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Rumour: No Intel chipset with USB 3 until 2012

Rumour: No Intel chipset with USB 3 until 2012

Chipsets with USB 3 support aren't listed in any Intel roadmap until 2012, with SATA 6Gbps arriving late next year.

While we've managed to get hold of enough hardware to take a first look at both USB 3 and SATA 6Gbsps performance - and motherboards featuring one or both are filtering through, Intel has yet to make either new storage standard a part of its chipset line- up.

Our sources here in Taipei tell us that Intel has no plans to integrate USB 3 into its chipsets until 2012 at the earliest - there are no new platforms due this year, and next year's roadmaps currently show none featuring USB 3. Apparently Intel plans to make a USB 3/SATA 6Gbps all-in-one chip for optional use by motherboard manufacturers on its products, however it’s currently finding it difficult to get the pin-count down to an appropriate size.

In some respects this is good news, though because it means market diversity. Companies such as Marvell, NEC, VIA and Realtek can offer alternative USB 3 and SATA 6Gbps chips, however it's something that needs to be well implemented by the motherboard designer - high bandwidth devices need a connection to match: not just a bog standard x1 PCI-E lane. Recently in our own labs, we’ve found that testing the latest SATA 6Gbps Crucial SSD can saturate the Marvell controller currently used on all recent Intel boards. As such we’ve had to opt for an AMD system with its latest SB850 chipset that natively provides the SATA 6Gbps ports.

SATA 6Gbps is currently slated not to arrive in the Sandy Bridge refresh in Q1 2011 (which it appears has slipped from Q4 this year), however it will likely be integrated into the Q3 2011 refresh of the high-end X58 platform, currently being called ‘X68’ by many in the industry.

Does this affect your upgrade plans? Will USB 3 become a critical buying decision in the future and would you buy an AMD system instead for its native SATA 6Gbps support? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

15 Comments

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l3v1ck 13th April 2010, 11:48 Quote
Well that sucks!

I'd much rather have everything in one chipset rather than several others. I know Windows is good at getting drivers these days, but there are power usage and cost issues too.
V3ctor 13th April 2010, 11:54 Quote
:/ There goes my update planned for 2011... lol... If Intel is launching a new high-end I expect it to have all the "newest" features in the market... oh well...
javaman 13th April 2010, 12:07 Quote
Guess thats another reason for the new socket rumour on the x68 platform. How come if AMD can do it but intel can't? While 6Gbps isn't essential for everyone USB3 is far more useful.
amdavies 13th April 2010, 12:27 Quote
Isn't it virtually certain that Intel will be pushing their own Light Peak, rather than USB 3 which competes directly with it ?
wuyanxu 13th April 2010, 12:28 Quote
Asus U3S6 anyone?

PCIe bridge chip to convert 4x PCIe 1.1, no bottleneck and affordable :)
V3ctor 13th April 2010, 12:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Guess thats another reason for the new socket rumour on the x68 platform. How come if AMD can do it but intel can't? While 6Gbps isn't essential for everyone USB3 is far more useful.

AMD doesn't have native USB 3.0... It uses a Nec PCI-e-USB3 controller... It's the same thing. I was just expecting that by 2011 USB3.0 would be "inside" the NB/SB... not in another chip
l3v1ck 13th April 2010, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by amdavies
Isn't it virtually certain that Intel will be pushing their own Light Peak, rather than USB 3 which competes directly with it ?
Doubt it. People want backwards compatibility. Remember what happened when Intel tried to force RDRAM (Rambus) on people.
Showerhead 13th April 2010, 18:31 Quote
Have to agree with the aboveif the try to push through Light Peak and no other option they'll fail. No company or buisness is going to buy a system that makes all their USB devices redundant.
pjl321 13th April 2010, 20:24 Quote
One of the most important things for USB3 is a memory card reader but I can't find one anywhere. Does anyone know of one?

Compact Flash cards are going past 100mb/s now and I am sure SD cards are being held back a fair bit by USB2 as i can't get much more than 22mb/s out of my card.
Pookeyhead 13th April 2010, 23:03 Quote
I'm sure MB manufacturers will just use third party solutions as your article states. I think it's a bit cynical of you however to assume they'll try to shoehorn it down a x1 PCI-E lane. Just because one manufacturer did very early on to no doubt rush a board to market doesn't mean all will. I'm sure there will be some killer boards over the next couple of years that feature decent USB3.0 support via third party solutions that use a X4 PCI solution.
Aracos 13th April 2010, 23:23 Quote
Ok I'm officially fine with richard being moving away, if we get news like this it's well worth him being away :D
iwod 14th April 2010, 08:08 Quote
I dont mind not having USB 3, but not having SATA 3.0 seriously hinder the progression of SSD. I think Computer makers need to start thinking about PCI-E based bootable SSD drive.
Autti 14th April 2010, 08:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwod
but not having SATA 3.0 seriously hinder the progression of SSD. I think Computer makers need to start thinking about PCI-E based bootable SSD drive.
PCI-e based SSD's are bootable already....
Farfalho 14th April 2010, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by V3ctor
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
Guess thats another reason for the new socket rumour on the x68 platform. How come if AMD can do it but intel can't? While 6Gbps isn't essential for everyone USB3 is far more useful.

AMD doesn't have native USB 3.0... It uses a Nec PCI-e-USB3 controller... It's the same thing. I was just expecting that by 2011 USB3.0 would be "inside" the NB/SB... not in another chip

+1 This is a viable solution. Thankfully my rig is still up and running and here's hoping it stays that way until some board comes with every new feature announce nowadays.
Elledan 14th April 2010, 21:05 Quote
Who needs USB 3 anyway? It's got a sucky (not BC with USB 2), short (max 3 meter) cable which is hugely inflexible due to having double the number of conductors inside compared to USB 2. The mini USB 3 connector is also worthless due to being twice as large as the USB 2 version, making it useless for portable and smaller devices.

Flash USB sticks are limited to speeds far below that of USB 2, and for external HDDs we got both FireWire and eSATA as faster alternatives. I honestly can't think of a single device I would get the USB 3 version of.

Light Peak should be smaller, faster and still support USB 3 protocol as it's just a carrier. I am actually looking forward to seeing what it can do.
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