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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    INSIDER TRICKS

    USB 3.0 makes its way into the mainstream


    By Michael Lasky

    Promising explosive transfer rates — up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 — USB 3.0 is making its appearance in new PCs, external hard drives, and other devices.

    With these new USB 3.0–compatible products rolling out and the standard set, there are just two barriers to its widespread deployment: lack of support in PC chipsets and in the Windows OS.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/10/07/06 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 15:05.

  2. #2
    2 Star Lounger
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    I added a USB 3.0 PCI card to my desktop a few months ago, along with a USB 3.0 external disk drive (Win 7x64 OS).

    I got about a 3x speedup of file transfers from a 3-disk RAID0 drive to the USB3 external drive, compared to going to a similar USB2 external drive. Nice, but hardly the 10x speedup. Nevertheless, if I were going to replace my motherboard or get a new computer, I'd want USB3 to be standard on it.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    One issue to be aware of is that you will not be able to boot from your USB 3.0 connector with the current add-in cards and motherboards.

    The System BIOS has to include support for booting USB 3.0 devices connected to the USB 3.0 connectors through the USB 3.0 chipset. This support is lacking in most System BIOSs because the current chipsets use a different chipset standard than the USB 2.0 chipsets.

    If booting USB 3.0 on a system that supports USB 3.0 is important to you, testing the system before you buy it is a good idea. In my testing of this feature, I found that some notebooks that include the NEC USB 3.0 chipset (and other chipsets) DO support booting from USB 3.0 devices in USB 3.0 mode. However, several of the tested notebooks and several of the USB 3.0 devices do not actually boot USB 3.0 mode or even in any mode.

    Reasons this might matter to you include:
    - you regularly boot Linux from a USB stick or a USB hard drive.
    - you want to install Windows 7 from a USB stick (and you are very impatient :-)

    After the OS boots, it can install it's own drivers to access normal files, so this isn't a big issue for people that use USB devices just for data storage.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    II don't expect a fast appearance of USB 3.0 devices.

    The devices best needing the speed boost are external storage devices - I'll put my money (in fact I already have) on eSATA over USB. Realistically it is cheaper to produce because most hard drives are already using SATA technology, and is still WAY faster than USB 3.0. And my brand new notebook has figured out a way to combine an eSATA and USB 2.0 port into one connector no bigger than a USB 2.0 connector.

    Next up is HD video - and Firewire 800 is plenty fast, offers superior control over multiple devices from a single point and most pro-sumer video devices already have this interface.

    USB 3.0 connectors take up more space on already squeezed edges of ultra-thin notebooks.

    My opinion is USB 3.0 is about 2-3 years too late to matter for broad adoption.

    Jim Johnson
    Jim Johnson
    Michigan's Lake Superior region
    How much snow do we have now?
    Visit Agate Reef

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