Intel leaves 1394 out in cold, USB 2.0 exposed to desert glare
There's an awful lot of mythical buses in Palm Springs
Intel Developer Forum While Intel continued to create a song and a dance about the Universal Serial Bus (USB) at this week's forum, behind the scenes political infighting was threatening to ruin the party. The pugilists in the fight are the IEEE1394 Firewire standard and USB 2.0, heartily endorsed by Pat Gelsinger both at last spring's IDF and the one being held this week. At his keynote speech this morning, Gelsinger enthused about the merits of USB 2.0 and if 1394 was mentioned at all, it was in a hushed whisper -– not 'Kicking' Pat's style in the slightest. The USB Promoter Group is saying that the bus can be moved upwards to 360-480Mbps, "thirty or forty times" faster than version 1.1. It is more cautious than Kicking Pat on when it will see the light of day, however. A new spec is to be submitted to its own conference this October. Pat says it will see the light of day in the middle of next year. That according to just about every man+dog wandering around the Palm Springs convention centre, is highly unlikely. A reliable source close to Lucent has seen ne'er a sniff of silicon and the vague estimates touted by the USB trade group are unusual for technology companies, which by and large use multiply, add and divide better than your average schoolkid. Divide, however, could be the name of the game. The 1394 Firewire guys, languishing in a lonely corner of the show and seemingly neglected by Chipzilla, would not comment on other stories we have heard and not made up. Those clever people that work with 1394 already have achieved speeds of 800 and have a design spec for 1.6Mbps up and running, we are given to understand. Further, these designs are being built into motherboards and it is more than highly conceivable that we will find some mobos with a USB port next to a FireWire 2.0 port. One colleague we discussed the matter with put it succinctly. The fact is, he said, that USB is tightly tied to Intel x.86 architecture. FireWire doesn't need to be. If you wanted to sell more and faster processors, which bus architecture would you move to? Intel is uncannily silent on this matter, despite the fact FireWire 2.0 is oh so nearly there and USB 2.0 is uncannily non-existent, as yet. ® Full IDF Summer 99 coverage
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