A quick first look at USB 3.0 performance

USB 2.0 is so last millennium. No, seriously. We’ve had the specification since the year 2000, which is technically the previous millennium. Given how quickly the PC industry moves, though, it might as well have been a full millennium ago. Back in 2000, Intel was pushing Pentium III CPUs, 3dfx was still selling graphics processors, and Windows XP was a year away. Things have certainly changed since the so-called Hi-Speed USB spec was released, and its 480Mbps peak data rate has been grossly inadequate for quite some time now.

In the real world, you’re lucky to push more than about 37MB/s through a USB 2.0 port. To give you an idea of just how slow that is, the latest crop of 500GB, 5,400-RPM notebook drives (which just happen to be popping up in all sorts of USB-attached external enclosures), can sustain transfer rates in the 67MB/s range. The 3.5″ desktop drives that typically populate bulkier USB storage devices are even faster still. Heck, just about every hard drive we’ve ever reviewed is capable of saturating a second-gen USB link.

Making the most of the copious bandwidth available in USB 3.0 is going to be a little more challenging, though. The gen-three USB spec boasts a peak data rate of 5Gbps—roundabout 600MB/s, without taking overhead into account. Interestingly, this latest leap in USB bandwidth is proportionally smaller than the previous one. The original USB spec topped out at 12Mbps, making the jump to 480Mbps for USB 2.0 a forty-fold increase in available bandwidth. USB 3.0 only amounts to about a 10X increase over the prior standard.

Nevertheless, this new “SuperSpeed” spec should easily handle next-gen storage devices, even when you factor in overhead. According to the final specification, taking into account SuperSpeed USB’s 8b/10b encoding, flow control, packet framing, and protocol overhead reduces effective throughput to a “realistic” 400MB/s for actual applications. Mechanical hard drives still have a long way to go before they can sustain transfer rates that saturate an old-school 150MB/s Serial ATA link, and even the fastest solid-state drives on the market aren’t pushing data at much more than 200MB/s.

A USB 3.0 cable: SS stands for SuperSpeed

Despite the fact that the SuperSpeed standard was made available in late 2008, industry heavyweights haven’t flocked to USB 3.0. The new spec isn’t supported by any core-logic chipsets on the market—not even Intel’s P55 Express, which debuted just a few months ago. Rumor has it that Intel chipsets may not add USB 3.0 support until some time in 2011. AMD and Nvidia haven’t announced plans for SuperSpeed-compliant core-logic products, either.

You don’t have to wait on chipset providers to get in on SuperSpeed USB, though. NEC has crafted a USB 3.0 controller of its own: the D720200. The NEC chip offers a pair of third-generation USB ports, and it interfaces with the host system via a single gen-two PCI Express lane. Second-gen PCI Express lanes only offer 500MB/s of bandwidth in each direction, however, so the NEC controller won’t be able to take full advantage of SuperSpeed’s fat data pipe. The limited host interface bandwidth will have to be shared between both of the D720200’s USB ports, as well.

Already, Gigabyte has revamped much of its enthusiast-oriented motherboard lineup to incorporate the NEC controller. Asus has added the chip to a number of its premium motherboards, too, and the firm has also whipped up a U3S6 add-in card that features the D720200 alongside Marvell’s 88SE9123 6Gbps Serial ATA controller.

The Asus U3S6 situates is next-gen I/O chips behind a PLX bridge chip. The bridge splits the card’s four-lane PCI Express interface evenly between the two I/O chips. Asus’ decision to use a physical x4 interface means the card won’t work in an x1 slot that isn’t notched to accept longer cards. However, it does ensure the NEC and Marvell controllers will each get 500MB/s of bandwidth (the maximum each can use), even in a system that’s saddled with first-gen PCIe or the P55 Express chipset’s half-speed gen-two lanes.

Two USB 3.0 ports grace the U3S6’s expansion slot cover, and a pair of 6Gbps SATA ports can be found on the card. We probed the Marvell controller’s performance in great detail when we recently tested Seagate’s SATA 6Gbps Barracuda XT hard drive. I encourage you to read that review for the skinny on this new chip. Today, our focus is on the U3S6’s SuperSpeed USB performance.

Performance

So, just how fast is this USB 3.0 implementation? To find out, we needed an external drive with a SuperSpeed interface, which Asus conveniently sent along with the U3S6.

This Vantec-branded enclosure houses a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB hard drive whose peak transfer rates aren’t anywhere close to 600MB/s. However, the ‘cuda is still one of the fastest mechanical hard drives you can buy. You’re going to have to get into multi-drive RAID enclosures to come close to saturating USB 3.0’s available bandwidth with today’s hard drives.

