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Windows 8 To Offer USB 3.0 Stack

One of the main goals for Windows 8 with respect to peripheral support, is the robust support for USB devices.  From the first 1.1 standard, the high speed 2.0 standard and the newest addition of SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Microsoft expects to see all new PCs have a USB 3.0 port by 2015…but I think we’ll see USB 3.0 in all PCs before the end of 2013.  Microsoft also forecasts a number of 2 billion USB 3.0 devices to ship in 2015 as well. Microsoft’s game plan is keeping their current USB stack for 1.1 and 2.0 devices as it’s proven and stable, while incorporating a new USB stack for 3.0 devices. Continue Reading

New USB Power Specification – Dreamy

Cell phone standards ditched the AC/DC adapter about a year ago and it’ll be a requirement all cell phones power only via USB.  Now it looks like we could do the same for computers.  The USB 3.0 Promoter Group introduced a new specification to offer up to 100watts of power over a USB 3.0 cable.  How convenient would that be! Lets ditch the AC/DC power block with most laptops and just plug into one of those USB wall mount power stations.  Or recharge your laptop directly off your tower PC.  Or easily power an unlimited number of USB devices via your USB laptop USB 3.0 port. This means more and more peripherals will be powered via USB and not require the extra power adapter.  This ultimately mean less cost and less hassle for the average computer user.
“Building on the rapidly increasing industry momentum for using USB bus power to charge a broad range of mobile devices, the new USB Power Delivery specification extends USB’s cable power delivery capabilities beyond simple battery charging,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, in a statement. “For example, charging the battery of a notebook PC, or simply powering that notebook PC while actively using the USB data connection, would be possible. Conceivably, a notebook PC could rely solely on a USB connection for its source of power.”
The preliminary spec indicated power is bi-directional and therefore no need to switch or swap the USB cable.  The new specification would be compatible with Continue Reading

Porsche Inspired LaCie USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Just looking at the picture, wouldn’t it be a shame if the Porsche inspired USB hard drive from LaCie got a scratch on it?  Not many tech products get designed after house-hold names, like Porsche, but it seems LaCie is making a good business out of it. The exclusive design is available in 500GB and 1TB size with an even more exclusive size of 750GBs only available at Porsche stores.  Wouldn’t that be odd, “Honey, I’m going down to the Porsche dealership to pick up a hard drive to expand the TiVo box.”  But, after she saw the hard drive, I’m sure she would understand. So when you can find a 500GB USB hard drive for about $80, why bother?  Drop another $20 and get the LaCie Porsche version.  Now that is money well spent. For the tech folks, it’s USB 3.0 so great transfer rates.  For the Uber-Geek, forget about Thunderbolt – sh!t, the spec just came out and I’m sure it took Porsche at least 6 months just to approve the design.  So stop getting theoretical Continue Reading

Review: Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator

Review: Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator

EverythingUSB posted a review of the Nexcopy 3.0 USB Duplicator with a bunch of “thumbs up” marks.  Lets take a closer look. As far as USB duplicators go, the Nexcopy SSUSB160PC is actually pretty stylish. Its form certainly flows from its function, but Nexcopy has made it to look in a German engineered car sort of way. Because of this form from function design, it is rather rectangular with flat boxy sides. However, Nexcopy did add in some flare where they could. For example, having the top slope downwards from back to front does give it a more aggressive styling. This dash of styling does makes it even more functional as sticking in the 16 flash drives into the 16 USB 3.0 ports on that self same top is actually easier when they are slightly offset in the vertical plane. It’s also a lot easier to check all 32 status lights for the 16 ports (red for bad, green for good). Where the Nexcopy USB 3.0 duplicator is a serious tool meant for serious work, there is no plastic fascia to be found anywhere. It is made from metal and metal only. Once again, Nexcopy did manage to sneak in some pizazz by having the front’s company logo be CnC’ed milled out. This allows air to be sucked in from the front (as well as the sides through copious amounts of air holes), flow over the internals and then be exhausted out the back of the case via the rear fan. This is a great example of form and function done properly. I first made an image file of my minted Windows 7 64-bit installation flash drive using the included basic software. (As a note, professional version or upgraded version of the software includes the ability to write protect drives, partition drives or set them as USB CD-ROM devices.) When that was completed, I setup a new batch job; pointed the software at the location of the newly created .IMG file on my hard drive; and then took Continue Reading

