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USB 3 Makes External USB RAID ''Possible''

Computerworld is reporting that Symwave, one of the first companies to design silicon for USB 3.0, is claiming that its new USB 3.0 SOC (system on a chip) can be used with external storage devices and provide transfer data rates up to 500 Mbit/sec.  USB 3.0 is actually designed to handle transfers of up to 5 Gbit/sec, a huge increase in throughput when compared to the 480 Mbit/sec limit seen with USB 2.0. As an example, a 25 GB HD movie would take 13.9 minutes to transport over a USB 2.0 connection, just 70 seconds over a USB 3.0 connection.

"You're pretty much communicating through a straw," said Gideon Intrater, Symwave's vice president of solutions architecture, referring to the 2.0 limitations. "USB 2 was good as long as you had 100GB on your hard drive, but now it's just way too slow."

Symwave's new SOC, developed for external storage devices including HDDs and SSDs, supposedly offers performance beyond the top speed of SATA. According to Intrater, the chip will allow speeds as high as 500 Mbit/sec because it supports RAID 0 configurations. System builders can take advantage of this feature by installing two external drives that can be addressed at the same time, offering faster data reads. In another scenario, the second drive could mirror the first USB drive.

Intrator also said that USB 3.0 can carry as much as 900 milliamps, making it easier to power a portable RAID array of two drives; USB 2.0 currently only provides 500 milliamps.