Never fear, USB3 is here

Mikey 4 comments
Never fear, USB3 is here

It took a while, but Intel says that USB3, or the lamely named 'SuperSpeed USB' is finally here, and some demonstrations will be shown as early as next week. If I was in charge of naming I would have gone for something less traditional - say UberUSB or similar :-)

The new interface will be backwards compatible with USB2 devices (which is pretty much all of them) but anyone with old USB1 hardware will be out of luck.

So what's the difference? Basically it's just faster (more bandwidth). Here's a summary.

USB1, the first USB interface to be introduced in 1995, promised plug'n'play operation but sadly didn't quite deliver exactly as planned on that. The top transfer speed of USB1 is 12Mbps.

USB2, obviously the 2nd incarnation of USB1, basically got it right this time, with an added bonus of transfer speeds at 480Mbps which meant that a wider range of external devices could adopt the USB2 standard because of the increased bandwidth, even external hard drives.

USB3, according to Intel, will be 10x faster than USB2, making it 4.8Gbps (Giga bits per second), thanks to a fibre optic link that is able to communicate with existing copper connections.

So with a data transfer of 4.8gbps, what sort of devices would be able to take advantage of that speed? External hard drives will certainly gain significant benefit as will people capturing hi definition video (for which Firewire is still the current best option). We could also start to see hardware that typically can't work at a satisfactory level on USB2 speed, such as external video connectors for example.

As a techie and multimedia professional, I say "Bring on the future".

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Thursday 14th August 2008 | 09:59 PM

4.8gbps is better than most current fibre channel systems, which form the interconnectivity heart of SANs. That's really amazing to think about.

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Friday 15th August 2008 | 06:38 AM

That is incredible, it should mean I can finally play games from an external drive!!! Yippee!

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Friday 15th August 2008 | 07:44 AM response to this comment by Jake. Yeah that's actually a reality. It can be done now but it's painful.

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Friday 15th August 2008 | 08:33 AM

Yeah, I've tried it with BF2142 and even with those pitiful graphics, it lags like a big fat momma!

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