USB 3.0: What You Need To Know

By Julio Franco ยท 27 replies
Dec 30, 2009
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  1. USB 3.0 is the next major revision of the ubiquitous interface. Dubbed SuperSpeed USB, this new version promises a tenfold leap forward in transfer speeds as well as improved capabilities, all while maintaining compatibility with USB 2.0 devices. In the following few paragraphs we've rounded out all the relevant information that you as a consumer should know about the next-generation USB standard.

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  2. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,093

    If the backwards compatibility is without faults/bugs then i'm sure it will become more popular than USB2.0 currently is.
  3. What were the factors that limited the speed of USB 2.0 before and how did they manage to get past those limits now? In other words, why could those speed and power saving advantages be not possible before with USB rev 2.0 itself?
  4. DarkCobra

    DarkCobra TS Rookie Posts: 79

    All interesting but the already developed and up & running "Light Peak Technology" (fiber optic connection wires) will more than likely replace 3.0 in the not too distant future. USB 3.0 has transfer speeds of 3GB whereas Light Peak Technology starts out at 10GB and can go as high as 100GB.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,093

    currently too expensive and USB has the ability to supply the devices with power. intel is still working on that feature for light peak. So, until then, usb3 will be the king. ^_^
  6. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    I didn't realize 3.0 was bi-directional. As a wise man once said, "speed is good," so definitely looking forward to 3.0 and will have an eyeball on Light Peak as well.

    Good article - thanks!
  7. poundsmack

    poundsmack TS Rookie Posts: 74

    The USB buss was the limiting factor. USB 3.0 however utilized teh PCIe buss and therefor can go much faster as its much harder to saturate the PCI buss
  8. JudaZ

    JudaZ TS Enthusiast Posts: 284

    All I want to know is USB3.0 going to be as CPU load heavy as USB2.0??

    Todays USB today uses alot, and I meen alot of CPU power, just to transfer some files... have this been changed? That is why FireWire still is the better option, no matter what speed the present
  9. USB is here to stay.
    I dont believe that every one will jump on the USB 3.0 bandwagon right out of the box, at least until the prices don't drop to the levels the people have been accustomed to with 2.0. since most of what the average user dos today, dosn't need superspeed... Hey, lets face it even USB 1.0 can keep up with my keyboard typing... but yes it will lay the red carpet for the upgrade path from USB 2.0 and guarantee the the standard will maintain its position as the king of the hill when it comes to peripheral connections. Great... i get to keep my 16meg pen drive ... :)
  10. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 612

    Nothing will be using that bandwidth stream up anytime soon, most USB 2.0 devices don't even push their 400Mbps limit.
  11. license27kill

    license27kill TS Member Posts: 70

    i think i might stick to 2.0 for a while..
    since gigabyte only offers the 3.0..
    i might have to wait for asus to release 1.
    but more or less.. its a 50%-75% incerease in speed..
    and we are talking about 90-100mb/s
    makes a litle difference.. but not big enough..
    --my 2cents.. :)
  12. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 529   +7

    i will probably make sure to include a couple usb3.0 ports on any new computer i build :)
  13. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I have 2 USB connected external hard drives. I would like them to be faster, but since I only use them for backup, I don't really mind all that much. Other than that, the rest of my USB devices (keyboard, mouse, camera) seem to be doing fine at 2.0.

    USB 3.0 sounds nice, and when it becomes standard I'm sure I'll buy things that use it like everyone else, but I don't see myself spending any extra money to upgrade anything to USB 3.0
  14. Anyway, whatever it is, it would be nice to have some 3.0s, don't you think :D
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    I use Gigabyte motherboards for most of my builds anyway so my next build will include one with USB 3.0. It doesn't matter that there are few USB 3.0 devices out now. Having the capability increases your options later.
  16. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    'alot' is a relative term, but 4-6% CPU usage for transferring data from an external HDD on a computer that is a few years old is hardly what I consider 'alot'.

    I won't deny that Firewire is a better option when compared against USB 2.0... But even if USB 3.0 is equally processor intensive, there's simply no comparison. USB 3.0 will provide faster transfer rates, without question. And in the day of multi-core, multi-Ghz CPUs, several percent worth of CPU cycles is absolutely negligible in nearly any scenario.

    I agree that I'd like to see USB 3.0 use less CPU, but I think it is a little silly to make this an argument to continue using (slower and far less prolific) Firewire instead.
  17. USB 3.0 cables will be as thick as an ethernet cable? That doesn't sound very appealing at all.
  18. whiteandnerdy

    whiteandnerdy TS Member Posts: 69

    i just bought a new Gigabyte mobo with the new usb ports as futrure insurance.
  19. travis061986

    travis061986 TS Rookie

    Yea.. Ive heard that as well..
  20. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I'm planning a build where I use HDDs connected via USB for any data storage (mini-itx: no space for HDD).

    In this instance, the faster the transfer, the better. Movies, music, game files, etc will all play off the USB. But then again, the most used files will all stay in the internal drives (which might be SSDs, depending on my mood on the day I buy the comp).
  21. USB 3.0 cables will be as thick as an ethernet cable? That doesn't sound very appealing at all.

    Appealing? the extra width is for the extra wires for bi-directional, else it won't be that thick. No offense but for a faster and better features, what's there to be appealed for... i wonder... :)
  22. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Thick cables means it won't be as flexible.

    My only problem would be the cost of these cables..... As it is, USB cables are overpriced :S
  23. margaret999

    margaret999 TS Rookie

    he new standard is physically and functionally backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1, and can support devices complying with older specifications. Plug in your old device and it also can work (at the older speed). But if plug a USB 3.0 device into a USB 2.0 interface, it will ran at a slower speed.
  24. Since USB 3.0 is downward compatible, why are manufacturers adding USB 2.0 inputs to their USB 3.0 equiped computers ? It just makes no sens !
    USB 3.0 input can read any other USB input !
  25. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Motherboard manufacturers being cheap. I think Intel having devised their own standard (light/copper peak) have not included a USB 3.0 controller in their latest chipsets. This leaves it up to the motherboard manufacturers to add a 3rd party USB 3.0 Controller onto the motherboard. The intel chipset will still have USB 2.0 controller in it, so they connect that up and the ports for the 3rd party controller. Probably a controller for more ports costs more than one for just a few hence only finding a couple of ports. Not sure of the situation with the latest AM3+ AMD chipsets and whether or not those incorporate USB 3.0 controllers.

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