Apple 30 Pin Connector Supports USB 3.0

Did you know Apple will license it’s male 30 pin connector technology to just about anyone, but they will never license the female 30 pin portion of their connector?  For most, not a big deal, for some, they’d love to have that ability. Things could get interesting down the road as Apple was just awarded another patent for their 30 pin connector.  This time the pin-out includes support for data and power communication to 3.0 devices and also Thunderbolt devices.  What does this mean? It means Apple will be able to keep their slim line design and proprietary connector interface via their 30 pin connector.  The new design will still communicate with 3.0 devices, but without the traditional USB port interface.  A bit brilliant if you ask me. With the increased sales volume of Apple products, this new connector type could become an industry standard – oh wait – it can’t – because Apple wont license their female part of the connector.  This means tablets like the Motorola Zoom and others could not pivot off the 30 pin design.  But rather stay with traditional power pins and USB interface.  This gives Apple the edge up on keeping their products slimmer and thus more light weight. What do you think? Continue Reading

Corsair Drops Drawers On USB 3.0 Pricing

Corsair has always gotten good reviews about the speed and performance of their 2.0 USB flash drives.  So it is no surprise to see Corsair enter the market of 3.0 USB sticks. As we said years ago, USB 3.0 will start to catch on, and the price points Corsair is publishing for the 8, 16 and 32GB drives proves the point. The USB 3.0 Flash Voyager looks like all their others, and comes in at a price of:
  • 8GB = 19.95
  • 16GB = 29.99
  • 32GB = 69.99
These seem like great prices for individuals.  The next question becomes, how does a corporate company who bought a pallet full, perform the data load function.  Maybe this USB 3.0 Duplicator by Nexcopy would help. Here is the company line from their press release:
The new Flash Voyager USB 3.0 models bring SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance to the Flash Voyager family, and share the same durable rubber housing and stylish looks that have made the Flash Voyager family a favorite of consumers looking for fast, reliable, and portable data storage. All Flash Voyager USB 3.0 models are shockproof, water-resistant, backward compatible with USB 2.0/USB 1.1, and provide easy plug-and-play compatibility with most operating systems.
Continue Reading

Leaked PDF From Intel on USB 3.0

To be clear, we are not suggesting Intel has new information on the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed interface, but rather new information on how USB 3.0 technology will play with Intel’s new Panther Point Platform. What this means is that Intel will start native integration with their new chipset in the coming year.  An interesting point gleaned from the leaked PDF is that USB 3.0 will not [natively] support Windows XP or Vista operating systems.  For those computers, the user will need to purchase a PCI to USB 3.0 adapter controller card [NEC is most popular for that peripheral]. Panther Point will support up to 14 USB ports in total, four of which are USB 3.0 and rest are legacy USB 2.0. Texas Instrument and Renesas have plans for a 4-port USB 3.0 solution but none of their solutions have obtained USB-IF certification approval yet. This may all change once Intel starts shipping Panther Point laptops and desktops in 2012. Continue Reading

Nexcopy First To Market With SuperSpeed USB Duplicator

It’s clear USB 3.0 is coming.  It’s an unstoppable train which is building momentum with each new day and each new product launch.  Millions of PC and peripherals will ship this year with the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed bus interface.  With that said, it’s no wonder the timing of the Nexcopy SuperSpeed USB duplicator couldn’t be at a better moment.  Now it’s possible for users to manage these new peripherals without using legacy 2.0 products. The SSUSB160PC is a 16 target USB duplicator which works off the USB 3.0 technology.  What you need to remember is that a USB 2.0 stick won’t jump to the 3.0 speed just because it’s a new interface.  Fortunately, the 3.0 system will easily handle 3.0 hard drives, which seem to be the most prevalent in the market, as well as 3.0 flash drives which are just starting to show as mainstream. The SSUSB160PC is a slick looking product with a light weight aluminum body making it ideal for on-site duplication and data loading.  The USB duplicator has a built in 120 watt power supply and will copy at your devices maximum transfer rate.  For some ideas, it’s reported by Nexcopy that 32GBs of data can copy in about 6 minutes. We’ve reported on other products from Nexcopy Corporation – maybe it time I request an evaluation unit…some glamor shots after the jump… Continue Reading

USB Movie Kiosk – Flix On Stix

If you haven’t noticed, Red Box Movie rental kiosks have popped up all over the place.  Most notably are the Red Box’ at the grocery store, which makes perfect sense, you’re going to the store anyway, why not put a movie rental at check-out.

