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Upgrades Input Devices Hardware

USB 3.0's New Jacks and Sockets 390

Posted by timothy
from the orificial-intelligence dept.
The Register has a brief look posted (with photos and diagrams) of "USB 3.0, the upcoming version of the universal add-on standard re-engineered for the HD era, made a small appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)." The posting explains that USB 3.0 "wasn't demonstrated in operation, but we did get to see what the new connectors look like." How does it handle backward compatibility? The extra pins needed for USB 3.0 "are placed behind the USB 1.1/2.0 ones. USB 3.0 connectors and receptacles will be deeper than the current ones."
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USB 3.0's New Jacks and Sockets

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  • Is it burst speed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danomac (1032160) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:51PM (#21976072)
    I wonder about the new speed specification... in my experience even with no other devices on the USB bus getting 480mbit was impossible. I always had to resort to firewire for my drive caddy because I got consistent results with it.

    I sure hope they've addressed this issue. The OS caching helped, unless you wanted to unplug the damn thing right away - then you had to wait 5 minutes for the cache to flush out.
    • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:19PM (#21976508) Homepage Journal

      Yes, and no.

      You see, 480 Mbs is the electrical interface speed. As in, 480 Million bits go across the wire every second. Not all of those bits are used for traffic.

      However, some of those bits are used by the overhead of the transfer protocol. You've got USB packets in the stream which do nothing but reserve space for some psuedo-realtime device which might be connected to the bus at any second. Whether or not the OS/USB Controller allocates these blank packets even in cases where they aren't needed is a matter of programming.

      As an aside, I've noticed that on the same computer, with the same flash drive, Linux does a much faster job with file transfers than Windows. I suspect Windows is just under-utilizing the bus, to make it easier for their engineers. But I could be wrong, as I haven't looked into it in detail.

      • by jubei (89485) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @08:03PM (#21977188)
        Your windows file copy slowness could be because Windows does not use write caching for removable drives. This allows clueless users to just yank out the disk without unmounting properly. If you are getting slow reads, that is a different story.
        • by letxa2000 (215841) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @09:33PM (#21978258)

          In case a "clueless user" yanks it "without unmounting properly?" Excuse me, but I don't think that's a matter of the user being clueless. If I have a removable drive, I don't think it's unreasonable to be able to remove it at any time--the OS should expect that. If the OS is still writing data to the drive and there's some kind of window open to that effect, then I'm stupid for disconnecting it in the middle of the process. If I "finished" copying three minutes ago, I don't think it's unreasonable for me to be able to disconnect the drive.

          This is why Linux is a great OS for a server but not so hot for the desktop. Write-caching for a USB drive might make sense on a server, but not so much on the desktop.

          • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @10:50PM (#21979028) Homepage
            You can disable caching on Linux with -o sync.

            However, neither that, nor what Windows does will prevent damage on a FAT32 formatted device, because the filesystem isn't made to deal with that. And even for a filesystem like ext3, reiserfs or ntfs that will not corrupt itself in this case, you'll still lose data if you yank the drive while a file is being written. Windows will warn you if you yank the drive without telling it to disconnect the drive precisely for this reason.

            Really the only way of dealing with this perfectly is making the media impossible to disconnect until the filesystem is dismounted orderly. This can be done with CD and tape drives, but isn't going to work with anything connected to an USB port.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Fred Ferrigno (122319)

              You can disable caching on Linux with -o sync.
              There ought to be a safe middle ground between no cache at all and a cache that expects the drive will always be there. Something that keeps IO from blocking, but doesn't spread out writes so far that the user has a chance to conclude the drive is idle and safe to pull.
            • by zobier (585066) <zobier AT zobier DOT net> on Thursday January 10, 2008 @01:13AM (#21980204)

              Really the only way of dealing with this perfectly is making the media impossible to disconnect until the filesystem is dismounted orderly. This can be done with CD and tape drives, but isn't going to work with anything connected to an USB port.
              It could do if you wanted it to, there's these two little holes on the USB connector that a latch could engage during transfer.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dabraun (626287)

              Windows will warn you if you yank the drive without telling it to disconnect the drive precisely for this reason.

