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USB2 Specs Are In

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the go-speed-racer-go dept.

Technology 145

PooF writes "USB 2.0 has been announced. It seems sweet, its faster than firewire at 480 Mb/s. An article from pc.ign.com on USB 2.0. Oh yea these are only the specs they hope to achieve no word on progress in implementing them."

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Re:BFHD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617266)

> "The USB People" are mostly Intel. It looks like they're trying to make USB the standard because Firewire wasn't invented by them. They're funny like that.

So god damn fragging what? You got a problem with competition?

Re:Surpasing technologies that are not even implem (1)

zeal (89481) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617267)

You wouldn't happen to think I was talking about firewire being the unused technology, would you? Even my 80 year old grand father knows USB is currently in use.

If its backwards compatible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617268)

Then USB 2.0 will be a good thing. Sure you can argue that 1394 is better, but the point is that if it is compatible with USB 1.0 then you WONT need to buy all new devices all over again. Its bad enough as it is when Intel comes out with new chipsets forcing you to buy a new mobo to go with your new cpu. Imagine having an external USB Orb drive suddenly copy files faster on the new bus. Apple takes the lead in dumping dinosaur ports in favor for USB 1.0 and 1394 but at what cost to the consumer. How much do they have to pay to replace all their older serial devices? So Intel doesnt want to adopt FireWire and force users to buy all new devices, big deal. They made the smart move by slowly phasing out serial, they didnt take such a bold step in full on dumping serial like Apple did. Aside from DV Editing, devices are more exspensive than SCSI. Oh boy, I get to shell out 500$ (the non-iMac colored ones are cheaper) for an external 9 gig drive, which (i could be wrong) seems like a UDMA drive with a FireWire port. Of course if you want to do Digital Video, then 1394 is the standard you need. Hehehe those with existing Miro cards..."Dont need no stinkin FireWire". Check it out for yourself. www.firewirestuff.com www.usbstuff.com

Is USB2.0 really that good? (1)

Teroc (8747) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617277)

OS News [osnews.com] Ran this in early September, with a good link to Mackido's [mackido.com] site. Here [mackido.com] is is Mackidos take on it. The basics: USB 2.0 is no where near what FireWire offers now! When USB 2.0 hits the streets, FireWire will be even faster. Plus USB 2.0 was designed for low end devices, Mackido discusses why it would be a nightmare for anything else.

Re:BFHD (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617278)

ooops, that should be 127 devices for USB, and 63 for Firewire.

It reads like an Onion article (1)

Szoup (61508) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617279)

USB 2.0 to Move "Like, really, really fast" Say Sources

Yeah yeah, very cute.

you can transfer a cow in about 5 seconds.

But what about pig tranfers? Elephants?

So, when will this all get so fast that I only need to think about transferring data to make it happen?

Re:Ungratefull intel.. (1)

Schnedt (99690) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617280)

Untill the iMac USB was not really taking off.

I don't think you can necessarily draw that coorelation. USB has slowly gained acceptance at the same time as two market changes occured.

1. The introduction of the iMac,
and
2. The growth in adoption of Windows 98

With the iMac, Apple basically forced people to adopt USB-based peripherals for certain functions, namely removable storage devices (Zip drives and floppy drives.)

With Windows 98 all kinds of new stuff is cropping up in the market. Scanners, speaker systems (which function without needing a sound card), modems, mice and keyboards. Digital cameras too. Generally at this point for a number of completely external peripherals the choice on the shelf is between the hoary old parallel port or USB. USB fits nicely into the niche for medium-end external peripherals.

We've covered this before on /. (3)

jht (5006) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617281)

This was covered in an earlier slashdot thread this summer. Faster USB is great. 12 MBits/sec is fast by serial port standards, but not fast enough for some of the things people want to use USB for (low-end video transfer, external mass storage, Ethernet, etc.). Despite that, there's a great mass market for Firewire, too. Here's why:

1: USB already has low-speed, misbehaved, "legacy" devices that need to be backwards compatible with the new spec. Firewire's legacy peripherals operate at 200 Mbits/sec. 'nuff said.

2: USB requires processor arbitration to run the bus. Firewire doesn't.

3: USB's design is specifically as a low-cost interface for PC peripherals. The hub-based design is a byproduct of this. Firewire is designed as a more general-purpose, device/device interface. Firewire can nicely connect consumer products to one another, no PC required.

However, USB has a higher "theoretical" maximum number of devices supported per controller, 127 (in USB 1.1), versus Firewire's 64. In practice, 64 Firewire devices is do-able, if silly. More than 4-5 USB devices (with a powered external hub) is pushing the limits. The only place where USB reaches the upper limits is at USB technology bake-offs.

I love USB (heck, it's in all my PC's and both my home Macs), and it's a great cross-platform standard for computer-oriented low-end to midrange peripherals. Firewire is better for high-end devices (prepress scanners, hard drives, video equipment, etc.), but it's a general-purpose interface, and that's why it will ultimately do well. The two interfaces are not, by any stretch of the imagination, mutually exclusive. Anybody who thinks that you can only use one either needs to buy a Mac to prove otherwise or board the cluetrain.

- -Josh Turiel

Firewire vs. USB (1)

Merk (25521) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617282)

My company (Vitana [vitana.com] ) is currently working with both USB and FireWire / iLink / IEEE 1394. And as I've said lots of times before: they're different technologies for different purposes.

1394 is a peer-to-peer style interface. It has a lot of communications overhead and special modes designed for audio/video data. Because it's peer to peer, each node can communicate with any other node asynchronously.

USB is a host to client style interface. It also has special modes for audio/video data, for bulk transfers (like a scanner's output), control signals and regular data pipes. All communication must pass through the host, and the host initiates all transactions. While it may seem that your USB camera is shoving data into the computer, the computer is actually polling the camera all the time, asking if it has anything more to send.

There's a lot more to these protocols than just the MHz, and neither is better than the other, it's just that often one is more suited to certain tasks than the other.

And 3.2 Gbps is even sweeter (1)

gjt (93855) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617283)

Firewire2 [1394ta.org] (IEEE 1394.b) which is probably on the same timeline as USB2 offers speeds of 800 MBps, 1.6 Gbps, and 3.2 Gbps.

Last year, Lucent demoed a 1.6 Gpbs chipset.

Oh. And you can run TCP/IP over Firewire! Linux will soon have a Firewire stack. And it's a lot cheaper than SCSI.

Right now you get 400 Mbps with the non-vaporware Firewire, about 35 times faster than the non-vaporware USB that exists today.

Comparing the vaporware USB2 to today's Firewire is like comparing a Pentium to a 286.

Re:BFHD (4)

kroah (751) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617284)

OK, I'm actually at the USB 2.0 Devcon right now, and have read the 2.0 proposed spec, so I'll take a stab at refuting these comments:

1.The usb.org article only claims "120-240Mbps". It's not clear where the ign.com article came up with 480Mbps.
The speed is 480Mbs. That is what the spec says.

2.Even if USB2 runs at 480Mbps, the Firewire folks aren't exactly standing still. Any raw bandwidth advantage of USB2 is sure to be short-lived at best.
Firewire and USB have too many things that are not in common, they really are not competitors. USB is aimed to be a PC centric bus. There has to be only one host, and a whole lot of clients. Firewire can be host to host. Firewire is more intrenched in the consumer electronic market, while USB is sticking to the PC (for now).

3.There's lots of blather in the USB2 announcement about supporting video cameras etc. but IIRC USB doesn't support the isochronous transfers which are usually considered necessary to serve those markets. Did I miss something?
You missed something. USB has always supported isochronous transfers. Look at the USB speakers from Philips for an example of a shipping product that uses this. Isochronous is still there for 2.0.

4.Another useful Firewire feature that USB doesn't seem to have is providing power through the same connector used for communications. Again, I may have missed it.
USB has ALWAYS supported power on the connector. How else does some of the devices work? 2.0 does not change this. It's still 5V at 100mA-500mA depending on what you need and ask for. If you need more power, take a look at the Plus Power Connector that IBM supports for USB. It can provide 12V or 24V at 3A. That's about all the current that anyone needs.

5.I don't remember how many devices USB supports, but I suspect it's less than Firewire.
USB supports 127 devices per host controller. You can plug in more than one host controller in your PC at a time. The record (I think) for most devices plugged in and working at once is around 144.

6.I know that USB-based host-to-host networking exists, but it's not clear to me whether it's really as well suited to that task as Firewire. In particular, I wonder how much asymmetry between hosts and devices (a la initiators and targets in SCSI) is built into the protocol, and how round-trip latency compares to other technologies.
As I said above, USB is a host-client bus. You can make (and buy) a device that does networking over USB from one computer to another, but this is just two client devices talking together in a box. Firewire can do true host to host on the bus itself. The USB protocol is a star topology with the PC host controller at the top. I can look up the round trip latency stuff somewhere, but it is built into the protocol, and the host and hub controllers seem to handle it well.

