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USB 3.0 Spec Finished: It's SuperSpeed USB

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 28 comments

With USB 2.0 ports becoming a common as dirt—you’ll find them in everything from mobile phones to DVD players these days—you know the time has come to move on to a new version. And that’s just what the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced today.

USB 3.0 will support data rates as high as 5.0 Gb/sec—rendering the new standard 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Having already dubbed USB 2.0 as “Hi-Speed USB,” however, the group had to come up with a brand-new superlative for USB 3.0. After much discussion, they finally settled on “SuperSpeed USB” (perhaps holding “Ludicrous Speed” in reserve for USB 4.0).

“SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president and chairman. “Today’s consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa. SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user.”

Although USB 3.0 will use a different cable, it will use the same types as connectors and will therefore be backward-compatible (good thing, considering that more than two billion USB devices were shipped in 2006 alone, according to the USB Implementers Forum). Six signals will be carried on a USB 3.0 cable (four for a SuperSpeed data path and two for a non-SuperSpeed data path). USB 2.0 cables carry just two signals for low-speed (1.5Mb/s) and full- and high-speed data paths (12- and 480Mb/s, respectively). The USB 3.0 bus will provide 50 percent more power for unconfigured or suspended devices, and 80 percent more power for configured devices.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group anticipates that SuperSpeed USB discrete controllers will hit the market in the second half 2009, with the first consumer products appearing in 2010. The group expects that data-storage devices such as flash drives, external hard drives, digital cameras and camcorders, and digital media players will be among the earliest USB 3.0 products.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    stuart72 , November 26, 2008 12:10 PM
    Why not just call it USB 3? Everyone will anyway
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    liemfukliang , November 26, 2008 10:02 AM
    CPU Utilitation?
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , November 26, 2008 11:16 AM
    Just call it iUSB, it is hipper than the old utilitarian USB.
  • Display all 28 comments.
  • -4 Hide
    hemelskonijn , November 26, 2008 12:05 PM
    the new giga-fun-ulra-high-speed-mega-expansive-uber-cool-optical-firewire spec is way better funner highspeederder expansiver cooler and optically'r.

    Just to bad the name blows arse and cant be spoken out loud fast for more than 4 times.
  • 11 Hide
    stuart72 , November 26, 2008 12:10 PM
    Why not just call it USB 3? Everyone will anyway
  • 4 Hide
    radnor , November 26, 2008 12:30 PM
    Because USB 3 is very simple for Joe Consumer.

    Now the NEW USB, on steroids and with morning rage.

    Better than the old one, and faster than your Maibatsu Thunder.
  • 5 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 26, 2008 1:08 PM
    stuart72Why not just call it USB 3? Everyone will anyway


    Yeah in 5 years I never heard anyone say "Is that hard drive HighSpeed compatible?" or even "Is that flash drive USB two point o?". USB 2 is the only term I have ever heard, so I'm pretty sure everyone will just stick with USB 3.
  • 4 Hide
    chovav , November 26, 2008 1:15 PM
    I think this is some very positive news. eSata can't deliver power to a device, which makes it (almost) useless for portable drives. Now that USB3 can deliver higher speed AND power, this can be the perfect solution to the slow speed of USB2 or the external power supply of eSata.

    Good work!

    ...now only make sure the controller is cheap ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    audioee , November 26, 2008 1:37 PM
    "After much discussion, they finally settled on “SuperSpeed USB” (perhaps holding “Ludicrous Speed” in reserve for USB 4.0)."

    They've gone to plaid!
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , November 26, 2008 1:56 PM
    AudioEE"After much discussion, they finally settled on “SuperSpeed USB” (perhaps holding “Ludicrous Speed” in reserve for USB 4.0)."

    They've gone to plaid!

    LoL.

    liemfukliangCPU Utilitation?

    You don't really want to know. Why do you think Intel pushed Core i7 out so fast?



  • 3 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , November 26, 2008 4:02 PM
    Maybe now they can finally work on finishing wireless n?
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , November 26, 2008 4:34 PM
    guess ill be holding off on a new computer and case till usb 3.0 becomes mainstream... hopefulyl no problems occur
  • 1 Hide
    cliffro , November 26, 2008 6:41 PM
    LOL I want a plaidspeed USB controller!!!!

