Universal Serial
Bus 3.0


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USB 3.0 - Universal Serial Bus 3.0 do you really need it? To upgrade or leave it alone?

There are more and more products for the new USB 3.0 specification coming on to the market everyday.

This week I ordered these two items from Newegg.com, the price was comparable to other devices for Universal Serial Bus 2.0:

  • EXT ENC BYTECC (external hard drive enclosure)

Then I ran some tests on a SATA II 80 gig drive that I put in the external hard drive enclosure.

First I transferred a 10 Gig file to the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 from a 30 Gig IDE hard drive in a Universal Serial Bus 2.0 enclosure. Transfer from the 2.0 to the 3.0 and then from the 3.0 to the 2.0 took 13 minutes.

Next I formatted the 80 gig in the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 enclosure and transferred a 10 gig file from a hard drive to the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 and it took just under five minutes. The same file transferred from the hard drive to the Universal Serial Bus 2.0 takes just under 12 minutes.

The only problem I encountered with the U.S.B. 3.0 HD enclosure and the Universal Serial Bus add on card was while the 80 gig was being formatted my wireless mouse (Universal Serial Bus) would hang every once in a while but once the hard drive was formatted the mouse quit hanging. I reformatted the 80 gig twice to see if the mouse would hang, it didn't when I used a 'Quick' format. Weird.

Because the ASUS P5K motherboard I have is Universal Serial Bus 2.0 I had to buy the add on card. While I was at Newegg I looked at some of the motherboards that have Universal Serial Bus 3.0, seven or more of them mostly from Gigabit and ASUS.

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If you are considering or have to upgrade your motherboard I suggest you get a motherboard that has Universal Serial Bus 3.0 instead of buying an add on card, the price between the motherboard with Universal Serial Bus 2.0 and one with 3.0 is negligible. Where as if you buy a motherboard with Universal Serial Bus 2.0 and have to have Universal Serial Bus 3.0 you will have to buy/install an add on card, the cheapest was $20. (My motto is: "Buy cheap, get cheap").

This is a short list of spec's for the USB 3.0:

  • USB 3.0 has a 5 Gbps signaling rate offering 10x performance increase over Hi-Speed Universal Serial Bus (Universal Serial Bus 2.0).
  • Universal Serial Bus 3.0 is a Sync-N-Go technology that minimizes user wait-time.
  • USB 3.0 will provide Optimized Power Efficiency. No device polling and lower active and idle power requirements.
  • USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with Universal Serial Bus 2.0. Devices interoperate with Universal Serial Bus 2.0 platforms. Hosts support Universal Serial Bus 2.0 legacy devices.

If you need more information do a search for 'Universal Serial Bus 3.0 specifications'.

While I was on Newegg's site I did some looking around for Universal Serial Bus 3.0 products and here are the ones I found:

  • Hard drives in an external case
  • External hard drive enclosures
  • Cables of varying lengths
  • Pen/Flash drives (2 only)
  • Add on cards for desktops and laptops.

What I didn't find yet were:

  • Joy Sticks
  • Head phones/microphones
  • Web Cams
  •  SD/Flash card readers
  • Network adapters

When I wrote this for the old fix-it-blog.com last fall it seemed like Universal Serial Bus 3.0 was going to explode and we would be able to buy faster peripherals for our use. But it seems to have stalled and one of the main points of contention is the actual speed.

One set of manufactures want to use the pre RFC speed that is just over 10K bits per second and the post RFC speed of 15K bits per second.

The other point is the use of a 5 volt connection in the data connector vs. a separate cable for the power.

Maybe they will get together and come up with a workable solution and start converting over all those different peripherals that cause your computer to slow down, such as the Web Cam...

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Unless you own a USB 3.0 device or plan to in the near future I would hold off on buying an add on card or motherboard that has the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 controller the specification is still undefined and fluid, some devices require two cables and some just one.

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