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Intel Releases USB 3.0 Controller Interface Spec 374

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lookit-all-them-wires dept.
hardsky submitted thrilling news about everyone's favorite interconnect cable by saying "USB 3.0 is set to deliver data-transfer speeds of up to 5Gb/s, initially over tweaked connectors and wiring and, later, over optical links."
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Intel Releases USB 3.0 Controller Interface Spec

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  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:19AM (#24598755)

    Does USB 3.0 assist in the more rapid delivery of porn to my PC?

    If the answer is "Yes", then please continue with your announcement.

  • If not even the editor posting a story isn't interested, I'd think that would be an indication that it might not be worth posting.

    • by Jellybob (597204)

      Damn it.

      Three edits later, and it still makes no sense. I obviously meant to say "If not even the editor posting a stroy is interested".

      [Goes to hide in a corner until he's able to type again.]

      • Re:Come On (Score:5, Funny)

        by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:34AM (#24599067)

        Damn it.

        Three edits later, and it still makes no sense. I obviously meant to say "If not even the editor posting a stroy is interested".

        [Goes to hide in a corner until he's able to type again.]

        Hvae you seen taht rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy taht syas it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

        http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/~mattd/Cmabrigde/ [cam.ac.uk]

        • Re:Come On (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jgtg32a (1173373) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:37AM (#24599115)
          While that is true, I showed that to my GF who is from Hong Kong and knows English as a second language, cannot do it at all, but she can read perfectly and a bit faster than me
        • Thank you Riddley Walker.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jellybob (597204)

          Yup. I have seen the research, and I clearly needed to step away from the keyboard.

          Although I think my point stands, when the entire discussion on this article is on my crappy spelling and grammar, rather then the oh-so-exciting USB 3.0

        • by sukotto (122876)

          That does not actually work all that well if you really randomize the letters.
          .
          .
          .
          .
          Taht deos not aalstluy wrok all taht wlel if you ralely rzaomdnie the ltertes .

        • by Phat_Tony (661117)
          Saying "it deosn't mttaer" is relative. It may not matter to getting your meaning across, but it does affect whether or not you're attacked by a ravenous cabal of grammar Nazis on slashdot.
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:19AM (#24598767)

    Still the same symmetrical plug design....stupid, stupid move. Would have been that hard to add a ridge on one side or something, so you don't have to stare at the end??

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

      by Seraph787 (859123) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:24AM (#24598863) Homepage
      yea we know its but here are the reasons its needed 1) Backwards compatible 2) Fit more ports in a smaller area, less wasted space 3) Cheaper for manufactures because the mounts are the same thus making it a cheaper industry upgrade to adopt.
    • Embossing (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:24AM (#24598879) Homepage Journal
      Yes, the USB connector is blind accessible. The "top" of the A plug's plastic part is supposed to be embossed with a USB logo, and the "bottom" isn't supposed to be embossed. So if you know which way is "up" on your PC's connector, or if you are using a hub (in which case up is more obvious), you can more easily plug them in blind.
      • Yeah, that's all fine and good, but it rarely seems to happen that way.

        But I have four devices that have usb cords sitting here, and one of them is properly embossed.

        In fact, one them that is not has a "mold mark" from cheap assembly on the *bottom* of the plug, which feels like an emboss mark if you didn't know better. (That would be the data cord for my phone, and it has the same mold mark at both the PC end and the micro-usb end, and both of them are on the bottom instead of the top)

        I've taken to using a
      • And how are you supposed to work out which way is "up" with a socket that is on a tower case or PCI bracket?
        • And how are you supposed to work out which way is "up" with a socket that is on a tower case or PCI bracket?

          On the majority of USB hubs, up is obvious from the printing on the hub's case. For a tower case, up is generally away from the motherboard. PCI USB cards are less predictable, so I'd recommend using a hub with those. You should be using a hub anyway (or the front-panel sockets, if present) for any device that you routinely plug and unplug.

          (subject explained [ytmnd.com])

      • Re:Embossing (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mattsson (105422) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:53AM (#24599373) Homepage Journal

        The problem is that the host-connector has no markings, and sometimes "up" might be either left, right, up or down relative the up of the device itself.