              I've used USB drives on Windows for years and I've never seen such a warning. It might warn you if you pulled it during a file copy (I've never done that, obviously it sounds like a bad idea) but certainly not if you wait for the copy to complete.

              In fact, it would be really cool if it popped up an alert if you pulled the drive while it was still writing to the effect of "oh no! plug it back in

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:26PM (#21976636)
      You'll just need to dedicate six of your eight cores in the 3GHz Intel chip for the process overhead.
    • Now that 10GigE runs over cheap copper cables (not the yet expensive and power hungry 10GBase-T but cheap and already widely available 10G serial over twin-axial cable), why not run all the PC peripherals on 10GigE interfaces instead of adding more kludges to the already overburdened USB standard? If the motherboard has an 10G Ethernet hub, peripherals that do not need so much bandwidth can easily auto negotiate down to 1Gb/s or 100Mb/s...

      Yes, backward compatibility would be a problem, but I am sure compu

    • Firewire has a method of reserving bandwidth on the line for isochronous transfers - i.e. when data MUST arrive on-time to make the application work, things like video frames for editing.

      Bus speed alone won't do everything we'd like USB to do...

  • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:52PM (#21976110)
    -Little fingers inside existing fingers to work with legacy USB devices... Does anyone rememeber the EISA slot standard designed to allow inserting a ISA card?
    Now all we need is a MCA driver and we are in busienss for the new world of 1992.
  • by Marcion (876801) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:54PM (#21976132) Homepage Journal
    Is the software side of USB an open specification or some members only, pass the royalty thing that the open source world will have to take the next ten years reverse engineering?
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Is the software side of USB an open specification or some members only, pass the royalty thing that the open source world will have to take the next ten years reverse engineering?

      I figure it'll be like the current USB support - reading and writing from USB as such work, but the userland drivers needed to actually make any device work will be equally lacking as today. That said, things are improving so if ATI keeps up their promises and selective purchase of hardware, you can hopefully have a gizmofied high-end PC with only open source drivers. With commercial Linux offerings, you can bet Linux drivers is now on the checklist with many bigshot manufacturers. That's got to count for

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ClamIAm (926466)
      Where do I get the spec for USB, EHCI or a device class? [usb.org]

      P.S. These things aren't that hard to find for yourself. You can almost always use Google and/or Wikipedia to find the Web site of the company or consortium that defines a specification, or a page that explains the licensing.
  • Other Fixes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:54PM (#21976134) Homepage

    Oooh. It's faster. Wow. Didn't see that happening.

    Did they fix the CPU overhead? Did they make a P2P version so that I don't need a computer to connect a camera to a hard drive and have it work? Basically, did they do anything to improve it for high-bandwidth applications (which is obviously what they're targeting) compared to FireWire?

    The cable worries me some. I understand the drive for backwards compatibility, but it seems like they should make the cable more obviously different. It just looks like it will be too easy to accidentally use a USB 2 cable, not realize it, and then wonder why the device is running so slow. Just a little nub on the bottom of the connector would do it.

    • by Marcion (876801)
      Did they make a P2P version so that I don't need a computer to connect a camera to a hard drive and have it work?

      Well as you know the Firewire had this feature in like 1990. I also agree it is very important to free USB from the PC. I also hate it when embedded devices only have unpowered USB so you have to always drag the device back to the PC.
    • Re:Other Fixes (Score:4, Informative)

      by Svet-Am (413146) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:06PM (#21976330)
      Did they make a P2P version so that I don't need a computer to connect a camera to a hard drive and have it work?

      Yes, they did. Several years ago, in fact. It's called USB On the Go [usb.org]
      • And it doesn't work (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:24PM (#21976600)
        I bought a USB OTG external hard drive that is supposed to be able to copy files off a slave device, and a box that is supposed to support two master devices and initiate copies between them - neither work at all with any USB storage I have tried.

