Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest Post - USB 3.0 is Here

USB 3.0 is here


I think it is safe to say that my dad knows literally nothing about computers (sorry dad) but even he has heard about and knows what USB is, in fact I believe it is quite rare to find someone who has not heard of USB (Universal Serial Bus) as it has quickly become the most commonly used peripheral bus used on computers and laptops today. Just about anything that connects to your computer or laptop connects via a USB port whether it is a digital camera, a wireless internet dongle or even Digital photo frame. The success of USB continues to grow as yet another USB port is introduced in the form of USB 3.0 but before we look at the benefits that it will bring, let’s take a brief trip down memory lane and find out how USB came about  

How did USB come about?
IBM started off the craze of implementing removal media into their computers by creating the keyboard which was not attached to the computer but was to be connected to it via a port called the AT Keyboard port. The success of this type of design led to many rival ports being created by different manufacturers to achieve the same thing and by the mid 1990 you had a number of ports which were predominantly not compatible with each other (the external SCSI and RS-232 being an exception to this).

Although USB was created much earlier, its success really began to escalate during 1996 when it was marketed as the single Peripheral which would be used universally throughout all the manufacturers. Many manufacturers supported it as Apple completely dropped the old ADB ports in order to introduce USB on all their computers during 1998 and by the year 200, it became rare to find a computer which did not have a USB port. One of the key benefits with USB was that it was able to power small devices requiring up to half an amp at 5 Volts which has introduced a whole host of unusual devices to be powered by USB such as USB Record players, USB podcast studios and even USB rechargeable batteries!

USB 2.0 further optimised the success of its predecessor by providing the same features and benefits but with a much faster transfer rate. The year 2006 gave way to USB technology which claimed to be 40 times faster than USB 1 but which was also backwards compatible. This was a key feature in ensuring the success of USB since it was selling itself as a port which was easing the port compatibility issues that many users were complaining about during the 90s.

Enter USB 3.0
The new USB 3.0 boasts a massive transfer rate increase of a maximum of a huge 5 Gbps! This makes it around 10 times faster than the old USB 2.0 which still had a respectable transfer rate speed of up to 480Mps. Keep your old gear as USB 3.0 follows in the way of its predecessors by being backward compatible. This means that products with a USB 2.0 slot will still be compatible with the new USB 3.0 but will transfer at the slower 480Mpbs rather than at the actual speed which USB 3.0 is capable of.  

A new feature of USB 3.0 is that it only transmits data to the port that needs the data which means that USB ports that are not currently being used can go into an energy saving state thus helping to reduce power consumption.

Many new devices already include USB 3.0 hardware such as a number of new Motherboards and if you want to get hold of a device with the new USB 3.0 hardware, look out for the SuperSpeed certified logo although this logo will not be present on all USB 3.0 devices.

Written by guest blogger Rashed Khan


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