        What they should have done, from the beginning of USB, was to have the connector truly symmetric, so that you could plug it in either way.

        • by hkgroove (791170)
          But... but that would have made sense!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by saider (177166)

          What they should have done, from the beginning of USB, was to have the connector truly symmetric, so that you could plug it in either way.

          Connecting +5V to ground with a wire is inadvisable. The magic smoke is let out of the chip, which then ceases to work.

          Seriously, how many connectors out there do you know of that let you plug it in any way you feel like? All connectors have to be oriented so that the signals and power goes to the right place.

          Please do not come if I ask for someone to jump my car.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by josecanuc (91) *

            Maybe not symmetric, but "genderless". See Anderson PowerPole connectors:
            http://www.powerwerx.com/assembly.asp [powerwerx.com]

            No male/female parts, and there's only one way it will fit. Doesn't solve the problem of needing to line up the "tops" of each half of the connection.

            It is possible, however, to have a plug/socket set that allows you to plug it in "up" or "down". You just need double the number of contacts as signals and put all your signals on one half of the plug and wire each signal wire in the socket to two cont

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Seriously, how many connectors out there do you know of that let you plug it in any way you feel like?

            Oh, I don't know... Ever used headphones? [wikipedia.org]

            How about at least some power [wikipedia.org] connectors? [phidgets.com]

            I can't even imagine it being easier to manufacture this little square thing than to manufacture something, you know, round like that.

            • by tepples (727027)

              Oh, I don't know... Ever used headphones?

              Tip-ring-sleeve connectors on devices for home use don't often carry both power and signal. The iPod Shuffle is an exception.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rcw-home (122017)

            Seriously, how many connectors out there do you know of that let you plug it in any way you feel like?

            For starters, my car keys.

            It can be done, but it requires duplicating contacts in an axially-symmetric way.

            I would have been happy with a trapezoidal or semicircular connector.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ruie (30480)

            What they should have done, from the beginning of USB, was to have the connector truly symmetric, so that you could plug it in either way.

            Connecting +5V to ground with a wire is inadvisable. The magic smoke is let out of the chip, which then ceases to work.

            Seriously, how many connectors out there do you know of that let you plug it in any way you feel like? All connectors have to be oriented so that the signals and power goes to the right place.

            Please do not come if I ask for someone to jump my car.

            Trivial, my dear Watson - just have two sets of contacts on the male connector
            that are centrally symmetric. This way regardless of orientation you have proper polarity.

            If you are worried about EM properties of the connector make the host have two sets as well - this way you will not have dangling ends.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by heffrey (229704) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:27AM (#24598935)

      Most UBB connectors have a USB symbol on one side which means (this side up). I'd never really thought about this until someone gave me an iPod. I then found that I was forever struggling to get the connector in.

      What I concluded was happening was:

      1. I'd sub-consciously worked out that the connector is inserted USB symbol up.
      2. The Apple USB connector has the USB symbol on, but on the other side it has an Apple symbol.
      3. My sub-conscious was in fact not distinguishing between USB symbol and Apple symbol. Instead the logic was something like, "that side has a symbol on, I'll put it facing upwards".

      I'm quite sure that the "symbol faces up" convention is a part of the USB spec. I never needed to know this because my brain naturally worked it out without it ever entering my consciousness. This is a truly wonderful piece of human interface design and yet those morons from Apple go and break it with an inane piece of branding. Way to go Apple. Anyone who ever thinks that Apple cares about usability should think again.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

      by ChrisMP1 (1130781) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:28AM (#24598941)
      If it takes you more than two tries to put in a USB plug, you probably shouldn't be allowed near a computer anyway.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

        by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:37AM (#24599113) Journal
        Never had this:

        Try the correct way.
        Try the other way.
        Try the correct way again.
        Look at plug
        Insert screwdriver to bend plug back into shape
        Try the correct way.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tim C (15259)

          I've not had that, though I have managed to ruin a lead and one of the ports on my desktop; I had something plugged in and caught the lead as I walked past. The plug ripped out of the port, leaving that internal bit in the port.

