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Could USB 3.x See 40Gbps?

It could be said the top five topics for CES 2018 were robots, driverless cars, virtual reality, internet of things and drones; however, we should keep our eye on less flashy topics like our beloved USB.

We learned at CES the USB Implementer Forum is looking at the capability to increase data transfer rates up to 40Gbits/second. Translated into a more common term, that is about 5,000 MB/second.

It was reported Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum, was said this is a real possibility and the wiring currently used, is capable of such speeds.

chart of all USB connectors

Those who favor Thunderbolt because it’s speed capability will no longer have a debatable advantage over USB, because once this new specification is released the speed between USB 3.x and Thunderbolt would be the same, maxing out at 40Gbps.

It’s always nice to appreciate our past before looking into the future. With that said, here is a chart of the USB ports currently available:

USB speeds

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A New Generation Of Desktop Storage

While all pre-built desktops and laptops come with a hard drive, it’s not uncommon for users to look for a more mobile way to store their data rather than carrying their entire machine with them to all destinations. External hard drives have been the answer to this lack of mobility ever since the ingenuity of a floppy disk met with the carrying capacity of standard disk or optical memory and while many users have their needs met by existing externals, the paradigm of “bigger, faster, and cheaper” in the tech industry rings true as Seagate unveils the Innov8.

USB_Desktop_External_Drive



The Seagate Innov8 is first in its class in a variety of ways. Its 8TB capacity is something rarely seen in externals and the reason for this is transfer speed. External hard drives usually connect to a machine through a USB cable and with the standard transfer rates of USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0, uploading and accessing such a massive quantity of data was not feasible. Seagate has solved this by being the first and only pioneer to not only use USB Type-C connections to access data, but also for power needs. The Innov8 reduces the additional power cord required for external hard drives of this size by making it energy efficient enough that just one Type-C connector can power the device. Additionally, with the recent release of USB 3.1, an 8TB drive is no longer some overwhelming beast of a data load to sift through when armed with speeds up to 10Gbps.

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Can I Connect a USB-C to a USB 2.0 Port?

USB Type C Connector

Question

Can I connect a USB Type C cable to an older USB 2.0 port?

Answer

No you cannot.

The USB type C socket is a backward compatible technology with respect to the protocol but it is not backward compatible in the physical connection. Meaning, the sockets wont fit, but with an adapter you will have no problem charge devices or trasnfering data.

Why

The USB-C connection was design for several reasons. Of course a new specification will always be developed to increase data transfer rates or introduce new features, such as increased power across the buss to charge or power connected devices. The main reason for USB-C connectors is size. With USB being the world’s most popular technology for peripheral devices, the Implementers Forum (with members such as Intel, Acer, AData, SanDisk, Lexar, Micron and many others) they wanted to insure the USB specification continued to be the #1 method for connecting the ever decreasing size of digital devices.

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Skinny Jeans 2TB USB Flash Drive

Transcend and Taiwan’s ITRI are doing a joint venture design on an ultra slim 2TB USB flashdrive.  The “Thin Card” was shown at the Display Taiwan convention.  Not sure why the release was at a flat screen convention, but I guess a moot point. Nothing official from either company in regards to specs or a simple introduction, nor does the high-capacity USB 3.0 stick appear on Display Taiwan’s trade show website.  So adding this all up, it could be nothing more then a USB case and a trade show hottie giving out false information. If you watch the video [here] you can hear the girl say things like “this could be a 2TB drive” well no sh!t I could pull out any sized drive and claim it “could be 2TB” and follow up with a release date of March 2015. However, lets keep a positive attitude about this and hope a 2TB drive isn’t too far off. Continue Reading

USB-IF Releases USB 3.0 OTG Specification

The USB Implimentors Forum announced the availability of the USB On-The-GO [OTG] specification for embedded USB host controller applications where a PC is not required. The supplement ensures that mobile devices such as phones or cameras are able to use a SuperSpeed USB link in both USB host and USB peripheral roles through a single receptacle. OTG and Embedded Host Devices requiring fast synchronization or streaming of rich data will benefit from this feature. The USB OTG 3.0 and Embedded Host supplement offers power saving features equivalent to those available in USB OTG 2.0, enabling the adoption of SuperSpeed USB in mobile devices. Additionally, USB OTG 3.0 provides backward compatibility with USB OTG 2.0. To learn more about the specification, Continue Reading

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

Why USB Wins Over Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is the new technology by Apple which is claiming better performance and speed then our new USB 3 specification.  It all looks good on paper and plan, but will reality let Thunderbolt win? Thunderbolt is the copper wire version of Intel’s Lightpeak technology.  Thunderbolt will produce transfer rates equal to 10Gbps which is about double of what USB 3 will offer. Apple convinced Intel to create a “cut-back” version of their optical light solution with an additional caveat of being the exclusive personal computer manufacturer to offer Thunderbolt.  And this is where the problem lies. As with USB 1 verse Firewire [Apple] the speeds of Firewire where faster than USB 1, but FireWire equipment was more expensive, Apple charged what was considered a substantial royalty per part, and with Macs in general holding much less of the market, meanwhile the Windows-side controllers and drivers for Firewire ran the gamut from lousy to terrible. Intel and Apple jointly developed Thunderbolt, which may actually be part of the problem.  As of June 2011, Apple is the only company committed to using Thunderbolt.  HP has officially selected USB 3 and we suspect Dell will not be far behind.  After all, these guys don’t like to support a technology to a competitive company which holds 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

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