Movies on USB

Flix-on-Stix is looking to do the same thing, only difference is the Flix On Stix is renting your beloved movie on USB.  The concept is simple, yet peppered with problems.  Lets cover the concept first…the idea is having a user insert their USB drive into the Flix on Stix kiosk and download a movie.  Great idea…simple, convenient and assuming cheap. Look just one step deeper and you start asking yourself about transfer times.  The Flix-on-Stix is USB 3.0 enabled, but SuperSpeed flash drives have just ‘barely’ come to market, most will have USB 2.0.  So to download a low quality video will take at least 10 minutes.  Next, what kind of DRM does Flix on Stix use?  We know our USB and their is no universal USB copy protection that will work on PCs, Macs and set-top boxes…so how & where will these movies play?  The last bit is the type of movies to be offered…we know studios wont sign off on DRM that isn’t proven by CDSA [https://www.cdsaonline.org/] so after all this, I’m not sure where Flix On Stix leaves us.  What do you think? Continue Reading

LaCie SuperSpeed USB Stick Lives Up To USB 3.0 Spec

If the benchmark claim rings true, LaCie has a new USB 3.0 flash drive which is living up to the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed promise.  Things might be coming to fruition with the most recent product from LaCie, the FastKey.

SuperSpeed LaCie

The FastKey has print on the box claiming a whopping 260MB/s transfer speed.  If it true, this puts a single flash drive at a faster transfer rate than your best hard drive.  As EveryThingUSB points out:
“To put that in its proper perspective a typical 3.5″ hard drive has a peak read speed of about HALF of that and has an average speed about one THIRD of this little bad boy’s performance numbers”
So dumping your buddies MP3 collection of a 1,000s songs will be much easier with this USB 3.0 flash drive, then your portable USB hard drive.  But don’t think this convenience, and some would say luxury, come without a price.  The LaCie FastKey comes in a variety of sizes, starting at Continue Reading

PQI Now in USB 3.0 USB Drive Market

PQI introduced their first SuperSpeed USB 3.0 flash drive today, called the U339V.  The PQI 3.0 stick is available in 8GB through 64GB sizes.  As with any new technology, the performance is lagging behind the specification of performance.

PQI USB SuperSpeed 3.0

For example the smaller 8GB PQI drive shows a read speed of 55MB/s and a write speed of 10MB/s.  Verse the larger 16GB and larger sizes are more like 86MB/s read speed and 20MB/s write speed.  If you know anything about flash drives, it just means the bigger sizes are dual channel and the 8GB is single channel. Still far from the 5Gbps transfer rate USB 3.0 is suppose to offer, but once more advanced controllers come into the market, we’ll see the performance rise. The PQI drive will be available through Continue Reading

Sony VAIO Laptops Shipping SuperSpeed USB 3.0

When Sony officially supports the USB 3.0 specification by supplying a dual USB 3.0 port on their new VAIO laptops, it’s safe to say the transition is picking up steam.

Sony VAIO USB 3.0

The Sony desktop-replacements are HD VAIO laptops coming with possibly everything you can hope for with the exception of 3D and SSD. The more expensive model ($2,970) will have Core i7-740QM, GeForce GT 425M 1GB graphics card while the lower end laptop ($2,140) will only carry a Core i5-460M and GeForce 310M 512MB. Both Sony VAIO models are stocked with 4GB RAM, the same Blu-ray optical reader, 500GB 2.5″ drive and a dual HDTV tuner as well as a 16.4″ full HD LCD. In the connectivity department, both laptops will feature not one but two USB 3.0 ports – likely powered by Continue Reading

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