Intel delays USB 3.0 chipset until 2012
Put up with slowness for a while longer
Intel is holding up USB 3.0 adoption by delaying its motherboard chipset until 2012.
The near-universally used USB 2.0 bus is lagging behind externally-attached storage devices, mobile internet devices, digital cameras and camcorders and the simple multi-GB USB sticks because it is too slow. USB 3.0 increases USB speed to 4.8Gbit/s but needs chipsets on notebook and desktop motherboards before it can be widely adopted. Enter Intel or, rather, not.
The USB 3.0 spec was introduced in November 2008 and it looks like it's going to be another two years before the mightiest computing chip-maker on the planet gets the trivial-to-design-and-build chipsets needed out of its fabs. Anyone think Intel had a hidden agenda here? Is the company trying to make the market more receptive to Light Peak, its new optical connect?
If it's not then why not outsource the USB 3.0 job to another company?
On the other side of the bus, USB 3.0 devices are proliferating. Iomega has introduced USB 3.0-capable eGo drives, with a 500GB portable model and 1TB and 2TB desktop ones for $149.99 and $229.99 respectively. The portable job costs $129.99.
Unless you have a computer or notebook with one of the vanishingly few USB 3.0-capable motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte and Asrock, all you can do is look on and endure the tortoise-like USB 2.0 experience, or get an ExpressCard accessory or similar. Come on Intel, get your act together. ®
Just Wondering If...
...some critical patent might be expiring in 2012.
You don't just have to sit and wait...
Firewire 400/1394A is here today and has a bit of a speed advantage over USB 2.0. If you need to go faster, Firewire 800/1394B is also here. Firewire interfaces with signaling rates of 1600/3200 megabits are said to be in development, as is an optical connection method promising some 6.4 gigabits per second (!!!) as its transfer rate.
Add that to the fact that you can network computers with it and any old 1394 cable, the daisy-chaining support, higher available power to the devices on the bus, and the overall smarter relationship between devices on the 1394 bus and you've got a winner. No, it's not as cheap, but you do get a lot more for your money.
It's here now, and even the add-in cards are cheap enough if you want one. (Plus, you can even get FW800 cards for the PCI bus, where USB 3.0 seems to be a PCI Express only concept.)
As it is, I don't think that USB 3.0 is all that much of a must-have feature, nor do I like the connector design.
What happened to good old expansion cards? A quick Google tells me that PCI Express, PC Card and even mini PCI Express USB 3.0 cards are all available or in the works.