        USB OTG is a farce.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Xamindar (533756)
          Did you remember to use the proper cable to switch it to host? Might want to look into that. USB on the go works great on my Sharp Zaurus 3100. I can plug it into a computer with the regular cable and it becomes an external hard drive. Or I can use the host cable (in the same port) and turn it into the host and connect any usb device I can find a driver for to it (flash drives, mice, keyboard, bluetooth). It is very usefull.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

        Did they make a P2P version so that I don't need a computer to connect a camera to a hard drive and have it work?

        Yes, they did. Several years ago, in fact. It's called USB On the Go

        Actually, it's not strictly P2P using USB OTG. One device is still the host, the other the client. It's just there's a complex protocol they can go through (Host Negotiation Protocol) to switch roles if necessary. Of course, both sides have to support OTG.

        Also, there aren't many devices out there that are actually OTG complaint.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dfn_deux (535506)
          Nothing complicated about it, ground out one of the wires and the port acts as host, let it float and it acts as a device. Only limitation it has that doesn't exist as part of the regular USB standard is the available current is only half (IIRC) of the regular usb standard. Some usb chipsets allow the switching to be down with software instead of using special cables even, something like 'echo "host" >/proc/usb/0' or somesuch, check the internet tablet forums to see how the Nokia IT users are already mak
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:55PM (#21976146)
    ... that longer male connectors are better.
    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:11PM (#21976384)

      longer male connectors are better.

      Nooo it's not how long they are but what they do. Besides if female connectors like long male connectors bigger that's because they themselves are *too* deep. A short male connector fits a "shallow" female connector as nicely as a long male connector fits a deep female connector.

      So girls, quit complaining and laughing and get it worked out! Oh wait, oops..

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        if female connectors like long male connectors bigger

        Err crap, I'm afraid I meant better. Quite a slip of the tongue indeed.. :-S

  • by Kickboy12 (913888) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:01PM (#21976226) Homepage
    Funny how I just upgraded to a new computer that uses SATA 3.0Gb/s. If USB3 is faster than SATAII, then why not just use that for drives? Not that anyone ever really maxes out SATAII to begin with. So it's all kind of useless in the end.
    • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:10PM (#21976366) Homepage Journal
      Funny how I just upgraded to a new computer that uses SATA 3.0Gb/s. If USB3 is faster than SATAII, then why not just use that for drives? Not that anyone ever really maxes out SATAII to begin with. So it's all kind of useless in the end.

      The problem with SATA, IMHO, is that makes a shoddy external connector. There is no notion of hubs or even daisy-chaining. USB and Firewire both support hubs, whereas Firewire supports daisy-chaining. With SATA you need as many external SATA sockets on your computer as you have external SATA drives. If your main computer is a portable, then this is a poor solution.
    • by Compholio (770966)

      If USB3 is faster than SATAII, then why not just use that for drives? Not that anyone ever really maxes out SATAII to begin with. So it's all kind of useless in the end.
      Significant (unnecessary) computational overhead.
    • Because there's more to a bus than the bandwidth. USB has a lot of overhead (it can be branched, hook many devices etc). SATA is dedicated for controlling storage. That's why we put cameras on the USB, hard-drives on a SATA bus, the network card on the PCI bus, video card on the VESA bus ...
      • by sconeu (64226)
        video card on the VESA bus ...

        1993 called. They want their bus back.

        Video goes on either AGP bus (for older systems) or the PCI-E bus.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      I'm fairly confident SATA is easier on the CPU than USB. Besides as I heard (in some previous comment), USB isn't too good at high speed continuous transfers, more at bursting.

      • it's up to the sata chipset some put more load on the cpu.

