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USB 3.0 to get 10Gb/s transfer rate

USB 3.0 to get 10Gb/s transfer rate

The new USB 3.0 SuperSpeed specification allows for data rates of 10Gb/s - double that of existing systems, and equal to that of Intel and Apple's rival Thunderbolt system.

The USB Promoter Group, the industry conglomerate responsible for convincing the world to use the Universal Serial Bus standard instead of Firewire or Thunderbolt, has announced a little something the working group has knocked up in the lab: a new version of USB 3.0 with double the performance.

According to the USB Promoter Group, the new USB 3.0 SuperSpeed standard will support data rates of 10Gb/s - double that of the 5Gb/s peak data rate supported by USB 3.0 today. Although the standard will require new controllers, the system is designed to be fully backwards-compatible with existing cables and connectors while tying in to existing USB 3.0 software stacks. Those still running USB 2.0 will be pleased to hear that the 10Gb/s USB 3.0 devices will connect just fine - although run at a significantly reduced speed, naturally. As the icing on the cake, the improved performance comes as a result of better data encoding and more efficient data transfer - meaning both performance and power efficiency are boosted.

'With USB technology continuing to be the data and power delivery path of choice across personal computing and consumer electronics, we are always looking ahead to how to best improve user experience and connectivity performance,' claimed Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chair, at the announcement. 'Doubling SuperSpeed USB performance will be especially beneficial for emerging USB docking and storage applications.'

Boosting USB performance to 10Gb/s is a clear response to the threat of Thunderbolt, a rival interconnection standard jointly developed by Intel and Apple. Offering 10Gb/s per device across four PCI Express 2.0 lanes and an integrated DisplayPort channel, Thunderbolt is slowly but surely gaining traction as a solution for external storage and display connectivity. With both USB and Thunderbolt now offering - or, to be precise in the case of USB 3.0, soon to offer - 10Gb/s, the pressure will be on Intel and Apple to increase the throughput of their own standard.

The new USB standard, which has the backing of Microsoft, Intel and HP among others, is expected to go out for industry review in the first quarter of this year. Once review is complete, the standard will be finalised and manufacturers can start to implement it in their products - meaning, with a following wind, it's possible we'll see the first 10Gb/s USB 3.0 controllers and devices before the year is out.

24 Comments

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mi1ez 7th January 2013, 13:34 Quote
I hope they call it 3.1 rather than sticking with 3.0 and making us read the small print constantly and explain to friends and relatives why their new drive/PC isn't as quick as they were expecting...
Blackshark 7th January 2013, 13:41 Quote
Erm..... well given the time it will take 3.1 to actually appear on host devices (MBs) and consumer devices, I think its a mute point.
Tangster 7th January 2013, 13:46 Quote
Take that stupid proprietary standards.
MjFrosty 7th January 2013, 14:14 Quote
Worst. Industry. Ever.
Mankz 7th January 2013, 14:59 Quote
Isn't 5Gbps fast enough?

I mean.. that theoretically an entire 1Tb disk in under three and a half minutes...
proxess 7th January 2013, 15:07 Quote
Gigabits != GigaBytes.

1 Gigabit = 128 MegaBytes.

Meaning 10 Gb/s = 1.280 MB/s

Assuming you meant a 1TByte disk, that means copying everything over, theoretically, if you're always at peak speed, will take 13 minutes 40 seconds. Also assuming the data actually occupies 1TB.
Corky42 7th January 2013, 15:30 Quote
Maybe Apple have learnt from there mistakes with Firewire and Thunderbolt will be a success, But personally i will be steering clear of TB due to its association with Apple and there past history with propriety hardware.
So its good to hear of a faster USB even though i only use it for simple things like keyboard/mouse
[-Stash-] 7th January 2013, 15:44 Quote
Should be called USB4, just keep things simple.

Other than that, good news!
fdbh96 7th January 2013, 16:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Maybe Apple have learnt from there mistakes with Firewire and Thunderbolt will be a success, But personally i will be steering clear of TB due to its association with Apple and there past history with propriety hardware.
So its good to hear of a faster USB even though i only use it for simple things like keyboard/mouse

Technically thunderbolt isn't apple, intel were the inventors or whatever you want to call it, apple just heavily invested in its development. It has appeared on some motherboards recently.

People don't use thunderbolt because it far too expensive, and standard hdds cant reach the speeds anyway.
Corky42 7th January 2013, 17:26 Quote
@fdbh96, yes but Intel signed a exclusive deal with Apple for one year (coming to a close soon)

Apple has always tried to get as much mark up as possible from hardware, a 2M TB cable costing £30, a 2TB HDD costing £290 and the equivalent USB 2TB £90.
By closing TB off for a year (maybe more) it enabled USB3 to get a foot hold in the market and in the end its about what connection your device comes with and whats cheapest.
Gareth Halfacree 7th January 2013, 17:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
@fdbh96, yes but Intel signed a exclusive deal with Apple for one year (coming to a close soon)
The exclusivity deal is already over: you can pick up Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards right now, if you're willing to part with the cash.
ArthurB 7th January 2013, 18:17 Quote
What's the new 100w USB 3.0 standard going to be called? Are we going to have two different USB 3.0 standards: 100w 5Gb/s USB 3.0 and 900mA 10Gb/s USB 3.0?

