USB 3.0-sporting devices start to appear... sort of
New-style portage spotted
USB 3.0 hasn't yet been fully completed but it's implementation could come more quickly than its predecessor's did. Vendors are already starting to prepare their computer hardware for the new bus standard. Today, for example, we saw an upcoming Asus notebook with a pair of USB 3.0 ports.
Well, sort of. The ports are actually rated as USB 2.0 devices and didn't appear to have the extra pins required by the new version of the bus. However, the spaces where those pins will go were clearly present.
USB 3 socket design
USB 3.0 ports look superficially like USB 1.1 and 2.0 sockets. The latter comprises a metal sleeve and plastic tongue on which are embossed four metal connections. With USB 3.0, however, the tongue has five tiny grooves cut into to to hold the extra contacts that will provide the bus' higher, 4.7Gb/s data transfer rate.
You can see the position of the extra pins in the diagram above. The two ports in Asus' M50 15in laptop showed the same 'crenellated' tongue, albeit without the connections.
The USB 3.0 connector
Register Hardware has more USB 3.0 jack and socket pictures here.
What's interesting is that manufacturers like Asus are clearly building USB 3.0 infrastructure into their products already. This was easy with USB 2.0 since it used exactly the same connectors as USB 1.1. That's not the case with USB 3.0, with its retooled ports.
Interestingly, the M50 we looked at had three USB ports, but only two were of the USB 3.0 type. That suggests USB 3.0 won't immediately replace its predecessor, and vendors will offer products with a mixture of the two, presumably to keep costs down.
The Asus team demoing the M50 were unaware of the presence of the USB 3.0-ready ports on the machine. As yet, there's no release data for laptop, which will feature not only Intel's 45nm Core 2 Duo T9300 processor but also an Nvidia GeForce 9500M mobile GPU.
I have to admit, thats a huge amount of bandwidth, but what devices will actually support it?
and i have to say i wish we would pick a standard and stick with it. for gods sake firewire always seems to perform better and has more potential... so why bother with usb?!
As other have mentioned, USB2.0's 480Mbps is in practice slower that FireWire's 400Mbps, essentially due to hellacious protocol and SW overhead. Unless USB3.0 introduces a new controller (ala EHCI) _and_ some seriously redone protocols, expect 4Gbps to be a "speed of light" (Guaranteed not to exceed) number. And pray for enough controllers that you are not sharing one between your storage array and your mouse. :-)
Where's this nonsence about 4.7Gbps coming from? The signalling data rate of USB 3.0 will start at 5 Gbps - data is 10b8b encoded effectively immediately dropping this to 4 Gbps, and protocol and hardware overhead probably dropping this to around 3 Gbps of real usable data bandwidth.
You have to state some speed, and the signalling data rate is the most definitive - it's really stretching it a bit far to moan about real data throughput not reaching the signalling data rate - pretty much like moaning about rainy days taking out of the year the days which you can enjoy going outside...
Never mind all that
Will it operate at the stated speed or will this new 4.7Gb/s wonderplug operate at a more likely 1Gb/s*
*On a good day, wind behind you etc...
@ you silly geeks, it doesn't matter
There is no need for MS to "support" USB3 in XP. Like any other piece of hardware you'd buy that came after XP so you needed to install a driver, so too you would with the USB3 controller. It would show up in Device Manager as a USB port the same as always and be used just fine.
@ Shakje, what an embarrassing position you took calling someone else an idiot when you too, had it wrong. By the way, any customer is entitled to display their opinion about the producer of a product they bought, whether that be a toaster oven, a cow, or an operating system. If you want to use some random labeling of it like bash, it makes less sense than the person who provoked your statement. People are in fact entitled to express negativity and ultimately nothing in this world would never be fixed if it weren't the case.