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SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Promises 10Gbps Data Transfers, Coming in 2014

NewImageThe trade organization behind the USB 3.0 specification has announced a new upgraded spec that promises higher data speeds over backwards compatible connections.

The new spec enhanced SuperSpeed USB 3.0 spec should deliver a 10 Gbps data rate -- the same as current Thunderbolt connectors -- though don't expect it any time soon. The new protocol should be finalized sometime in 2013, with initial products featuring the connector appearing in late-2014 or 2015, reports CNET.
To take advantage of the double-speed USB 3.0 interface, devices such as computers, hubs, and digital cameras will need new USB controller hardware. However, the new version of USB 3.0 uses the same connectors, so existing USB devices can be plugged into the higher-speed ports.

USB 3.0 cables may or may not work. "Existing SuperSpeed USB cables are not certified to operate at 10 Gbps; it is possible that some existing SuperSpeed USB cables may be capable of operating at 10 Gbps," the group said.
The new devices should be backwards compatible with older USB hardware, though not at the upgraded speeds.

Thunderbolt, which moves data at up to 10Gbps in both directions, appears mostly on Apple devices currently, but devices tend to be more expensive than their USB 3.0-compatible counterparts. However, Thunderbolt does have a strong ally in Intel, with the company pushing the standard heavily.

Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago
Both have different usage scenarios, so saying "I like this one better" is pointless.
Rating: 49 Votes
24 months ago
I still prefer USB, much more widely adapted than TB.
Rating: 35 Votes
24 months ago

I much prefer Thunderbolt. It has much lower CPU usage, and can be used to connect displays. That's not the case for USB.


and how much do thunderbolt accessories cost again? :rolleyes:
Rating: 32 Votes
24 months ago
I much prefer Thunderbolt. It has much lower CPU usage, and can be used to connect displays. That's not the case for USB.
Rating: 30 Votes
24 months ago
This new SuperSpeed USB 3 will likely win out and we'll see the slow death of Thunderbolt just like we saw the slow death of FireWire. A committed following sung the praises of FireWire to the bitter end and that will likely happen with Thunderbolt, as well.
Rating: 27 Votes
24 months ago
Comparing thunderbolt and USB 3.0 is like apples and oranges. They are quite different in how they work. Thunderbolt effectively extends the PCI bus over cables (and now there are Thunderbolt fiber optic cables that can go hundreds of feet), so you can put anything on the end of the cable you can plug into a PCI slot. So far products using thunderbolt are more expensive, but they are way more flexible, especially for adding complex devices to laptops or mini's. I am actually surprised no PC vendors have not added it already since it is an Intel SPEC not Apple.

USB 3.0 on the other hand is just faster USB. Very flexible and great for high speed peripherals like external hard drives, cameras etc. The device driver model is completely different to Thunderbolt though.

The primary reason for a faster USB 3.0 spec is really for external data storage as the latest SSD drives (especially in RAID) can swamp out even the current USB 3.0 spec. And by the time super speed USB 3.0 arrives, the drives will likely be much faster and will need 10G connections to keep up.

At the end of the day they really serve different purposes, which is the reason the latest Mac's come with both. I doubt it will ever be one or the other.
Rating: 19 Votes
24 months ago

I much prefer Thunderbolt. It has much lower CPU usage, and can be used to connect displays. That's not the case for USB.


Except that pretty much nothing supports it, and those that do cost entirely too much.
Rating: 17 Votes
24 months ago
Doesn't look good for Thunderbolt.

Leave it to Apple to take a standard that is even farther ahead of USB 3 than Firewire was ahead of USB 2, and yet drive it even farther into the ditch than they ever drove FireWire.

The licensing fees, the Apple/Intel exclusivity for the first 12 months, and so on -- every move they have made has intensified the mistakes they made, and obvioiusly did not learn from, with FireWire.
Rating: 14 Votes
24 months ago
Shouldn't this be USB 3.1?
Rating: 13 Votes
24 months ago
In my experience, USB3 is not performing to its theoretical potential. For example, there are problems with driver performance where the device driver loads the CPU to an extent that if you try to perform multiple tasks on a computer while using the USB3 port, the overall performance can be less than USB2! (I have a documented case of this for a machine-vision camera application.)

Also, I have experienced problems with drivers recognizing USB3 Super Speed devices. The device manufacturers blame Intel or the USB3 chip-maker. Trying to contact Intel or the chip-maker about the same is a waste of time (if the device maker can't get support, how can I expect help for a device issue).

If you have a USB3 device with a properly- and smartly-written driver and do not run anything else at the same time you use it to do some single task on your computer, then perhaps it may perform to its potential.

Otherwise, enjoy the compatibility and driver issues as well as excessive CPU loading to service the port.

If Thunderbolt performs closer to the way in which Firewire better utilizes its bandwidth, more power to it! USB3 has been a disappointment.
Rating: 13 Votes

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