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10 Things about USB 3.0

It is anticipated relating to USB data transfer speed finally comes also with the emergence of interfaces for USB 3.0. A new version of the alternate USB 2.0 is claimed to have much speed left the old version. Is it true that? What’s new in this USB 3.0? Ok, in sharing this time I will try to review some aspects related to the USB 3.0 connection for you some idea about USB 3.0. Here are some things you should know about the new USB 3.0 Interface

What is USB 3.0?

USB 3.0 USB 2.0 is the substitute that has been long awaited. USB 2.0 has been since almost a decade is an interface standard in PCs and notebooks. Year 1996 USB has been developed as a connection between computers and devices peripheral practical. It was still used in serial and parallel connections.

Success is achieved only with USB 2.0. Data flow with transfer speeds up to 480 MBit / sec, the device may be revoked when the PC-plug operation. And thanks to the power supply integrated many devices such as USB-flash or webcam does not require its own power-supply.

The only drawback: It is 480 MBit / sec (in practice rarely above 300 MBit / sec) is no longer adequate. Therefore, in 2007 Intel USB 3.0 promises a complete November 2008.

USB 3.0 fix the problem: The data flow at speeds up to 5 Gbit / sec – USB 2.0 10-fold.Similar techniques are now also available for serial data transfer, which is also used in other serial interfaces such as PCI-Express and SATA.

Is USB 3.0 will be used for a long time or very soon there will be a replacement?

Such as USB 2.0, USB 3.0 interface also will be standard in all areas of electronics – and therefore will be used for several years. But would not that easy for USB 3.0:

In general, all cables will be pursued replaced with wireless connections. Certain wireless standards – such as WirelessHD for audio and video content transfer HD – has now reached 3 Gbit / second. Coming years this rate will have improved much.

In addition, Intel is the driving force behind all the USB specification creates its own rivals: This year will also be out of a new optical interface with the codename ‘Light Peak’ which offers data speeds up to 10 Gbit / sec. So be stressful for USB 3.0.

What is right for my PC using USB 3.0?

If you do not want to immediately buy a new mainboard, but wanted to move to USB 3.0, it takes a controller card that is only available for PCI-Express 2.0 (from 30 Euros). For those of you who do not have the PCIe-slots on PC (force before 2005), not to expect the USB 3.0.

But with new hardware too often only available PCIe 1.0 interface. Here the controller-cards can indeed be used, but full speed is not achieved. The trick: Insert the controller card into the graphics-card PCIe 4x, 8x or even 16x. With it you reach full speed.

Is moving now profitable?

Although USB 3.0 is just a few weeks available in the market, price is not expensive. But there are restrictions, so that full speed SuperSpeed is not possible. When you’re happy to buy new hardware or want a very high transfer rates without SATA, available USB 3.0 devices are the first that is not too expensive.

For other users, it’s better to wait: Soon (2nd half of this year), USB 3.0 will be available on many motherboards and notebooks through integration into the Intel chipset, nVidia and AMD. External hard drive and USB-flash will be available with low prices and controller to the second-generation chip no longer need to deal with issues such as current speed.

Are old USB devices can also be installed on a USB 3.0 port?

SuperSpeed-new port is fully downward compatible. In addition to new levels of speed SuperSpeed (5 Gbit / sec) are also supported LowSpeed (up to 1.5 MBit / sec) and FullSpeed (up to 12 MBit / sec) which has been used on USB 1.0, Highspeed (480 MBit / sec) of USB 2.0 without restrictions.

Because port Type A is often found on PCs and notebooks do not change shape, the old plug can still be installed. Old USB 2.0 devices are not able to utilize a new transfer speed which is almost 10 times, but our tests prove the increased speed of up to 10%.

Where is all this hardware is available and at what price?

Sales of USB 3.0 devices has begun, but it is still unclear. Currently only available in a host-controller chip – NEC? PD720200 used at all mainboard is available.

Here there are 2 options: Using a new mainboard with the NEC-controller, such as Asus P7P55D-E Pro (about 150 Euro, the picture left) and Gigabyte (Series P55A & 790XTA, 100 Euros and up). But usually also require a new mainboard hardware components – CPU or RAM – which is also new (100 Euro to the top).

As an alternative available PCIe-card. At the close of the editor there are only a few models and only one is available: USB 3.0 Host-controller from Sharkoon (about 40 Euro, 2 x USB 3.0). Since mid December the same card is available from Buffalo, IFC-PCIE2U3 (about 65 Euro) and U356 from Asus (around 35 Euro, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x SATA 3).

But all is not useful, if you do not have a device periferial currently still rare. Since the end of November last Sharkoon SATA QuickPort offers USB 3.0 (about 50 Euro, pictures on page 42), where you can use 2.5 and 3.5-inch hard drive for data transfer.Before Christmas is also available external hard drive from Buffalo HD-HX series (pictured above) in capacity of 1, 1.5 and 2 terabytes (approximately 190-370 Euro).

Where exactly is the difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0?

To achieve higher speeds on USB 3.0 are all slightly improved: In the protocol specified level SuperSpeed with data transfer speeds up to 5 Gbit / sec. For that pin plug plus: When enough with USB 2.0 4 pin, USB 3.0 required for the other five pins.

Thus, the cord must be adjusted: In addition to the 2 pairs of USB 2.0, there is another pair of each to send and receive, as well as one for the power-supply and mass.

To place a new pin plug port and expanded – but type A is widely used. Here, additional pins are placed on the back, its basic form unchanged.

Test results: USB 3.0 is good

Because at this time? PD720200 only one available, we performed tests based on relevant hardware: In the lab tested the mainboard Asus P7P55D CHIP-E Pro, USB 3.0 card from the Sharkoon QuickPort and Buffalo HD-HXU 3.

The results were impressive: With QuickPort and Buffalo use the latest SATA hard drive with maximum speed. There is no difference between SATA and USB 3.0. This means 4 times the performance of USB 2.0.

All the more quickly when using a fast SSD in QuickPort: Speed up to 200 MByte / sec can be achieved. But there is a decrease: Intel X25-Mg2 that our test speeds reach 260 MByte / sec – according to the specifications of up to 640 MBit / sec.

Clearly, the NEC has not reached maximum performance, the chip stops at 200 MByte / sec. With 2.0 in hardware 3.0 ports have a positive surprise: a shorter access time and performance increased to 10%.

What alternatives are there?

That has not moved to USB 3.0 also can achieve higher speeds than USB 2.0. External SATA ports are being increasingly used in PCs and notebooks. With an eSATA enabled the same speed as internal SATA. In practice up to 300 MByte / sec.

ESATA early weaknesses have also been lost (the absence of features and power-hotplug additional ports). However, eSATA is not better than USB 3.0: stiff and short cord, no USB-hub to facilitate the installation of the device.

Another alternative is Firewire 800, but can not compete with eSATA or USB 3.0. In the 120 MByte / sec is technically impossible, there is almost no hardware – if any are very expensive.

Who needs a USB 3.0?

Virtually every user, though not immediately. Which mainly uses periferial slow on a USB-port – for example a scanner, printer, mouse, keyboard or webcam – no need to immediately move to 3.0. In this application SuperSpeed offers no advantages. But when you copy large amounts of data to a hard drive or USB flash, you should immediately move! At the speed of data we measure up to 200 MByte / sec eSATA which is currently only able to match.

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