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NEC triples USB 3.0 speed

NEC triples USB 3.0 speed

The new method of feedback control and equalisation from NEC allows up to 16Gb/s over USB 3.0.

Engineers at NEC have come up with a new technique to boost the speed at which data can be transferred over USB to a whopping 16Gb/s.

As reported over on Overclock3D, the new technology increases the upper speed of USB 3.0 from an already rapid 5Gb/s to 16Gb/s - potentially allowing an entire dual-layer DVD to be transferred in a shade under five seconds, and an entire Bluray disc in just 25 seconds.

The new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 uses adaptive equalisation techniques to increase the stability of the carrier signal, allowing the data to be transferred significantly faster than has been previously possible without corruption. This equalisation technology, alongside a delay in the data rate feedback, "greatly reduces the nearest-neighbour inter-bit interference in the signal waveform and thus successfully alleviated the issue of feedback-time constraint inherent in conventional equalisers."

While the technical speak will get all but an engineer lost, the upshot is clear: the USB 3.0 5Gb/s controllers that seemed so impressive just a few months ago have just been one-upped.

Although the technology now exists in prototype form, it'll be a while before you can get your hands on a 16Gb/s-capable USB 3.0 controller: the next step for NEC is to apply to the USB Promoter Group - the licensing body for the USB standard - for permission to market the device under the USB brand. Once granted - and assuming the technology works as well as NEC claims it does - the company could well find itself leaping to the top of the USB tree.

Are you excited at the thought of external devices being able to communicate at rates of up to 16Gb/s, or were you struggling to see the real-world benefits of a 5Gb/s bus? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

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frojoe 18th February 2010, 11:03 Quote
So this is or isn't compatible with current USB 3? I assume both the devices would have to be upgraded to the new spec to work and that it is just backwards compatible. Wouldn't that make this more USB 4? The speed is awesome, and I would love to hookup my 1 TB external drive with something this fast, but I feel like it will be a while before this is in the wild, especially with USB 3 just coming out and whatnot.
TomH 18th February 2010, 11:06 Quote
You realise that it's not April 1st yet?

I jest - this sounds like some awesome Engineering by NEC. It'll be even better if it makes it into the official standards as, say, 3.1. Though you would imagine they're more likely to want to keep it to themselves.

What will be interesting is if they can apply the same techniques to SATA/SAS, or perhaps even PCI-Express - though the cost of improved components may well be the inhibitor for some time. USB 3.0/SATA 6G kit is already expensive enough.
l3v1ck 18th February 2010, 11:19 Quote
Wouldn't they need to call it USB4? I know this will be USB3 compatible, but unless both the controller and external device support it, it'll be limited to normal USB3 speeds. Consumers may not find it easy to find out which devices are which if they have the same name.

EDIT

As was said above, USB3.1 is probably a better name than USB4 now I think about it.
BlackMage23 18th February 2010, 11:22 Quote
I think ESATA just got owned
TWeaK 18th February 2010, 11:29 Quote
It's all well and good, but what can actually use this? Atm we've got most hard drives struggling to saturate a SATA 3Gbps bus, and only some gain an advantage from SATA 6Gbps, so what use is 16Gbps? The article mentions copying DVDs and Blu Ray discs, but how fast can these actually be read?

The only way I could see this being practical is if USB replaced SATA as the main interface, and then someone made a monster RAID array or something.
frojoe 18th February 2010, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
It's all well and good, but what can actually use this? Atm we've got most hard drives struggling to saturate a SATA 3Gbps bus, and only some gain an advantage from SATA 6Gbps, so what use is 16Gbps? The article mentions copying DVDs and Blu Ray discs, but how fast can these actually be read?

The only way I could see this being practical is if USB replaced SATA as the main interface, and then someone made a monster RAID array or something.

SSDs?
hexx 18th February 2010, 11:36 Quote
"The article mentions copying DVDs and Blu Ray discs, but how fast can these actually be read?" - that's very true :)
javaman 18th February 2010, 12:36 Quote
I guess Ill just hold off getting a PCI-E add in card now. Is this a software update or hardware based? From the article they just overclocked it really lol
ernestBurney 18th February 2010, 13:28 Quote
You could do something ridiculous like have external usb video cards with shiz like this...the next 10 years is going to be interesting for the pc!
shanky887614 18th February 2010, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Wouldn't they need to call it USB4? I know this will be USB3 compatible, but unless both the controller and external device support it, it'll be limited to normal USB3 speeds. Consumers may not find it easy to find out which devices are which if they have the same name.

EDIT

As was said above, USB3.1 is probably a better name than USB4 now I think about it.

you are forgetting that with usb2.0 there are low speed and high speed devices and most dont mention which of these there particle device, anyway they wont call it usb4.0 becasue it is just a change in hte controller not the actual lead (if im not mistaken)
which would mean that this is backwards compatible.