7.Similarly, I'd like seeing a comparison of how automagically reconfiguration happens when devices are added or removed using each technology.
I don't really know how Firewire does this at all, but USB handles this wonderfully. There is a description of how the protocol handles all of this in the spec (at www.usb.org [usb.org] ).
In summary, USB 2.0 looks like it handles a lot of the speed issues that some people had with 1.1. It provides backward compatibility with all 1.1 and 1.0 devices and enables things like speakers and video cameras to run better.
Like it or not, USB looks to be here for a while. A lot of computers are coming out without a lot of different connectors, and USB is replacing them.

Ob Linux: USB is working on Linux in the 2.3.x series of kernels (it's also supported a little in the 2.2.x series, but not for many devices.) More information is at www.linux-usb.org [linux-usb.org]

Firewire Rules - Linux, Win absent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617285)

Some observations: 1. Firewire will spec up to 3.2 Gb/s. Wow. 2. There are 7 million digital camcorders out there with firewire interfaces. 3. The new iMacs have firewire and are thus a ready to use Digital Video "appliance". 4. Linux and Windows are no where near providing usable OS Support and, more importantly, applications for firewire. 5. Apple is giving people what they want - a fast, easy to use interface for emerging digital technologies. 6. Firewire is shipping. 7. USB2 is a spec 8. My gut feeling is that the cheap, narrow-minded commodity obsessed Intel hardware OEMs will not rush to either USB2 or firewire. Consumers lose. This will be a nice nitch for Apple to occupy and compete with Linux and Windows* 9. I don't want a $299 Intel box that doesn't have state of the art I/O. I'm so sick of the Windows/"Linux roolz" crowd babbling about how they can build such cheap crap boxes. I'm happy for you. Really. But I don't buy cheap stereo/AV equipment and I won't settle for commodity dogshit when it comes to my personal workstation. This stuff is fine for low end servers, gateways, etc. I even use crap boxes myself. But when it comes to my personal workstaion I want digital video, good audio, and gadgets. Firewire is the means to this end.

Re:BFHD (1)

ford42 (90100) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617286)

AC wrote "So god damn fragging what? You got a problem with competition?"

When "competition" entails using FUD to get market acceptance of a technologically inferior standard, then, yes, I do have a problem with it.

Surpasing technologies that are not even implement (1)

zeal (89481) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617287)

Is it only me that finds this rather humorous that they've gone and made a technology faster than an existing one that is not even used.

reportage (1)

rde (17364) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617288)

you can transfer a cow in about 5 seconds.
You know, if Zd would adopt this style of reporting, I'd probably get to the end of one of their articles.

Move by Intel to try to kill FireWire? (2)

haaz (3346) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617289)

I believe that I read somewhere (MacWEEK? The Register?) that USB 2.0, which isn't even being developed beyond a spec, was a move by Intel to try to squash FireWire for some reason. My memory fails me as to where I read that article. It was speculative, not stating it as fact, but it said basically what the comment said: not really being developed, just announced. What sort of practice does this remind you of? (Answer: MS in the 1980s and early 90s.)

We have enough trouble getting USB 1.16 to work under Linux.. don't need to mess with 2.0.

Re:Surpasing technologies that are not even implem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617290)

I find it rather humorous that you've gone and made a comment that completely reveals your total cluelessness.

backwards compatibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617291)

I hope that when using USB 1.1 devices that you can still take advantage of USB 2 speeds (maybe some kind of hub will be necessary to separate out the slow speed stuff without affecting high speed devices).

USB 2.0 better than Firewire??? (3)

SuperScan (92230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617292)

I think not. USB 2.0 may be faster in terms of throughput than Firewire, but not on CPU utilization. USB sucks up more processor, and thereby slowing your entire machine down. This is another example of Chipzilla driving a "need" for faster processors. Remember about a year ago when DVD technology came to the PC arena. Some video card companies came out with hardware DVD decoding solutions. Intel made the push that their Pentium II processors could easily handle software decoding of DVD, and therefore the hardware DVD solutions were not needed. I'm all for the fastest processor, but not when it's need to mask performance bottlenecks in other areas. Who wants to do one thing on their PC? Why do we even try to multitask? And I guess the fact that Firewire was invented by Apple has nothing to do with Intel pushing their new "faster" solution.

Re:Move by Intel to try to kill FireWire? (2)

Spruitje (15331) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617293)

About Firewire : Intel is one of the licenseholders.
USB 2.0 is a poor technology.
Instead of trusting the jobs (copying etc.) to the devices, USB 2.0 relies on the processor to access devices.
This means huge processorloads, firewire is better.
Next, USB 2.0 has the same fee as USB 1.0 namely $ 0,25 a machine.
The pricing is the same as firewire.
Only difference is that Intel is getting the full $ 0,25 instead of the $ 0,25 / /7 which Apple, Sony, JVC, Motorola and Intel are getting for Firewire.

Apple in this group?? what about keeping both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617294)

Wasn't apple supposed to be one of the great inspirations and lead member of this group? Why are they absent now?

btw, what is the diff between this and the current state of firewire?

I guess this is >OKAYold usb devices, but wouldn't there be both usb and firewire anyway such as in the iMac DV edition?

This is silly splitting off support to too many different standards, well I hope this doesn't mean apple will push firewire then get forced into usb2 as it becomes popular (spelled 'cheap') to put on macs.

Interrupts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617295)

So you have your nice new USB2 CD-RW chugging away at writing a CD and then you decide to press a key on your nice USB keyboard.....ooops. You suddenly remember what happens when a slower USB device tries to communicate on the same line.

Say goodbye to the CD.

Re:BFHD - spec wars 1999 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617296)

Fine, if Intel wants to tout usb2.0 then take a look at the next version of Firewire. If you want to talk about Spec's, I found a link on HP's web site. They posted some info from the IEEE1394-B working papers (I didn't want to say anything unless I could find it posted somewhere). Its not published yet, but HP has already put it out on their web site. Guess what .... 1394-B is going to go up to 3200 Mbits/sec.

Also, aparently there was a vote in the working group yesterday (Oct. 12), to send the final spec to IEEE for general balloting. Hmmmmm any coincidendce that Intel announced the usb2.0 spec on the same day that vote in working group happened?

From HP's site: 1394-A (also known as Firewire) is the IEEE designation for a standard high performance serial bus. The 1394-A bus supports data rates of 100, 200 and 400 Mbits/sec, the 1394-B can support from 800 to 3200 Mbits/sec. Like USB, 1394 enables plug-and-play peripheral connectivity, provides power to peripherals (thereby eliminating the need for each peripheral to have its own power supply), and supports isochronous data transfers.
http://www.hp.com/desktops/library /glossary.html [hp.com] (page last modified Monday Aug. 16).

-Just another AC

Re:Ungratefull intel.. (1)

eshefer (12336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617297)

hmmmm...

thanks for that very interesting, insightfull remark (moderators, do your work..)


> Actually USB didn't take off because of the
> Imac, it just happens that USB components
> became widely available just
> around the same time.

I agree that Apple benifited more from USB then vice-verca. (the decision to ditch ADB and put USB exclusivly on the iMac was pure genious, BTW - since it forced USB perif makers to write drivers for the mac, since it was clear that it was the one market that really needs USB periferals, since there was no other perif I/O port..)

However for some odd reason USB devices on the PC still havn't really taken off, proabably because, unlike Apple, X86 motherboard makers are too scared to kill the legacy serial ports (obviously becuase of backword compatability.. which is a very good reason). I wonder what is the ratio between USB periferal bought for Macs in ralation to USB devices that will get used by PC's.. My guess (And that's all that it is, A guess) that it is at least 50%+ are for Mac's. That's what I meant. USB makers benifited a lot from Apples USB decision.

The cost issue you rase definetly is an interesting issue. we will wait and see.

--------------------------------

Faster than Firewire (1)

Gumber (17306) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617298)

Let me get this straight, you find it notable that a spec for something that is not shipping, is faster than the spec of something that is shipping? Then why don't you point out that specs for higher speed versions of firewire were out long before the spec for USB2

480 Mb/s? (3)

overshoot (39700) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617300)

Actually, this is specsmanship. Where IEEE1394 does its arbitration, framing, etc. at a minimum of 100 Mb/s and usually at 400 Mb/s, USB of any flavor does its polling (notice, it is *not* a peer interconnect) and framing at no more than 12 Mb/s (assuming that there are no low-speed 1.5 Mb/s devices in the path).

Each packet in USB2 starts out with the same preamble (12Mb/s) and ends with the same postamble (12Mb/s); the new twist is that there may be a tone burst in the middle of 480 Mb/s or whatever. Unless you ship really huge packets (which aren't allowed by the protocol anyway) the average transfer rate is a lot lower than 408 Mb/s.

The road to USB 2.0 won't be easy... (1)

Dave Zarzycki (8609) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617301)

I found this article rather informative:

http://www.edtn.com/analog/c028.htm [edtn.com]

BTW - By the time USB 2.0 arrives, FireWire should up to 800 or 1600 Mbps. But that doesn't really matter. Even if the future USB 2.0 reaches today's FireWire throughput, it doesn't fix the USB protocol.

The fundamental problem with USB is that is was designed to be a CPU pig (thank you Intel). FireWire is the polar opposite and can do cool things like have your (FireWire) hard drive DMA a video stream directly from your camcorder.

