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USB 3 in 2008, 10 Times as Fast

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i'll-believe-it-when-it's-on-my-laptop dept.

Data Storage 381

psychicsword writes "Intel and others plan to release a new version of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus technology in the first half of 2008, a revamp the chipmaker said will make data transfer rates more than 10 times as fast by adding fiber-optic links alongside the traditional copper wires." "The current USB 2.0 version has a top data-transfer rate of 480 megabits per second, so a tenfold increase would be 4.8 gigabits per second." This should make USB hard drives easier and faster to use."

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Great. (3, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665919)

Incredible and grand news if it's on target, and doesn't dissolve into vapor.

Cue the Media Copying Discussions.

(Someone fast on their math: How long would that take to copy a new 0.90 Terabyte drive?)

Re:Great. (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665965)

1.5 seconds if you all of your components were fast enough. The drive won't be.

Re:Great. (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666037)

1.5 seconds if you all of your components were fast enough. The drive won't be.
Exactly. There's still the slowdown associated with the mechanical aspects of the hard drive -- spin rate (RPM), average seek time (ms), etc. On top of that, most hard drive controllers are limited by the technology they use. For instance, a SATA hard drive, even plugged into a USB 2 or 3 port, is limited to 150 MB/s -- but, that's burst speed, not sustained transfer rate.

Re:Great. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666157)

On top of that, most hard drive controllers are limited by the technology they use. For instance, a SATA hard drive, even plugged into a USB 2 or 3 port, is limited to 150 MB/s -- but, that's burst speed, not sustained transfer rate.

Indeed. And realistically, it's going to be a pretty short burst: most hard drives today only have something like 8–16MB of cache that might be filled by a smart lookahead algorithm, so your best case with current hard drive technology is that you'll get perhaps 1/10 of a second of high-speed data transfer before hitting the physical barriers.

I'm not sure this is directly applicable to this discussion, though, because AFAIK all current USB drives use different storage technology anyway. It's going to be the limits of that technology that tell us whether USB3's theoretical speeds will actually be useful with storage hardware available in the same time frame.

Re:Great. (1)

BRUTICUS (325520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666213)

Is it me or isn't 4.8 gigs a second faster than how fast your computer actually reads info off of your hard drive? Why not just have flash harddrives using USB instead of IDE?

Re:Great. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666235)

because flash is really slow.

Re:Great. (1)

BRUTICUS (325520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666401)

as far as I know my computer can't read 4.8 gigs a second. So why not use USB interface instead of IDE? I don't get it.

Re:Great. (5, Insightful)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666427)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory [wikipedia.org]

No Flash is slow to write , very fast to read. Hence Windows use of it for "ReadyBoost" caching. There is extremely low latency just not enough bandwidth to sustain high levels of I/O.

On the other hand , by introducing fiber into the link doesn't that take away the greatest part of usb ? being able to just fold up the cable and stuff it in your pocket along with a small hard drive ? I know I use it for restoring machines after catastrophic failures (yeah windows) and some times I don't go right back to my desk with the cable and drive and have to toss it in my pocket. I can't do that with fiber, it would fracture.

Re:Great. (5, Insightful)

antime (739998) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666519)

The quoted speed of USB 3 is probably the bus speed, i.e. it's shared by all devices connected to the same host. So one disk won't saturate the bus, but if you plug in a bunch of them the bandwidth won't seem so incredibly massive anymore. Then you have to consider the bandwidth reserved by isochronous devices etc.

Re:Great. (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666161)

USB attached arrays (like drobo.)

USB Ramdisks.

Frankly, this is just "USB fiberchannel". Why not USE fiberchannel??? Surely in mass "consumer" production we can get the chipset / transceiver / cable cost down... It would be nice to come up with better connector technology that protects the optics better however, but LC isn't THAT bad, and can be had for around $16 for a 3M long cable.

Re:Great. (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666405)

It would be nice to come up with better connector technology that protects the optics better however, but LC isn't THAT bad, and can be had for around $16 for a 3M long cable.

