CES 2013: Faster USB 3.0 announced for 2014

Data transfer speeds are going to get a considerable bump. According to CNET, a new faster version of USB 3.0 is going to come out, boasting double the data-transfer speed from the original USB 3.0. This move takes it closer to the competing standard—Thunderbolt.

While it won't happen immediately, the specification should be done in mid-2013. This will allow products to show up by late 2014 and would lead to it becoming the new standard by 2015. The new standard was announced by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group at the ongoing CES show.

While faster version of USB 3.0 may make data transfer generally faster, it could also mean that devices that depend on a computer's USB port to charge, like smartphones and tablets, can charge up faster. To take advantage of the new USB 3.0 interface, though, devices will need new hardware. On the flip side, though, the new interface won't require new cables.

A new standard of USB 3.0 will offer 10Gbps transfer speeds

A new standard of USB 3.0 will offer 10Gbps transfer speeds


USB 3.0 cables may or may not work. "Existing SuperSpeed USB cables are not certified to operate at 10 Gbps; it is possible that some existing SuperSpeed USB cables may be capable of operating at 10 Gbps," the group said.

The improved data transfer speeds could potentially breathe new life in external SSDs, as current standards aren't fast enough to make complete use of them. As USB speeds are improved, so would the utility of external solid state drives, making data transfers much faster.

Faster standards could also make distributing software much easier. Back in 2011, Apple had started selling OS X Lion on USB drives. With the new standards, installation of such software could be exponentially faster.

USB 3.0 was the second major revision of the USB standard. It came out in 2008 and had a 5Gbps transfer-rate, as opposed to the newer standard's 10Gbps transfer-rate. While USB 3.0 was similar to USB 2.0, there were many improvements and an alternate implementation. Earlier USB concepts like endpoints and four trnasfer types are preserved, but the protocol and electrical interface are different. USB 3.0 defines a physically separate channel to carry USB 3.0 traffic.

This improved a number of things. The major thing improved was the transfer speed. USB 3.0 added a new transfer type called Super Speed, which gave it a transfer rate of 5Gbps. It also improved speeds by offering increased bandwidth. Instead of one-way communication, 3.0 uses two data paths—one to receive data and the other to transmit.

Originally, USB was designed to standardise the connection of computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, digital cameras, printers, media players, disk drives etc. It has now become ubiquitous with computers in general and can now even be spotted on game consoles and some tablets.

Published Date: Jan 07, 2013 10:26 AM | Updated Date: Jan 07, 2013 10:26 AM