Re:BFHD (1)

Salamander (33735) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617302)

>OK, I'm actually at the USB 2.0 Devcon right now, and have read the 2.0 proposed spec, so I'll take a stab at refuting these comments:

Thank you for identifying your vested interest. That's all too rare around here.

>>2.Even if USB2 runs at 480Mbps, the Firewire folks aren't exactly standing still. Any raw bandwidth advantage of USB2 is sure to be short-lived at best.
>Firewire and USB have too many things that are not in common, they really are not competitors

In other words: yes, Firewire will over the long term retain a significant raw-bandwidth advantage despite very short-term leapfrogging.

I stand corrected on isochrony, power through the connector, and number of hosts. I'm glad someone with more authoritative information was there to correct any incorrect impressions that might have resulted from my earlier post.

>In summary, USB 2.0 looks like it handles a lot of the speed issues that some people had with 1.1.

My question is: what speed issues did people have that would not have been adequately addressed by implementing both USB and Firewire? As many people including yourself have pointed out, there are still and will always be important differences between the two, and "one size fits all" is more often than not a lousy philosophy in computing.

>Like it or not, USB looks to be here for a while

I have nothing against USB in and of itself. My concern is that Firewire already exists and as near as I can tell already addresses the issues which USB2 seems to be trying to address (as compared to USB1). I happen to dislike reinvented wheels; I would have been much happier if the USB folks had let USB do what USB does best, and let Firewire do what Firewire does best, and go off to do other more useful things with their time. Competition is great, but there's plenty in both technical areas already. Pushing USB into the Firewire "problem space" is just an attempt by Intel to squash competition in the high-speed interconnect market by leveraging their position as the largest PC chipset manufacturer.

Re:farewell to firewire (2)

ford42 (90100) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617303)

with every company trying to give IEEE 1394 their own name (and some trying to charge by the port, as Apple is trying with the name "firewire"), it has no chance.

I think you mean as Apple was trying with the name "firewire". Apple gave up on that quite a while ago, realising it wasn't making them any friends or winning acceptance for FW. It was right around that time that Intel initially announced USB2.0. Months and months ago this was. (Which reminds me -- this ain't exactly news, Roblimo...)

Re:Firewire Rules - Linux, Win absent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617304)

AMEN BROTHER!!!! SPEAK ON!!!! from a burned out pc repair tech. jason.salopek@usa.net

No more power than current spec?!? (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617305)

Check out this Gamespot ref [gamespot.com]

USB2 will have no more power than USB1.1... note to self - buy additional power strip.

Re:Surpasing technologies that are not even implem (1)

ed__ (23481) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617306)

even if you were talking about firewire, you'd still be wrong. perhaps you don't personally use it, but saying that no one uses [usb|firewire] is the same as me saying no one uses FreeBSD because i don't use it, and i haven't seen anyone personally use it. it is just silly. and i do use firewire (digital video between cameras and sgi's) and i've seen lots of people use it.

Re:Surpasing technologies that are not even implem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617307)

>You wouldn't happen to think I was talking

>about firewire being the unused technology,
>would you?

*laugh* *rofl*

Now that is amusing. Firewire isn't implemented? Nope. It's not on >90% of the camcorders in the $600 to $15,000 range. There aren't 7 million or so devices already out there. Sony VAIOs, various Compaq machines, and every Apple mini-tower machine doesn't have Firewire.

Nope. It couldn't be that firewire is currently revolutionizing digital video and letting more and more people play around with stuff that five years ago would've cost $20,000.

Be thankful; you were being given the benefit of the doubt...

Firewire kicks butt. Broadcast quality full motion non-linear editing for $1300 on the desktop, under $2000 on the laptop. USB2 is the only thing here that isn't implemented...

Different techs, different purposes (2)

ford42 (90100) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617308)

This has been said so many times that I risk losing karma here for being redundant...

USB and Firewire were never intended for the same purpose! USB was intended for low-bandwidth stuff (mice, keyboards, printers, speakers). FW is aimed at higher bandwidth stuff. Most typically, your average home computer user would probably prefer a FW hard drive. DV and even networking are also within FW's desmesne.

Look at the G3 and G4 machines from Apple. USB and FW co-exist. Why on earth would you need your hard drive's bus and your mouse's bus to be co-compatible?? Sounds to me like you're saying that SCSI was a bad idea because you couldn't run your mouse through it. If you buy a SCSI PCI card, do you need to buy a new keyboard?

As for your implied price comparisons between USB hard-drives and FW hard-drives... you get what you pay for. I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that USB drives are cheaper because they don't need to be as fast. It's like comparing SCSI drives with IDE drives. SCSI may be technically superior (and faster), but IDE is cheaper. You may be kicking yourself later when the latest & greatest thing needs a hard-drive connection faster than USB can provide you...

Re:Firewire not standing still either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617309)

True. I'd like to emphasize several points: 1. USB 2.0 is ONLY a spec thus far 2. Firewire 400Mbps is here now. 3. Firewire specs extend as high as 800Mbps 4. Firewire is expected to reach 1.6 Gbps The only reason M$/Intel want consumers to buy into "high speed" USB is due to their unwillingness to pay royalties to Apple. Apple wants to charge a minor fee ($1 or LESS) for each firewire device (IIRC). I guess M$/Intel think they can dictate terms to Apple.

another point missed (1)

wmeyer (17620) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617310)

USB has a horrible weakness with regard to cable length. I won't give a number, because it isn't worth pulling out the spec, but when I looked closely at implementing some peripherals for USB, I found the actuality of the specs to be disappointing, at best.

Nothing of any size or complexity can be put together in USB without hubs, and as others have pointed out:

1. USB requires the presence of a PC
2. USB sucks CPU

If USB is the future of interconnect, we better start placing our hopes in systems which are self-contained.

Added info (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617311)

BTW http://www.maccentral.com (yes, I know, God for bid you have to go to a mac site to clairify) Firewire will be bootable shortly. Therefore HDs (which are already available and will be pocket size) with a 3.2 Gb through put seems sweet. Plus the new G4s alreay have an internal firewire port ready to use this ability. This and you can daisy chain these HDs to multiple Computers. Anyone know if USB2 or and future USBx will be able to do this?

Re:And 3.2 Gbps is even sweeter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617312)

I'm not saying your wrong, but I am interested in where you find a firewire hard drive that is cheaper than a SCSI-2 drive. I've been severely disappointed by drive manufacturers. They think I'm willing to pay $100 more on drive which feature THE SAME MECHANISM, but only use a different interface! The SCSI chips probably cost them about the same as IDE (on the order of cents in difference)... :P

Re:Industry standards emerging? (2)

Anonymous Shepherd (17338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617313)

Um, you're talking about the iMac, right? They dropped the (archaic) floppy, used USB for *everything*, and had networking installed in the box. The newer iMacs also have DVD, firewire/iLink, wireless networking options, and advanced power saving features until now only found in notebooks. Welcome to the next level

-AS

Re:BFHD (1)

Xavier (4024) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617314)

yes, when it comes to bad competition.

Don't you think that we've seen too much good
ideas/hardwares/softwares doomed by crappy-but-slighly-cheaper-and-better-marketed-hea vily-pushed variants?
If Microsoft and Intel start to (and they will) tell the world how great USB2.0 is, how it will make Internet connections faster, games better, and so on, do you really think that average Joe user will tell himself "Sure, but i prefer FireWire 'cause i know it's better "

This is not competition at all. I'm -really- fed up with lies of marketing. And afraid by the number of people who trust even the most obvious lie in an advert - i'm just thinking to the last PII campaign here in France, and how people started to sincerely think that those P had made their modem faster, their screen bigger, and their own creativity better ...

Long live to FireWire

Intel : I think you need the help of Apple ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617315)

USB 2.0 makes me laugh... USB on Pc is still not working, Windows 98 is buggy as hell with USB devices, you can use USB mouse or keyboard if you have a problem etc. PC people are still buying PS2 mouse and keyboards and // printers and scanners ! After 5 years, USB on PC is still not selling. If Intel doesn't kick the serial, PS2 and // ports out of the PC, the USB will never be a success. People won't buy USB 2 because it will certainly be more expensive than UDMA 66 or SCSI (scanners etc.) So, who will buy USB 2 ? maybe Mac users ;) Firewire is the way do go and Sony won't put USB 2 on its digital cameras anyway... USB is a good technology for mice, keyboards, scanners but for high speed devices let Firewire rules :)))) By the way, iMac DV is COOOOOOL !!!!

Marketing Spec (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617316)

USB 2.0 is a marketing spec. It's vaporware and FUD designed as a prophylaxis to FireWire catching on.

If they could really execute a technology to these specs, don't you think they would have done it with USB 1.0, or at least have made it much faster so 2.0 would have been incrementally closer?

I hope nobody believes this crap - unfortunately, they will.
Personally I think USB and FireWire can exist side-by-side as two complementing technologies. Obviously, Apple believes in this philosophy, otherwise the new iMac would not have USB and FireWire. It would have only FireWire.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."

