USB 3.0 is here, but to stay?

USB-3.0The title of this post is a little misleading. USB 3.0 has been out for a while, there just haven’t been many peripherals to support it. Several firms finally released USB 3.0 products today, and though they are certainly cool, certainly fast, I certainly won’t be buying any of them.

Why? That’s my question, actually. Why would I? There is precious little I need to drop onto a thumbdrive these days. Even the raid arrays that launched today are fairly unappealing. My main storage device is attached to my router, and I do nearly all of my backups over the air, which USB 3.0 isn’t going to improve. Documents? Pictures? I have Google, Flickr, Facebook, insert-cloud-storage-of-choice. The days of carrying around the few things I really need on a thumbdrive are long gone, replaced by the convenience and security of offsite backups in duplicate or triplicate.

Don’t get me wrong, USB 3.0 will be around and become increasingly prevalent over the next several years, but my guess is the general public will hardly notice. The one thing consumers understand about the new transfer technology is price, and it’s a price that’s hard to justify when it only gives you faster transfer rates on hardware connected devices.

Kingston’s new 16GB thumbdrive is $89. The 64GB, a whopping $270. A USB 2.0 64GB stick can be had for half that price, and when the holidays roll around, likely a fifth. I can think of precious few consumer applications that would require the 60Mbps write speed that USB 3.0 will provide. So few, in fact, that I couldn’t even name one.


USB 3.0 gets a CES debut

USB SuperSpeed 3.0 cable.One of the most expected tech releases at CES this year was USB 3.0. It wasn’t really a release in the typical sense of the word, but it was the first time the public had a chance to see the transfer tech in action. And it’s fast. Really fast. Fast enough to make using an external hard drive to run anything from your operating system to your games completely viable.

Consider the numbers. As Engadget tested, USB 3.0 supported passthrough of 135 MB/second on a platter drive. That’s incredible. Hook up an SSD and things only getting better, reaching transfer speeds of 200 MB/second or greater. Basically you’re looking at a transfer tech that, for the time being, is limited only by the media on either end of the cable.

For now, USB 3.0 support is extremely limited. As you can see from the connectors, things get a little bulky on either end, so you won’t be using 3.0 cables on 2.0 devices. You can, however, plug that thumbdrive you’ve got into a 3.0 port, just don’t expect 3.0 speeds.


Finally, a USB 3.0 enabled….

USB 3.0… motherboard. So the chicken and egg race between USB 3.0 enabled devices and computers will come to an end with a USB 3.0 enabled motherboard. Asus plans to put 2 USB 3.0 ports on its new P6X58 Premium motherboard. And I say it’s about time. I don’t know about you but I’ve been hearing all the praises of USB 3.0 and how it’s going to be 10 times faster than 2.0 (which is pretty fast already) for what feels like years now.

So Asus broke the seal for the computer manufacturers. Who will be first to build a USB 3.0 enabled device? My guess is an external drive manufacturer like Western Digital or Seagate but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long though.

Xfastest Via OhGizmo!