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A Late Adopter's Guide To USB 3.0

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the will-wait-for-the-really-late-adopter's-guide dept.

Data Storage 185

crookedvulture writes "Even with cheap external hard drives, USB 3.0 offers roughly double the real-world transfer rates of old-school USB 2.0. It's no wonder, then, that USB 3.0 ports are available on most new systems. But what if you want to add USB 3.0 to an existing one? This article goes over what's required and explores the sort of performance improvements you can expect to see. Looks like a no-brainer for anyone who does a lot of transfers to external hard drives."

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USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618802)

I'm more interested in seeing what Thunderbolt does - it sounds like it's faster, but it all depends on what the device manufacturers settle on implementing.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618884)

USB will always be implemented simply because it's the natural follow-up to USB2. Just as USB2 all but replaced USB 1 ports (some machines still have USB1 ports for 1 reason only: the chip used supports X number of USB1 ports, and claiming in your advertising that you offer 12 USB ports sounds better than 8).

Thunderbolt - the crappy name chosen after LightPeak stopped dealing with light so much - will simply be offered in addition, especially since high speed Mac peripherals will be the first to jump on that tech and being able to use those on PC as well is a good thing. That's why even now a lot of Windows notebooks have FireWire ports.

Daisy Chaining is cute, but given the hub nature of USB, with a 'USB hub' implemented almost everywhere (keyboards with USB ports on the side, etc.), the practical need for daisy chaining is almost nil.
( There's technical merits outside the scope of this comment. )

I'm not sure why the article mentions external drives so much; eSATA is still a fair bit faster than USB3 for that purpose. eSATA doesn't do much for power over the cable, though, while USB3 -could- directly power some 3.5" HDDs (and easily handle 2.5", just as USB2 can right now, of course).

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618972)

I'm not sure why the article mentions external drives so much; eSATA is still a fair bit faster than USB3 for that purpose.

Because almost anyone using an external drive (as opposed to internal or front-removable) is doing so for portability. So few people use eSATA, but it's an easy bet that the random computer that you use at your cousin's house has at least USB1.0, which, while slow, works better than going out and buying your cousin an eSATA card and convincing him that opening the computer won't void the warranty.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619182)

Conversely, USB3 drives won't get you any extra speed on most laptops since Intel still hasn't included a USB3 chipset in anything and few laptop manufacturers want the extra expense and power drain of a separate USB3 controller. Dell has been putting combined USB2/eSata ports on their laptops for years now so they aren't that hard to find on laptops.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619646)

Because almost anyone using an external drive (as opposed to internal or front-removable) is doing so for portability.

That's what I thought when I sprung for an eSata 4-drive external enclosure: a faster, higher-capacity backup system than my trusty 2-drive USB2 enclosure.

Well, it's faster and works with Advanced Format 2TB drives (which choke my old USB2 enclosure) but Bad Things Happen to the kernel (v2.6.35) when I unmount the external file system and pull the eSATA cable and plug it back in.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619864)

eSATA is in the somewhat uncomfortable position of simultaneously being a fairly good replacement for storage tasks that used to require springing for expensive SCSI gear and being about as mature as USB 1 when it comes to things like "most products on the shelves will, in fact, work properly" and "hotplugging, autodetection, hubs('port expanders' in eSATA parlance), and such will actually not fall over in a screaming heap even if you don't do copious research and find the one true chipset combination of Antioch."

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619178)

Hubs will need to be replaced every time the speed gets bumped, Your keyboard is useless as a hub for USB 3.0. Also USB requires CPU cycles. With daisy chains, you only need to shift the slow devices to the end of the chain.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619190)

Daisy chaining costs performance though. Minimum 10% loss in speed each time you pass through a hub.

The big nit I have with USB is it wasn't designed from the start to be a large data transfer protocol, so it's not efficient at it, say compared to firewire. If you compare real world use, FW400 gets you about 39-40mb/sec. USB2 (@480) never gets above 38, and in most cases is more like 36. (or much much lower, many cheap bridge chips top out at 18) My averages showed USB2's 480mbps actually works out to around 380 if compared to FW400. FW800 simply creams USB2, averaging 79mb/sec for me.

So I've seen some people saying USB3 is triple 2, and some saying double. So I wonder, is it going to work out faster than FW800, or slower?

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619330)

Pathetically, the point won't be whether fw800 is faster, or carries more watts, or has better realtime/isochronus performance, or chose a better cable that runs longer and is more noise-free, or that fw drivers stacks won't have to be rewritten to deal with whatever new set of kludges has been added this time around.