If the price of USB cables is any indication, make that $70 at your local electronics retail outlet. :)

Seriously, how many non-techies do you know that think it ACTUALLY costs $18 for a 6ft USB cable?

Re:Great. (2, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666531)

Uh, what? 0.9TB/(4.8Gb/s) = 25.6 minutes, not 1.5 seconds, even IF the platters would cope with the new speed.

Re:Great. (3, Funny)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666081)

Cue the Media Copying Discussions.

The RIAA and MPAA just joined Steve Balmer in needing new office furniture.

Re:Great. (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666445)

I really should buy stock in IKEA....

How exciting (3, Funny)

FileNotFound01 (1158889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666437)

This will come in handy when that 100,000 rpm USB drive I'm waiting for ships. It'll be faster and [even] easier to use, especially with the optional depleted uranium housing.

Cable? (1, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665921)

I though one of the major benefits of USB was that you could have everything on one type of cable so you'd just have a bunch of identical ports and it didn't really matter which was connected to the printer and which to the mouse.
Seems to me that neither the optical cable (nor the ports) will be compatible with USB 2.

Re:Cable? (2, Interesting)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665947)

I can't see any reason it wouldn't be backwards compatible...USB2 just can't utilize the fiber-optic component of the USB3 wire. And surely USB3 would be smart enough to know when a USB2 wire is plugged in, and would be capped at the old transfer rate (just like plugging a USB2 device into a USB1 port)

Then again, it's all my early-morning speculation without RTFA.

Re:Cable? (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666017)

It's likely established at connection. I would imagine that the Optical fiber is a separate connection much the same way that Firewire's CAT-5 and POF options are separate connections (of course their 800MBit stuff has a separate connection as well). There's still a huge benefit to keeping everything but the physical layer exactly the same. It definitely means you won't require separate USB2 and USB3 devices inside your computer.

Re:Cable? (2, Interesting)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666073)

I think the fiber part will be inside the extra space in the connector in a way that doesn't interfere with the electrical part of it. Probably when you plug in a cable the electrical part asks the connection if it is USB3 capable and if the device responds yes, it turns on the fiber transceiver.

Re:Cable? (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666313)

I'd say it's unlikely since there's not enough room in a standard USB cable to accommodate a POF cable. That's not considering the fibre optic transceiver at either end, and the termination. It just wouldn't make sense to make it that complicated when they already have 3 different device end connections. Especially when the key advantage to expanding USB to fiber is keeping the electronics 90% the same, and the the software 99% the same.

Re:Cable? (5, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665949)

The last line in the article:
"It will be backward compatible, so current USB 2.0 devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports."

Re:Cable? (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666253)

Ah, but it doesn't mention if USB 3.0 will work with USB 2.0/1.1/1.0, 2.0 work on 1.0, at a slower data rate mind. Suppose if 3.0 will be dependant on fibre, or just use it where available.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20665961)

From the article:

In addition, USB 3.0 will offer greater energy efficiency, Gelsinger said. It will be backward compatible, so current USB 2.0 devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports.

Re:Cable? (2, Insightful)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665971)

There's already at least 3 different kinds of USB cables when you only consider connector types.

RTFA instead of going for "First Nonsense Poster" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20665979)

Quote: "Gelsinger said. It will be backward compatible, so current USB 2.0 devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports."

obligatory simpsons quote (3, Funny)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665927)

Nerd: I've developed a program that downloads porn from the interet a million times faster than normal Marge: Who would need that much porn Homer: [drools]...oohhh..1 million times faster..

The speed is OS dependent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666555)

with usb 2.0 hardware and drivers, Windows can get some pretty decent speeds with big hard drives, but Linux invariably falls back to 1.0 and the best rate I've seen with 2.6.any kernels is about 100kbs which translates into about 5 times dialup speed. This is somewhat below usb 2.0's theoretical capabilities, and the last backup I was able to make using linux, it took a week to backup 5 gigs to an external drive.

I'm more concerned with latency. (4, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665933)

It seems current hard drives test to 40-80M/s (dunno if it's bit or byte, we'll assume byte since it is worst case for my example)., averaging between 50 and 60M/s

480Mbit per second = 60MByte per second. That can handle the average case for a modern hard drive.