          Oh well, I had plenty of other leads and ports...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mortonda (5175)

          You forgot the step where you realized you stuck the USB connector into the ethernet slot. It fits, I kid you not.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Funny)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:49AM (#24599303) Journal

      If you push hard enough, it will go in the wrong way as well.

  • Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:19AM (#24598771) Journal

    Will we ever see a storage medium that can move data that fast?

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:24AM (#24598871)

      Doesn't matter. It is a universal serial BUS.

      This means that traffic to and from many slower storage devices can share the path so any speed increase is still a good thing, right?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ChrisMP1 (1130781)
      Not without a connector for it first.
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Seraph787 (859123) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:34AM (#24599065) Homepage

      simple answer: yes

      Complicated answer:
      Progress is inevitable and we definitely need that kind of speed. Its not only about hard drives but also about Audio visual components. Such as an USB HDTV Dongle which is a bit slow for USB 2.0. It is also one of the reasons why webcams currently max out at 2.0 megapixels. anything more than that the current USB 2.0 cannot handle. It is quite easy to eat through those 600MB/s, Just think of the USB 3.0 replacing 1000mbit ethernet.

    • by PIBM (588930)

      Just use an external raid hard drive rack, with 4 HD pushing over 1.5 gbs you'll max out the incoming bus speed already..

    • In theory, you could take two SATA 3GB drives and put them in a dedicated box that treated them as a software-driven RAID-0. That would give you peak theoretical data transfer of 6Gb/sec, but that's likely to happen only if you hit the drives' on-board caches. Connect that to your box using USB 3.0.

      Of course, I'd probably prefer 1Gb/sec Ethernet, so I could see the data from my network not just one machine.

      Seriously though, widespread use of the full bandwidth will probably not show up until 6-12 months a

    • Well, first, I imagine it would make a USB 3.0 hub support far more of the slower variety.

      But consider that USB 2.0 isn't fast enough for standard desktop hard drives, and it's obvious we do need more speed. Whether we need that much more speed is up for debate, but I'd argue that if we're going to spend all that money on an upgrade, we may as well make it as fast as we can, just in case.

  • My god (Score:5, Funny)

    by Centurix (249778) <centurixNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:21AM (#24598801) Homepage

    My humping USB dog [thinkgeek.com] will be a blur!

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:24AM (#24598867) Homepage Journal

    I for one, welcome our new dongle overlords.

    I just like to say dongle.

  • by vjmurphy (190266) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:27AM (#24598919) Homepage

    "hardsky submitted thrilling news about everyone's favorite interconnect cable..."

    Don't know about anyone else, but my favorite interconnect cable is something very, very, different.

  • by Sleen (73855) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:39AM (#24599139)

    Will this really be faster or will it just be bigger chunks? Also, will this spec require more cpu overhead? My interest is not for SLR and video cams, but for live audio and instruments where speed, or latency is an issue. USB usually requires more cpu, is prone to more contention and overall offers lower quality for realtime audio processing. And why do people say its faster or higher speed? Maybe your transfers don't take as long, but I am willing to bet that small chunks won't see any benefit.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:42AM (#24599189)
    From the actual body of the story...

    Intel has provided chipset makers with a draft specification for a USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI), making good a promise it made a couple of months ago.

    I thought we had a standards body that would release such a spec to developers. This development in my opinion, might have other chip makers release a "renegade USB 4.0" promising new features and the like.

    Question is; is it up to manufacturers to think of ideas, name them and release these to the general public? What's up with IEEE Standards group, whose global standards include Biomedical and Healthcare, Nanotechnology, Information Technology and Information Assurance among others?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:22AM (#24599813) Journal
      I think you are confusing USB with FireWire. FireWire is the IEEE 1394 family of standards (letter suffixes indicating later versions with higher speeds). USB is an interface developed by Intel to help them sell faster CPUs.
    • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:42AM (#24600161)

      There is a USB standards group, of which Intel has historically been the driving force. The various USB logos are trademarks of that group, so any "renegade" claiming to have USB 4.0 would be committing a trademark infringement if they tried to decorate it using recognized symbols and logos.