The point will be that USB3 will be on everything by default, and fw800 will be very hard to find on a laptop, and everything with a fw800 port will be more expensive than the USB variant.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620002)

And you can thank Steve Jobs for that, thanks Steve! You see while USB was dirt cheap to implement Apple charged something like a buck a port to add Fw. Now if you are a hardware manufacturer, where margins are razor thin, why do you choose? the protocol that costs practically nothing, or the one that costs a buck a port? Firewire is a perfect example where the lesser tech won simply because the greater tech was too damned expensive. Thanks to the Apple greed Fw is practically toast and USB is everywhere. Thanks Steve!

I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to that thunderbolt/lightwave whatever the hell they are calling it VS USB 3. It will be used on Macs, which are still a tiny niche (the big growth at Apple is iOS, not OSX) whereas everybody and their dog will have USB 3 just as you pointed out.

My question is this: when do we reach the max? What is the max? With Gb Ethernet I'm already slamming some of these drives as fast as they'll go, and SSD simply won't be able to match HDD for price anytime in the foreseeable future so they won't help because eventually you'll have to transfer to HDD anyway. So how fast is the fastest we can go without data corruption? I'm all for faster but not at the cost of increased corruption. So how fast can we pump data through the average desktop before corruption becomes an issue? How close are we to hitting this limit? I mean we've already hit a wall with CPUs (4Ghz) which is why we are adding cores now, so which will come next? Memory or storage?

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620268)

Actually eSATA (3 Gbps) is a good deal slower than USB 3.0 (5 Gbps). The speed difference doesn't really matter much when dealing with hard drives, but eSATA has other problems such as needing port multiplier support in order to use a drive (single drive, RAID, spanned or JBOD) that has total space larger than 2TB. I found this out after the fact when I recently purchased my 4TB external box (2x2TB drives, spanned). Now I have to buy a special eSATA ExpressCard that supports port multiplier. With USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, this is a non-issue and practically any sized drive is supported.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618886)

Thunderbolt is extreme overkill for a hard drive. Even though the interface is 10 Gbit/sec in each direction, even a pretty fast SATA hard drive barely cracks 1 Gbit on the outer cylinders. Even the best single SSDs come close to 2.5 Gbit, so to really justify Thunderbolt, you'd have to do RAID.

For comparison, USB2's data rate is only 480 Mbit... less than half the average speed of a typical 3.5" hard drive. USB3 is 10 times faster, shifting the bottleneck back to the media.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Interesting)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619080)

Yes, but can USB 3 drive multiple monitors over a daisy chain too?

So I hav e my laptop and I want to plug in an external monitor... bam... thunderbolt.... now I want to plug in an external hard drive, bam... thunderbolt...

Thunderbolt just reduced the number of ports I need on my laptop from two to one. (USB, DVI/VGA to thunderbolt... great for ultra portables)

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619204)

bam... thunderbolt.

We've just found that guy.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (5, Funny)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619220)

Zeus?

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (0)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619270)

So the problem is... you want less chords.

Except if you have less chords, your data speed will drop dramatically. Thunderbolt or lightspeed or whatever won't be able to steam your dvi monitor, devices, and network. Citation: 16,777,216*1920*1080 (your monitor) > 10gigabits or 10 737 418 240 bits

Now you have 2 problems.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619324)

Thunderbolt [wikipedia.org] holds two 10 Gbit/s full duplex channels, so by your examples GP should have over 40% of the available bandwidth unused. Running DisplayPort at 2560 × 1600 × 30 bpp @ 60 Hz [wikipedia.org] will require significantly less bandwidth than your DVI monitor calculation (where is your link?).

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619350)

So the problem is... you want less chords.

You mean to say "fewer" "cords".

16,777,216*1920*1080 (your monitor) > 10gigabits

I guess you came up with this number by assuming 24-bit color means each pixel takes up 2^24 bits? That's not how it works. 24-bit color means you have 24 bits per pixel. But you then have to multiply by the screen refresh rate.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619490)

Fuck me I always forget some number.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619608)

16,777,216 is the number of possible colors in a 24 bit color space (256 shades = 8 bits, 8 Red + 8 Green+ 8 Blue = 24 bits)

So 24*1920*1080 = 49,766,400 bits, multiply that frame by 60hz and its still 2.985 gigabit per second, and that's assuming no compression

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619716)

I don't understand how playing music will remove wrinkles from my monitor, devices and network. I am intrigued, please tell me more.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620096)

Except when you need to plug an external monitor and an external hard drive at the same time.
Seriously, are you really missing space on the sides of your laptop that much that you need to lower the number of ports?