Re:Yes, Intel does want to kill Firewire (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617317)

ah - no wonder IDE won out against SCSI in the long haul. More Intel bullshit.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."

Its backwards compatible... (2)

gsfprez (27403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617318)

of course, i can't use my current USB hubs, my USB cables, or USB pass thrus (essentially, built in hubs) on any of my devices...

how exactly do you cram 480 mbps thru ports that can only support 12? Your monitor with 4 USB ports can't support USB 2.0. Your hub can't support USB 2.0. You have to buy all new hardware - including USB cables - to use USB 2.0. Your USB 1.0 devs will all have to be at the ends of your USB device tree.... If you plugged a USB 2.0 HD into your USB 1.0 hub - it will run at USB 1.0 speeds.

USB 2.0 is only to sell more USB 2.0 chipsets and to require you to keep buying faster and faster Intel CPUs.

get a grip. Get Firewire.


___
"I know kung-fu."

Re:And 3.2 Gbps is even sweeter (1)

gjt (93855) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617319)

I think the Firewire hard drives are expensive because they are not *true* Firewire drives. They are aftermarket modifications to IDE or SCSI hard drives.

In particular one that I saw looked like a notebook computer's hard drive placed in a Firewire "wrapper". The cost is high because you are paying for the original hard drive plus the Firewire circuitry, which is going to be complex.

Now if companies like Seagate, Western Digital, etc started making native FireWire hard drives then the price will be cheaper. In fact, I would guess that the prices would be near those for equivalent IDE hard drives.

The Firewire electronics is a lot simpler than SCSI, requiring fewer chips which should make true Firewire drives cheaper. If you look up prices for Firewire controllers and compare to SCSI you will see a good price difference.

Re:BFHD (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617320)

"I have nothing against USB in and of itself."

Doesn't sound like it.

"My concern is that Firewire already exists and as
near as I can tell already addresses the issues
which USB2 seems to be trying to address (as
compared to USB1)."

Why on earth would it make any sense at all to
NOT improve the spec, if they can increase the
bandwidth over the *same hardware* that is already
out there? Why would you not improve the spec? Or
do you think everyone will just drop their USB
products, and install firewire?

"I happen to dislike reinvented wheels; I would have been much happier if the USB folks had let USB do what USB does best, and let Firewire do what Firewire does best"

It's funny that you bring that up. As far as I
know, Apple controls firewire, and they are (or
were) charging manufacturers to put firewire
ports on the machines -- which is one reason why
they aren't on a lot of machines (compared to
USB).

USB ports are on all the ATX motherboards now,
and there are tons of hardware that support USB.
It's truly plug-n-play (finally!), and fast
enough for most devices (I've got USB digital
speakers that are AWESOME). The only person I
know that uses firewire is my boss, who's got a
DV camera. I don't have any idea what speed that
transfers at, but I do believe 480mbps should
cover it... So while firewire might soon leap past
USB 2.0 in terms of speed, what devices are there
that will require it?

As far as using firewire for networking, I just
don't see it... wireless networking will be all
the rage. In fact, the only competitor USB might
have in the next few years is Bluetooth.

-WW

Why have USB and Firewire (1)

flatrock (79357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617321)

Lets try an example. I'd like to design a USB camera I can hook up to my laptop. While the current implementations are nice, I'd like to have a higher resolution and update rate. THe device is relatively simple. The camera puts the data in a frame buffer, and the USB host controller does an ischronous transfer at a specified interval to pull the data out of the buffer.

So why don't I just do this with firewire? The simple reason is that the hardware to have my device work on firewire is likely going to cost me over half of the total product cost. The controllers for USB devices are relatively simple, stupid devices. This makes them much less expensive. Why add the cost and complexity of peer-to-peer operation when I don't need it for the majority of the applications. Do my keyboard, mouse, or speakers really need to tell me that they have data available, or can I simpley have the host controller poll them at a predefined rate. The majority of the intelligence to the host controller. Since every computer needs a host controller, and they are less expensive in volume, the cost goes down for the consumer.

Lets go back to the example of the camera. If I can use USB 2.0, (If and when it becomes a reality, not just a spec.) I can provide that faster frame rate and higher resolution. What will it cost me? It will be harder to get things to work at 480 Mbps. I haven't read the spec, but I wouldn't be surprised if cable specifications changed. Noise is going to be much more of a problem at thes higher data rates. There will also likely be a lot more noise of the power and ground lines for line powered devices. These are mostly development issues which won't take a good design team a long time to work out. The cabling might cost a bit more, but not much. In the end I can produce a better product, for considerabley less cost per unit than a firewire solution.

A faster version of USB will also work well for disk drivers. Drives are by nature target devices. Your hard drive doesn't tell your CPU that it has some data it may want, your CPU requests the data. One of the reasons that Firewire drives haven't caught on is that they are expensive. Some of this expense comes form the fact that they are new, and low volume, but there is also unnecessary overhead in firewire for that purpose.

How about digital camcorders? Does the camcorder really need to be a peer device? Not really, but it would be nice to have the higher bandidth Firewire provides, or will provide long before USB 2.0 becomes a reality.

What might Firewire be good for? How about hot plug and play network cards, or having multiple computers talk to the same device. If you want to have a small group of computers talk to a high speed printer and an array of disks, firewire might be nich. Then again Fibre Channel is also good for this and even faster. Personally, I'd like to see USB 2.0 and Fibre Channel on PCs in the future, but I'll take what I can get.

Re:farewell to firewire (1)

arielb (5604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617322)

so instead you're paying intel because usb will still take a cpu hit.

Cost diff & speed in MB anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617323)

I curious about both the cost and ability to support harddrives on USB & Firewire.

Does anyone know the current cost (beyond royalties) difference between USB and Firewire? I know in the start USB was a whole lot cheaper, but how much something is mass produced brings down the cost a lot.

I'm also am curious about how Firewire compares to SCSI. Being a serial protocol Firewire (and USB for that matter) are rated in bits per second. Parallel protocols like SCSI are in bytes. So is the conversion of bits to bytes in the Firewire world a simple divide by 8, or does it have other stop bits or a lot of protocol packets that effectivly bring down the rate? Also how suited is firewire in RAID configurations (as in, is there something in SCSI and other disk protocols that handle RAIDs better)?

Rikkers

Of course some day it will be all Open-Connector Cabling (which incorporates both PlasmaWire and UltraUSB v10.0), but thats a long way off. :-)

Sony and Matsushita will decide this... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617324)

NOT Intel, Apple, or any computer company.

1394 is already the DV interface standard, and it's showing up on more and more still cameras.

There is no advantage for the consumer electronic companies to switch to an interface that requires a PC in the mix. Right now, I can transfer video from one camcorder to another via 1394. All I need is a *cable*. Why would I buy a camera that can't play in the 1394 world?

USB is for keyboards, flatbed scanners, and floppy drives. Using it for high-speed, real-time work is just stupid.

-jcr

Reinventing the wheel?!? (1)

bbillian (19067) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617325)

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this USB2 standard basically just reinventing firewire?

You're reading to much into this. (1)

flatrock (79357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617326)

USB is not in itself processor intensive. I however wouldn't be surprised if Intel's implementation in their chipset is processor intensive. It depends on how much intelligence is built into the USB host controller.

I have little doubt that Firewire will be running at 800GB before USB 2.0 arrives. 1.6GB will be difficult to get working over copper wire, especially since it has to pass FCC Class B and CE testing to be a viable product.

USB and Firewire really aren't aimed at the same market. There is definately some overlap, but USB is supposed to be for low cost devices that don't require peer to peer communications. Firewire provides bus arbitration, so there can be multiple bus masters. This however adds to complexity and cost.

Re:BFHD (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617328)

Agreed.

USB was a connector for low-bandwidth devices. It should have remained this way.

And firewire and USB2.0 *are* competitors. Two similar products in one market are competing...

I just worry that they've ruined the usefullness of USB by trying to compete instead of being happy with the niche they were in.

Why do I say ruined? Because USB devices that are satisfied by the current standard must start to become USB2.0 or they will ruin the effectiveness of a USB2.0 system. And who wants to have their mouse, or scanner, or keyboard, get bad reviews in a magazine "Nice product, but it'll lag your whole USB setup because it's using the slower spec." So, $20 mice which are perfectly suited by the simpler logic and slower components in the current spec will become more expensive mice with completely wasted faster components.

Why will a scanner, using 5mb/s significantly lag a connect providing 480mbit? Because the scanner, if it used the connect 50% of the time, because it's using a 10mbit maximum speed, will block a potential 240mbits of data that could have been sent during that time. So look at replacing that USB scanner before you ever consider a USB2.0 external HD, or cable modem, etc. (This is the reason you don't put your cheap CD drive on the same IDE connector as your new 7200 rpm 8ms HD...)

So they're forcing people to either make products that defeat the purpose of the new system, or spend vastly more money making products that don't need the speed.

It would make MUCH more sense to simply have USB and Firewire. Then our keyboards and mice of today will still function on computers 15 years down the road without hurting system performance. (This isn't unreasonable. My keyboard has an AT/XT switch on it, and was bought in 86, but it still works fine. A keyboard from now should similarly work on systems in 2012.)

