The first devices that take advantage of the new standard’s 10Gbps data-transfer speed should arrive in 2014. Too bad for Thunderbolt.
USB 3.0 has become mainstream in 2012, and a double speed version is due to arrive in late 2014. This could mean Thunderbolt remains a rarity.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland / CNET)
Powers the computer industry are doubling the data transfer rate of USB 3.0 now 5 gigabits per second rate to 10 Gbps.
The move uncork bottlenecks in the speed of SSD external storage devices, these options open second monitor, and help limit even faster Thunderbolt interface to a high-end niche.
It will not happen immediately. The specification must be made in mid-2013, which “will allow the first products to appear towards the end of 2014 with a much wider availability of products in 2015,” according to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which announced work faster Universal Serial Bus today at the CES show.
That members of the group are Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments. It is a powerful alliance, to be sure, but it is difficult to move the entire electronics industry quickly to a new standard. The USB specification 3.0, aka SuperSpeed, was completed in 2008, but it was not until four years later that USB 3.0 has taken off as a standard part of Intel hardware in 2012.
To take advantage of the two-speed USB 3.0 interface, devices such as computers, hubs, and digital cameras will need new hardware USB controller. However, the new version of USB 3.0 uses the same connectors, so existing USB devices can be plugged into port at higher speeds.
USB 3.0 cables may or may not work. “Existing SuperSpeed USB cables are not certified to operate at 10 Gbps, it is possible that some existing SuperSpeed USB cables can be capable of operating at 10 Gbps,” the group said.
USB has been a great success, spreading from the computer industry to many other market segments such as cars, cell phones and televisions. The Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum (USB-IF), which oversees the norm, said there are more than 720 USB 3.0 devices
Another area of development: the update USB ability to carry electric current so that it can be used for charging mobile devices faster and also PC portable power.
There is good news for Thunderbolt, which is useful today, because of its convenience and performance. Each Thunderbolt port provides two channels of 10 Gbps and the ability to daisy-chain Thunderbolt devices. Its usefulness is expanding with the arrival of optical cables Thunderbolt. And the future of Thunderbolt is also heated by the plan faster Intel versions of the standard.
But so far Thunderbolt is almost completely absent on personal computers as well as models of Apple, and cables are expensive. USB is a necessity, but Thunderbolt is a luxury.
The new USB standard could also make life more difficult for another new high-speed communication standard, PCIe cable.