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620290)

Well, I do have 3rd monitor attached over USB:

http://h30094.www3.hp.com/product.asp?sku=10260281&mfg_part=AY052AA&pagemode=ca

As for disk transfer - I already have eSATA and Gigabit Ethernet - I won't get anything more from USB 3.0......

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (3, Interesting)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619150)

Speed aside, Thunderbolt has the potential to work properly, as it will support native SATA. Most USB 2.0 bridge chips ignore critical commands, and put your data at risk. Will 3.0 be better?

Thunderbolt can also be daisy chained, and unlike with USB, the actual speed is not a small fraction of the theoretical speed. Therefore, a number of devices can be attached, without introducing a bottleneck or requiring a hub.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619932)

It will be interesting, possibly morbidly so, to see whether that potential is realized.

My understanding is that, effectively, thunderbolt allows you to run a 4x PCIe line through external cabling of usable length and hot-swappability. This will, presumably, mean that (unlike USB) thunderbolt peripherals will be packages that include a PCIe version of whatever type of chip is appropriate(SATA controller for external disk arrays, USB/FW controller to support a monitor with a bunch of ports and a cardreader, etc.) On the plus side, assuming your OS supports any special sauce needed by the thunderbolt chip, it will have pretty much the same access to the PCIe peripheral on the far end of the cable that it would were that same chip on an internal card. On the minus side, if support for whatever chip the manufacturer used is lousy or nonexistent, there will be no abstraction to save you.

USB, on the contrary, doesn't provide direct access to a lot of what a PCIe connection could; but it has a number of useful generic abstractions(the assorted device classes) that, after some ugly teething issues, frequently Just Work. On the other hand, a combination of being able to hide behind these classes and good old price pressure means that a lot of USB devices get a bit dodgy under pressure.

It will be interesting to see if, with Thunderbolt peripherals, the experience is generally equivalent to plugging in a high-quality PCIe expansion card of the relevant type, only with external cabling and hot-plug, or whether vendors will take advantage of being able to just put "Thunderbolt!" on the box while shoving the nastiest PCIe peripheral chips they can find into the product... In the case of storage, say, it is true that a fair percentage of USB2.0/SATA bridge chips pretty much suck. And, since they rarely put the chip used on the box, you don't always know until you buy. What we don't yet know is whether thunderbolt devices will typically feature good varieties of their respective peripheral chips, or if an analogous class of nasty but inexpensive PCIe chips will end up being used.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619266)

Data rate isn't everything, remember - you can get better results from an identical drive on a Firewire 400 interface compared to USB2, even though the former is 80Mbps 'slower', thanks to the reduced overhead. I hope the point is moot, since both USB3 and Thunderbolt are modern standards with plenty of headroom - if they're hitting overhead issues at the speed of current hard drives, there's probably a problem - but there's still some possibility that one will outperform the other in real world tests despite running far below the maximum transfer speed of either.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619444)

Benchmarks have shown Thunderbolt getting an *effective* 10gbit of bi-directional speed, so 20gbit. It's not just a theoretical max, it can actually get it quite easily.

The test was doing several file copies between SSDs while handling several full HD streams.

Remember, Thunderbolt is going to replace PCIe, so it has to be at least as good.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (2)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619560)

Thunderbolt = PCIe, just another way of connecting the bus to the outside world. It really depends on your CPU and any latency, jitter and interference the outside connection introduces. It's also cheaper compared to other same-speed tech (such as 10GbE) as you require less controllers and the controllers these days are baked into the CPU.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (-1, Offtopic)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619658)

One's right to life, liberty, property, speech, press, freedom of worship and assembly may not be submitted to vote

Communist China agrees completely.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619952)

Communist China concurs completely.

Aspire audacity for awesome alliteration appeal.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619892)

That is true, but Firewire is less secure than USB2 is because it allows you to access the memory directly. Sure that does have advantages at times, but it means that you have to trust anything you plug into that port because it has the potential for doing weird things. I remember briefly messing around with that and I plugged a device into one computer and it didn't show up there, it showed up on the other computer, even though I didn't see any reason why it should.

But, if you did trust the device, firewire was great.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619686)

Extreme overkill today is tomorrow's marginal.

No one will ever need more than 640 KB or 10 Gb/s ... until they have it, figure out how to use it, figure out how to use it up, and how to upgrade to the next thing.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619712)

... on the outer cylinders...