        Also there are high end SAS / SATA RAID cards with there own ram and cpus.
  • Naming (Score:5, Funny)

    by teslatug (543527) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:06PM (#21976322)
    So they're going with a 3.0 instead of some crazy More Full Speed (TM) name this time?
  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:08PM (#21976356) Homepage

    the more things change, the more they stay the same -- now
    they're back to using 9 pins to implement the spec -- other than
    making the connectors physically different so people don't end up
    plugging in old RS-422 cables into it -- from the number of actual
    pins needed to implement a spec -- we're physically back to using
    9 pins that were available in the DB9 form factor, only this connector
    is considerably more difficult to manufacture. :-^

    • No doubt. Then there should be like a usb3.5 that has 25 pins, for connecting an external DSL / Cable Modem and cool 9 pin to 25 pin adapters lying around everywhere.
  • by croddy (659025) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:15PM (#21976458)
    p>Whatever they come up with, in the end, I have only one wish for the USB3 hardware developers: that they be made to plug 1000 of them in upside down in the dark.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Loibisch (964797)
      This should have been modded insightful, not funny...because there's nothing less funny than to connect an USB cable when you can just barely reach (but not see) the connectors. You never know if you just didn't hit the USB-port straight or if you're trying it 180 degrees reversed and have no chance whatsoever.

      It's a tragedy, really...
  • A serious question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:17PM (#21976468) Homepage
    What happened to firewire? All signs point to it going extinct in the very near future....

    Wasn't it vastly superior to USB? It had a higher maximum throughput that could almost be realistically achieved, delivered useful amounts of power over the bus, and allowed devices to talk to each other. The audio/video features are pretty nice as well....

    Both firewire and usb were well-supported on all platforms, so *that*'s not the issue. It's also robust, to the point of being found in many modern aircraft designs and the space shuttle.

    IEEE1394c is even cooler, and uses CAT5e/RJ45 for wiring, allowing for automatic negotiation between other 1394 devices, and normal ethernet devices. Max speed is 800mbps, and it very nicely bridges the gap between "traditional" peripherals, and network-attached devices.

    So what happened? Did I miss something? Who killed Firewire?
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:36PM (#21976776) Homepage
      Going extinct? huh?? I dont see any pro cameras ditching firewire for usb.

      I see sata taking over for external hard drives. I converted all my firewire 800 external drives on my powermac tower to SATA 3 drives last year and gained a crapload of performance at 1/3rd the price. but every HD camcorder that is more than a toy for the masses has firewire on it and will be there forever. Even the hard drive based cameras from panasonic that cost more than most guys' houses still have firewire on them.

      Problem is SATA has a failure point. I can have 20 foot firewire cables.. good luck making sata work over 3 feet.

      • by rhizome (115711)
        I see sata taking over for external hard drives.

        If you're talking about eSATA, I wouldn't be posting that prediction in this thread. It's got a long way to go.

        good luck making sata work over 3 feet.

        The eSATA spec is 2m max cable length.
    • by Dan East (318230)
      What happened to firewire? All signs point to it going extinct in the very near future....

      Really? The last several computers I've purchased all had integrated Firewire ports. We're purchasing a couple new digital video cameras (at a few thousand dollars each), and it is Firewire all the way. I think Firewire is doing just fine in the arena it was designed for. To me USB is a bloated mess (ever try to do any low-level USB programming? It's a joke!) that ended up pretty much being mediocre all around.

      Dan
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @08:42PM (#21977680) Homepage Journal
        Well part of it is Firewire isn't a replacement for USB. I haven't seen a Firewire keyboard, mouse, printer, or joystick. Yes it is mediocre all the way around but it works well for some devices that Firewire doesn't work at all for. And works well just okay for many devices that Firewire works well for. Firewire will always be an port you have to get in addition to USB. so it will alway be less popular. But I would agree with you that it isn't dead.
    • by appleguru (1030562) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:37PM (#21976788) Homepage Journal
      Nobody... The problem with firewire is its cost-- USB is, on the device side, dirt cheap to implement. This comes at the cost of needing a host controller (your computer) to do anything and that comes with CPU use overhead. Firewire requires these 'controllers' in every device, making it far more useful (allowing things such as communication without a computer!), robust, and fast without the overhead. But it costs more! And, as we know, price is what drives the marketplace. As a 'normal' uniformed consumer, would you buy a firewire 400 widget for $100 if the usb version cost $50 and both "did the same thing" and ran at a theoretical "480 mbps" (And we all (by all, I mean us on slashdot) know how well usb2 does that...). As a 'normal' consumer, of course not!