4.8GBit/second - 600MByte/s? To utilize that with a drive, you'd need a RAID external enclosure!

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (5, Interesting)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666005)

I can't find the exact article, but you should read this one about the effective USB 2.0 speed [everythingusb.com] . It states that the effective maximum speed is only about 40MB/sec, and that 60MB/sec can't be achieved due to overhead/software limitations; not sure if this is true now.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (5, Informative)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666119)

My experience with USB is that it has lousy thru-put do to the way the drivers manage data on the host side. We did some heuristic timing tests on USB to serial devices and found that most of them actually degraded the thru-put (time send and receive a packet) of an RS232 connection. We found that devices with Silicon labs ICs could get the desired thru-put, but it seemed they would take up an entire USB channel to do so.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (5, Interesting)

schwinn8 (982110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666395)

Exactly... Firewire400 works well for video streaming from a DV cam because it has very little overhead. Even though USB2 supposedly does 480Mbps, it can't do DV because there's too much overhead. Bottom line is, unless USB3 gets rid of the CPU dependency and overhead issues, I won't like it. Sure, with a "ten times" the performance, this won't hinder DV, but that doesn't make it good. I hope they make it systemically-efficient, instead of just ramping clock rates to reach these speeds.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666431)

With Firewire 400/800 (IEEE1394a/b) I got around 16MB/s with 7200 RPM SATA external drives. That's pretty much what I expected as a maximum continuous write speed from the drives. This was much faster than with my USB 2.0 ports no matter what I've tried with them.

I think any talk of USB 3.0 faster speeds for devices is pretty much vapor. Why? Because of eSata. No separate hub needed, no special hardware on drives (the primary user of high speed devices). It's serial. It's almost as fast as this proposed USB 3.0, and probably as fast given the inherent overhead of USB.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

spartanhelmet (1013749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666459)

With a number of devices working at such a fast bandwidth, i'd start to seriously worry about northbridge chipset design. As it is now, the chips are dodgy. Using a couple of raid devices, a top-end 3d card and some high speed DDR2 puts most NB chips to breaking point... and even though that's a chip closer to year old, and without any overclock, it's still ridiculous. So really... we need chip manufacturers to go back and start designing decent NB chipsets so it doesn't become any more of a bottleneck than it is. Anyone who thinks high bandwidth links like a 480Mbps connection should be put through southbridge.... should be shot.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

W2k (540424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666029)

That's with today's drives. Keep in mind that this version of USB is not due to arrive on the market for another 1-2 years, and is expected to stay in use for many years after that. Furthermore, RAID enclosures aren't actually that uncommon.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666177)

But, 10 years ago, hard drive speeds were 20-40 MB/s I thought?

It's not like hard drive speeds are going up rapidly or anything. Although, that may change with flash based drives.

Still, I've not seen many USB based RAID enclosures. I guess part of the reason I mentioned that is that I suspect the lack of USB RAID enclosures will change.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

Setti45 (979614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666075)

The 480 megabits/s is the rated burst transfer speed. I can't remember now what the sustained transfer rate is supposed to be.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666095)

The throughput of a USB connection does not equal its clock frequency as there is quite a bit of overhead in the protocol, so in reality it would be a fair bit less than the 600MByte/s approximation. Because it's a bus, the total bandwidth available can be split amongst multiple devices. With several high speed devices on the bus, 480Mbit per second might not seem so much like overkill.

The current version of USB provide connections that can operate in an isochronous mode (see http://www.beyondlogic.org/usbnutshell/usb4.htm#Isochronous [beyondlogic.org] ) for bounded latency applications, but this wouldn't be suitable for communicating with a hard drive because it doesn't offer guaranteed delivery.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666171)

Why RAID? Why not just 10 different devices with the approximate bandwidth requirements of a single HDD?

it could be 10 separate hard disks, or some other combination of devices. Storage isn't the only thing you attach to a USB, you know.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666225)

How about hi-def video?