im just so glad i havent bought a usb3.0 expansion card yet i guess ill wait till this come outs XP (or till it becomes the industry standed)
TWeaK 18th February 2010, 14:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frojoe
SSDs?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know SSDs just about saturate SATA 3Gbps but not SATA 6Gbps. When I mentioned the monster RAID array I was thinking of SSDs, but then you'd lose TRIM support.
frojoe 18th February 2010, 14:55 Quote
True, I suppose its all just future proofing then.
iwod 18th February 2010, 15:18 Quote
We need LightPeek, not this
thehippoz 18th February 2010, 15:49 Quote
wow thought the 5 gig was fast.. esata is a bit faster but not that fast
Neophyte4Life 18th February 2010, 15:58 Quote
Its nice to know that we have pipes with a two hundred foot diameter that we average people can only run the equivalent of a garden hose's throughput though. <innuendo>But it is nice to have a really big pipe. </innuendo> Cant wait for affordable hardware to come about that will actually utilize all that bandwidth.
l3v1ck 18th February 2010, 15:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know SSDs just about saturate SATA 3Gbps but not SATA 6Gbps. When I mentioned the monster RAID array I was thinking of SSDs, but then you'd lose TRIM support.
Currently, but I'd expect SSD performance to improve a lot over the next few years. External ones may soon need the extra bandwidth.
SBS 18th February 2010, 16:12 Quote
Always wondered what NEC did. Go them.
ChuckyP83 18th February 2010, 17:42 Quote
I don't get the point of this. Though I totally support it. What combination of devices could possibly use 16Gb/s of bandwidth? Multiple SSD RAID arrays running off of USB? You've got to be kidding me. That would be retarded...
knuck 18th February 2010, 17:50 Quote
vaporware approved
C-Sniper 18th February 2010, 18:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckyP83
I don't get the point of this. Though I totally support it. What combination of devices could possibly use 16Gb/s of bandwidth? Multiple SSD RAID arrays running off of USB? You've got to be kidding me. That would be retarded...

Well remember when Bill Gates thought that "no-one would need over 637kb of memory"?
I rest my case.

What this will do is start spurring more development in other areas as no-one wants to have their component be considered the bottleneck.
ChuckyP83 18th February 2010, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Sniper
Well remember when Bill Gates thought that "no-one would need over 637kb of memory"?
I rest my case.

What this will do is start spurring more development in other areas as no-one wants to have their component be considered the bottleneck.

You do have a point, and I wasn't Poo-pooing this just because "Who needs more than 600K" reasons. More like I dont see the point because USB is rubbish. I do applaud NEC, though, thats a pretty incredible amount of bandwidth, and doubtless we will have products available, in time, to use said bandwidth. Maybe I am just mad at my father....I mean the storage industry...for not having products that can even saturate the bandwidth of Gen 1 SATA (ignoring HDD burst speeds and STILL too expensive SSDs) when we are now onto 3rd gen. I guess we have reached the limits of HDD tech, but for gods sake get NAND prices down now!
Sorry for the Off Topic...

I guess I just get annoyed when they annouce the new hotness interconnect tech and NOTHING available on the market can use this super-mega-ludicrous-speed USB unless you spend $6k on SSDs and then gang them up on one USB connection... or if you want to start connecting RAM through the USB bus...talk about latency...
confusis 18th February 2010, 20:19 Quote
maybe this will also replace internal SATA? one standard for all the connections would be good!
metarinka 18th February 2010, 20:29 Quote
the bandwidth will get filled fast.

especially in burst applications such as Ram-Ram (think the cache on your hdd) if you transfer a 15mb file from Mb Ram to the cache on an external HDD, the slowest component will be the interface and maybe your controllers. That's the only thing limiting performance.

in 2-3 years 16gb/s will seem slow.
javaman 18th February 2010, 21:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBS
Always wondered what NEC did. Go them.

They make awsome electronics too. Their TV's and monitors are generally very good. We have an NEC TV in our house thats older than me! (22)
RichCreedy 18th February 2010, 22:34 Quote
chicken, egg, which came first?

we will get new devices capable of using the bandwidth eventually

usb3 external extreme gaming card anyone?
Mraedis 19th February 2010, 06:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckyP83
You do have a point, and I wasn't Poo-pooing this just because "Who needs more than 600K" reasons. More like I dont see the point because USB is rubbish. I do applaud NEC, though, thats a pretty incredible amount of bandwidth, and doubtless we will have products available, in time, to use said bandwidth. Maybe I am just mad at my father....I mean the storage industry...for not having products that can even saturate the bandwidth of Gen 1 SATA (ignoring HDD burst speeds and STILL too expensive SSDs) when we are now onto 3rd gen. I guess we have reached the limits of HDD tech, but for gods sake get NAND prices down now!
Sorry for the Off Topic...

I guess I just get annoyed when they annouce the new hotness interconnect tech and NOTHING available on the market can use this super-mega-ludicrous-speed USB unless you spend $6k on SSDs and then gang them up on one USB connection... or if you want to start connecting RAM through the USB bus...talk about latency...

Would you rather have kick-ass, over-the-roof expensive storage or other components and no interface that is fast enough to keep up with it? I'm glad Sata 6Gbps and this new USB came first.
The_Beast 19th February 2010, 07:05 Quote
I only see this as good news


as long as it comes to market
[USRF]Obiwan 19th February 2010, 12:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hexx
"The article mentions copying DVDs and Blu Ray discs, but how fast can these actually be read?" - that's very true :)

They probably mean a DVD or BR iso rip :D
TomH 21st February 2010, 14:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ernestBurney
You could do something ridiculous like have external usb video cards with shiz like this...the next 10 years is going to be interesting for the pc!
To be fair, this would already be possible with Infiniband, as it's essentially PCI Express with a cable. As you can imagine it's used for running buses between clustered computers and costs an arm and a leg right now.
[USRF]Obiwan 3rd March 2010, 10:06 Quote
Anyone else got spammail via forum from BT about Guccy handbags?
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