      Firewire is far from dead, however... Nearly all consumer/prosumer mini dv cameras use it (including hdv cameras), many set top boxes and HDTVs have 1394 links on them for connecting devices (DVHS decks, HDTVs, and cable boxes... this transport MPEG-2 transport streams), and every mac since the iMac debuted has shipped with firewire ports on it (Many, many external hard drives have firewire ports on them.. the good ones anyways ;))... Sony has been shipping 1394 on its vaio computers for ages (in the form of i.link), and all modern computer manufactures have followed suit.

      So, to answer your question, consumers "killed" firewire by being... well... price conscious consumers. But in reality it's not going anywhere, and with any luck and all the cool networking capabilities the firewire spec has these days it will eventually catch on with the majority of consumers as a convenient way to interconnect devices and stick around for good.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by bgeerdes (59912)
        every mac since the iMac debuted has shipped with firewire ports on it

        Wrong. The original iMacs just had 2 USB ports. Firewire didn't appear until the iMac DV/SE.
    • by Pecisk (688001)
      No one. Simply Firewire is in pro market, so it gets less attention of mainstream press. Still, FW rules over Apple world (Hard disks, scanners, cameras), and is taking serious inroads on Windows and Linux platforms. Still, USB3 can deliver some blow to posibility that Firewire will come into casual computer user.

      Many say that USB consorium is more organised and actually delivers. While Firewire has been promising, it's market has been difficulty to deliver actual results. And also there is simple reason wh
    • by rho (6063)

      Firewire chips are more expensive.

      Apple used to charge a licensing fee for Firewire. It wasn't much, a buck or two, but that annoys people. Dunno if they still do.

      USB is really useful for keyboards and mice, very convenient for little flash drives that don't need the full meal deal of Firewire. Ubiquity made USB more popular. Firewire is still popular on higher-end machines, and still cheap to add via expansion slots.

    • Stupid blackberry. Click the betamax theory link in my comment history for an explanation.
    • Patents killed it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lennier (44736)
      "So what happened? Did I miss something? Who killed Firewire?"

      Patent royalties, I believe, or at least that's the popular impression: this guy [teener.com] seems to be saying that Steve Jobs attempted to hike the royalty price and though he wasn't ultimately successful, perhaps the mere suggestion that he could was enough to sour third party implementors and move them to USB.

      Like with Token Ring vs Ethernet and Objective-C vs C++, the answer seems to be that if there's a nearly-almost-good-enough open technology and a w
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BuishMeister (609135)
      besides firewire stack being slightly more expensive, the firewire hardware doesn't provide the power to the slave devices. So for simple things like mice / keyboards / thumb drives / card readers it is a killer. Personally, I'd take a slower speed over inconvenience of having to fumble with multiple cords, and lugging another wall cube around. USB even sprung up a whole market segment that uses the bus just for power ( lights, fans, aquariums, ash-trays, etc).
  • Will the new spec allow for super long USB cables?

    Ideally, I would like to have long DVI and long USB cables, then I could put my computer in the other room altogether. The noise improvement would be HUGE.
  • ... new jack SHITTY...

    (assuming there'll be technical impositions alluded to elsewhere...)
  • I break them easily. When reaching behind a computer it's damn near impossible to tell which way they go in. Sometimes, they DO go in the wrong way. This usually ends up breaking the port, not the cord, which is probably a lot worse.

