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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The New Superspeed USB3.0

The Consumer Electronics Show is upon us again and while everyone is talking up 3D television this and Apple tablet that, a significant new technology will hit the shelves, apparently very much under that radar.

Anyone working in a computer-based pro application for either audio or video has been resigned to working with Firewire drives for quite some time. The standard Firewire 400 that's commonly found on computers was found to be quite a bit faster than the even more common USB interface, even though on the surface they looked to be just about the same speed. Not so - their different architectures makes Firewire far more efficient so it’s ultimately faster and works better for most professional work as a result (non-tech explanation). And there's an even faster variant in Firewire 800, which never quite caught on commercially, but pros know all about and frequently use.

While USB was down, it definitely was not out. Just coming on the scene is the brand new USB3.0, sometimes called Superspeed USB. USB3 offers up to twelve times the speed of what Firewire 400 can do, and has plenty of bandwidth for all but the most demanding pro applications. It also offers the ability to supply power to large drives directly from the USB buss, so you won’t even need a power supply for them. USB3.0 is backwards compatible with the current USB2.0, but will need a different cable and connector that has two additional wires to achieve the increased speed.

Up until now USB3 has been a twinkle in the engineering eye, but that's all about to change on Thursday when the newest consumer electronic device come rolling out. Just like last year, I'll have a full report on all the latest CE trends and some pictures from ground zero at the show in beautiful downtown Las Vegas.

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