Isn't the notion that the outer edge of the platter has higher bandwidth, a myth?

usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thunder (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618888)

usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thunderbolt

also what is apple places for systems like the mini and mac pro for Thunderbolt linking it to the video port kills it uses in a desktop will the Thunderbolt / mini DP cable to DVI or VGA have Thunderbolt break out as well?

or will Thunderbolt be ADC 2?

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619046)

Thunderbolt uses a chain, and the last device is a regular displayport(which is supposed to work with any displayport 1.2 adapter). http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/desktop-hardware/2011/02/25/thunderbolt-speeds-on-new-macbook-pro-40091943/8/#story [zdnet.co.uk]

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619594)

Until someone cheaps out and makes a non-conforming device that doesn't pass the displayport through -- if USB is anything to go by, it'll probably have the sole purpose of siting on your desk and looking stupid (ala "USB humping dog", "USB fishtank", and such). Sure, being non-compliant, it won't be able to license the trademarked thunderbolt logo, but morons will buy it, use it, and wonder why their system is fucked (other than by an animatronic dog).

I remember problems with external SCSI devices (remember those?) where one device didn't have a daisy-chain connector, and another device had one, but due to crappy internal wiring, caused random glitches in anything farther down the chain, so they both had to be the end of the chain, which means I had to pick and choose between tape backup or CDROM, and reboot if I wanted to change it. Daisy-chaining's fine in theory, and in practice with good hardware, but pardon me if I'm a little skeptical in a world where home users can't afford to buy all the devices they want of pro-level hardware...

And, as Joe The Dragon was trying to point out (I think, hard to tell in the absence of English), what happens when I add a thunderbolt PCIe card to my desktop? Does it come with a crappy graphics chipset to drive the displayport? Does it come with a dongle hanging out the ISA bracket to plug back into a spare displayport on my graphics card? Maybe it'll only be available integrated on motherboards (with integrated graphics) or on video cards.

I'm not as pessimistic about it (or as illiterate, but hey, typing must be hard with claws) as Joe The Dragon, but the integration of general-purpose data and video doesn't seem particularly desirable outside of laptops, and that combined with daisy-chaining's amplification of problems with inevitably crappy cheap hardware makes it that much harder to become an accepted standard on desktops.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619138)

But USB 3 isn't in a ton of systems. Thunderbolt will stop being Apple exclusive next year (IIRC), so why should I bother? At this point a hard drive is the only thing I'm likely to use that would stress USB3, I mean I can already record HD video over USB2.

I already have FireWire 800, and have for a few years, and it's very fast, and extremely low overhead. Since I don't go around copying multiple gigs of files between drives, the speed benefit of USB3 isn't really going to matter much to me. Given the average level drive attached, if FW is a bottleneck, I'm probably close to 80-90% of the drive speed. I have FW since I'm on a Mac, but many people on Windows boxes have eSATA ports. They're faster than USB3 (since it's the HD's native interface) and lower overhead (again, the native interface of the drive). I know they were supposed to make the CPU overhead of USB3 better than 2, but my guess is it's still noticeably higher than FireWire or eSATA.

Basically, I think USB3 took too long. It's out, but it's third party chips on motherboards. That means the situation where some of your ports are v2 and some are v3. When space is at a premium (like laptops), it's more likely you'll only get v2 ports until Intel embeds a controller. But FW800 is available in add in cards and has a higher adoption rate (right now). eSATA cards are common and available in add in cards. USB2 is fast enough for many people.

By the time USB3 becomes more common, Thunderbolt will already have a decent market. Apple putting it in their high-end computers (at least the MBPs) means that drive enclosures and such will be released in the next few months.

For the average consumer, I don't think they need USB3 or will for a while. By the time they do, there is a good chance Thunderbolt will start looking really attractive (one cable and your monitor, scanner, hard drive and whatever else are plugged in). And since Thunderbolt easily has the bandwidth to have adapters to plug SATA or USB2/3 devices into Thunderbolt ports... it's a safe choice.

I'm sure USB3 will be everywhere in a year or two, but only because it's a backwards compatible drop in replacement. I don't think it will be out of any real necessity. Only people copying large amounts of data (video editing, large media libraries, etc) would get the benefit, and at that point you might as well go eSATA.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619250)

Um...ADC was strictly Apple's own connector. Thunderbolt is backed by Intel. There's a pretty big difference here. In addition, Thunderbolt is a helluva lot more versatile. You can adapt it to just about anything, so while there may be Thunderbolt peripherals, it's not going to be necessary for a bunch of them for Thunderbolt to succeed. In addition, outside of some very high-end stuff, even if a peripheral does have a Thunderbolt port, I doubt that would be its only connectivity.

