Intel releases USB 3.0 host controller draft specs

Written by Tim Smalley

August 14, 2008 | 09:02

Tags: #09 #draft #free #group #rev #royalty #specification #usb-30

Companies: #amd #dell #intel #microsoft #nec #nvidia

Intel has announced the availability of draft revision 0.9 for USB 3.0 Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) specifications, enabling chipset manufacturers to now include support for the new interface in their next-generation products.

The company says that the xHCI specifications will be available royalty-free to all members of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group along with contributor companies that sign an xHCI contributor agreement.

Support for the new specification appears to cover all the major players, including AMD, Dell, Microsoft, NEC and Nvidia, which is great news following the rumbles we were hearing at Computex in June.

During the show, there were several sources close to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group that were complaining—on terms of anonymity, no less—about Intel's lack of openness on the new standard. The closest we got to an on-the-record comment was from Intel, who said that it was still working on finalising the specification before releasing it to anyone else.

The complaints seemed quite serious at the time and came from more than a just a couple of sources – everything seemed to be pointing towards two separate standards being created. Frankly, the split wouldn't have been a good thing for the industry, because we would've seen what happened with USB 1.0 all over again. This kind of thing screws customers over and adoption of the new standard would be cautious until the incompatibilities are worked out – come back when USB 3.1 is released would have been the best way to put it at the time had this happened.

Intel said it plans to release a revised xHCI specification (version 0.95) in the fourth quarter and will be again released royalty-free via an xHCI adopter's agreement. There's more, including quotes from various industry luminaries in the Intel statement released on its website – curiously though, there's no statement from Nvidia.

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