USB 3.0 - The
December 26, 2007
Intel, along with other technology heavyweights, have formed a group to promote USB 3.0 with plans to deliver a specification in the first half of 2008.The group, which was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, includes HP, Microsoft, NEC, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments. USB 3.0 is designed to deliver transfer rates 10 times the speed of a connection today.According to Intel, USB 3.0 “will target fast sync-and-go transfer applications in the PC, consumer and mobile segments that are necessary as digital media become ubiquitous and file sizes increase up to and beyond 25 Gigabytes.”USB 3.0 will reach these fast speeds by using fiber-optic wiring instead of the traditional copper variety. USB 3.0 will also be backward compatible.Stephen Shankland, who interviewed Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, reports that there is generally a one to two year lag from the time a standard is formed to actually making it inside a PC. Based on that timeline, USB 3.0 will be coming to a PC near you in 2009 or 2010.The current USB 2.0 version has a top data-transfer rate of 480 megabits per second, so a tenfold increase would be 4.8 gigabits per second. Many devices don't need that much capacity, but some can use more, including hard drives, flash card readers and optical drives such as DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD. The fastest flash card readers today use IEEE 1394 "FireWire" connections that top out at 800 megabits per second.In addition, USB 3.0 will offer greater energy efficiency,and it will be backward compatible, so current USB 2.0 devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports.