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Data Storage Hardware

USB 3 in 2008, 10 Times as Fast 381

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i'll-believe-it-when-it's-on-my-laptop dept.
psychicsword writes "Intel and others plan to release a new version of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus technology in the first half of 2008, a revamp the chipmaker said will make data transfer rates more than 10 times as fast by adding fiber-optic links alongside the traditional copper wires." "The current USB 2.0 version has a top data-transfer rate of 480 megabits per second, so a tenfold increase would be 4.8 gigabits per second." This should make USB hard drives easier and faster to use."
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USB 3 in 2008, 10 Times as Fast

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  • Great. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:21AM (#20665919) Journal
    Incredible and grand news if it's on target, and doesn't dissolve into vapor.

    Cue the Media Copying Discussions.

    (Someone fast on their math: How long would that take to copy a new 0.90 Terabyte drive?)
  • Re:Cable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SnoopJeDi (859765) <snoopjedi AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:25AM (#20665947)
    I can't see any reason it wouldn't be backwards compatible...USB2 just can't utilize the fiber-optic component of the USB3 wire. And surely USB3 would be smart enough to know when a USB2 wire is plugged in, and would be capped at the old transfer rate (just like plugging a USB2 device into a USB1 port)

    Then again, it's all my early-morning speculation without RTFA.
  • by Laebshade (643478) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:31AM (#20666005)
    I can't find the exact article, but you should read this one about the effective USB 2.0 speed [everythingusb.com]. It states that the effective maximum speed is only about 40MB/sec, and that 60MB/sec can't be achieved due to overhead/software limitations; not sure if this is true now.
  • Eat into SATA? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:35AM (#20666047) Homepage Journal
    Interesting. That should put the last nail into Firewire's coffin (and FW 800's). I wonder if we'll see USB 3.0 eat into SATA's market with internal USB3 drives on desktop and laptop machines. That could make desktops cheaper - ditching the IDE/SATA controller means one less component.
  • Re:Cable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stonent1 (594886) <stonent AT stone ... intclark DOT net> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:38AM (#20666073) Journal
    I think the fiber part will be inside the extra space in the connector in a way that doesn't interfere with the electrical part of it. Probably when you plug in a cable the electrical part asks the connection if it is USB3 capable and if the device responds yes, it turns on the fiber transceiver.
  • by TRRosen (720617) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:59AM (#20666255)
    more speed is great but USB will never replace FireWire for video as its not a matter of speed but architecture. FireWire is a true bus USB is not...FireWire can guarantee bandwith USB can not.
  • by schwinn8 (982110) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:15AM (#20666395)
    Exactly... Firewire400 works well for video streaming from a DV cam because it has very little overhead. Even though USB2 supposedly does 480Mbps, it can't do DV because there's too much overhead. Bottom line is, unless USB3 gets rid of the CPU dependency and overhead issues, I won't like it. Sure, with a "ten times" the performance, this won't hinder DV, but that doesn't make it good. I hope they make it systemically-efficient, instead of just ramping clock rates to reach these speeds.
  • Re:Yeah, but.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ggeens (53767) <ggeens@iggy[ ]d.com ['lan' in gap]> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:17AM (#20666423) Homepage Journal

    When I was working on my Master's thesis, I had to splice optical fiber a few times. Believe me, it's not easy.

    Glass fiber is very flexible. You can bend it in any way you want, it won't break. You can cut it, but that takes considerable force. If you break the fiber, you'll break the copper wires as well.

    Personally, I think the weakest point in such a cable will be the connectors. Getting the light from one fiber to another requires careful alignment. Any deviation might causes loss of signal. Getting dirt into the connector is probably fatal.

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:22AM (#20666489) Journal
    drive? It would only make sense that since its solid state it would be faster than our primitive hard drives with their moving parts... (yes, I know about SS Hard drives and don't have 2500 dollars to spare)
  • Honest Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by martyb (196687) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:50AM (#20666777)

    I've got a question that has been nagging at me for quite a while and was hoping someone here could phrase an answer in terms a mere mortal could understand.

    Why are there so many serial specifications?

    We've got, off the top of my head, SCSI, USB, Ethernet, FireWire, and SATA to name a few. I do understand there are different protocols (all the way up from the physical to the application layers). Different applications of these technologies permit some optimizations that might not be applicable in other situations. But, at some point, the underlying technology is fast enough

    Still, I can't help but think there should be some common denominator that ALL these communications standards can agree on, and through economies of scale, become universal standard(s). It just seems like people keep re-inventing the wheel with an eye toward THEIR favorite.

    I thought we were getting close when they released gigabit Ethernet over UTP (unshielded twisted pair).

    • can handle distances up to 100 meters
    • fast data rate (1000 Mbps)
    • supports lower data rates (100/10 Mbps)
    • development is underway for 10Gbps, too.

    So, for the sake of argument, why not have all of our serial devices just support gigabit Ethernet? Sure, you'd need a hub or switch in your PC to talk to all of the devices, but you already need something similar for the other protocols (USB hub, SCSI controller, etc.). It's a well-known technology with many implementations and is widely available. I'd willingly pay a few more bucks for each device if I could ditch all of these incompatible formats and just standardize on one SET of ports and cables for hooking things to (and within) my PC. And in those cases where a different connector is desired (e.g. for small form-factor devices like a digital camera), let me just get an adapter cable/plug that I can plug into my Ethernet port.

    Is there any good, technical reason that is keeping us from having truly UNIVERSAL serial communications?

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:57AM (#20666871) Homepage
    I do not look forward to the replacement of what was starting to be a reliable, ubiquitous standard that "satisficed" with a New! Improved! version that shows no signs of actually achieving significantly higher throughput with current devices. Why does USB have to compete with SATA? Why can't USB just be USB?

    I've been seriously disappointed with the number of times I've interconnected USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices and had them almost work, only to encounter various strangeness and glitches. I don't know who's to blame... whether it's a fault in the standard or in vendors' faulty implementations... and life's too short to care, because know who's to blame wouldn't do much to help solve the problem.

    On the whole, I blame the standard, because these days standards are so incredibly huge, bloated, and complex that it is extremely unlikely that anyone actually implements it fully correctly.

    With today's sloppy practices of testing to the market ("Let's try it with the most popular devices, or the ones which are most important to our business") instead of testing to the standard, the result is all sorts of opportunities to build devices that comply with the standard but do things just a little differently than the most popular devices... and have them not work even though they "should."

    A typical example was an IOmega external CD burner I bought once for a USB 1.1 Mac. (I chose it because it was $30 cheaper than a FireWire model, I wanted both PC and Mac present and future compatibility), and I didn't really care about speed. The drive actually burned perfect CDs, but it always claimed erroneously that an error had occurred. But how could a sane person rely on that? I returned it, bought a different USB 2.0 external CD burner from a different vendor... and encountered exactly the same problem.

    I've also seen various glitches and strangenesses trying to use USB 1.1 thumb drives in USB 2.0 CPUs and vice versa.
  • by JoeD (12073) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:00AM (#20666927) Homepage
    I can never remember which one is faster, "Hi Speed" or "Full Speed".

    we're probably going to wind up with yet another ambiguous name like "Extreme Speed" or "Max Speed".

    Just call it USB 3.0 and be done with it.
  • Re:Eat into SATA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:00AM (#20666929)
    Last nail? They haven't even started fitting Firewire with a coffin yet. The only thing dying in this equation is USB2, and thankfully so. So it is faster than USB...joy, my mouse, printer and keyboard all now react the same speed, regardless of the interface speed boost. What's the point of USB2 again? If it doesn't boost the speed of my peripherals at least as well as my existing firewire400/800 ports, then why do I need it? It IS a pity that iPods stopped shipping with firewire and went to USB2, but that was a business choice to have maximum compatibility. Too bad my newer iPods can't transfer 2 songs per second anymore, like they used to when they were firewire400. But like many others have said, USB2 is "good enough" so it is really hard to get excited about USB3, which will be "gooder enough?"
  • by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:05AM (#20667003) Homepage Journal
    Mod parent up, hammer meets nail in their post :)

    Bonus points if you hook a 108mb/s wireless lan adapter via USB and throw some large data files over it, watch your data speeds closely, and monitor system performance even closer.

    Firewire (1394, ilink, DV port, whatever) really was the shit, not only fast, low overheads AND its a peer-2-peer setup, in a pinch you could daisy chain PCs with it for an impromptu 400mb/s lan.

    Why didn't they just hang USB out to dry and get power into the eSATA spec and use that? At least then no extra chips would be needed on a mobo, external HDD would hookup with no loss in performance and we might finally see thumb drives that work natively with ANY os as... drives.
  • Re:Cable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dwater (72834) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:17AM (#20667143)
    does it mention if usb 3.0 will slow down if you plug a usb 2.0/1.1/1.0 on a usb 3.0 bus?

    like if you plug a usb 1.X device onto a usb 2.0 bus, then everything slows to usb 1.X. IINM...
  • Re:Honest Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlBrianR (51773) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:42AM (#20667513) Homepage
    I think the main problem is repeated insertion/removal vs. semi-permanent installation.

    USB connectors are designed to be inserted and removed over and over. They're held in by pressure against the connector, so they can be removed without having to push a tab or twist the connector to remove it.

    UTP cables are designed to be plugged in, and then generally left alone. The UTP cable in my computer bag is in terrible shape.. the RJ45 connector is coming loose, the plastic retaining tab is broken off (so the cable often pops out of the jack on its own), etc.

    I have USB devices which I've removed and inserted hundreds of times, and the connectors still work reliably.

  • Re:Great. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:48AM (#20667589)
    The most number of lanes supported by PCIe is x32, so 250MB/s x 32 x 2 (bi-directionality) is 16GB/s for a theoretical maximum transfer rate. - Please note this is theoretical maximum ...

    PCI-X maximum is as I said 4.3GB/s ...

    But the real killer is maximum implemented storage transfer speed bus is Fibre Channel 4GFC (4.25 GHz) - 425 MB/s

  • Re:Honest Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @11:41AM (#20669219) Homepage Journal

    Is there any good, technical reason that is keeping us from having truly UNIVERSAL serial communications?

    Yes.

    Let me explain:

    • USB, per standard (host side), must be able to source at least 500 mA. Even though there is a PoE (Power over Ethernet) standard, most choose not to implement it by default. Hence, ethernet can't power devices like flash drives and hard drives.
    • USB uses four wires, ethernet twice as many. USB is a synchronous bus, meaning that there are (theoretically, at least) no collisions. A properly operating USB device will not stomp on someone else's data packet. Thus, for the given bitrate, a higher portion of the bandwidth is available to applications. Unlike ethernet, adding devices to the same physical connection will not degrade the overall bandwidth of the network. In practice, I've found 100 Mbit ethernet devices operating with a maximum throughput of about 35-40 Mbits/second because of collisions. And this was with *two* devices! To get a better throughput requires using routers (which minimize or eliminate collisions).
    • RS232 is a pretty universal serial communication standard. However, it is also slow.
    • There are tradeoffs between maximum cable length and the speed of the bus.
    • There are tradeoffs between the number of signal lines and the cost of the device.
    • There are tradeoffs between bitrate and the device cost.

    So, the reason why we don't have a universal serial standard is because the different interfaces were designed with different goals in mind.

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