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Tektronix Brings SuperSpeed USB Test Tools to the Geeks

tektronix usb 3.0Tektronix just announced test tools for the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed specification.  This means those uber geeks – and we don’t mean that in a derogatory way – will have the tools to prove their devices meet the new USB 3.0 specification. It is estimated that initial SuperSpeed USB interface ICs and consumer products should appear in early 2010, with widespread adoption continuing throughout 2010. The first SuperSpeed USB products will likely include data-storage devices such as flash drives, external hard drives, digital music players, and digital cameras.
“SuperSpeed USB is a giant leap forward in data transfer rates for many devices and consequently requires much more sophisticated testing,” said Ian Valentine, general manager, Technology Solutions Group, Tektronix. “SuperSpeed USB will operate at 5 Gb/s, more than 10 times greater than the existing high-speed USB standard. This speed will require comprehensive signal testing for transmitters, interconnects, and receivers. Customers will be able to fully test the physical layers of their SuperSpeed USB devices using the latest test solution from Tektronix.”
The Tektronix test solution for USB 3.0 includes: Continue Reading

SuperSpeed USB Spec Released by Intel

superspeed usbIntel released a draft specification for USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed USB. The Extensible Host Controller Interface or xHCI provides a standard method for USB 3.0 host controllers to communicate with the USB 34.0 software stacks. Both AMD and Nvidia voiced complaints earlier in the year that Intel hasn’t released update information to make the new spec an open industry standard and an easy path for transition. Today’s release is Intel’s answer to that request. Dell, Microsoft and NEC also support the release because the xHCI will expedite the industry transition to next-generation USB 3.0 technology.
One important factor in adopting SuperSpeed USB products is interoperability between multiple devices from different manufacturers. The xHCI draft specification revision 0.9 aims to make interoperability easier to implement, while also making it easier for developers to create software support for the market.
The next revision update is expected at the end of 2008 with revision number xHCI 0.95. So no SuperSpeed USB yet, but the big boys are working their way to it. Source: CRN. Continue Reading

USB Washing Machine Wakes You But Doesn’t Do Laundry

Joe from USB Geek sent me an email about his new USB washing machine alarm clock, I thought we hit the mother-load.  We didn’t.  But lets stop and think for a minute, could we – one day -  have a USB washing machine?  It’s possible if the USB 3.0 spec really boosts the power over the bus to 12v.  Until then, the USB washing machine can only be an alarm clock.

usb washing machine, alarm clock

The USB washing machine plays four crappy alarm clock sounds along with an hourly chime and LED signal.  Perfect for late night slumber. In case you have a military friend you can set the hours for 12 or 24 and power the gadget via USB or two double A batteries. At just $20 you can please any gadget lover who’s a germaphobic and likes to sleep in. Visit the USBGeek web page and get a sample of the alarm clock sounds.  Music to the ears [not]. USB washing machine alarm clock product page. Continue Reading

USB 3.0 Sockets and Jacks Shape Made Public

Not to anyone’s surprise…the USB 3.0 jacks and sockets look exactly the same.  Go figure, as part of the specification is to be backward compatible.  But taking a closer look, you do see some differences.

usb 3.0 socket

The folks from Register Hardware had a peak at the USB 3.0 connectors while at CES 2008 this year.  As you can see from the image below, the USB 3.0 sockets have an additional row of connectors.  The connectors located in front are to keep the backward compatibility to USB 1.1 and USB 2.0.  The connectors placed behind this first row are for USB 3.0.

usb 3.0 socket schematic

The new USB 3.0 specification is promising transfer speeds 10 times greater than current 2.0 standards – to that of 4.7Gb/s.  There is also a fiber optics connector which hasn’t been made available yet. As the USB 3.0 specification is expected to be finalized sometime in June of 2008 – we can expect to see product following by the end of this year.  Although I am looking forward to the new, faster USB 3.0 spec, not everyone shares the same love.  Here is what some are saying: Continue Reading

Not USB 3.0, But Speedy USB 2.0 by Buffalo

Buffalo figured out a way to turbo boost USB 2.0 to claim increased transfer speed of up-to 60%.
turbo usb
So what’s the deal? Buffalo gives no detail to this increased performance and makes a broad statement about Windows and Mac compatibility for the two new USB Turbo products, the MiniStation and DriveStation. I would figure Buffalo addressed power issues as many USB devices have poor power management which directly effects performance. The Buffalo MiniStation with Turbo USB is a portable storage device designed to withstand durable environment such as bumps, drops and turbulence (what?) you’d experience in everyday life. The Buffalo DriveStation with Turbo USB is a tower configuration ideal for home or office and includes a 7200 RPM SATA drive with Turbo USB enhancements. The MiniStation has a price range of $99 to $250 The DriveStation has a price range of $130 to $500. Buffalo Turbo USB information page Continue Reading

WUSB Can Hear the Footsteps of WUSB 1.1

WUSB or Wireless USB products just began to ship and WUSB 1.1 is ramping up. Although a mild ramp, as with current transfer rates of 40Mbits/second the 1.1 spec needs to hit at least 500Mbits/second otherwise it’ll never see the light of day.

wusb 1.1

The 1.1 spec will support band groups at 6 GHz and above, including the 3-4 GHz supported by wireless USB 1.0. It aims to lower power consumption by an undisclosed amount. It also will adopt the techniques of near-field communications for letting two devices identify themselves to each other with a simple contact.

As (source) Gizmodo said: “…realistic or not, we like the ambition.”

Currently the USB Implementers Forum has certified a handful of notebooks and hubs for the 1.0 spec. The WiMedia Alliance is expected to certify the first 1.0 products shortly.

Continue Reading

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