SuperSpeed USB to clock 400 megs per second

Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 15:10 by Tech Correspondent

SuperSpeed USB or USB 3.0 is said to be “the next big thing” in transferring data. Fujitsu and Fresco Logic are working to deliver a superfast USB 3.0 that would clock a whopping 390 megs per second transfer speed.

The USB 3.0 drive is actually a RAID, which will be powered by a combination of Fujitsu’s IC and Fresco Logic’s xHCI host controller. Generally, when we see the hardware specs, the write speed is approximately half of the read speed and both are never identical. But, in USB 3.0, the read and write speeds will be almost identical. While the read speed will hit 390 megs per second, and the write speed will manage to hit a jaw-dropping 380 megs per second. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

Now for the most important factor — would your systems need a USB 3.0 port? Well, the best thing about USB 3.0 is its backward compatibility with USB 2.0. This means, you need a new cable and new host to achieve USB 3.0, but you can still use the device on a USB 2.0 port and achieve typical USB 2.0 performance using only one-third power.

Another feature is that the theoretical throughput improvement offered by USB 3.0 is 10X jump over existing USB 2.0 hardware. USB 2.0 maxed out at a theoretical 480Mbps, while USB 3.0 can theoretically handle up to 5Gbps. Moreover, USB 3.0 is a powered port, which means you do not require another external power supply running to the drive.

There are many companies to bring out USB 3.0. Western Digital was the first to announce a USB 3.0 drive. But now, many other hard drive makers have either announced the products or are planning to release it in coming few months. Few names that we are aware of are Seagate, LaCie, Rocstor, and Iomega. Other vendors like Dane-Elec and A-Data have also showcased products they billed as USB 3.0.

In-Stat says SuperSpeed USB will ship in nearly 14 million devices in 2010, just short of industry expectations and by 2014, however, over 1.7 billion devices will ship with the interface enabled, a 12x increase over 2010.

But so far, only HP and Fujitsu have announced limited USB 3.0 support on notebooks. And Taiwanese notebook and desktop maker MSI indicated that it wouldn’t have USB 3.0 until, at the earliest, the third-quarter of this year.

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