    Seriously, I may actually buy a "USB" Hard drive now. Depending on how expensive the add-in cards are, I may become an early adopter.
  • -3 Hide
    zak_mckraken , November 26, 2008 7:33 PM
    Don't get too excited with USB hard drives. USB 3 won't offer anything better than USB 2, which has already more than enough throughput for what current 7200rpm drives can offer.
  • 2 Hide
    cliffro , November 26, 2008 8:33 PM
    Going by Advertised speed of USB 2, 480Mbits/s That's 60MB/s MAX

    Here is a review of Vantec External Enclosure with USB2 and eSATA
    http://www.bigbruin.com/reviews05/vantecns3_4

    The USB2 test is noticably crappier than an internal drive and eSATA.

  • 2 Hide
    cliffro , November 27, 2008 12:57 PM
    I apologize for taking so long to amend my last post, but anyway....

    USB 2 Test
    http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/6667/graph27541493ly7.jpg

    Using the data from that test, I tested one of my SATA 3G 320Gb hard drives and the results tell me USB2.0 cannot handle the full speed of my hard drive. 32.2 MB/s is nowhere near 69.6MB/s For Sequential Reads and 34MB/s isn't close to 251.2MB/s for Burst Speeds
    My tests
    http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/2205/snag0055au8.jpg

    But if USB3 works @ alteast 50% of its advertised speeds it would handle it.

  • 2 Hide
    foxalopex , November 27, 2008 1:07 PM
    I'm hoping that USB 3 will feature an actual off CPU controller unlike normal USB which tends to eat processor cycles. It's one of the reasons why firewire 400 murders USB 2 despite the actual speeds of firewire being supposedly slower. Also they need to up the power output on the USB port. Most single USB ports don't supply enough power to run modern 2.5 inch HDs which require more than 500 mA.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 27, 2008 3:08 PM
    USB 2 is 48 MB/s (that's BYTES, not bits). A Velociraptor hard drive can easily do 100MB/s. Intel's new SSDs can do 240+MB/s.

    The speed of USB 3 isn't listed anywhere in this article, but it's something like 500MB/s. SATA 2 maxes out near 300MB/s. So in theory, a solid state drive could run faster using USB 3 than SATA 2 and you probably wouldn't need a power source. SSDs aren't very power hungry.

    In short zak_mckraken has no idea what he's talking about.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , November 28, 2008 2:17 AM
    This is retarded. It's still uses the host CPu for low level calls, thus crippling itself. Unl So it doesn't matter what limit they say it has, because no one will ever reach it under noraml conditions. No thanks. (Can't actually read what I'm saying because off this stupid glitch, sorry for any spelling erros.).
  • 0 Hide
    cliffro , November 28, 2008 6:28 PM
    Quote:
    USB 2 is 48 MB/s (that's BYTES, not bits). A Velociraptor hard drive can easily do 100MB/s. Intel's new SSDs can do 240+MB/s.

    The speed of USB 3 isn't listed anywhere in this article, but it's something like 500MB/s. SATA 2 maxes out near 300MB/s. So in theory, a solid state drive could run faster using USB 3 than SATA 2 and you probably wouldn't need a power source. SSDs aren't very power hungry.

    In short zak_mckraken has no idea what he's talking about.


    Indeed it is....

    From TFA
    Quote:
    USB 3.0 will support data rates as high as 5.0 Gb/sec—rendering the new standard 10 times faster than USB 2.0.


    Using an easy to find bit calculator, 5 gigabits/s = 640 Megabytes/s
    http://www.matisse.net/bitcalc/?input_amount=5&input_units=gigabits¬ation=legacy

    USB 2.0 is 480 Megabits /s. Which is 60 Megabytes /s http://www.matisse.net/bitcalc/?input_amount=480&input_units=megabits¬ation=legacy

    In short I appreciate the agreement that Zak was talking out of his ass, but at least make sure your numbers are correct. ;) 
    Although my guesstimates on actual throughput were just that...guesstimates based on USB2 actual throughput being roughly 50% of rated, meaning if USB3 can achieve the same percentage of throughput then 50% of 640 is 320 megabytes/s which is plenty for my current hard drives(250Mbytes/s Burst Read, 69.6Mbytes/s Sequential)
  • 0 Hide
    dlgarbett , November 30, 2008 10:13 PM
    Or you can divide the number of bits by 8 seeing as 1 byte equals 8 bits. Math in the new world. We need a converter to divide by 8 :) 
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