Or having more than one mass storage device, video camera and microphone, speakers and so on hanging off the same USB hub you plug into your laptop. One connector for everything, and that without the expensive, model-specific docking stations we've been using so far.

Re:I'm more concerned with latency. (1)

BloodyIron (939359) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666479)

SSD, my friend.

They're not quite there, yet.
Have you seen the charts? Very impressive sustained data transfer rates.
Just wait until they start hitting the 240gig range ;)

FP: And sometime in 2015... (2, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665937)

...a storage device that'll run at bus speed. What use is 4.8GBit if the attached drive bursts at 150MBit? Or is the USB RAID stack waiting in the wings?

Size? (3, Insightful)

toppavak (943659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665951)

I wonder how adding fiber optic links will affect size and power requirements of USB3 devices. Granted, small LED's use minuscule amounts of energy, but wouldn't having to squeeze in power supplies and photodiodes at each end of the cable make it more difficult to squeeze it all into the micro-USB-sized interfaces used on most phones and mp3 players?

Re:Size? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666443)

Well, for one, the photo-emitters would be in the devices themselves, in the port, not the cable. Same with power supplies. The day a CABLE needs a power supply is the day mankind has royally fucked up with technology.

Bottleneck? (4, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665957)

Currently I'm getting transfer rates of about 16 megabyte per second on hard drives connected via USB. That's roughly 160 megabit per second, whereas USB 2.0 can transfer up to 480 megabit per second. While I'm all for faster and better, the bottleneck seems to be elsewhere in this case.

Re:Bottleneck? (4, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666099)

In the controller, likely. I'm getting 30% higher transfer rates with FW400 than with USB 2.0 on the same external disk.

Which doesn't give me high hopes for USB3. High-speed links are all good and well, but if they keep including cheap-ass controllers, what's the point?

Re:Bottleneck? (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666333)

In the controller, likely. I'm getting 30% higher transfer rates with FW400 than with USB 2.0 on the same external disk.
It's as least as likely the problem is in the protocol. USB is synchronous - data every packet received must be acknowledged in a return packet before the next data packet can be transmitted. That back and forth for each data packet means a lot of wasted time where the channel is essentially idle. Sometimes using a shorter cable can make a noticeable improvement.

Firewire has both synchronous and asynchronous modes. In async mode, a bunch of packets can be transmitted before any acknowledgment back is required. That's bad if the cables is flakey, since it will result in a lot of retransmits, but bad firewire cables are the exception, not the rule. So async is almost always way more efficient than synch. I'm pretty certain that you are using the async mode for talking to your disk.

Re:Bottleneck? (1)

iphayd (170761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666429)

This is common, and designed into the spec.

USB2's 480 Mbps was designed for marketing consumers, and as such is _burst_ speed. This way Intel could say "see, this number is higher than

Firewire's 400 Mbps was designed for video professionals, and as such is _sustained_ speed necessary to run video.

It's not a matter of chipset, it is a matter of protocol. Friends don't let friends get USB2 hard drives.

Re:Bottleneck? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666471)

You're not alone in that observation. It's why I've gone FW on all my external hardrives. The bus supports daisy chaining and no where near the anemic performance of USB 2.0.

Re:Bottleneck? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666211)

16 MB/sec. is not too bad if your external hard drive is used primarily as a backup drive.

Which does remind me: how come I haven't seen tape backup drives for sale that run through the USB 2.0 port?

Yeah, but.. (3, Insightful)

theorem4 (1101729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665959)

Will this make the new cables more expensive?

Re:Yeah, but.. (4, Insightful)

LiNKz (257629) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666025)

Also, if you integrate an element of fiber optics into a cable that routinely wrapped up, stepped on, or just basically abused, wouldn't it fail far easier than a standard cable?

In such an event... (2, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666089)

I'll wager a broken fiber in a cable would manifest itself as 'USB2 only' connection.

Re:Yeah, but.. (1)

jsiren (886858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666109)

You say that as if it were a bad thing. More failures - more sales...

This message was brought to you by the East Asian Cable Company.