Apple USB + Firewire = $$$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617335)

The irony is that Apple more than Intel has gotten the USB "acceptance train" out of the station. Of course Apple promotes Firewire also. With the new iMacs, Apple has wide range of computers from consumer to high end that support both USB and firewire.

It would appear that Apple is in a better position than any PC maker to take advantage of standard USB devices (keyboards, mice, etc.), and firewire devices (audio, video, all those digital cameras, etc.). If Apple can get the message out along with the rest of Apple's message (easy to use, cool computers), Apple should be in for some real profitable growth.

FireWire License Fee (1)

SlydeRule (42852) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617336)

Btw, does anyone know if it's true that Apple cancelled it's 1 dollar licensing charge for Firewire ports? (By (un)popular demand?)

The answer is "depends on who you are". See "Apple caves in over FireWire licensing" [theregister.co.uk] in The Register [theregister.co.uk] .

The company today announced it was forming a 'patent pool' with key FireWire licensees Compaq, Sony, Matsushita/Panasonic, Philips and Toshiba. Together, the six companies will develop and implement a collective licensing programme.

In effect, the move takes Apple's FireWire intellectual property and shares it out among the six companies ...

I realize that Slashdotters are computer-centric, but try to remember that FireWire's current focus is on Digital TV. The American standard interconnection for digital video (between cable boxes or digital camcorders and DTV sets, for example) is OpenCable [opencable.com] HDNI, which uses FireWire as the hardware layer. With the US being forced over to DTV over the next decade, that adds up to a lot of FireWire ports.

The $1 per port fee was never going to fly with the home electronics market, which is objecting strenuously to a "mere" 5 cent (US) per device fee for licensing the 5C copy protection system which is also part of OpenCable HDNI.

Re:And 3.2 Gbps is even sweeter (2)

larkost (79011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617337)

"because they are not *true* Firewire drives. They are aftermarket modifications to IDE or SCSI hard drives."

This last shows a profound mis-understanding of the difference between IDE and SCSI drives. The Mechanisms are THE EXACT SAME! The only differnces are that the best of any run of a mechinism, and the newest technologies in drive production, go into the SCSI channel, where they are paired up with a SCSI controller card (SCSI bus talks to card, card talks to mechanism..).

All you have to do is look at a SCSI drive, and a IDE drive from the same vendor and look at them. The green board on the SCSI drive is more complicated (assuming that you are looking at older drives.. newer ones have more concetrated in the ASICS). In principal you caould take a SCSI drive rip off the controller card, and put on a IDE card. The same is genericly true for FireWire.

Now there is one differnce will all the FireWire drives that I have had to play with, they are all designed to be very rugged, and portable. That means that they are based on the same mechanisms used for laptop drives. This means they have sacraficed some speed, and a lot of cost, in order to be more rugged, and to be smaller (lower power too...). You can shake that VST drives all you want, while they are reading data, and they still keep rigth no going.. try that with a desktop drive!

Re:BFHD (1)

Salamander (33735) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617338)

>Why would you not improve the spec? Or
do you think everyone will just drop their USB
products, and install firewire?

If you'll go back and read the post to which you were reacting, I was suggesting exactly the opposite, i.e. that USB and Firewire can and should coexist, serving different needs.

Improving USB isn't free. For a start, developing a standard like this consumes a lot of time for a lot of people who could almost certainly be applying their considerable intellectual talents to problems that have not already been solved. Secondly, as another poster pointed out, all sorts of incompatibilities and gotchas tend to creep in when you have multiple versions of a standard. Deploying USB2 in a USB1 world is not a whole heck of a lot less troublesome than deploying Firewire in a USB1 world. I could go on, but those reasons alone seem more than sufficient for now.

>So while firewire might soon leap past
USB 2.0 in terms of speed, what devices are there
that will require it?

Perhaps no single device will, but assuming that the whole world is a point-to-point topology without any shared communications resources (either media themselves or hubs and their cousins) is a classic mistake. It's not hard at all to think of a configuration where the aggregate bandwith required by all attached devices is greater than either 400Mbps, and therein lies the utility of a faster interconnect.

Please update top level story (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617339)

Since IEEE 1394 is alread spec'd to 1.2 Gb you should make that clear in the top level story. The story as it reads is misleading to the point of compromised journalist integrity.

Re:Move by Intel to try to kill FireWire? (2)

XNormal (8617) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617340)

> "The big drawback is that USB actually uses CPU
> horsepower and some people are just not happy
> with that. This is why people push IEEE 1394
> (Firewire) so much. It has high bandwidth but
> doesn't eat up the processing power that
> USB does."

This is absolutely not correct. The USB host controller is using PCI bus-mastering for all transactions based on transaction lists set up by the host. Everything is optimized for minimum CPU impact. Actually, its architecture is very similar to a 1394 host controller. The CPU impact of a USB serial port can be two orders of magnitude lower than an ISA serial port (up to a microsecond per access!)

The source of this error is probably because of USB audio - the audio device is just a fixed rate DAC and all mixing and sample rate conversion for DirectSound, MIDI synthesis, etc is currently done by the host CPU. You will get exactly the same performance with 1394 since it will use the same WDM audio stack and just replace the minidriver at the bottom.

You are correct about Intel always wanting to use more CPU power. A fast bus like USB2 will allow cheap dumb peripherals while doing all the processing on the host. For example, you could have an ADSL modem which is nothing more than a fast A/D and D/A and do all the modulation and error correction coding on the host.

BTW, the USB 2.0 will be on the CPU local bus, not on PCI since PCI isn't fast enough...

Re:Ungratefull intel.. (1)

Chuck McD (82486) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617342)

If I remember right, Intel planned to go with
FireWire, but the large cost (due to Apple's insistance on large royalties) jacked up the price of the motherboard chipsets enough that the motherboard manufactures told Intel "no way".
Even $5 is a huge add-on cost to this market, and if I rememer, FireWire was going to add at least double that.

This is why I love Apple. (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617344)

Apple is willing to sacrifice backward-compatibility and make some really pretty logical choices in their hardware.

As much as I've disliked MacOS in the past, Apple has done an excellent job making hardware decisions.

It's funny. Five years ago I never would have thought I'd be supporting Apple, but you have to admit they've gotten their act together.

Re:The future of firewire (1)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617346)

Sony is hard core on IEEE 1394 (PSX2 will have Firewire ports)

They've also put Firewire ports on their high-end VAIO laptops (my VAIO F-270 has a 1394 port, as well as USB... not that I've used either). If they're sticking them on laptops, they're probably on their VAIO desktops too.

You can also get PCI Firewire cards for not-mucho-dinero, though I suspect they're slower than an on-motherboard solution.

Sun's Jini? (2)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617348)

I've heard tell about some sort of IO standard that Intel's been pushing of late that supposedly 'replaces all current bus technology'. Anybody know more about this?

I personally am looking forward to hearing more about Jini, which is Sun's initiative to do to hardware what Java is doing to software.

Basically, they move the device abstraction out of the OS driver and into the device itself. So you basically plug a Jini-enabled device into the network, and it immediately registers itself and makes its services available to other devices on the network.

No OS-specific drivers, no kludges/workarounds. Things just "work".

http:/www.sun.com/jini/ [sun.com]

Faster than Firewire? (1)

pointwood (14018) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617355)

From the IGN article (http://pc.ign.com/news/11159.html):

"USB 2.0 will be 40 times faster than the already-blazing USB 1.1, running at 480 Megabits per second. By comparison, current FireWire (IEEE-1394) runs at up to 400 Megabits, though a faster version of the technology is expected next year."

From The press release (http://www.usb.org/press/pressroom/backgrounder.h tml):

"USB 2.0 will extend the capabilities of the interface from 12 Mbps, which is available on USB 1.1, to between 120-240 Mbps on USB 2.0, providing a connection point for next-generation peripherals which complement higher performance PCs."

Seems to me that they are stating 120-140Mbps in the press release and 480Mbps in the IGN article.

Which one is correct?

120-140Mbps is certainly not faster than firewire...

Apple in this group?? what about keeping both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617356)

Wasn't apple supposed to be one of the great inspirations and lead member of this group? Why are they absent now?

btw, what is the diff between this and the current state of firewire?

I guess this is =[OKAY]= for current usb users, and welcome news in a way, because now you don't have to throw away your =[old]= usb devices, but wouldn't there be both usb and firewire anyway such as in the iMac DV edition?

This is silly splitting off support to too many different standards, well I hope this doesn't mean apple will push firewire then get forced into usb2 as it becomes popular (spelled 'cheap') to put on macs.