I think that if TB catches on, laptop manufacturers are going to LOVE it, especially ultraportables. No more slapping a dozen ports on a laptop or trying to cram as many as possible into an ultraportable. TB takes care of everything but power. That also simplifies manufacturing and reduces cost.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619340)

Not only that, Thunderbolt is owned and controlled by Intel, Apple was and is a partner since the beginning but Apple has no control over how Intel will use/license Thunderbolt.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619582)

ADC was DVI + USB + power, nothing really special. A simple (3rd party) converter was all that was needed to get a DVI signal. It was darn convenient though to have a single connector to your computer.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (2)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619910)

Sure, but now there are a bunch of otherwise good and working ADC monitors floating around that aren't worth a damned thing unless you bundle a converter with them.

Re:usb 3.0 is in more systems / hardware then Thun (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619942)

laptop manufacturers are going to LOVE it

I agree, but PC makers are very reluctant to drop legacy ports. I suspect it is because they can claim more features on the marketing blurb.

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

EricX2 (670266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619510)

Seriously, Thunderbolt? Is there a nerd name for this? I seriously don't want to say that word, it sounds a little pretentious.

Thunderbolt: As fast as lightning and as loud as thunder!

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619596)

The abbreviation for it is TB. ;)

Re:USB3 vs Intel Thunderbolt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620064)

"The abbreviation for it is TB. ;)"

Cough, cough ...

eSATA? (1)

ComfortablyAmbiguous (1740854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618822)

I have a hard time getting too excited about USB 3.0 for hard drive use when everything I have already support eSATA.

Re:eSATA? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618868)

This is my exact opinion. eSATA was out way before USB 3.0, and is much better suited to the task. I always wondered what the point of USB 3 was. Perhaps if you want to hook up something like an external Gigabit ethernet card or something along those lines. If you're just using it for hard drives, you're much better off with eSATA.

Re:eSATA? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618874)

eSATA sucks ass. Seriously. It works half the time, and they're not even hot-swapable in most cases (depends on the controller). Worst yet, you must boot your PC/Laptop with the drive attached before it will be recognized. I know this because I have Geologiest looking to get the fastest access to SEG Y data from removable storage. When possible, they prefer Firewire 800. Perhaps USB3 is now worth looking into. But sure hell, I'll never recommend eSATA. Eff that!

Re:eSATA? (2)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619002)

Uhm..all of those problems are attributed to crappy controllers. Spend more than $10 on an eSATA controller (or use a bracket to convert an internal SATA port to eSATA) and all of those issues go away.

Yup (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619568)

My wife just brought home a new LaCie external hard drive, we plugged it into my Thinkpad's eSATA port, Linux immediately detected it, and I could access it like any other drive to partition and format it. I saw sustained 100-120 MB/s performance while formatting the 1TB drive.

Re:eSATA? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620062)

I have used eSata for external hard drives. The connection goes through an eSata bracket. During heavy data transfer, the port will go offline and no amount of plugging and unplugging will bring it back up. A reboot is the only solution. This happens for 2 ports on the same MB and two hard drive enclosures.

Re:eSATA? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619936)

That's either a bad controller or your OS isn't properly dealing with it. I had to get a utility to allow for it to work in Win XP. FreeBSD and Linux should allow for hotswapping with little trouble. Presumably that's changed with Vista or 7.

This is what I use when I need to hot swap an esata drive in XP. HotSwap! [mt-naka.com]

Re:eSATA? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619104)

apparently you don't use esata much because that shit breaks like a light bulb hitting an old lady on the head.

Insert PCI card. Turn on computer. (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618832)

The article pretty much says: "Insert PCI card. Turn on computer."

Really? I never would have guessed. I'm so glad to have this valuable nugget of information. I was about to go and buy all new computers!

Re:Insert PCI card. Turn on computer. (2)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618946)

You read the article?

How many pages long was it, and what was the banner ad count?

Re:Insert PCI card. Turn on computer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619206)

2 pages, and what ads? I use Adblockplus..

Re:Insert PCI card. Turn on computer. (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619192)

That and the fact that everyone and everything is USB3 now. Apparently I've been asleep for a while because everything I use and own is still usb2.

I'm late?!? (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618838)

OMG... I haven't adopted a standard that almost nobody else has adopted either. I'm... I'm... NORMAL!

