Could USB 3.0-enabled motherboards soon wander into the lower echelons of the market? Yes, suggests DigiTimes. The site relays an Apple Daily story that says both Asus and Gigabyte are considering the addition of USB 3.0 connectivity to their "mid-range and entry-level motherboards."
Now, mobos with those shiny blue ports can already be had at pretty reasonable prices—just take Gigabyte’s GA-770TA-UD3, which delivers both USB 3.0 and 6Gbps Serial ATA for only $94.99 at Newegg. But with anything cheaper, especially something like this $55 ECS mobo, you’ll be lucky to get a decent number of old-fashioned USB 2.0 ports.
DigiTimes doesn’t really elaborate on the rumor, adding only that "industry sources" quoted by Apple Daily expect USB 3.0 motherboard shipments to reach past 20 million this year.
We’ve already seen hints of a possible race to the bottom for these motherboards. Last week, DigiTimes wrote that Intel intends to release a standalone USB 3.0 controller some time this year. This chip could end up competing against other USB 3.0 controllers from NEC, Via, and ASMedia, which might drive down prices. Perhaps that’s just what Asus and Gigabyte are waiting for.