Intel this week released architecture that will allow all other USB vendors USB 3.0 capability, which means that the faster and more energy efficient “SuperSpeed USB,” USB 3.0 will soon be on the market. USB 3.0 developed by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group (HP, Intel, MSFT, NEC, NXP, and TI), offers ten times the bandwidth as USB 2.0, offering a throughput speed of 4.8 gigabits per second, in order to meet our continually more sophisticated computing


"The future of computing and consumer devices is increasingly visual and bandwidth intensive," said Phil Eisler, AMD corporate vice president and general manager of the Chipset Business Unit. "Lifestyles filled with HD media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform.

Jeff Ravencraft, technology strategist in Intel’s Communication Technology Lab, explains that with USB 3.0s speed, “a 25 GB HD Movie would take only 70 seconds to transfer between devices.”

“Studies show that a consumer’s patience on waiting time is about 1.5 minutes and after 5 minutes they abort what they were doing. That same file transferred over High-speed USB would take 13.9 minutes – an unacceptable wait time for most people.”

The USB 3.0 will also be more energy efficient. While USB 2.0s can drain battery life due to port-polling, 3.0 will not. Intel promises that the USB 3.0 will be fully backward compatible.

USB is competing with Firewire, who released its newest version, IEEE 1394-2008, earlier this month. The new Firewire has a throughtput speed of 3.2 Gb/sec.

Intel released the USB 3.0 spec interface, the Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification revision 0.9, under RAND-Z royalty free licensing, quelling rumors that Intel was guarding the technology for itself.

The USB 3.0 is expected to be demoed at this week’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco this week.  Expect the first 3.0 products to hit the market in 2009.

By Mark Alvarez