With the arrival of hi-definition video content, high resolution digital cameras and mobile devices with multi-gigabyte storage capability, our never-ending demand for faster data transfer spurs the arrival of USB 3.0
. Also known as SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.0, is the successor of USB 2.0
, the latest version of Universal Serial Bus. Living up to its name, USB 3.0 features higher data transfer rates, increased maximum bus power, new power management features, full-duplex data transfers, and new connectors and cables.
USB 3.0 features a transfer rate of up to 4.8 Gbps. Although in reality, USB 3.0 will never actually achieve this theoretical speed; it is still potentially 10 times faster than USB 2.0's real transfer rate. USB 3.0 achieves extra performance through several technical changes. A USB 2.0 Cable
contained 4 wires used for power, ground, and a pair for differential data. USB 3.0 cable
will have two more pairs of differential signal connections - a total of 8 wires, to support faster data transfer for storage devices, multimedia players and flash drives.
Full Duplex Data Transfer
SuperSpeed USB 3.0's full-duplex feature allows devices to send and retrieve data simultaneously. This ground-breaking feature was unmatched by USB 1.1 and USB 2.0's half-duplex arrangement. USB 3.0's bi-directional data interface is expected to greatly improve user experience when USB 3.0 gadgets hit retail shelves.
USB 3.0 will bring along new physical connections and new USB cables
to support its superspeed feature, yet the shape and connectors remain the same and in the same location. Its backwards compatibility allows USB 3.0 hosts to connect to version 2.0 devices and USB 3.0 devices to connect to version 2.0 hosts.
Improved Power Management
USB 3.0's eco-conscious power management feature will allow users to charge any USB devices faster yet conserve more energy when idle. A 50% increase in power (from 100mA to 150mA) can be directed toward bus-powered devices for faster charging while 80% more power( from 500mA to 900mA) will be available for battery powered device to be bus powered via an USB host! When less power is needed, either the idle devices or host computer may trigger a power saving state. USB 3.0 can further conserve energy by eliminating continuous device polling and removing power from all or unused portions of the circuitry.
SuperSpeed USB is not without its flaw despite its wondrous speed. USB 3.0 Cable may only have a practical length of 3m in order to achieve optimal performance. This problem can be solved with the use of USB hubs
and USB Extension Cables
, though it is expected that such devices in the USB 3.0 version will be much more expensive.
USB 3.0 products
A handful of peripheral chipsets and USB hubs have hit retail stores in late 2009. With manufacturing costs taken into account, USB 3.0 is expected to service higher-end products such as video cameras, storage devices and digital cameras that require high bandwidth during the first wave. By late 2010, many new gadgets will be carrying USB 3.0 to transmit raw, uncompressed HD videos with better quality and speedy transfer rates. So what's going to happen to your good old USB 2.0 devices and accessories? For input devices that does not require high speed data transfer, like USB mice
, USB keyboards
and other simple USB accessories
, USB 2.0 is still the most affordable and convenient interface on the market thus far. USB 2.0 is not going anywhere, any time soon.