Super Speed USB 3 has a 5 GBPS signaling rate...
This is a review of Super Speed USB the port and two devices, an add on card and an
external hard drive enclosure.
Need more speed from your USB? Then USB 3
Super Speed is in your future.
The new Universal Serial Bus 3 specification is long overdue, originally
submitted as an ISO 9660 RFC (Request For Comments) in it languished on drawing
boards for almost two years, by August 2008 the technology had reached a point
where the specifications that were proposed could be accomplished with the
hardware on hand.
New technology specifications seldom become reality in a short period of time.
It takes some time for everyone to agree to the "standards" that the RFC puts
Remember the Beta Max and the VHS tape fiasco? Why did VHS beat out Beta Max?
(Which had a higher resolution and longer shelf life.)
Part of it has to do with who is backing the RFC, that is the bigger the
companies supporting the specifications and producing more of the supported
products then that will be the winner.
Same goes for Universal Serial Bus 3, at this time there are three camps
supporting the 3 different specifications for production of Universal Serial Bus
For the most part you will not be in the fight for the final specification.
Which one will win? Who knows, but some 'benefits" of the new Universal Serial
Bus 3 will not be available when the final standard is written.
Here is a short list of 'benefits" you get with Universal Serial Bus 3:
- USB 3 has a 5 GBPS signaling rate offering 10x performance increase over Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0).
- USB 3 is a Sync-N-Go technology that minimizes user wait-time.
- Universal Serial Bus 3.0 will provide Optimized Power Efficiency. No device polling and lower active and idle power requirements.
- Universal Serial Bus 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Devices interoperate with USB 2.0 platforms. Hosts support USB 2.0 legacy devices.
- Full duplex operation. There is some incompatibility with older connectors
(As reported by W i k i p e d i a...)
One of the "toss up" specifications is the power requirement that will be
supplied to the Universal Serial Bus 3 device. It may be up to the motherboard
manufactures as to the final power output of the Universal Serial Bus 3 chipsets
that are embedded on the motherboard. Currently the power supplied to a USB 2.0
device is 4.4 volts at 500 milliamps.
Universal Serial Bus 3 on the other hand can be as high as 4 volts at 900
milliamps. This higher power output (amperage) will allow the signal to
travel further and the use of more powerful devices with out an external power
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What gives the Universal Serial Bus 3 the advantage over older versions of
Duplex, that is if the communication is one way or two way.
USB 2 was half duplex. This means that the signal can only go one way either
to the device or to the controller in the computer.
the original Ethernet was 10 MBPS was half duplex
in operation, then the capability of full duplex was introduced at a later
date, then 100 MBPS, now 1000 MBPS or 1 GBPS).
Universal Serial Bus 3 has full duplex capability, it can transfer data to
and from the device and computer at the same time, this is one of the reasons
the new USB is faster, Super Speed compared to previous versions of USB.
By adding another set of wires to the port this allows the full duplex
operation. However there has been reports of incompatibility with older
versions of USB namely 1.0 and 1.1 devices.
After checking the new USB 3 standard over I went in search
of Universal Serial Bus 3 products.
At the time of this article only two motherboard manufactures offer the new chip set and
only on select products, they are ASUS and Gigabyte.
How ever there are quite a few peripheral manufactures making Universal
Serial Bus 3 products like add on cards, external hard drives, flash drives, and so on.
What I didn't find were Joy Sticks, Head Phones, or Web Cams (which would
really benefit from the higher speed).
When I decided to test Universal Serial Bus 3 I bought two devices to test,
an add on card and external hard drive enclosure for a spare 80 Gig SATA hard
drive I have.
I purchased these two items from Newegg.com, the price was comparable to other devices for USB 2.0:
- EXT ENC BYTECC (external hard drive enclosure)
- The BYTECC HD6-SU3 Aluminum 2.5" Silver Universal Serial Bus 3.0 External
Enclosure comes with two cables, the Universal Serial Bus 3 cable and a power
cable that also connects to the Universal Serial Bus 3 add on card.
- ADD ON CARD VANTEC
- The VANTEC 2-Port USB 3 PCI-E Host Card Model UGT-PC302 has
two Universal Serial Bus 3 ports and requires a 15-pin SATA Power Connector.
Installation of the add on card is easy, just insert in to a PCI Express slot
and connect the SATA power cable.
When the OS finds the new hardware cancel the wizard and use the installer
that comes on a CD to install the Universal Serial Bus 3 drivers for the card.
There isn't a OEM.TXT file to add the drivers to your boot CD at this time
and the VANTEC Tech Support did not answer my query on if there will be OEM.TXT
file in the future.
After installing the hard drive in the enclosure I connected up the Universal
Serial Bus 3 cable, however the drive did not initialize until I connected the
power cable. This is different from the older USB 1.1 and 2, an external hard
drive only needed one cable if connected to a desktop and sometimes a external
power source if connected to a laptop.
Once I had the external hard drive connected the new hardware wizard ran
telling me that it found the new hard drive.
The hard drive was formatted for a Xbox play station, when I deleted
the old partition and created a new partition on the drive my computer would
hang for a couple of seconds at a time. This is a little disconcerting because
my computer has a Core 2 Quad processor.
Once the hard drive was formatted I started doing tests on transfer speeds:
- First I transferred a 10 Gig file to the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 from a
30 Gig IDE hard drive in a USB 2.0 enclosure.
- Transfer from the 2.0 to the 3.0 and then from the 3.0 to the 2.0 took 13
- Next I formatted again 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 USB 2.0 takes just
under 12 minutes.
So the transfer speed is better and on the second format of the 80 Gig hard
drive the problem of the computer hanging did not reappear.
Online support for manuals and device drivers from
VANTEC, BYTECC doesn't need any drivers but they do
have replacement cables available, the USB 3 to power cable
would be the only one you would need a special cable for.
Over all I give USB 3 Super Speed a 10 out of 10
because it does comply with the RFC and specifications set out in the original
ISO document. The only thing to watch out for will be the power that will be
supplied by a laptop that has the new Universal Serial Bus 3 chipsets.
I give VANTEC a over all rating of 7 because of the lack of
support on the OEM.TXT for making the USB 3 a bootable device
from a CD, and their lack of response to a technical question.
I give BYTECC a overall 10
because the hard drive enclosure came as advertised and was easy to install the
If you are in the need for super speed then USB 3 is the way to go, how ever if you are not in the need for a new motherboard
then an add on card will have to do for now.
Remember my motto: 'By cheap, get cheap!"
There are some really cheap devices out there so be ware of the cheap stuff!
Thinking of upgrading from USB2? Read this first: