’s nice to have file transfers limited by drive speed again, rather than the interface—the 33MB/s maximum was killing us. And while we appreciated the boost we got from USB 3.0 in WD’s My Book 3.0 and the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed enclosure, the former was only as fast as the mechanical drive within it and the latter couldn’t even match the speeds of the drives it enclosed.
It’s great to have a USB 3.0 interface on a mechanical drive, but wouldn’t it be nice to combine USB 3.0 with SSD? With a theoretical bandwidth limit exceeding 5Gb/s, why wouldn’t you? Thankfully, OCZ did. The Enyo is a compact anodized aluminum brick stuffed with MLC NAND and a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port.
As details of AMD's Hudson D1 -- the southbridge the chip maker will launch in tandem with its upcoming dual-core 32nm Fusion processors -- begin to trickle out, one thing still up in the air is how USB 3.0 will factor in. According to whispers among some notebook makers, there's a good chance AMD will integrate USB 3.0 into Hudson.
We won't have to wait very long to find out. The Hudson D1 chipset is expected to debut in the fourth quarter of 2010 and will primarily target ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks. USB 3.0 is somewhat of a rarity so far on mobile PCs, and with Intel taking its sweet little time pushing the SuperSpeed spec, something like this could give the Sunnyvale chip maker a leg up in a segment mostly served by Intel.
While nothing is yet decided, there's reason to believe AMD will get this done. AMD is already tapping into NEC to outfit its desktop boards with USB 3.0, and extending that relationship over to notebooks shouldn't be overly challenging.
While Intel continues to ignore our plea to jump on the USB 3.0 bandwagon and get the SuperSpeed spec rolling in full force, NEC is taking matters into its own hands and will reportedly cut prices for its first- and second-gen USB 3.0 chips in 4Q10. These are being described as "significant" price cuts, while the company's next-gen SuperSpeed chips will start shipping in the first quarter of 2011 for less than $2 a piece.
NEC, which currently holds a 90 percent share of the USB 3.0 market, is just one of several manufactures pushing SuperSpeed chips into motherboard makers' hands. ASMedia (an Asus subsidiary), VIA, Etron, and Fresco Logic have all introduced price cuts of their own, with ASMedia dipping all the way down to $1.7 per chip for bulk orders.
As for next-gen USB 3.0 parts, NEC's upcoming chips will reportedly feature higher performance, lower power consumption, and mainstream price points. There's talk that this pricing strategy will cut into NEC's profits, but the bulk of that will be offset from IP licensing fees, including that from bigwig clients like AMD, Intel, and Microsoft.
Lian Li has come up with a new line of enclosures, only these are for your hard drive, not your entire PC. Dubbed "EX-10Q," these external drive enclosures provide a colorful home for your 2.5-inch hard drive (or SSD).
Constructed of thin aluminum and available in a variety of colors (red, silver, black, and blue), the EX-10Q connects via a USB 3.0 port allowing it to reach speeds of up to 5Gbps, or up to 480Mbps if you're still rolling old school with USB 2.0 (and thanks to Intel dragging its feet, most of us are).
The EX-10Q enclosures measure 75mm x 12mm x 130mm (or 2.95in x 0.47in x 5.12mm for those of you who shake an angry fist at the metric system) and will start shipping soon for $30.
Yo, Intel, we need to talk. Word on the Web is that you're not planning to support USB 3.0, otherwise known as SuperSpeed USB, until at least late 2011, with 2012 looking like a more realistic time frame. What the madness?
Those of us with deep pockets bit the bullet and picked up your uber expensive Core i7 980X processor, so far the only consumer six-core chip without an AMD label on it. We did it because we love technology and, well, the kids can always take out student loans, right?
And we didn't really want to go there, but we feel like you owe us after that whole BTX debacle. What are we supposed to do with a BTX case now? That's about as tough to unload on Craigslist as our RDRAM sticks (remember those?).