*breaks down in tears*

Re:I'm late?!? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620218)

I thought the same thing, "late adopter's guide to USB 3.0". Really? Late adopter? USB 3.0 couldn't get more green, it's not even a sort option on Newegg yet and Newegg is usually as fresh as it gets... hence "new" [newegg.com] . When I searched by keyword, only 64 out of ~300 motherboards popped up. USB 3.0 "Late adopter"? Really?

Very helpful for Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618858)

Most of the USB 2.0 PCI cards don't work under Linux. The kernel driver crashes under even small data loads. And I've tried a number. But, the USB 3.0 card I got works just fine. Hooray!

Re:Very helpful for Linux (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619720)

I'm not trying to bait you, but you are talking with USB 3.0 devices?

Re:Very helpful for Linux (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620172)

No, cards providing USB 3.0 ports. Which are backwards compatible.

USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

Drakino (10965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618896)

Haven't really felt the need for USB 3 for hard drives, as I bought an enclosure with USB 2, Firewire 800 and eSATA a while back. Really a shame Firewire didn't take off, since it brought most of the benefits of USB 3 to machines ages ago. Lower CPU usage, device to device transfers, and the spec was prepared to jump to 1600mbit then 3200mbit using the same 800 connector. 1600 (200MB/s) would have been plenty of headroom for hard drives. USB 3 speeds that outpace FW3200 are only useful once you have a newer SSD in the mix, or a decently sized RAID of hard drives.

Looking farther back, I always figured USB would remain in the realm of low speed peripherals (keyboards, etc), and Firewire would be the high speed bus. USB (until 3) is just so CPU heavy at times to be really annoying.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618996)

I've got clients that use Hyper-V to host their MS Server VMs. We have it so scheduled backups will backup the VMs and data nightly using the built in Windows Backup. While Backup Exec would be the prefered solution, it's really expensive (but so is data loss, but some people never listen)! Being that 350+GB worth of data gets transfered nightly, I'm hoping that dropping in a USB3 card along with complementary external drives will cut down on transfer time significantly.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (2)

threephaseboy (215589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619858)

Why aren't you using eSATA instead?

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (3, Interesting)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619078)

Cost killed the idea of using USB for low speed peripherals and Firewire for higher speed ones. It's too expensive on a cheap PC to include both ports, so they only included the cheaper one (USB). Because USB was on everything, more devices wound up having USB support.

Once you have basically everyone with USB 2 and only a subset of those with Firewire, implementing the more expensive Firewire stops making sense on retail systems.

I can't help but wonder if the same thing will happen with Thunderbolt.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619140)

probably not since thunderbold can be used for both data transfers and video via mini display port.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619672)

The trouble is, it isn't the cost of connectors that doomed ubiquitous firewire(FW connectors are a little bit more complex than USB ones, FW800 a bit more complex again, but the price difference isn't too drastic); but the fact that including firewire always meant including an additional chip and supporting circuitry. Essentially every chipset, and a wide variety of SoCs and whatnot, ended up supporting at least 1 USB port, often substantially more. Firewire always meant an extra chip.

If thunderbolt ends up embedded in Intel chipsets, its future is likely assured(unless they really run away with using it as a price discrimination feature). If it remains a distinct chip [ifixit.com] with almost the same die area as an upper midrange discrete mobile Radeon, or one of Intel's platform controller hubs, that sucker is going to remain a premium feature.

If anything, the fact that Intel decided to combine their high speed data link port with displayport could make things trickier: If it were a data-only port, a PCIe 2.0 4x port, quite common on nicer motherboards, would neatly support adding a thunderbolt chip. However, that wouldn't support video-out without some hairy and bandwidth intensive cooperation with the video card. That will make adoption in the desktop and workstation market rather more all-or-nothing: unless we go down the delightful route of having "thunderbolt with video" and "thunderbolt without video; but looks the same", the only way to get it will either be on-motherboard(with potential compatibility headaches on the desktop/workstation segment if you want a discrete video card) or on video card, which will tie the thunderbolt chip to a component that is commonly either omitted entirely or replaced extremely frequently.

It will be interesting to see if it overcomes that; but I would be less than entirely surprised if it ends up as the next firewire.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619174)

Except that you can now buy a $200 120GB portable drive that handles 500MBs.

The only thing really keeping up with SSDs is eSATA and then only just barely for a single drive.

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619402)

who trusts ssd for backup? who spends $200 for 120GB of backup storage?