Re:Yeah, but.. (4, Interesting)

ggeens (53767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666423)

When I was working on my Master's thesis, I had to splice optical fiber a few times. Believe me, it's not easy.

Glass fiber is very flexible. You can bend it in any way you want, it won't break. You can cut it, but that takes considerable force. If you break the fiber, you'll break the copper wires as well.

Personally, I think the weakest point in such a cable will be the connectors. Getting the light from one fiber to another requires careful alignment. Any deviation might causes loss of signal. Getting dirt into the connector is probably fatal.

Re:Yeah, but.. (1)

j33pn (1049772) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666521)

Exactly! Aren't fiber optic cables REALLY delicate? I don't think they can handle the abuse of a ubiquitous USB cord you throw into your laptop bag haphazardly.

Re:Yeah, but.. (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666185)

I'm sure you be able to buy a Belkin or other generic for $20 or so, but Bad Buy will only carry the "Monster" models for $526 and up.

USB hard drives at 4.8Gbps? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665981)

Um, what physical drive can push remotely close to that?

oh goodie (3, Funny)

maniac/dev/null (170211) | more than 6 years ago | (#20665999)

Oh good. Now I get to plunk down $20+ per cable for the latest USB standard. I really like that copper USB2 cables are just about down to free from some online retailers. Looks like that will not be the case with USB3.

Re:oh goodie (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666259)

You could get them from a big box store, where *all* cables come entombed in 3 layers of hermetically sealed PVC clamshell and cost $59. That way you wouldn't have to pay more for USB3 than USB2. The bonus is that the fiber link would be oxygen-free!

The irony... (2, Funny)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666001)

In an interview after the speech, Gelsinger said there's typically a one- to two-year lag between the release of the specification and the availability of the technology,

In today's news, vendors worldwide urged one another to move quickly and get IPv6 deployed by the year 2025. When asked about the one or two year lag between the release of specs and the availability of the technology, vendors quickly pointed out the timeframe it took to implement Packet Over Bongo [eagle.auc.ca] and IPv6 for Refrigerators [glocom.org] . "It's been a long time in the making (IPv6) but we've finally succeeded in getting console connectivity to the fridge. We can now via a command prompt: finger lettuce" stated the happy refrigerator engineer. We never even knew of the existence of IPv4 for refrigerators. Engineers estimate another 20-80 year wait for IPv6.

Plug Shape (5, Insightful)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666007)

Could be slightly off topic but I had to sound off on this one...

While I appreciate USB's capability for backwards computability, I would much rather have a plug shaped in such a way that I didn't have to flip it over every time I try to plug it in. I don't know about you guys but this is one of the most annoying aspects of using my computer, and I run Windows!

This would also be a great time to make a universal "other side" of the cable, rather than having a different plug for every single USB device. I have a mini plug for my camera, a big square one for my printer, a 2.5 mm jack to charge my MP3 player, etc. All these cables make a mess. If all my devices could share one cable, I'd be much happier.

Re:Plug Shape (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666149)

While I'm mildly annoyed by having to flip them over, I quickly learned to simply look at the plug before I stick it in. Having it be flippable would mean duplicating wires and/or contacts and would make the cables more susceptible to damage and more expensive.

As for the ends... Blame the device manufacturers. There were originally 2 ends, the fat one and the flat one, and there was 1 of each on every cable. All the others with 2.5mm and other proprietary ends that work on nothing else are solely the fault of the OEMs. Nobody asked them to do it, it never made sense to do it, and it's just a huge pain in the ass for everyone. Even the 'mini' one that's often used on small devices now wasn't originally in the standard, it was added later since a device that's only 1/4" tall can't fit a 1/2" plug into it. (I don't know the actual height, but you get my drift.)

Re:Plug Shape (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666191)

All the others with 2.5mm and other proprietary ends that work on nothing else are solely the fault of the OEMs. Nobody asked them to do it, it never made sense to do it, and it's just a huge pain in the ass for everyone.
It makes a whole lot of sense to an OEM who wants to be the only one who can sell their customers a cable despite an open standard. It's the same reason for every standard out there which suppliers have taken it upon themselves to add their own "enhancements" to.