Note in the picture above that USB 3.0 uses a slightly different B connector type than USB 2.0. The plug is backward compatible with USB 2.0 cables, but a SuperSpeed B connector won’t fit into a USB 2.0 B plug.

USB 2.0’s A connector type, which is commonly found on motherboard port clusters and in notebooks, is the same in the new generation. You can plug USB 2.0 devices into USB 3.0 ports and vice versa. The SuperSpeed spec also calls for a dual-bus architecture that allows USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices to operate simultaneously at their optimal speeds.

To gauge performance, we plugged the U3S6 into an Asus P7P55D Premium motherboard’s secondary PCIe x16 slot. That slot has an eight-lane PCIe gen-two connection to the system’s Core i7-870 CPU. We connected the drive enclosure to the U3S6’s USB 3.0 port and tested with HDTach. We then ran the same test with the drive connected to the motherboard’s USB 2.0 port.

We also yanked the Barracuda hard drive from the enclosure and hooked it up to one of the board’s Serial ATA ports to get an idea of the kind of performance an eSATA setup might yield.

USB 3.0 easily outpaces its predecessor, offering up to 3.5 times the throughput of the old Hi-Speed standard in HD Tach’s sustained transfer rate tests. The Barracuda 7200.12 isn’t capable of transfer rates much higher than 120MB/s, though. Our Serial ATA scores suggest that an eSATA implementation of this drive would be just as quick.

The SATA setup is even faster in the burst speed test, pushing 46MB/s more than SuperSpeed USB. I’m not sure what to make of this result, but it suggests that the NEC controller is hitting a bottleneck, at least when it comes to short burst transfers. Of course, you’re still getting much higher burst rates than USB 2.0.

SuperSpeed’s higher transfer rates don’t cost much in the way of CPU time. HD Tach’s margin of error for this test is +/- 2%, and we’re well within that range.

Conclusions

USB 3.0 has been a long time coming, and it looks like widespread adoption will take longer still. That’s a shame, because USB 2.0 is painfully slow considering the capabilities of today’s mainstream storage devices. Even with our enclosure’s run-of-the-mill hard drive, we saw more than a three-fold increase in transfer rates by jumping to SuperSpeed USB. That’s huge.

Of course, we also saw a similar jump in performance when moving the hard drive over to its native Serial ATA interface. eSATA hasn’t really caught on, I suspect because initial implementations required an auxiliary power cable. However, hybrid eSATA/USB ports are slowly populating motherboards and notebooks, and they may offer a better interim solution until USB 3.0 sees widespread adoption and more robust implementations. The market is hardly teeming with hybrid eSATA/USB storage devices, though.

I suppose I’d be more enthusiastic about SuperSpeed USB if this first implementation didn’t feel a little half-baked. The NEC controller doesn’t have the host interface bandwidth to properly take advantage of USB 3.0’s full potential, and the burst transfer rates we observed suggest other bottlenecks may exist. The U3S6’s Marvell SATA controller has a similarly inadequate PCIe interface and some troubling performance issues of its own, too.

But hey, Asus says the U3S6 will sell for only $30 when it hits North America, which should be soon. So it won’t cost much to add USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA to an existing system, even if these first implementations of the new standards may not be as good as more mature solutions that surely lie over the horizon. At least with the U3S6, you won’t have to buy a new motherboard in order to make the upgrade.

Comments closed
    • P5-133XL
    • 10 years ago

    Why wasn’t an SSD used for testing purposes rather than the mechanical HD?

    A mechanical HD just does not stress the interface enough to see a difference big between e-SATA or USB 3.0.

      • Dirge
      • 10 years ago

      It would be nice to see just how much an SSD can stress the new USB 3.0 spec.

      My thought is that most people wont purchase an SSD for an external drive at todays prices. Instead they would reserve it for their operating system partition and have it housed inside their case connected to a SATA 3Gbps or ideally SATA 6Gbps port.

    • jon_lui
    • 10 years ago

    I really wonder why eSATA is not the preferred port to use for external hard drives, even with SS USB, people are still missing the other technical functions of modern hard drives such as NCQ, SMART, powering down when not in use, etc. Sure, you might say that eSATA has no power, but that can be solved by a hybrid connector with USB for power and eSATA for data.

    I for one would love to have eSATA ports become more common in laptops and notebooks.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 10 years ago

      Because people want simple connectors that carry both data and power, not a cable with multiple tails hanging off of each end. eSATA is impractical for portable purposes.

        • DrDillyBar
        • 10 years ago

        I submit this, which will serve both needs:
        §[< http://www.vantecusa.com/front/product/view_detail/214<]§

          • KoolAidMan
          • 10 years ago

          Unless I’m missing something it still requires two cables, one eSATA and one USB to carry power.

