Intel and others plan to release a new version of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus technology in the first half of 2008, a revamp that will increase data transfer rates by adding fiber-optic links alongside the traditional copper wires.
USB 3.0 will be backwards compatible with the current USB 2.0, said Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, in a speech here at the Intel Developer Forum.
Intel is working fellow USB 3.0 Promoters Group members Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, NEC and NXP to release the USB 3.0 specification in the first half of 2008, Gelsinger said. He didn't say when he expected hardware support to arrive.
USB 2.0 has a top data transfer rate of 480 megabits per second, so a tenfold increase would be 4.8 gigabits per second. Many devices don't need that much capacity, but some can use more, including hard drives, flash card readers and optical drives such as DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD. The fastest flash card readers today use IEEE 1394 "Firewire" connections that top out at 800 megabits per second today.
In addition, USB 2.0 will offer greater energy efficiency, Gelsinger said. It will be backward compatible, so current USB devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports.Intel, USB, USB 3.0, Fibre-optic
Source:→ CNET News Blog