I wish they would get their act together!
atomo 7th January 2013, 19:33 Quote
Good for USB, but Thunderbolt is still faster. Not only is Thunderbolt 10Gb/s but it's also bi-directional, which means 10Gb/s in BOTH directions.
ch424 7th January 2013, 19:53 Quote
This is a bit strange. Surely Intel has a massive investment in USB3 too? I wonder if this is anything to do with simplifying everything. Intel published an idea for a common PHY (PDF warning) which means that you might as well have all the interfaces running at the same signalling rate.

I wish USB would disappear though; it's such a hassle to develop for compared to Firewire and Thunderbolt/PCIe.
law99 7th January 2013, 20:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomo
Good for USB, but Thunderbolt is still faster. Not only is Thunderbolt 10Gb/s but it's also bi-directional, which means 10Gb/s in BOTH directions.

Isn't USB 3 full duplex now?
Gradius 7th January 2013, 20:32 Quote
Keep in mind it NEVER NEVER NEVER will reach true 10Gb/s, is always less, probably around 7Gb/s. It should be called USB 4.0. Or go directly to true USB 4.0 instead. Thunderbolt will be expensive until 2015~2016, plus we don't ever see much devices using that any time soon.
play_boy_2000 7th January 2013, 20:36 Quote
I'll take the power consumtion improvments, but for a port that I'm just as likely to plug a keyboard into.... who cares?
PCBuilderSven 7th January 2013, 21:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
Gigabits != GigaBytes.

1 Gigabit = 128 MegaBytes.

Meaning 10 Gb/s = 1.280 MB/s

I assume you meant 10Gb/s = 1.280 GB/s
alialias 7th January 2013, 21:32 Quote
Am I right in thinking this 'superspeed' name is what will denote that it's 10Gb/s?
If so, products like this are already muddying the waters by being advertised as 'superspeed usb 3.0':
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-samsung-m3-portable-usb30-20-external-hard-drive-25-carbon-black-bus-powered-usb-30-20-pc-mac
Lazarus Dark 8th January 2013, 01:37 Quote
I don't need this. I need the higher power USB they said was coming. (I mean, I'll take faster, but I'm unlikely to use the full speed very often, whereas I can see using the higher power on a daily basis. I look forward to replacing every socket in the house with usb ports, lol.)
atomo 8th January 2013, 03:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by law99

Isn't USB 3 full duplex now?

My bad, I see now that it is. I suppose it's going to be another interface pissing match. TB has the ability to go to an optical transfer method rather than using copper so that will probably double the speed again, if not more.

I s'pose they both have their respective uses, though. It's most likely they will do well side-by-side, as was USB 2 and Firewire...
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomo
Good for USB, but Thunderbolt is still faster. Not only is Thunderbolt 10Gb/s but it's also bi-directional, which means 10Gb/s in BOTH directions.

Derp, derp, the term I was looking for was "full-duplex" and yes, USB 3 has that too.
fluxtatic 8th January 2013, 09:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackshark
mute point.

MOOT, damnit. The point isn't silent, it's irrelevant. (I don't always grammar nazi, but when I do, it's over mute vs. moot)

Anyway, on topic. I think Intel shot themselves in the face with the Apple exclusivity agreement. With still such a comparatively small piece of the market, TB was limited from the outset. It's been a good, long while since I've heard jack about TB. That it used to be big news when there was a new TB device released was, in and of itself, a bad sign.

I see it going the same way FireWire did (in which case it was absolutely Apple shooting themselves in the face with their ridiculous licensing fees) - it will have its niche, but it will never go mass-market. This is FW vs USB all over again. That is, I'll respectively disagree with atomo - FW was never all that successful. Sure, everybody has a FW port or two even now, but for the most part, they're used on DAWs and video desks.

If it can get widespread enough appeal that cables aren't $50/ea (not entirely the Apple tax, either - they have tuned ICs at each end, so it's a bit more than a dumb pipe), and the Scan/Newegg/Amazon start carrying enclosures and external drives with eSATA/USB/TB interfaces, sure. But those $999, empty, RAID racks? Outside of semi- and pro a/v people, how many of those are going to sell? I would take advantage if it didn't cost more than USB 3 (and I'd be just fine with 5 Gb, personally), but I can't see specifically seeking it out.
Gareth Halfacree 8th January 2013, 10:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alialias
Am I right in thinking this 'superspeed' name is what will denote that it's 10Gb/s?
No, Super Speed is the name given to USB 3.0 5Gb/s (peak) hardware, to differentiate it from USB 1.1 Low Speed 1.5Mb/s, USB 1.1 Full Speed 12Mbs and USB 2.0 High Speed 480Mb/s. If you've a keen eye, you may notice that Full Speed is significantly slower than High Speed. Welcome to the wonderful world of USB naming conventions.

The chances are they'll call it Super Speed+, Hyper Speed, MegaUltraOMGLookItMa Speed or something at launch. Or just call it Super Speed and watch as the sheep buy 5Gb/s hardware by mistake.
MjFrosty 8th January 2013, 17:56 Quote
Whatever they decide, although sometimes it does keep one interested in the goings on, everything is so industry driven these days to a point all they do is put consumers out of joint. Ok, so thunderbolt is quicker than current USB 3.0. In the same way FireWire was over USB 2.0.

That worked out nicely. All I'm thinking now is that I have a sub standard motherboard with a first draft USB controller. :D

Can't wait to try out a 10gb/s external drive. /sarc
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