Re:Plug Shape (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666499)

Didn't the people who "own" CDDA refuse to let DRM-protected audio discs be called "CDs"?

Why don't the USB people refuse to let the mini plugs be called USB?

I understand that it's impractical to have a full-sized USB plug on a tiny digital camera. But Sony should not be allowed to create a funky interface and then put "USB-Compatible" on the box.

Re:Plug Shape (3, Insightful)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666513)

Having it be flippable would mean duplicating wires and/or contacts and would make the cables more susceptible to damage and more expensive.

I don't think the idea is to have the cable flippable, but instead to have some indication in the shape of which way around it goes. Firewire connects have a rounded end and a squared off one, for example.

Re:Plug Shape (SCSI was worse) (2, Insightful)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666223)

It could be worse, we could all be forced to use SCSI devices instead. That had a ton of port styles and shapes as well as internal and external versions of each. Also, you had to daisy chain your devices, secure them with a screwdriver/your fingers, configure each with its own ID number and make sure the end of the chain was terminated properly. Then to top it off, cables, adapters, and terminators were insanely expensive. I'd swear that every time I bought a new SCSI device that it was like playing a puzzle game like Tetris with cables/ports instead of block in hopes that I wouldn't have to go back to the store and shell out $30 or more for an adapter or cable. Sheesh. I don't miss that at all... :P

Re:Plug Shape (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666263)

Could be slightly off topic but I had to sound off on this one...

While I appreciate USB's capability for backwards computability, I would much rather have a plug shaped in such a way that I didn't have to flip it over every time I try to plug it in. I don't know about you guys but this is one of the most annoying aspects of using my computer, and I run Windows!
You know, you should only need to flip it over half the time. If you really need to do it more often than that, either your subconscious is an a*hole that likes messing with your self; or the world really is out to get _you_, specifically.

Sucks either way.

Re:Plug Shape (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666365)

I like pluggin my USB-mice and USB-keyboard better than my PS/2 onces and I never broke an USB connector or anything so it's not that bad.

if !(plug()) {
    turn();
    plug();
}

If that is your biggest annoyance then I should give Windows a try again.

Re:Plug Shape (2, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666375)

Also, did you know that the USB connector is exactly as wide as an RJ45 network connector. No, neither did I, until my mother plugged her mouse into the ethernet port. (:-)

Seriously, the connector should have double the number of pins as it needs, and they should be symmetrical. That would also increase reliability, because if the cable didn't work one way because of a bad pin, just flip it over until you can buy a new cable.

Will this allow longer cables? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666043)

Can I plug a USB hub into a motherboard on the other side of my house now without having to worry about signal loss or latency issues?

Eat into SATA? (1, Interesting)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666047)

Interesting. That should put the last nail into Firewire's coffin (and FW 800's). I wonder if we'll see USB 3.0 eat into SATA's market with internal USB3 drives on desktop and laptop machines. That could make desktops cheaper - ditching the IDE/SATA controller means one less component.

Re:Eat into SATA? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666133)

Let's hope so, it'd be good to see sanity return to the 'peripheral connections' market. FW400/FW800/USB2/eSATA is just too much.

Re:Eat into SATA? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666557)

Firewire blows away USB 2.0's performance for HDs in any meaningful benchmark you'd care to look at. eSata will probably replace it, whether that's a good thing or not. I don't believe you can daisy chain or use simple hubs with eSata, which means 1 cable/channel per logical device or expensive external controllers. It's certainly better than any USB concept due to the cluster that is USB. It's fine for secondary devices (keyboards, mice, graphic tablets, even phones) but not anything requiring high bandwidth.

USB is a lame horse that should be shot from the perspective of storage devices.

Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666141)

SATA is still better from a technical standpoint. 4 standard wires, no fiber optic needed. Plus SATA 6 Gbps will be out sometime here. SATA does have those crappy connectors though.

