Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finally, USB 3.0 has arrived.

For those following the new USB stardard closely, you would have probably read this news a few days ago when it was announced (Nov 17th 2008). Known as "SuperSpeed" USB, it is able to transmit up to 5.0 Gb/s (625 MB/s), roughly 1 CD of data per second. That's about 10 times the current bandwidth of the Hi-Speed USB 2.0 standard. USB 3.0 also has better power efficiency with new power management features. USB 3.0 is also fully backward compatible with older USB devices. With this, I guess SuperSpeed Flash Memory will make very good "ReadyBoost" modules on Windows Vista.

While the new bandwidth upgrade is good, its only major positive impact would be for data transmission for storage devices (includes memory flash used by camera, mp3 players, removable hard disks, flash drives). HID won't benefit much from this. Computer mice and keyboard rarely transmit more than 1Mb/s, but I'm sure "USB 3.0 Enabled Device" will be used as a marketing strategy anyway.

I'm curious to see how well USB controllers will fare next year when its out. The full potential of USB 2.0 was not able to be utilized, and I wonder how far USB 3.0 is able to go, practically. As the current USB architecture is a master-slave architecture, the speed of the usb transmission can only go as fast as the host controller can request and handle data transmission from the device.

I'm still hoping to see a refinement (I don't see it yet, perhaps I missed out) on USB OTG (USB on-the-go) feature. This features allows the host controller and device to exchange roles. With this, it is possible to do a data transmission between PC's via the USB interface, which is simpler and faster to setup to a typical Cat5 LAN or adhoc wireless communication. Perhaps we can even form a "ring topology" (star just seem too distant for now, looking at current USB OTG limitation) to link several computer clients using USB interface for a small workgroup. Who knows? I hope my "vision" will be answered...somehow by someone =P.

Anyway, we'll probably start seeing USB 3.0 compatible chipsets by the 2nd half of 2009, and USB 3.0 devices by 2010. As for now, just relax and stick to firewire and USB 2.0.

For those interested to see the official announcement, you can go here to download the PDF file.

p/s: Did you know for USB OTG feature, the Host/Device swap capability is automatically lost when you insert a hub? The two devices will locked to their current roles, until the hub is disconnected.


Big Siang said...

well wat u said is true for marketing strategy. no one really uses that kinda speed to transfer stuff.

it is really interesting about how usb 3.0 is coming and how it would affect. All i know is USB are used for Pen Drives and External Hard Disk drives for transfer. True the 2.0 is not fast enough but we have lived with it for more then 5 years now..

would the 3.0 really gonna take the world by storm?? I doubt..