    Maybe I suck at USB cables, but it's the only kind of cable I have to double check for fear of destroying hardware. Cases are never on properly so it's not like it just slides in easily the right way either.
  • One suggestion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:21PM (#21976542)
    Can they start color coding USB cable types? Some of us old timers have been around since 1.0 was popular. I've got a box full and it's always fun trying to find the 2.0 cable hiding among the 1.0 cables.I hate to toss them but I really haven't any use for 1.0 cables. I'd just love to see some kind of coding system since they all use the same connectors. At least with hard drives every time they change them we get new connectors. It may make them backwardly compatible but it does cause confusion.
    • by Zaffle (13798)

      I've got a box full and it's always fun trying to find the 2.0 cable hiding among the 1.0 cables

      Here's a tip..... USB 1 CABLES - THROW THEM OUT. Serious. Under what possible circumstance could you ever say, "oh bugger, I need a USB cable, and all I have is these stupid 2.0 cables?" (ok, ok, the exception is when you need a USB3.0 cable).

      Repeat after me; throw out old cables.

    • Re:One suggestion (Score:5, Informative)

      by Teilo (91279) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:40PM (#21976832) Homepage
      Umm, you do realize that USB 1.0 and 2.0 use the exact same cables and connectors [usb.org], don't you?

      Just asking, because you sound too serious to be joking.
      • by ffflala (793437) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @08:17PM (#21977352)
        That's not true! USB 2.0 requires gold-plated contacts for maximum bus fidelity. Monster makes a good USB 2.0 cable, and it goes for a steal at $79.99 per cable.

        If you put the 2.0 cables in the freezer to align the molecules before you use them you get even better bus response. All of my devices have this warmer, more human feel when I'm using properly-designed cables.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Jesus_666 (702802)
          Yeah, but you only get a really warm feeing if your USB controller uses vacuum tubes. Seriously, after using vacuum tube-driven USB once, I'm not going back to that silicone crap.
      • by Feanturi (99866) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @08:21PM (#21977422)
        They use the same connectors, but USB 2.0-rated cables are better shielded. A cable made when USB 1.1 was all there was did not have to be capable of carrying as much data. USB 2.0 is 40 times faster than "full speed" USB 1.1, so if you want to ensure you're getting the most out of your device, you want a higher grade of cable.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        Umm, you do realize that USB 1.0 and 2.0 use the exact same cables and connectors, don't you?

        Just asking, because you sound too serious to be joking.

        But the thing with going to USB2 is that you have to loop the cable at the device side. See, the datastream is coming with such force, if you don't put the loop in the line it will be coming with too much pressure to be written properly. The loop helps slow the data flow to a writable rate.

        With the high-speed hard drives these days, defag is more important than ever. At lower speeds, you could get away with having your data spread unevenly over the platters. With the rpm's the drives are doing now, that ki

  • by Kamineko (851857)
    They'd better come up with some very distinct symbol for this, else my USB 3 cables are all going to be mixed up with my other USB cables.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:23PM (#21976568) Homepage
    Aargh, this connector is *still* symmetrical vertically in form factor but not electrically. Which means you'll have people fumbling behind computers/laptops turning the connectors upside-down until the cable is twisted trying to plug in their camera/mouse/hdd/coffee maker.

    Either change the shape of the connector (something like RJ11 would be fine) or make the pins such that it can be inserted right-way up or upside down (figure-eight power cable connectors for example).

    • by MattHawk (215818) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:51PM (#21977010) Homepage
      One good example is the Apple Macbook power connectors. They're palindromic, so even though they're a plain rectangle, they plug in either way (and have a power LED on both top and bottom to accommodate such). They need either that, or a nub to indicate alignment - I HATE fumbling around with USB cables to get them plugged in.

