Today will be the last day of CES 2010 or the Consumer Electronics Show 2010; a non-public trade show held each January, and is sponsored by Consumer Electronics Association. This is a show where electronics and tech company show some of their preview and new products that will soon be available to consumer.
I’ve been following the show for up coming products that will be available this year. Just last year’s CES, Palm debutted the then much awaited Palm Pre.
Enough of history lesson… what I like even love in the CES 2010, is that the new USB 3.0 to be available or already available to consumers. USB 3.0 is now available in HP and Asus laptops.
What is USB 3.0?
To put it in simple terms, USB 3.0 is the upgrade or you can even say that next generations among USB ports. It has a much faster data transfer rate and consume only 33% of power that would be used by USB 2.0.
Major features of USB 3.0 via wikipedia:
* A new major feature is the SuperSpeed bus, which provides a fourth transfer mode at 4.8 Gbit/s. The raw throughput is 4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GByte/s or 400 MByte/s) or more after protocol overhead.* When operating in SuperSpeed mode, full-duplex signaling occurs over 2 differential pairs separate from the non-SuperSpeed differential pair. This results in USB 3.0 cables containing 2 wires for power and ground, 2 wires for non-SuperSpeed data, and 4 wires for SuperSpeed data, and a shield (not required in previous specifications).* To accommodate the additional pins for SuperSpeed mode, the physical form factors for USB 3.0 plugs and receptacles have been modified from those used in previous versions. Standard-A cables have extended heads where the SuperSpeed connectors extend beyond and slightly above the legacy connectors. Similarly, the Standard-A receptacle is deeper to accept these new connectors. On the other end, the SuperSpeed Standard-B connectors are placed on top of the existing form factor. A legacy standard A-to-B cable will work as designed and will never contact any of the SuperSpeed connectors, ensuring backward compatibility. However, SuperSpeed USB cables, with their extended plugs, will not fit into legacy receptacles.
* SuperSpeed establishes a communications pipe between the host and each device, in a host-directed protocol. In contrast, USB 2.0 broadcasts packet traffic to all devices.
* USB 3.0 extends the bulk transfer type in SuperSpeed with Streams. This extension allows a host and device to create and transfer multiple streams of data through a single bulk pipe.
* New power management features include support of idle, sleep and suspend states, as well as Link-, Device-, and Function-level power management.
* The bus power spec has been increased so that a unit load is 150 mA (+50% over minimum using USB 2.0). An unconfigured device can still draw only 1 unit load, but a configured device can draw up to 6 unit loads (900 mA, an 80% increase over USB 2.0 at a registered maximum of 500 mA). Minimum device operating voltage is dropped from 4.4 V to 4 V.
* USB 3.0 does not define cable assembly lengths, except that it can be of any length as long as it meets all the requirements defined in the specification. However, electronicdesign.com estimates cables will be limited to 3 m at SuperSpeed.* Technology is similar to a single channel (1x) of PCI Express 2.0 (5-Gbit/s). It uses 8B/10B encoding, linear feedback shift register (LFSR) scrambling for data and spread spectrum. It forces receivers to use low frequency periodic signaling (LFPS), dynamic equalization, and training sequences to ensure fast signal locking.
Those are the technical terms about the USB 3.0. But if you like to know how fast is the USB 3.0 really is, just imagine this. The time that will take you to transfer a 2 GB on a USB 2.0 will take you atleast 2 minutes, while on USB 3, it will only take you half the time, an eye popping 1 minute or 1 min 4 secs to be exact.
With the new USB 3.0, the type of peripherals that you can connect to your computer will only be limited by your imaginations and budget of course. 🙂
If you still cannot see the difference between the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, you can watch this video by Seagate comparing the file transfer speed of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
If you are buying a new laptop and want to know if it’s using the USB 3.0, just look for the icon that looks like the image below.
image taken from wikipedia
Last modified: January 10, 2010