BFHD (4)

Salamander (33735) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617357)

Just a few observations/questions regarding comparisons with Firewire.
  1. The usb.org article only claims "120-240Mbps". It's not clear where the ign.com article came up with 480Mbps.
  2. Even if USB2 runs at 480Mbps, the Firewire folks aren't exactly standing still. Any raw bandwidth advantage of USB2 is sure to be short-lived at best.
  3. There's lots of blather in the USB2 announcement about supporting video cameras etc. but IIRC USB doesn't support the isochronous transfers which are usually considered necessary to serve those markets. Did I miss something?
  4. Another useful Firewire feature that USB doesn't seem to have is providing power through the same connector used for communications. Again, I may have missed it.
  5. I don't remember how many devices USB supports, but I suspect it's less than Firewire.
  6. I know that USB-based host-to-host networking exists, but it's not clear to me whether it's really as well suited to that task as Firewire. In particular, I wonder how much asymmetry between hosts and devices (a la initiators and targets in SCSI) is built into the protocol, and how round-trip latency compares to other technologies.
  7. Similarly, I'd like seeing a comparison of how automagically reconfiguration happens when devices are added or removed using each technology.

With any luck, someone more clueful can fill in the blanks above.


Overall, Firewire still looks like a generally superior technology in its niche, while the USB folks should have been content with their own separate niche (lower-bandwidth peripherals such as keyboards, mice, joysticks and modems that don't need advanced features such as isochronous transfers).


BTW, I don't actually use Firewire and have no interest beyond the aesthetic in promoting it. My employer is thoroughly committed to (ick) FC.

Firewire not standing still either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617358)

OK, so some future USB will do 400Mb/s. Well the new firewire spec has firewire at 800Mb/s. If anything, firewire will extend its lead.

Yes, Intel does want to kill Firewire (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617359)

As an employee of Intel I have seen first hand the desire to kill Firewire. Part of it is the licensing fee the other is to make the processor be so damn important that they can sell more and more. Don't get me wrong, Intel is all for new technologies... but only if they have their fingers in the pie as well.

Re:Move by Intel to try to kill FireWire? (3)

pointwood (14018) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617360)

Ican help you out there - it *is* a move from Intel.

The difference between firewire and USB is sorta like the diffence between the SCSI and IDE interfaces for harddisk etc.

Silvino Orozco from Toms hardware gives a nice explanation:

"The big drawback is that USB actually uses CPU horsepower and some people are just not happy with that. This is why people push IEEE 1394 (Firewire) so much. It has high bandwidth but doesn't eat up the processing power that USB does."

Here is the link:
http://www.tomshardware.com/editorial/99q3/99091 0/idf-99-01.html

Intel is of course not happy to see more things being moved away from the CPU (NVIDIA's new GeFORCE256 GPU is another example) - Intel pushes everything that demands a lot of CPU-power, and I bet that pushing that much data over a connection as USB2 is supporting, is going to use a lot of CPU-cycles...

That's why I hope that firewire will catch on - maybe the Playstation2 (which AFAIK uses firewire) will give firewire a nice boost - I hope it does...

Re:Move by Intel to try to kill FireWire? Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617361)

Way back when eetimes had an article about this brand new USB 2.0 spec. It dazzles the imagination what it should be able to do. The down side is that USB was never intended for such high speeds. When USB was being developed it was being setup to cover the low end/demand peripherals. While Firewire was meant to cover the high end/demand spectrum. This was the plan until Intel saw that Firewire was starting to be accepted and so an initial plan was setup to try and stop Firewires acceptance. But unfortunately USB 1.1 and 2.0 are not compatible. They use different controllers. And so if USB 1.1 devices are to be used with USB 2.0 ports, the parts to make the 2.0 controller will be more expensive. At that, Firewire already has been tested at 800 Mbps. And it is backwards compatible. So does anyone know any good reason to even hold out for USB 2.0. Harddrive manufactures did not think a 200 Mbps Firewire device was to slow to connect there drives. That's why the most common speed you hear Firewire at is 400 Mbps.

Industry standards emerging? (2)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617362)


It appears to me that we may be seeing a certain hierarchy of industry bus standards emerging - USB for the low-level consumer stuff, 1394 for the more specialist stuff (but still on workstations), and Fibre Channel for the real high-end stuff.

Obviously, USB and Firewire are being aimed at the PC market, but I wonder if they'll end up getting adopted by Unix workstation manufacturers like Sun, SGI, etc.

Also, I'll be interested in seeing whether anything arises to mount a serious challenge to PCI, which appears to have managed to defeat SBus, seeing as how Sun's workstation-level machines are all PCI-based now.

Does anyone else think that the current standard PC design is hopelessly outdated, and that it may be time for industry to move forward and develop a new architecture to take advantage of new technologies, architectures and developments, like the Internet?

Or is this idea too close to the NC for comfort? :-)

D.
..is for .com

Ungratefull intel.. (2)

eshefer (12336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617363)

Well, if this is intended to kill Firewire then that would be ironic since it's basicly Apple fault that USB has some success anyway.. Untill the iMac USB was not really taking off.

Infact, AFAIK, in the PC landscape there is still a very low demand for USB perif's relative to serial and scsi devices.

The main question is if Motherboard makers in the PC arena will continue to exclude Firewire ports for PCs (likly since intel mostly has controll over the chip sets), when media machines are alwredy adopting it (digital video now, and music instruments within the next year).

I think the battle is still open, USB 2 does have a chance to overthrow firewire, but to do this intel has to move fast. And intel has to convice the periferal makers to adopt USB2 instead of firewire - which might be dificult since those makers were burned in the past with USB slow adoption rate.

which ever standard actualy wins is hard to know, but It's going to be interesting watching the war. get your beer and nacho's ready..
--------------------------------

MacKiDo/MWJ's take on this (2)

grunkhead (17250) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617364)

MacKiDo [mackido.com] (reprinting a Mac Weekly Journal article) had an article weighing USB vs. Firewire [mackido.com] last March that lists the advantages of 1394 over USB 2.0.

USB doesn't inherantly require more CPU power (1)

flatrock (79357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617365)

The USB implementation in Intel Chipsets may be more CPU intensive than a bus mastering PCI firewire card, but I don't think this isn't an inherant aspect of USB. The main difference between USB and Firewire, other than bandwidth, is that on USB the host controller is the only node on the bus which can initiate a data transfer. If the USB host controller wants data from a device on the bus it must send a request to that device to which that device responds. When a new device is connected on the bus, the host has to inquire what resourses it's needs (how much reserved bandwidth, how often to poll it).
This does not mean that the computer's CPU has to poll the devices. The host controller could poll the devices, DMA the data, and interrupt the CPU to let it know that an opperation has completed.

Firewire is different in that any of the devices on the bus may be a bus master. The devices have to arbitrate for bandwidth, and each device requires more intelligent hardware. The result of this is that Firewire devices will likley cost more to develop.

This leaves us with the impression that we can use USB for lower end devices, and use Firewire for higher end devices, especially where there is an advantage to having multiple bus masters.

On the high end, at least for disk drives and networking, Fibre Channel is another option. This is where high end storage applications appear to be headed. Firewire still has the advantage of providing for ischronous transfers, while Fibre Channel doesn't, but Fibre Channel runs at 1 Gbps with 2 Gbps versions starting to appear.

One important point why Firewire is ahead of USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617366)

Well.
Just the normal vapourware FUDding of Intel...

Reality: Firewire does not delegate all the work
to your CPU like USB does... and what of course
is quite common for crappy lowend WINmodems and
WIN* hardware. Hmmm. Ah, yes. Firewire is already
functioning sufficiently and is the perfect
drug for people with the right video
equipment

USB 1.0 zZZzzZZZzzzzz is really too slow to
connect real hardware like harddrives to it.

Nay. Lets hope firewire gets cheaper fast..

.. dootdoot ..

Re:(Off-thread) Firewire in Linux (3)

Andreas Bombe (7266) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617367)

There is the GNU/Lunix IEEE 1394 Subsystem, but does anyone know how well this works/had experience with using it or knows if it will be included in the kernel sometime?

Current IEEE 1394 developer and maintainer, at your service :-)

It works with asynchronous transfers. I'm currently working on updating the userspace raw1394/libraw interface. When I'm done I'll try to get it into Linux 2.3 again (even though it's in feature freeze, but this subsystem does not affect any other code in the kernel).

Isochronous transmissions are not yet supported and I know that this is important for the people who want to get pictures from their cameras. At least isochronous receiving should not be too hard to implement, that is around next on my todo list.

As for the supported hardware: AIC5800 (out of production AFAIK), PCILynx (hard to come by, obsolete), OHCI (the standard of the future, implemented in hardware by various chip manufacturers). A Sony chip also exists (e.g. in the Vaio laptops), but is not yet supported. My OHCI card (donated by ADS Technologies) for some reason doesn't work, but I'm concentrating on PCILynx for the time being.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617368)

It's been noted that Intel (and others) got miffed at Apple when Apple started charging royalties for Firewire.. The whole EE community got miffed, for some reason, which to me seems kinda strange (they did the work, they should profit from it). Anyway, the ironic thing is, that Apple was the company that got Intel's USB to become popular. Of course, Intel doesn't charge royalties, but then again, USB is kinda pathetic. Here is a quote from Job's recent article in Time:
I'll give you an example: when we shipped the iMac, we decided to go to this new IO scheme called USB. Right after we shipped it I got a call from a very senior executive at Intel. He said, "You know who invented USB, don't you?" I said, "No, who?" He said, "Intel. Five years ago. And we've been trying to get the PC industry to use it for five years, and in literally 30 days you have jumped so far ahead of us it's unbelievable. It was like trying to herd cats.

