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Hands-on Look At USB 3.0, Spec Details Revealed 251

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-ribbons-of-blue dept.
notdagreatbrain writes "Maximum PC dug up some new information about USB 3.0, got their hands on the new connectors, and even took a look inside the new cables. They learned several new details about the next-gen version of the ubiquitous interface. USB Superspeed will be backward compatible with USB 2.0. The maximum speed of the new spec is 4.8Gbps, which is ten times faster than hi-speed. Five new wires are bundled in the cable, four of them used for data transfer (bi-directional transfer is now supported). More power will also be funneled through the line, so you can charge more devices, faster. The wireless USB is also getting upgraded to version 1.1, and will include ultra-wide band frequency support and Near Field Communication for near-instant swipe-based syncing."
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Hands-on Look At USB 3.0, Spec Details Revealed

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  • and Yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:52AM (#24703279) Homepage

    It will still be slower for sustained transfers than Firewire 400.

    The most important part, did they finally make it non CPU intensive?

    I also really want to know what they are targeting with it. as Portable storage has esata which will kick it's butt, and USB2.0 is fine for everything else except video, and we have that standardized on firewire.

  • Re:and Yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:09AM (#24703435) Homepage

    Yes I have and Firewire and eSATA work fantastically, eSATA kicking everything butt hard in speed.

    so again, what are they targeting USB3.0 for? eSata will be the standard by the time they get around to releasing it. I even have a eSata port on my laptop and it's a year old!

  • "For Windows" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Lode (1290856) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:13AM (#24703463)
    From the article: "Also, new Mass Storage Device drivers will have to be developed for Windows to take advantage of the spec.". What does being developed for Windows mean? Does it mean it will work ONLY in Windows? Are drivers for USB 3.0 not usable on other platforms?
  • by hey! (33014) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:17AM (#24703503) Homepage Journal

    This could be fixed if they simply specified the minimum mechanical strength of the sockets and plugs.

    A lot of USB cables and devices have connectors you can bend with finger pressure. That's Ok for things like printers that are unplugged once in a blue moon, but it's not good for things like cameras that are frequently connected and disconnected.

  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:52AM (#24703879)
    I've seen too many people destroy USB 1 and 2 connectors by repeatedly wiggling the plug out of the sockets to the point where the sockets no longer hold the connector anymore

    IMO it's because the standard specifies a crappy connector with almost no redeeming values mechanically, other than being easy to plug/unplug. They're practically guaranteed to work themselves loose unless the connection is absolutely left alone. There really needs to be some kind of easy, cheap locking mechanism on par with the modular RJ-45 plugs to securely hold the connector in place and prevent the stresses you're talking about. I've had to deal with USB several times in an industrial automation context, and I just hate the connectors. The only decent implementation I've seen is on the cheapest Cognex vision-system cameras, which use a mini-USB connector within a screw-on fixture that locks the connector into place on the camera body and prevents any movement.
  • by Tenrosei (1305283) on Friday August 22, 2008 @09:10AM (#24704133)
    Next one will be called ReverseUSB. "As if to defy common sense, they say, the backward-moving pulse of light travels faster than light." http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060512_lightfrm.htm [world-science.net]
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:00AM (#24705867) Journal

    S-video is a bad design. Serial and parallel presumably refer to D-type connectors (although both come in DIN and Centronics connectors too). FireWire and D-type connectors can have their orientation easily distinguished by glancing at the connector. So can Ethernet. I can't remember what earthed mains looks like in the USA, but I've never seen someone try to plug in a UK mains cable upside down.

    With USB, you can only tell which way up it should go by either inspecting both ends closely, or by trying both ways. It also seems very easy to have a USB connector the right way up but not have it slide in easily, not push too hard because you don't want to damage the socket, and just turn it around and try the other way. USB is the only socket I've ever seen where it's common for people to take 3-4 tries to get it right.

    Not everything can be practically wired to a "stereo" jack plug

    Stereo audio jacks need a left channel, a right channel, and a return. Some use separate returns for each channel to reduce noise. USB connectors have four wires. There is no reason why you couldn't use a 3.5mm four-wire stereo connector for USB, although you'd probably want to use something slightly bigger so you didn't plug it into an audio jack by mistake. There are large numbers of superior connector designs. Raskin devotes an entire chapter to them in The Humane Interface.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:05PM (#24706969)

    What are they using instead? We use RS-232 to control a real time external device and under Windows latency is a minimum of 80ms. RS-232 is about as barebones as you can get, so I'm curious as to what else they could be using that's any better?

  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday August 22, 2008 @01:54PM (#24708933) Homepage

    We need an all new standard. It will probably borrow more from Firewire than USB.

    One of the things I would like to see in this new standard is fixed addressing. That is, each port has a number, and the fixed address of the device has that number in an address chain. When you connect devices through a hub, you use a longer address chain. This should be allowed up to at least 8 address units long (as many as 7 hubs to reach a device). Devices will still also have a unique device ID so if a device is moved to a different port it can announce itself there and be found. There is no need to assign addresses to devices at the hardware level. If the OS wants to alias devices, that's fine.

    I think having different connector types at each end of the cable is silly. It should be a completely symmetric system where either end can send messages to the other. Then you can connect two computers to each other without needing special hardware in between. Cabling will be simpler (except for tiny devices that need special tiny connectors). An androgynous connector would also be a plus (connect two cables together) and this can be done while keeping bi-directional data paths correctly connected.

  • Re:and Yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:56PM (#24713879)

    It IS funny how things are changing so fast. I got out of the Navy to find modular phone jacks had become widespread in just four years. "What are these new fangled things?" Heck, I was used to opening up the "borrowed" ATT phone to silence the mechanical bell so ATT couldn't tell you had an extension in the house by calling and seeing how much power was drawn, and now you could get your own phones?

    It is also funny to watch movies around the time cell phones started to become available but were not yet common, so the movie uses one but they have to insert careful dialog to explain it to the audience. "This is my portable phone number." "Is that your cellular phone ringing?"

    Then try to explain to some kid why Sergeant Pepper ends the way it does on the flip side, because it made sense on vinyl LPs to take advantage of the final revolution of the spiral joining itself.

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