Hit the jump to read the rest of our plea and to make your own!
Even though most computers are not designed to fully utilize a 3TB drive, Seagate could not resist the temptation of launching “the world's first 3 Terabyte (TB) external desktop drive.” According to Seagate, the 3.5-inch FreeAgent GoFlex Desk external hard drive can hold up to 120 HD movies or 1500 video games.
J&W doesn't have much of a presence in the U.S. (Evertek Computer Corp. is the only U.S. vendor listed on J&W's "Where to Buy" page), and chances are, you've never heard of them. But if J&W continues to release motherboards like the Minix 890GX-USB3, the company won't remain obscure for very long.
Their latest Minix board is built around the mini-ITX form factor and is the first such board to support both USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps. As you might have guessed, it's powered by AMD's 890GX IGP chipset, which includes onboard ATI Radeon HD 4290 graphics with DirectX 10.1 support.
Packing a lot of power into a small package, the Minix 890GX-USB3 also comes built around AMD's AM3 socket and boasts support for the Phenom II series, including AMD's latest six-core processors, as well as the Windows-based Core-Unlocking utility.
"We planned to launch this motherboard since 2009 and the specification was revised several times to make it the 'best-of-the-best' mini-ITX motherboard on the market. Many users have the misunderstanding that small cannot be powerful, or mini-ITX is only capable to play HD videos, and we wanted to prove that mini-ITX can be small and powerful," said Ken Wong, Product Marketing Manager of J&W Technology Ltd.
Intel hasn't been in any real hurry to promote the USB 3.0 standard, instead leaving it up to hardware makers to come up with their own solutions. EVGA, perhaps best known for the company's line of graphics cards, is one of those companies ready to usher in faster USB data transfers
To help do that, EVGA today launched its EU30 PCI-E host card, which adds an additional two USB 3.0 ports to your system. It works with any available PCI-E slot, including x1, x4, x8, and x16, and once plugged in will facilitate data transfers up to 5Gbps.
The low-profile design means it will slip in nicely to your HTPC or mATX LAN box, and of course it's backwards compatible too.
OCZ's Enyo Portable SSD solution might very well be the world's sexiest external storage device, and it's certainly one of the fastest. That's because OCZ slapped a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface on the drive, which already sports an SSD inside.
"We are continually searching for new ways to make the benefits of solid state storage available to consumers, and our new Enyo SSD is designed to make those benefits portable," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "The Enyo is a sleek external SSD that makes use of the increasingly popular SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface to make transferring anything from spreadsheets to high definition movies significantly faster than traditional media. Consumers never have to leave home without their valuable files again."
The Enyo supports up to 260MB/s read and 200MB/s write speeds for blazing fast transfers compared to USB 2.0. According to OCZ, the Enyo can transfer a 500MB YouTube clip in just 1.6 seconds, far faster than the 17 seconds it would take with a USB 2.0 port. But the real benefit is in extra large transfers, such as a moving a 1TB backup file in 47 minutes compared to 9.3 hours with USB 2.0
OCZ's sleek Enyo will be made available in 64GB, 128GB, and 128GB capacities. No word yet on price.
Updated 5/06/10 12:30PST to reflect Seagate comments on pricing.
Yesterday Seagate announced their new FreeAgent GoFlex line of external drives, which is actually more interesting than it sounds. Instead of a standard 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drive with a SATA-to-USB controller inside, a GoFlex drive wears its controller on the outside. The GoFlex drive is not much more than a hard drive with a minimal plastic sheath and a SATA port, into which the drive controller itself is plugged. This allows you to change out drive controllers when you upgrade your system, plug the bare drive directly into a dock (like the GoFlex Net network-storage device or GoFlex TV HD media player, or (hopefully) just plug it into your rig for SATA speed with no overhead.
The GoFlex has modular cables, so today's USB 2.0 drive can become tomorrow's USB 3.0 drive easily.