NewImageEarlier this year, the trade organization behind the USB 3.0 specification proposed a new version of USB 3 that supports 10Gbps of data transfer over a backwards compatible connector.

The spec has now been finalized, and the first developer sessions will begin later this month.

SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. Compatibility is assured with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

[…]

"While maintaining backward compatibility, USB continues to advance to meet customer's growing need for higher speed data" said Roland Sperlich, TI Consumer and Computing Interface Product Line Manager. "The 10 Gbps data rate allows designers across many industries to do more with a universal standard."

The first products with USB 3.1 should launch sometime in 2014.

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.

Thunderbolt 2, the next generation of the protocol, will support 20Gbps bi-directionally, but Thunderbolt 2 devices are also expected to be significantly more expensive than USB. The new Mac Pro, expected sometime this fall, will be the first mass market device to come with Thunderbolt 2, with the device equipped with 6 ports across two separate control boards.

Top Rated Comments

baryon Avatar
101 months ago
So let me get this straight, USB 3.1 is much much cheaper, uses simple cables with no electronics inside, is fully backward compatible and is ubiquitous while Thunderbolt is expensive, exclusively high-end, rare and requires cables with fancy chips inside, without actually being faster?

Sure, Thunderbolt 2 will be even faster, but then so will USB 3.2 and so on...
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tankmaze Avatar
101 months ago
I'm afraid this would make thunderbolt the "firewire part 2"
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
milwaukeeJ Avatar
101 months ago
I'll be honest. Most people commenting don't know about the underlying technologies and just go off the 'specs'.

USB 3.1 is fine and dandy, it doesn't hold a candle to Thunderbolt, v1 or v2.

USB is for consumers, Thunderbolt is for the Pro's.

I will never trade Thunderbolt for USB.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GSPice Avatar
101 months ago
I'll be honest. Most people commenting don't know about the underlying technologies and just go off the 'specs'.

USB 3.1 is fine and dandy, it doesn't hold a candle to Thunderbolt, v1 or v2.

USB is for consumers, Thunderbolt is for the Pro's.

I will never trade Thunderbolt for USB.
+1000

I'll never say that thunderbolt and associated products are cheap, but the ignorance I'm seeing in these comments is a little discouraging.

No mention of the type of data being transmitted, source and destination, etc, to say nothing of the whole power and daisy-chaining thing, um yeah. Oh and that's if the average user is actually saturating the USB 3.x channel with a raid of HDDs? SSDs?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bb426 Avatar
101 months ago
Why don't these guys just team the f**# up and make it one mother***#$% port.

It's just the consumer that dies slowly in the end...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ResPublica Avatar
101 months ago
So let me get this straight, USB 3.1 is much much cheaper, uses simple cables with no electronics inside, is fully backward compatible and is ubiquitous while Thunderbolt is expensive, exclusively high-end, rare and requires cables with fancy chips inside, without actually being faster?

Sure, Thunderbolt 2 will be even faster, but then so will USB 3.2 and so on...
There's a difference between theoretical and real life performance (with USB the difference tends to be the biggest). Furthermore, Thunderbolt actually offers a lot more possibilities and is much more advanced than USB 3.
However I do agree that probably 95% of Mac users won't ever use Thunderbolt (except for Displayport adapters). It's even a lot less popular than FireWire used to be. It's a shame Apple pushed Thunderbolt in their 2011 Mac models before adopting USB 3, which people actually use.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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