Re:USB 3.0 and FireWire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619548)

"The only thing really keeping up with SSDs is eSATA and then only just barely for a single drive."

eSATA is 3 Gbit/sec, or 6 Gbit/sec. And that is BOTH directions. Thunderbolt is 10 Gbit/sec EACH of both directions, for a total bandwidth of 20 Gbit/sec.
Doesn't this go a bit against what you just said?
Thunderbolt is made to do Video AND PCI-e together.

LV (-1, Offtopic)

helenbetty (2011096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618912)

Louis Vuitton brand enjoys high reputation at home and abroad.If you want to buy Louis Vuitton [buylouisvu...outlet.org] in stable quality,please go to Louis Vuitton Outlet [buylouisvu...outlet.org] .Louis Vuitton handbags,purses.luggages or other LV products with a low discount form Louis Vuitton Outlet Store [buylouisvu...outlet.org] ,it can save much money for you.They are very suitable for the fashional woman like you.

Re:LV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619152)

Louis Vuitton brand enjoys high reputation at home and abroad.

Well not anymore at this home!

ISA? (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35618928)

I'd love to upgrade. Is anyone making a 16-bit ISA version?

a very late hostage's guide to the holycost... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35618998)

which never ends, as god would have us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2DKzastu8&NR=1&feature=fvwp

-- wee key (diaper) leaks group, perishability & play-dates pending world disarmament

in the fog of war, heroes,,, get paid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619136)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXB75IK6pL4

we do not support the material in this cnn propaganda video

we're extremely disappointed with the newly appointed rice furor clarke, although he comparison from years ago is stark. like a whole different person?

Access to SMART commands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619004)

One big disadvantrage of USB 2 or 3 compared to eSata and maybe thunderbolt is that it cannot read SMART data to monitor the drives and spin them down to save wear and power.

Re:Access to SMART commands (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619122)

One big disadvantrage of USB 2 or 3 compared to eSata and maybe thunderbolt is that it cannot read SMART data to monitor the drives and spin them down to save wear and power.

Then how does my computer detect when an external drive with SMART errors has been plugged in via USB 2.0?

Re:Access to SMART commands (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619300)

Try using anything to actually check the SMART status of an external drive or view the SMART data itself. I'd be very surprised if you could unless the manufacturer had made some very specific accommodations to allow it, and it would likely require them to make some software for it, too.

Late adopter? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619198)

For now: With external drives, you can use e-sata. If you want it networked, use a nas that has sata and gigabit ethernet. More usb2 ports are added by adding yet another usb-switch

But at some time in the future you won't be able to avoid buying a new usb-card. You will go with usb3, because cards without usb3 will be much more expensive and most peripherals with usb3 will be cheaper than the ones with usb2. - That's a late adopter.

camera? printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619222)

I could see this being useful if the peripherals supported it.

Too early (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619226)

It's entirely impossible to be a "late adopter" at this stage.

Re:Too early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620126)

Mod up. I came here to say the same thing. Does anybody here actually know anyone that uses USB3 yet? I saw it in the store for the first time a couple months ago, but IMHO there aren't enough products available for it to warrant considering the upgrade.

Of course the other day we learned that a $700 video cards is an "investment," so what do I know...

Old School? (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619242)

First William Shatner turns 80, now USB 2 is old school. I'm sure that makes some people feel old. Hold on, there's someone at my door who says he's here about the "reaping"...

USB 3.0 isn't really about speed (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619278)

It's more about the chipset interface... the driver complexity is greatly reduced with a USB-3 chipset. Intel really screwed up the HCI for USB-2 and USB-1, and they barely worked even when properly implemented. The USB-3 HCI is a much cleaner design. There is this Intel commercial sporting the creater of USB being fawned at by all the woman in the office... every time I see it I feel like socking him one for doing such a bad job.

With most devices sporting wifi (let alone ethernet), fewer and fewer people need portable hard drives these days so it is almost irrelevant. It doesn't even matter that wifi is slower, since it tends to be available all the time or nearly all the time. I still use usb disk keys but my self-powered portable usb hard drives have been collecting dust for well over a year now.

USB is basically the interface for flash keys, keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, cameras, and other odds and ends (e.g. wifi if you machine doesn't have it built in, serial ports if you still need them since most machines don't have them any more, etc). None of those really requires ultra high speed.

If you want an external drive eSATA or firewire (ignoring expensive ethernet-based network drives) are the only really reliable games in town... only someone who really really wants to lose their data uses USB as a serious hard drive interface.

