Monday, February 7, 2011

What Is USB 3? Your Top 5 Questions Answered

You may have started seeing computers, laptops and hard drives advertised as USB 3 at your local online stores. You may be wondering what the deal is with this new designation. We will clear up some of the most common questions asked on our site.

What exactly is USB 3?
USB 3 is the next major release of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus created in 1996 by a consortium of companies led by Intel to standardize and simplify the connection of peripherals to personal computers. USB 2 has been a substantial hit with over 6 billion devices in use. With the need for greater speed and bandwidth demands of computer and personal electronics USB2 was running up against transfer speed limitations.

USB 3 was created to address the needs of this higher demand and other requirements of modern computers and peripherals.

Essentially, USB 3 promises these major enhancements

? High transfer rates of up to 4.8Gbps

? Bumped up bus power and increased device current draw to accommodate more bus powered devices

? Power management

? Full-duplex data transfers and support for new transfer types

? New connectors and cables for to accommodate higher speed transfers but maintain backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 products

Will my existing peripherals work with USB 3.0?
The short answer is yes. USB 3 was designed with backwards compatibility in mind. While USB 3 needs new physical connections to take advantage of the new higher speed and power features, the connector size is the same and the four USB 2 contacts are in the same positions. The extra 5 USB 3 connections only come into contact when matched to a proper USB 3 connection.

What is SuperSpeed USB?
SuperSpeed USB is just another nomenclature for USB 3.0. They can be used interchangeably to describe the same thing.

What peripherals can I find using USB 3?
Initially, peripherals that can take advantage of the higher transfer speeds will be the first out to market. Expect to see external hard drives including RAID type systems, flash drives and Blu-ray drives to come with USB 3. As SuperSpeed is still relatively new and more expensive to implement than USB 2, they will initially show up only on high end computers and laptops.

Expect to see other devices such as:
-High resolution web and video surveillance cameras
-Bus only powered displays like DisplayLink's video technology
-Digital video cameras and digital still cameras for much faster download speeds
-Multi-channel audio interfaces

What is the future of USB 3?
USB3 silicon will eventually be integrated into motherboard chip sets like USB2 is currently at which point they will become ubiquitous on almost all computers and laptops. You can expect both Windows and Mac to eventually natively support USB 3 after an initial period of delay. While USB2 will never go away, as many peripherals simply do not need the higher bandwidth and power features of USB 3, you can expect USB 3 to take over for most peripherals where data transfer is a function.

View the original article here


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