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After a lengthy gestation period, the third generation of the Universal Serial Bus is making its way to the market. But is it already obsolete?
Consumer electronics and computer vendors used the Consumer Electronics Show this past January to launch USB 3.0, an update to the popular standard external data transfer interface. The new speed of USB 3.0 generated a lot of interest.
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has done wonders for creating a standard interface on PCs. Prior to the USB port, PCs were a mishmash of various proprietary ports, often single-vendor efforts. There was no effective means for transferring files between two PCs. If you’ve been around PCs long enough, you remember LapLink, for transferring files between two PCs, a popular application that relied on proprietary software and a thick cable connected to the serial port.
USB freed us from proprietary solutions, proprietary software, and perhaps best of all, bent pins. Ever bend a pin when plugging in a PS/2 mouse or keyboard? It’s a recipe for a bad hardware day.
The USB standard has had long lags between revisions but made up for it with quantum leaps in speed. The first version shipped in 1996, and featured a data rate of 12 Mbits per second. USB 2.0, released in April 2000, specified 480 Mbit/s, a forty-fold increase over the 1.0 specification.
USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, has throughput of up to 5 gigabits per second. That’s even faster than the 3Gb/sec of SATA hard drives and 1Gb/sec. of high-end networking in the home. There’s 10Gb Ethernet, which has no mass market use, and is meaningful only in data centers – not on an enterprise laptop. So unless you have one of those new 6Gb SATA drives, you won’t max the speed of a USB 3.0 cable.Read full article »