-Matt

Re:USB 3.0 isn't really about speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35619662)

USB is basically the interface for flash keys, keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, cameras, and other odds and ends (e.g. wifi if you machine doesn't have it built in, serial ports if you still need them since most machines don't have them any more, etc). None of those really requires ultra high speed.

The same could have been said against the need for USB 2.0.

It really depends what kind of camera you own and how much video footage you take on a regular basis. If you're shooting 1080p/120 Hz footage of your kid playing soccer or something every week you're going too end up with a lot of data. Nothing to argue about really. It's just another couple of cycles in the hardware business.

Re:USB 3.0 isn't really about speed (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619728)

only someone who really really wants to lose their data uses USB as a serious hard drive interface.

Eh? It's slow, but very stable. In Linux, it's the FW drivers that are crappy and reset the bus after a few GB.

Re:USB 3.0 isn't really about speed (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620012)

Intel really screwed up the HCI for USB-2 and USB-1, and they barely worked even when properly implemented. The USB-3 HCI is a much cleaner design. There is this Intel commercial sporting the creater of USB being fawned at by all the woman in the office... every time I see it I feel like socking him one for doing such a bad job.

I've read the HCI codestack too, and basically yeah. This.

I've always maintained life would have been better if they had just adapted ethernet chips to run a realtime layer2 protocol, and revert back to CMSA/CD if they don't detect some PoE-like impedence.trick or something. Then you'd just have a laptop with gobs of autodetecting peripheral and/or ethernet ports. And 14.5 watts of very safe and reliable power.

Good to hear they finally had to bite the bullet and re-implement sane design principles that were readily available when they kludged together USB.

Really? (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619376)

Is this what Slashdot has come to? A how-to guide on how to add a new card to your computer!?

Re:Really? (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619636)

We used to use pliers to move the interrupt selection jumpers, because that was the style at the time.

obligatory (1)

nten (709128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620008)

Oh! How we wished we had pliars! You had it great, we had to use our teeth to scrape off the traces for the interrupts and redraw them using whale oil lamps to melt the solder.

Re:Really? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619780)

Is this what Slashdot has come to? A how-to guide on how to add a new card to your computer!?

But this is a difficult card to install: it requires a molex connector and therefore it's not your run of the mill easy install! Many things could go wrong during this complicated process.

Firewire 400 then (1)

evanh (627108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619526)

Quote: "USB 3.0 offers roughly double the real-world transfer rates of old-school USB 2.0."

That puts it on par with Firewire 400. Now that's old school, pre-dating even USB 1.0!

"..available on most new systems." (1)

juventasone (517959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619794)

Right away you know this guy lives in his own little world. I can guarantee if you walk into a retail store today and checked each desktop and notebook, less than 1 in 10 will have USB 3.0.

Re:"..available on most new systems." (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619830)

Right away you know this guy lives in his own little world. I can guarantee if you walk into a retail store today and checked each desktop and notebook, less than 1 in 10 will have USB 3.0.

I actually think he is quite well connected and in-tune with the modern world. For example, he knows about mini CDs and how to use them (although he didn't give instructions in the howto on how to use them or where they go... which is unfortunate because I'll probably get stuck at that point in the process).

Not so sure... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#35619922)

Chances are I'll stick with USB2/eSATA for the time being. I use USB for peripherals, which don't benefit from USB3 at all, and for thumbdrives (all USB2) which don't really need all that speed anyways. If I want to plug my external HDD, both my desktop and my laptop have eSATA ports.

In short, USB3 feels somewhat redundant. It will only take off as USB2 gets phased out, mostly because USB2 is still considered "good enough". Obviously, we might not even see USB3 gain dominance if Thunderbolt is more popular and widespread. I'm personally more interested by that than USB3.

So USB3 is coming... what's this mean for devices? (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35620034)

So USB 3.0 is on its way in, and I'll expect to see it on (mid-range) motherboards in the near future...
But how about USB 3.0 devices? I'm sure we all have whole piles of USB devices (Flash drives, etc.). Will these do anything different when plugged into a USB 3.0 port, or will we have to wait for new Flash drives to see more performance?

Skip past USB3 and proceed directly to Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620092)

Skip past USB3 and proceed directly to Thunderbolt. USB has ALWAYS had some serious shortcomings. 3 is the best iteration to date but now Thunderbolt has made USB3 obsolete before it's gaining any traction....dead before it ever got popular.

Certification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35620240)

Has anyone else here tried to get a device certified by the USB-IF? It's a weirdly arbitrary process.If whatever the Thunderbolt people come up with is more rational, I'm down.
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