      USB remains one of the great industry success stories, designed by Intel and then licensed out at extremely low prices with a very inclusive policy. USB gained as much traction as it did because Apple used to insist on upwards of $1 in royalties per chip implementing Firewire, on top of the difficulty of implementing Firewire in the first place. The margins on peripheral chipsets are so low that there was no way to manufacture cheap Firewire devices at those prices. They still want too much in royalties even today, which is why budget motherboards never include Firewire, and no low-end devices connect using Firewire. Ever seen a Firewire flash drive?

      Meanwhile Intel understands the concept of a truly mass market, and designed a simpler standard that uses less silicon to implement and less money for permission to implement. The price is higher CPU usage, since USB chips don't do very much work. Then Intel was clever enough to grab a golden opportunity and create a higher speed extension to the standard that suddenly brought it squarely in contention with Firewire, while being totally backwards compatible. Firewire answered, with Firewire 400, but without USB pushing them, they probably wouldn't have bothered to create a higher speed Firewire. Now Firewire 800 is on its way out, but going up against USB 3 at up to 5X the speed, while still having liberal licensing terms. Is it any wonder that camcorder manufacturers are jumping ship and abandoning Firewire?

  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:42AM (#24599193)
    It's all well and good to quote the new speed but what will be get int the real world? USB2 never meets expectations due ot the huge (compared to fire wire) host CPU requirements.

    Will Intel be integrating the Larabee core into it's USB 3 host chips?
    • Throughput will be just like real-world performance of 802.11b/g/n and USB 2.0. Claim some huge ass number, but reality ends up being nowhere near that value, but it doesn't matter because you can market it at the former.

      • USB 2 does get the speed it advertises, but it advertises a misleading number. The 480Mb/s speed is the wire speed. This is the same as the 100Mb/s you get from ethernet - it's the speed bits are sent along the wire, not the speed at which you can transfer useful data. On top of this, you have a protocol which wraps each blob of data into one or more packets with some routing and error checking information. It will also intersperse timing and control signals into the bit stream.

        The amount of overhead

  • eSATA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amcdiarmid (856796) <amcdiarm AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:02AM (#24599507) Journal

    I'm certain that USB3 will be "supposed to be" backward with USB 1; 1.1; 2, but will likely only be backwards compatible with 2. Right now, a Hard disk cannot keep up with eSATA at 1.5 Gb/s, nevermind eSATA at 3Gb/s. For the past year or so, many of us have been buying $15 eSATA cards for our old computers, and new computers with eSATA built in. Considering that external HD cases with eSATA connectors cost only about $16 (something with 4 eggs, at Newegg) what is the benefit?

    Possible benefits would be increased transfer speed to peripheral devices, but can we reasonably expect devices that fast by then? Personally, I would hope that 10Gb/s ethernet would come down in price by then. The only real benefit I see with the proposed USB3 is something for a processor core to do....

    $.02

    PS: I will give a possible something to do mention to Hard Disk (Solid-State) video recorders... but they could use eSATA as well & still be saturated..

  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:11AM (#24599635)
    Why do we need USB 3? The reason for my question is e-SATA. Why not pump more into development of devices that run on that interface instead of USB?
    • Don't have time to read the article, but historically one of the advantages of USB has been that almost any perpipheral, high speed, or low speed, can be plugged into the same type of connector, so users don't have to worry about which plug to plug the keyboard into, which for the mouse, which for an external hard drive, camera, thumb drive, etc. That is the real beauty of USB - the 'universal plug'. Which is one reason I'm worried about an 'optical' version of USB - because that would seem to require a new

  • USB 2.0 can't even hit it's full speed and the slower fire wire 400 beats it and with firewire 1600 and 3200 that uses the same cables as fire wire 800. USB 3.0 that needs new cables to hit it full speed It will be a long time for it to get any ware and will 3.0 usb cards with there own cpu and heatsink on them?

  • Now all they need to do is make a motherboard and hard drives that can push 5 GB/s though the bridge and stream the data to a hard drive that can actually write 5 GB/s.

    Wouldn't that be great.

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