USB connectors are more robust. However, that robustness will be offset by their poor decision to use fiber optic cables. Fiber cables are a pain in the ass because they break easily. Even the slightest kink in a fiber optic cable will ruin it. Accidentally rolling over a fiber cable with your chair will usually kill it. The fiber might let you go long distances though, maybe.

Re:Eat into firewire not likley (3, Interesting)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666255)

more speed is great but USB will never replace FireWire for video as its not a matter of speed but architecture. FireWire is a true bus USB is not...FireWire can guarantee bandwith USB can not.

great (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666061)

I have a drive with USB2, FW400 and FW800 ports. In theory the USB2 should be a bit faster, but in reality it will transfer at about 25MB/s vs. 37MB/s for FW400. Strangely USB2 also consumes more CPU then Firewire. I guess now the time is ripe for USB3. With multicore CPU's we can dedicate one core just for use by USB.

Re:great (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666363)

"Strangely USB2 also consumes more CPU then Firewire."

That's not so strange because one of the many ways Firewire is superior to USB is that each device has a hardware controller that negotiates data transfer over the bus independently of the CPU. USB, being a cheap-ass solution, relies on the CPU to do all that work, and is far more limited in a host of technical ways.

More half assed implementations. (2, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666097)

Fiber and copper. Let's see how vendors screw this one up. USB 1, 1.1, 1.?, ?.?, 2, 2.75, 3...

Faster, possibly (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666127)

Although it'll depend on where the bottleneck actually is, of course.

But easier? How would it make using external HDDs easier?

I for one. . . (1)

Blinocac (169086) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666145)

welcome our new fiber optically aided Over Lords.

Not in practice. (0, Troll)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666169)

This should make USB hard drives easier and faster to use.

Faster, yes. Easier?

Perhaps I count as an extremely unlucky outlier in my experiences with USB in general, but I have found it one of the buggiest PC interfaces ever. And I include VL graphics cards in that list.

XP and a modern machine finally seem capable of handling simple things like USB1 keyboards and mice properly. Printers, still asking for a reservation at the sanitarium. Cameras, not too bad, but they only need to work for five minutes at a time.

But HDDs... I've dealt with four different models on three different PCs running four different OSs (yes, four OSs on three PCs - I actually reinstalled three different Linux distros, using 2.2, 2.4, and 2.6 kernels, just to recover data I had trusted to an external USB HDD). And they all have exactly the same problem - They randomly drop offline just when you start hitting them the hardest.

Under XP, they appear and dissapear on a whim. Some days you can't even get them to stay connected long enough to format them, while others (rarely) you might have it work all day long.

Under Linux, I've had what you could technically call a better experience - As long as I limit it to UHCI (ie, slow old 12mbit USB1.1), it works great, rock solid. Toss in the EHCI driver to allow a decent transfer rate, and it zips along nicely - For about 45 seconds, after which it decides to offline itself until a reboot (even removing and reinserting the module doesn't let you bring it back up).



So... Forgive my skepticism, but the thought of a newer-faster-buggier-than-ever version of USB just doesn't get me all that excited. I think I'd use the phrase "fills me with dread".

Sounds like... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666205)

...you have a hardware problem. Check your power supply, you may be suffering what we in the trade call a +5SB undervolt.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666411)

I'm having the GP's problem with an external Firewire drive. The power supply is where I'm going to check next, but I also suspect the connector to the PS is flaky.

Re:Not in practice. (1)

Boinger69 (673392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666315)

I suffered the same issues with USB2.0, decent transfers for 30 seconds until it stops responding and the kernel resets the bus. Dropping back to USB 1.1 worked well, but in the end i just trashed the idea of USB external devices and went with firewire. So far everything works much faster than USB and takes alot less CPU for simple file copies and other general purpose use.

This goes back on an earlier poster's comment on the controller chips being cheap crap. 100% Truth there, every usb disk device I have seen has a cheap controller completely reliant on the USB host to baby sit and spoon feed it every operation to perform (I beleive this is by spec). Firewire on the other hand does not have this issue, the controllers are intelligent and are perfectly capable of controlling data transfer on their own.

Think PATA/SATA vs SCSI.

