Has there ever been a technology specification that didn't have some drama involved? Intel is trying to remove a little drama from USB 3.0, which will be a faster version of previous generations.
As a quick refresher. USB 3.0 is the newfangled spec for USB connections. It's a leap above USB 2.0. Intel formed a group along with Microsoft, HP and others to oversee the specification. Recently AMD and Nvidia have accused Intel of hoarding the spec to lock customers into its chipset. AMD and Nvidia haven't publicly commented, but News.com has cited sources close to the company blasting Intel over USB 3.0.
The upshot: Nvidia, Via and AMD may be launching their own USB 3.0 specification.
First, Intel said that USB 3.0 is not its specification. It belongs to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which counts AMD and Nvidia as members. The spec will be public in the second half of 2008 or "very soon." Intel did note that it has a host controller spec to speed up USB 3.0. Intel portrayed its controller spec effort as a "a ‘Dummies Guide' to building a USB 3.0 compatible piece of silicon; it is NOT the USB 3.0 specification itself" then adds:
After all, the sooner USB 3.0 hits the market, the sooner all you readers will be flooding your devices and hard drives with insanely large files requiring masses amounts of computational resources, improving your lives, and making you pleased that you bought a quad-core processor.
Translation: AMD and Nvidia should stop whining. And oh by the way have you checked out our quad-core lineup?
From there, Intel disputes that it is holding back the USB 3.0 spec and then jabs its rivals (not by name of course since that would be rude). Intel says:
The Intel host controller spec is expected to be unveiled to the industry as soon as possible, in the second half of the year. The impatience of our fellow chipset-makers (as described in the press) to leverage Intel's investment and begin to design great USB 3.0 supporting devices of their own is however very encouraging and should aid a fast USB 3.0 adoption ramp. Could anyone invest the necessary time and money to create such a host controller specification? Of course they could - but with Intel's Industry stewardship in sharing our spec the industry doesn't have to make the additional time and resource commitment.
Translation: We're big. We're bad. We're Intel. Hush that peanut gallery already.
And the last one is so geeked out that only true specification nuts would enjoy it. But here it is anyway. Intel says:
The USB 3.0 specification has not borrowed heavily from the PCI-SIG. As an industry leader, Intel routinely provides technologies and intellectual assets to the industry through participation in standards development organizations, special interest groups and other forums.
Phew, that conspiracy theory was keeping me up at night. Now I can rest easier.