USB 3.0 will not be forked

AMD expressed satisfaction after Intel released part of the draft specification for the next version of USB

Concerns over potential multiple versions of the next generation of USB have dissipated, after Intel made part of the draft specification available to other companies.

Companies such as AMD and Nvidia had been complaining that Intel, which is driving the specification for USB 3.0, also called SuperSpeed USB, was withholding key details about the technology. Intel denied the claims. Many had feared a split in the USB 3.0 specification, which would have created difficulties for manufacturers and consumers alike.

However, on Wednesday, Intel announced the availability of the Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification for the USB 3.0 architecture. The accompanying statement included an endorsement by AMD.

"The future of computing and consumer devices is increasingly visual and bandwidth intensive," said AMD's corporate vice president, Phil Eisler, in the statement. "Lifestyles filled with [high-definition] media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform. AMD believes strongly in open industry standards, and therefore is supporting a common xHCI specification."

Other companies speaking out in support of Wednesday's specification release included Microsoft, Dell and NEC.

USB 3.0 is expected to appear in 2010, supporting data-transfer speeds of up to 4.8Gbps — 10 times the speed of the current version, USB 2.0. By that point, the USB 2.0 specification will be around 10 years old; USB 1 having been introduced in 1995.

Intel's xHCI specification for USB 3.0 will be further revised later this year. The manufacturer is releasing the specification under Rand-Z licensing terms, under which the information is free but licensed.

At the end of July, the IEEE approved the latest specification for the next generation of USB's chief rival, FireWire, which will support speeds of up to 3.2Gbps.


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