USB == Oxymoron? (1)

|ckis (88583) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617369)

Here are the definitions directly from Webster:

Serial: relating to or being a connection in a computer system in which the bits of a byte are transmitted sequentially over a single wire

Bus: a set of parallel conductors in a computer system that forms a main transmission path

Does anyone else have problems with this? Every time I think about a serial bus I think my brain is going to implode.
-

Can't we all get along (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617371)

Of course they should coexist and they still can. Now, certain devices which worked poorly on USB 1.x (CDR, scanners, HD, Zip drives) can now work well; and firewire will still remain (especially when the speed is increased to 800Mbit to 3.2Gbit) the choice method of connecting to DV equip, higher performance hard drives, and the Playstation II of course . . . There's room for both and I'm happy that both are evolving to suit customers' needs. There's never too much speed to run a mouse, keyboard or whatever devices currently work on USB 1.

Re:And 3.2 Gbps is even sweeter (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617373)

"because they are not *true* Firewire drives. They are aftermarket modifications to IDE or SCSI hard drives."

"This last shows a profound mis-understanding of the difference between IDE and SCSI drives"

You misread the statement. current IEE1394 drives are complete IDE or SCSI drives with an IDE<->IEEE1394 or a SCSI<->IEEE1394 adapters. Yes the platters on all drives are the same, but the electronics are different. Soon there will be no need for the adapters, IEEE1394 will interface directly to the drive Mechanism.

USB 2.0 is never a replacement for FireWire (2)

Andreas Bombe (7266) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617374)

Hm, Intel is still trying. However, Texas Instruments (major implementor of 1394 chips) expects them to give up soon (end of this or next year) or be given up by hardware vendors. The move is to include 1394 on motherboards soon, USB 2.0 is vaporware.

As for the speeds: 1394 does 400Mbps now (you can buy slower chips, but they are more expensive and harder to come by because they are only still in production for US military use). USB 2.0 is said to have little more than 400Mbps sometime in the future. Given the technology it is also in doubt if they ever reach that.

Future 1394 (IEEE 1394.b) is in draft and partly implemented in experimental hardware. 1394.b specifies 100Mbps on 50 meter UTP5 cables, 3200Mbps on 100 meter optical cables or 4.5 meter conventional cables. It is interoperable with 1394.a, whereas USB 2.0 will be incompatible with USB 1 (AFAIK, I'm not sure). By the time 1394.b is in silicon with 3.2Gbps, USB 2.0 will probably just have reached 480 Mbps...

One killer application for 1394 are the video cameras of which more and more come with a 1394 port (aka i.Link on Sony devices). 1394 is very nice for that. You can plug your camera into a 1394 VCR and copy your material over or display them on a 1394 digital TV (in theory, I don't think there are many 1394 VCRs and TVs out there already). This is something USB just cannot do. Yes, it could in theory, but USB is PC centric. It requires a PC and moves all data through your PC. No possibility just to connect a digital VCR to a digital TV. You'd need a PC and a program running on the PC to copy the data. There is simply NO WAY that USB 2.0 would make it into video cameras or similar devices.

So 1394 would have to be supported in a multimedia environment anyway. When you have 1394 why bother with USB 2.0, which would do the same as 1394 only not as good?

USB 1 sure has its place in PC environments (it would be quite overkill to connect your mouse or keyboard through 1394). But trying to push some variant of USB as a competitor for 1394 is just silly, it's just that Intel wants the market share.

Also, for the FireWire "tax" by Apple, yes, some sort of it is still in effect. Chip vendors have to pay $.50 license fee per 1394 device (device, not port) to Apple, but that 50 cents won't bring it down.

And 1394 doesn't need those silly hubs.

Re:BFHD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617376)

Just as a point of clarification, Firewire supports 63 devices per bus but bridges can be used to connect multiple busses, up to 1023 busses can be connected on the same network for a grand total of 64449 devices, far more than USB can support.

farewell to firewire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617384)

As much as I tried to like firewire, I'm happy to see USB 2.0... with every company trying to give IEEE 1394 their own name (and some trying to charge by the port, as Apple is trying with the name "firewire"), it has no chance.

Firewire everywhere (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617385)

I just got the latest copy of Wired, and they had a photo of a Replay TV with it's lid off...and it even has two Firewire ports in it.

Here is a little article about Firewire vs. USB 2.0, for what it's worth.

http://www.mackido.com/Hardware/USB20.html

Re:BFHD (1)

dan g (30777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617386)

Disclaimer: all of my knowledge is about USB1.0, but I would think that they only improved on these numbers for the latest version. That said,

2. Even if USB2 runs at 480Mbps, the Firewire folks aren't exactly standing still. Any raw bandwidth advantage of USB2 is sure to be
short-lived at best.

Especially if USB2 repeats 1.0's feat of only 75% of bandwidth being used for actual data in an ideal situation. (don't know how 1.1 performed).


3 .There's lots of blather in the USB2 announcement about supporting video cameras etc. but IIRC USB doesn't support the isochronous
transfers which are usually considered necessary to serve those markets. Did I miss something?

This was in USB1. I can't imagine they got rid of it!


4. Another useful Firewire feature that USB doesn't seem to have is providing power through the same connector used for communications.
Again, I may have missed it.

Again, USB1 had this, but only for low power devices (2.5W?).



5.I don't remember how many devices USB supports, but I suspect it's less than Firewire.

USB1 technically supported 127 devices, but I think you would have been crazy to actually try to use more than 3 at once. Don't know about firewire.


6.I know that USB-based host-to-host networking exists, but it's not clear to me whether it's really as well suited to that task as Firewire. In
particular, I wonder how much asymmetry between hosts and devices (a la initiators and targets in SCSI) is built into the protocol, and how
round-trip latency compares to other technologies.

I always thought that USB was horribly suited to networking, but there seemed to be a lot of people who wanted to do it. So some companies built devices for it. As far as I know, the only solution was to have a hub that all of the network clients would plug into. I never used one or talked to anyone that did, but I would think that for 2 clients the performace was pretty mediocre and for more, abysmal.

Maybe someone can read the new spec an enlighten us. I hope for their sake that it is better written than the first! That was one of the most obfuscating technical specs i've ever read.

dan

Intel doesn't get it (1)

Kernel Monkey (28336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617387)

IEEE 1394 will still have the advantage over USB 2.0 in that USB is a computer-centric bus; that is, it requires that a PC or workstation be on the bus. With firewire, you can connect devices together and have them communicate directly, no PC required.

If the world is going towards the obliteration of that big box on your desk and the adoption of embedded devices (it's imminent...don't think that it's not happening), Intel's USB 2.0 doesn't make sense.

Firewire has also been spec'd out to 1.2Gb/s. It's only a matter of time before implementable technology catches up...

Re:Industry standards emerging? (1)

textral (49827) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617388)

With regard to SBus vs. PCI, keep in mind that SBus is a very dated technology compared to PCI. It is only a 25mhz bus w/ a max. theoretical throughput of 200 Mb/s, with actual being much lower, as compared to PCI, which is already at 100Mhz speeds with a max throughput of over 500 Mb/s.

I think one of the reasons Sun stuck with SBus so long (and continues to in some of its Enterprise level servers, notably the 4x00 models) is because of SBus's small footprint, which works nicely with the system tray design Sun has been using in its machines for years now.

As for USB vs. Firewire, USB seems to be turning into Yet Another Processor Hog, which will forever keep the technology in the PC realm. I could personally see firewire move into the upper echelons of server technology once it's become more proven in the industry, though.

I've heard tell about some sort of IO standard that Intel's been pushing of late that supposedly 'replaces all current bus technology'. Anybody know more about this?

Re:BFHD (1)

Lev_Arris (60782) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617389)

>4.Another useful Firewire feature that USB doesn't seem to have is providing power through the same connector used for communications. Again, I may have missed it.

As far as I know it DOES provide power on the same cable. (But no great amount so if your device requires a lot of current, it will still need to get its power from an external source)

>5.I don't remember how many devices USB supports, but I suspect it's less than Firewire.

I don't know about Firewire but theoretically USB is meant to support up to 127 devices. I have read a report in the German c't magazine [heise.de] once where it stated that Intel had managed to connect 123 devices to it (mainly mice, keyboards and USB hubs)

Personally I do not use either USB nor Firewire (occasionally installed some USB devices for others though) because I do not have any device that would support them. On the long run I think hardware manufacturers will make the decision on what to use, simply by making their products work with one defined standard. (For me it's difficult to forsee which one that will be but maybe some insiders know more about this ;)

Disclaimer: This is all AFAIK. Correct me where appropriate.

Re: Apple charge firewire? huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617390)

>And some trying to charge by the port, as Apple
>is trying with the name "firewire"

Huh?

(shameless plug: we are hiring a unix guru and a perl monger. See my web for info.)

