CES '09: 500MB/sec. USB Blows Our Mind

USB technology had a good showing this year at CES 2009. The trend in technology clearly demonstrates where USB is headed in terms of the near future and beyond. Of course, we're talking about USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed USB.

We had the chance to speak to representatives behind the technology, and were told that prototypes were already here, but that full production and integration would take a bit more time. At this time, we had the chance to look at speeds and from what we saw, things looked really impressive. We were shown a demonstration of a PCI-E to USB 3.0 to HDD and the transfer benchmark maxed out the write capabilities of the HDD, which was roughly hitting a ceiling of 78 MB to 80 MB/sec. The HDD was using a SATA 2 to USB 3.0 interface.

At this time, the demonstration setup was a bit gruesome, consisting of several prototype breakout boards and signal translators. Internally, the USB 3.0 host was running on a PCI-E card, so at this time, we're still looking for an onboard, integrated motherboard solution.

USB 3.0 has a throughput ceiling of 500 MB/sec., that's megabytes per second. We witnessed a RAID 0 SSD demonstration of USB 3.0 in action and we can confirm that what we saw really impressed us. Clearly, this is some big headroom, and enough to run a bunch of fast SSD drives in RAID 0 without breaking a sweat--and you can do all of this externally.