USB speed upped to 10Gbps with new 3.1 standard

USB speed upped to 10Gbps with new 3.1 standard

Summary: The new USB 3.1 standard pushes transfer speeds to 10 Gbps, but it is still way behind Intel's 20 Gbps Thunderbolt technology.

TOPICS: Hardware

In a response to demand for more speed, the humble but ubiquitous USB receives a much-needed performance boost.

The performance bump to 10 Gbps, which was first announced in January, takes the standard to USB 3.1.

SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps makes use of a more efficient data encoding system and delivers more than double the effective data throughput rate of existing SuperSpeed USB. However, the new standard is fully backward compatible with existing USB connectors and cables.

Also, according to the USB Implementers Forum, compatibility with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols is guaranteed, as well as with existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

"The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing USB 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "The specification team worked hard to make sure that the changes made to support higher speeds were limited and remained consistent with existing USB 3.0 architecture to ease product development."

Even Intel, which is pushing its own Thunderbolt technology, is happy with the announcement.

"The industry has affirmed the strong demand for higher through-put, for user-connected peripherals and docks, by coming together to produce a quality SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps specification," said Alex Peleg, Vice President, Intel Architecture Group. "Intel is fully committed to deliver on this request."

Topic: Hardware

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  • "Even Intel... is happy with the announcement"

    FYI, Intel also created the USB specification.
    Jimmy Hoffa
    • And Microsoft

      Microsoft, Intel, and others created the USB specification.

      Kudos Intel.

      Kudos Microsoft.
      • Wow, well done you...

        Only 2 comments in and you've managed to shoehorn in a mention for your paymasters when commenting on an article in which they were not mentioned.

        I'm sure that Microsoft will be delighted at receiving the 'kudos' which you have so graciously bestowed upon them, but why single them out while dismissing Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, NEC and Nortel as 'others'.... indeed, why mention them at all?
        • Errrr.....

          DEC, NEC and Nortel don't exist!
      • Kudos to Apple for bringing to market both of those technologies

        (iMac was the first mass market device to feature USB, and Apple worked for two years with Intel, testing Thunderbolt and designing smart cables.)
        • haha.

          The imac was a super hit! Or in reality it had less sales in all its years, then the Microsoft Surface has sold to this point, which people here call SOO bad sales.
        • Nope, apple gets no kudos

          They had nothing to do with either USB or Thunderbolt. They simply bought the parts and stuffed them in computers.

          To the others who have replied mentioning that Intel and MS weren't alone, you are absolutely right, they all get credit. Thanks for pointing this out.
      • USB Team

        Kudos to the entire group that worked on it:

        A group of seven companies began the development of USB in 1994: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel.
  • And yet the vast majority of users won't care...

    Because the fastest thing they have on their computer is a USB key. This is like two race car makers trying to one up each other while the general public is buying Ford Focuses.
    • Not quite

      The vast majority of users won't care because they (a) don't know if they have USB 2.0, 3.0, etc (b) don't know what USB is period (c) still have USB 2.0 accessories/peripherals and thus this is useless to them.
    • True but...

      Plenty of people will benefit from not having to know the difference other than their USB keyboard, mouse and flash drive from 5 years ago still works in todays computer.

      USB has usually lagged behind competing high speed connectors that have all fallen by the wayside (as will Thunderbolt). USB remains King of the Hill because it's always retained backward compatibility and is relatively cheap.
  • Nice

    Nice but I only have USB 1 and 2 stuff so far.
    I do have USB 3 on the puter but nothing that can use it for what it is.
    The backwards compatibility is still the thing to have for now.
    Good to know they are still pushing the USB IO.
  • Hmm, let me get in the Ferrari to go to the corner store ...

    Another example of how capabilities now far exceed most users' needs. Same goes for 8+GB RAM and 4+ cores.

    Last month I went looking for an external backup and found pretty much ALL of them were USB 3. *WOW!* ... too bad they all had 5400 RPM DRIVES! I wound up buying a 7200 rpm drive and putting it in a USB 2 case I had lying around.

    I'd like to see the manufacturers put some effort into lowering prices on projectors and pen tablets (e.g. Wacom) -- things many people WOULD buy if they cost less. It's like scanners and printers--when they cost hundreds of dollars few people bought them but when prices dropped millions of people started using them.

    (I don't count 3D printers in "why don't they work on reducing prices" because they're so new. The demand is SO obvious that obviously manufacturers will put in a lot of effort.)
    • curious

      So why did you get an 7200 rpm drive for USB 2.0 and backup? You like your backup drive being noisier, warmer and more unreliable?

      Most of today's 5400 rpm drives can really push USB 3.0 and completely saturate USB 2.0.
      • Hmmmmm

        I hope you know a 5400 RPM drive may be a bottleneck in terms of speed transfer.