Xah
xah@best.com
http://www.best.com/~xah/PageTwo_dir/more.html

Just think how fast your mouse will run!!! (1)

Crack-Fu (34330) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617391)

From the IEEE Trade Associations FAQ

"1394.b is a significant enhancement to the basic 1394 specification that enables speed increases to 3.2 Gigabits/sec., supports distances of 100 meters on UTP and optical fiber, and reduces latency times to well under the 125 microseconds now provided under the spec. 1394.b, which is an important step forward in simplifying the link between PC products and CE systems over 1394, will be completed and ready for ballot by midsummer 1999"

When are Intel going to stop flogging this dead horse. USB 2.0 by mid 2000? Sounds just about the right timing to be smacked down by Firewire 2.0.
There are a lot of consumer electronics giants hustling to put out current and future technologies incorporating the IEEE 1394 standard, these guys have the sort of market penetration that Intel can only dream about.

(Off-thread) Firewire in Linux (2)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617392)

So, Linux has native USB support in the kernel. Is there a plan to implement the "obviously superior" IEEE 1394 anytime soon? ;)

There is the GNU/Lunix IEEE 1394 Subsystem [uni-klu.ac.at] , but does anyone know how well this works/had experience with using it or knows if it will be included in the kernel sometime?

Re:Surpasing technologies that are not even implem (1)

Schnedt (99690) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617393)

I find it humorous, but sad, that anything that is difficult to impelement on Linux (USB is also difficult to implement on NT) is denegrated and characterized as "not even used."

I have a USB Scanner, and USB speakers on one of my systems. They work great! It was a glorious day when I could yank the SCSI card and the Sound card out of that system. Now I want to get a current laptop so I can plug the scanner into it and use it as a portable document acquisition system. (bring it into the Library and scan the text I want directly into Acrobat files on the hard drive).

USB is slowly maturing. The iMac has helped in that regard some, but also the adoption of Windows 98. And when Windows 2000 comes out the floodgates will be opened.

I haven't experimented with USB on NetBSD but probably should do so soon. One of my NetBSD boxes has the USB port, I just need to get adventurous enough to try it.

Re:BFHD (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617404)

I'll try to answer as many questions as best I can:

The usb.org article only claims "120-240Mbps". It's not clear where the ign.com article came up with 480Mbps.

I may be mistaken, but I think that the pressrelease might be out of date. The figure of 480Mb/s was mentioned in an article linked off of slashdot a few weeks ago.

Even if USB2 runs at 480Mbps, the Firewire folks aren't exactly standing still. Any raw bandwidth advantage of USB2 is sure to be short-lived at best.

Yes. As they mentioned, a new firewire running at 800Mb/s is just around the corner. There is also plans for a 1600Mb/s firewire in the not too distant future.

Another useful Firewire feature that USB doesn't seem to have is providing power through the same connector used for communications. Again, I may have missed it.

USB supplys power at the moment. As far as I know, this is the case with USB 2.0 too.

I don't remember how many devices USB supports, but I suspect it's less than Firewire.

USB can handle up to 128 devices, Firewire can handle 64. Of course, no one will ever need 128 devices and 64 will be beyond most peoples' needs anyway. I would be supprised if _anyone_ needed more than the 16 provided by wide (I think) SCSI, and the great thing about USB and Firewire, is that they are hotplugable, so if you need to plug in an extra device, you can just unplug one of the unneccessary ones.
The main difference between the way that USB works and firewire works, is that Firewire is daisy chained, and USB uses hubs. a subtle, but important difference.

I know that USB-based host-to-host networking exists, but it's not clear to me whether it's really as well suited to that task as Firewire. In particular, I wonder how much asymmetry between hosts and devices (a la initiators and targets in SCSI) is built into the protocol, and how round-trip latency compares to other technologies.

USB is not peer to peer like firewire. It is designed so the computer handles the traffic. This is more consistent with USB's original use for connecting perifirals. With 800Mb/s firewire comming soon, there have been suggestions of using firewire instead of ethernet as it would be faster than gigabit ethernet, and much easier to set up, and keep going.

FUD FUD FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617405)

This is classic Intel FUD. By the time USB 2.0 ships, 1394 will have been running @ 1.6GB for some time and it will be around the time that 3.2 GB 1394 will be introduced. USB is also VERY processor intensive. Another reason Intel supports USB 2.0.

Avoiding Royalties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1617406)

If my understanding is correct, Apple extract a license royalty for using FireWire. Hence the push for USB. Can't say I blame Intel - why pay Apple for a technology that is essentially invisible to users?

The future of firewire (3)

jutus (14595) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617407)

The USB 2.0 specs are indeed respectable. Think of all the irq's you wil save. But it won't eclipse firewire anytime soon.

Right now 400 Mbps is not a bottle neck for most consumer end hard drive setups. Firewire and Sony's iLink (both IEE1394) are being pushed in the DV realm, where this fat a pipe is really needed.

On an earlier post, someone speculated that Firewire supports more devices than USB. It does not. The USB 1.0 supports up to 128 devices (which, ironically, was proven true by Apple's employee's during in a bier-garten, not by Intel employees), whereas Firewire supports 63 in it's current incarnation. But if USB 2.0 does support it's 480 Mbps claimed speed, one doubts that it will be able to support 128 devices.

There are Firewire port prototypes at 800 Mbps (this is due out next year), and the 1600 Mbps versions are in the works. In any case, more development has been done on 1600 Mbps Firewire than USB 2.0.

Everything seems to point to Intel launching a FUD war against IEEE 1394 technology. I suppose announcing a product months ahead(or perhaps years in this case) is typical of any large corporation, but there are other indices. 480Mbps is a minimal improvement over Firewire 1.0's 400 Mbps, but just enough to convince consumers and vendors. And, as speculated by SuperScan, USB 2.0, like USB will utilize CPU power to get by, whereas Firewire delegates this task to the Firewire controller.

Firewire is a part of the "PC2000" standard that was proposed by Intel and Microsoft. Maybe Intel wants to revise that proposal.

Recall that Firewire is not solely an Apple technology. Sony is hard core on IEEE 1394 (PSX2 will have Firewire ports), as well as others. If intel wants to dominate all bands of the peripheral device spectrum with USB + USB 2.0, they're going to meet some stiff resistance.

This kind of move just shows how intent Intel is on being the MS of the hardware world. By selling a CPU reliant standard, they get to dip in your wallet twice.

Btw, does anyone know if it's true that Apple cancelled it's 1 dollar licensing charge for Firewire ports? (By (un)popular demand?)

Re:Industry standards emerging? (2)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617408)


With regard to SBus vs. PCI, keep in mind that SBus is a very dated technology compared to PCI.

In addition to the limitations you've mentioned, I'd like to add the fact that it's a circuit switched bus, while PCI is packet switched.

How about the UPA bus, though - 2.75 GBytes/second on *500 servers... :-)

I think one of the reasons Sun stuck with SBus so long (and continues to in some of its Enterprise level servers, notably the 4x00 models) is because of SBus's small footprint, which works nicely with the system tray design Sun has been using in its machines for years now.

I don't disagree, but I think that another important factor may have been the fact that there is a huge SBUs userbase out there. To drop SBus completely would leave a lot of people pretty pissed off.

I've heard tell about some sort of IO standard that Intel's been pushing of late that supposedly 'replaces all current bus technology'.

This wouldn't be the Dual Independent Bus [intel.com] , by any chance? This is a slight alteration to your traditional cache/bus architecture, which was first introduced on the Pentium Pro. Given the level to which systems caches can affect system performance, it's possible that Intel's PR & Marketing guys got a bit carried away. :-)

On the other hand, I could be completely wrong, in which case, I'd like to hear about this wonderful new bus as well!

D.
..is for D-man!

Re:BFHD (0)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617409)

"The USB People" are mostly Intel. It looks like they're trying to make USB the standard because Firewire wasn't invented by them. They're funny like that.

Re:Ungratefull intel.. (2)

color of static (16129) | more than 14 years ago | (#1617410)

Actually USB didn't take off because of the Imac, it just happens that USB components became widely available just around the same time.

What everyone is missing is that USBs ultimate success is that it is CHEAP. Cheap to include in a part like a Motherboard, cheap to interface to, cheap all around. Printers are an example, centronix parallel ports are becoming a thing of the past even though with ECP/EPP they can easily compete in speed with USB. The reason is mainly that the parallel port is much more expensive then the USB port when you make millions of them. A parallel port requires line drivers, buffers, watching lines and general hardware handshaking that cost a bit to roll into a mass market product. While USB requires a single chip that can be had for well under a dollar.

Now if USB goes to something much higher then a few dozen Mbps then I think its only advantage will fly out the window. There is no technology today to make 100Mbps connections between machines, on cheap cable, for under a dollar. That is probably still five to seven years out. You can see this in IEEE 1394 (firewire for non IEEE members:-), where the cost of including that hardware to interface to it is well above $10. That's why we see USB on a $49.99 motherboard, but not IEEE 1394.

For a historical perspective of what is probably going to happen look at HP-IB/GP-IB/IEEE-488. I think firewire is going to go the same route. An excellent interconnect mechanism in its day that was to expensive for general use, but rocked in its niche.
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