      Of course, this would require abandoning backwards compatibility... but seriously, by the time that there are only USB3 ports on a device, I'm pretty sure we'll be past needing to plug 2.0 devices into it, and if we need to use an old device that badly, it would be easy enough to make them electrically compatible such that a simple dumb cable adapter can fit it. Old device standards are passed by for new ones all the time, and clinging to backwards compatibility at the costs of advancement can be a serious mistake - clinging to backwards compatibility at all costs is a significant amount of what's hampering Windows right now, for example.
  • by nguy (1207026) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:23PM (#21976578)
    This seems like a step backwards. Four pins and shielding was a good number; more makes the cables big and requires more connections on the circuit board.
  • USB 3.0's New Jacks and Sockets
    It says sprocket, not socket!

    Er, were those plumbers supposed to be here this show?
  • But... (Score:2, Informative)

    by hackerjoe (159094)
    Jacks are sockets. It's always been a great mystery of tech jargon to me that female connectors are referred to as jacks.
  • This will be great for the people with portable music players, obviously because of the lightning speed. If the USB2 can do 480Mbps and syncing 2 hours of videos to my iPod takes just over minute then I'd really like to see it transfer so much data in about 7 seconds, maybe?
  • With the return of more data lines and asynchronous receive trasmit, it should be called universal asynchronous parallel port UASPRT. Guess they got tired of timeouts.

  • by vectra14 (470008) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @08:41PM (#21977668)
    Too bad they're adding the 5 new pins (given, 1 of them is in theory good old GND but still). As an EE, the one thing I liked about USB over Firewire is its physical simplicity... power, ground, and a differential bus. With 1394c heading towards RJ45 it's like USB and 1394 have traded places in terms of physical convenience (I'm sure a number of people have had the pleasure of dealing with ultra-over-engineered (and consequently overpriced) 1394a/b cables and repeaters.. oh the repeaters).

    ..Not like the host-heavy USB stack made it a much-liked protocol for me in the first place.

    • by QuoteMstr (55051)
      WHY are the extra pins necessary for USB 3.0?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vectra14 (470008)
        I haven't seen the 3.0 spec but from the diagrams in TFA it seems that the 5 new pins do the following:

        1 pin (middle) - ground (I suspect that with the higher bandwidth they're adding a signal ground separate from the already existing shared signal/power ground. this may be completely false).
        2 pins (probably differential twisted pair) - "USB3_TX" - is USB3 departing from the shared-differential-bus setup?
        2 pins (also probably a diff. TP) - "USB3_RX"

        USB1/2 was somewhat special in contrast to Ethernet or IEEE
  • Why is it that USB A connectors are designed so you can't easily tell which side is "up"? With plugs you can at least look for the USB symbol, but jacks are often embedded in a computer or hub, and you end up having to memorize the upness of every one you own. Either that or do the this-way-or-that maneuver every time you plug something in. That gets old fast, especially for a clumsy person like me, who often doesn't get the connection right on the first try.
  • by PingXao (153057) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @09:21PM (#21978146)
    My gut tells me there will not be any MS-written USB 3.0 device drivers for Windows XP. Artificially making an OS "obsolete" by not providing drivers for new hardware is one way to accelerate the adoption of Vista. The code words that surround this new standard vis-a-vis Microsoft Windows reveal the inclusion of Vista-style DRM (e.g. "the HD era"). With that in mind I see MS declaring that USB 3.0 drivers for XP are technically "impossible" for reasons that will prove bogus. They may have legitimate business reasons for not providing drivers, but those won't be the reasons they trot out in public.
  • by TheBlunderbuss (852707) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @10:28PM (#21978834)
    Though this comment shall be absolutely buried by now, I must voice my opinion:
    I absolutely HATE the A-series (the most common) USB plug. If you are going by feel alone, you have a 50% chance of orienting the plug correctly the first time.
    So frustrating. (And so is the round DIN, but that's for another time)
    A good design, like D-subminiature, CAT5, and headphone jack make blind insertion easy and near-foolproof (no sex jokes please, slashdotters).
    USB B-series is a lot better, but sadly isn't as ubiquitous.

    Also: I'm guessing that PCI expansion cards couldn't fully utilize USB3.0?

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