Re:Not in practice. (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666317)

You've been unlucky. I routinely use external USB hard drives for backup with good speed and reliability. Perhaps you commonly deal with a flaky mobo chipset?

New cables (expensive?) (2, Insightful)

amaiman (103647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666181)

This is going to mean you need special "USB 3" cables, which users will confuse with regular ones...

I assume that the cables will be much more expensive, as well, because of the fiber component. I can get a regular cable for about $3 now, does anyone know how much the new cables are likely to cost?

Re:New cables (expensive?) (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666329)

does anyone know how much the new cables are likely to cost?

No.
FTA: "USB 3.0 products should likely arrive in 2009 or 2010."

Re:New cables (expensive?) (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666465)

If they design it right, using the wrong type of cable will only degrade performance, your device will still work at USB 2.0 speeds. It's also likely that your computer will negotiate with the device so that if the device says 3.0 but there's no signal on the optical link, the computer will tell you. Any system should be designed to fail gracefully.

Screw bandwidth... (4, Insightful)

Balinares (316703) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666215)

Give us a standard that actually delivers enough power that you don't need an additional power cord for just about every other device already... :/

Re:Screw bandwidth... (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666497)

That's what the fiber is for: no E.M. interference. Then you can boost the power lines as needed for the device's optical circuits.

Re:Screw bandwidth... (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666507)

The problem with that is that a PSU for a powered 7-port USB hub already has to supply 3.5 amps. Much larger than that and with current technology you're getting into "big expensive PSU" territory.

USB 3.0? (1)

SlashDread (38969) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666227)

Sure it isnt 1.3?

Om a serious note, why are E-SATA connects so impopular on new systems? These are a godsend for external drives, compared to any USB.

Re:USB 3.0? (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666307)

This article sent me on a reading binge about all these different specs and ways to connect and yeah, it seems like eSATA would be the obvious choice. Maybe SATA is only for hard drives and not for things like flash sticks? I don't know.

Re:USB 3.0? (1)

pklong (323451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666319)

Because USB is a cooler buzzword than SATA ;)

Both Firewire and ESATA (with hot plugging drivers that actually work) completely outclass USB2

Re:USB 3.0? (1)

ElberethZone (1136393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666525)

ESATA is not self-powered, you need another cable or external power. Appart from that, I don't know is SATA is usable for other devices that are not HD/SSD/CD/DVD.

Why not converge all of the bus standards? (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666241)

I wonder if eventually the speed and latency of USB will reach a point where SATA, for instance, becomes unnecessary. Or how about ethernet? We'll always need REALLY fast links like PCIe or dedicated ones like DVI. But when it comes to busses, perhaps it would be good to settle on one standard. I'm envisioning something along the lines of 100 gigabit ethernet, except all computers would have a whole bunch of dedicated ports, rather than just one network.

Yes, but (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666341)

Will the whole bus slow down to 1.5Mbit when you plug a mouse in? ;)

Better support as well as speed? (1)

BloodyIron (939359) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666439)

So.... are they going to fix the bugs with USB 3.0?

Well, not really bugs, but things that need improvement.

IE: Not having to re-configure a USB device when plugging it into another port (on my motherboard, this problem does not exists on USB hubs)
IE: Windows XP support (lol, I couldn't help myself)
IE: Actual, intuitive networking, instead of a networking design which (to this day) few know how it works? If it says you can network computers with it, make it easy. Please, make some sort of (at least) cross over cable between two computers.

I'm sure there are other bugs, but I just dont know them :/

So we should be able to boot from a USB flash (2, Interesting)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20666489)

drive? It would only make sense that since its solid state it would be faster than our primitive hard drives with their moving parts... (yes, I know about SS Hard drives and don't have 2500 dollars to spare)

speed over fiber vs speed of electrons over copper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20666523)

"10 times as fast by adding fiber-optic"

Someone explain how this is anything other than marketing.

As there is 10gigabit Ethernet over copper, why would 4.8 gigabytes require optical?

Why not just add a more durable plug to Ethernet, and just use it for everything? replace usb, replace DVI/HDMI ...
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