            • DrDillyBar
            • 10 years ago

            USB can ~power a 2.5″ drive, save a Raptor

        • Kurotetsu
        • 10 years ago

        I’m wondering why Power over eSATA hasn’t shown up yet, or why that wasn’t built into the spec right from the start. Though if Light Peak takes off (which DOES include power in the spec) then that won’t be necessary.

      • DaveJB
      • 10 years ago

      Just because of how ubiquitous the standard is. Every PC made since about 2002 or so will have some USB 2.0 ports, whereas only a small fraction of PCs have eSATA ports (and an even smaller fraction have /[

        • Vaughn
        • 10 years ago

        Well said and correct, but I think there was always meant to be an overlap between the two protocols. ESATA is and always has been for Hard drives and never to replace USB.

        USB 2.0 has been good enough for everything except large data transfers.

          • Vhalidictes
          • 9 years ago

          I agree, which is why I am confused and depressed by yet another almost-compatible USB standard.

          We only need speed for (large) drives, and eSATA already exists for that.

          For everything else, USB 2.0 is already overkill.

          I guess there is no stopping technology from marching on (generally a good thing) but I can only see this being USB vs FireWire all over again – lots of different connectors fighting it out and people spending money on multiple interfaces for no good reason.

    • wira020
    • 10 years ago

    USB3.0 data transfer also goes both way… right?… so it is actually 20x faster than previous gen????

    $30 buck is alot to me… morely when converted to my currency… thankfully, gigabyte adds it to their mobos FOC…

    • Hattig
    • 10 years ago

    Firewire was the right idea, in my opinion.

    Firewire 400 beats USB 2 all the time.

    USB was good for low bandwidth things though – keyboards, mice, even scanners, printers and the like. I approve of a single socket type for multiple bits of hardware.

    USB3 does have the bandwidth finally, and beats Firewire 800 even. Firewire 800 was a failure – a mere doubling of bandwidth. Going straight to Firewire 1600 would have been far more prudent. I think that Firewire stagnated and never recovered though.

    eSATA isn’t quite right, but at least it is fast. It should have included power, and more power than USB at that.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      Cost > Compatibility > Speed every time. This is why firewire lost in the mainstream market.

      I’d *really* like to know why this isn’t included on chipsets. There must be a very good reason, as Intel could sell a lot more CPU’s, MB’s, NIC’s, etc if this was included in 2010 on all MB’sg{<.<}g

        • wira020
        • 10 years ago

        It is rumoured that they delay the USB3.0 to make way for it’s own system… the lightpeak… google it… it’s way faster…

    • Vaughn
    • 10 years ago

    You missed something pretty big!

    The connectors are different.

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      Only the B side is different, and all that means is that USB 3.0 devices will have a different port and you’ll have to use a USB 2.0 cable for prior USB devices, not a game changer there at all.

        • Vaughn
        • 10 years ago

        Thanks for the correction.

      • DaveJB
      • 10 years ago

      The /[

        • Vaughn
        • 10 years ago

        USB 3.0 will have the same limitation I think of ESATA at the start, there are very few boards that will have it at the start. Even intel is not releasing a chipset with support until 2011.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    Did I miss something? Why not plug USB2.0 devices/cables into the USB 3 port, to see if there is any difference and/or performance advantage? This is likely the most common scenario for most users for the next few yearsg{<...<}g

      • moritzgedig
      • 10 years ago

      what would the difference to a USB 2.0 host be?

        • Dirge
        • 10 years ago

        Performance degradation on the new controller…. who knows when you start mixing and matching. Would be interesting for completeness sake.

          • DrDillyBar
          • 10 years ago

          Hosts should be more efficient then peers.

    • blubje
    • 10 years ago

    I got a big dick.

      • Jigar
      • 10 years ago

      Even camel feels the same before he comes near the mountain… Stop your obsession before you meet some one nastier than you.

    • thermistor
    • 10 years ago

    If you’re without USB external storage devices, or you only back up a few gig of precious family photos, tax statements, etc. USB 2.0 is perfectly fine.

    I look at USB in my house, many mice, some KB’s, web-cams, TV adapter. No USB external HDD at all.

    USB 3.0 = incremental adoption over time, not a game changer.

    I prefer plug and receptacle, but am also forced to use plug and jack, depending on industry and application. #56, I would want more than your word on this.

      • Vaughn
      • 10 years ago

      USB 3.0 was never a game changer when ESATA has already offered the same speed for well over a year now. Only people with time to waste would be using USB 2.0 for Data backups.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        USB 3.0 is not just for data backups, though. It’s for basically anything and everything the average person plugs into their computer, and powering it at the same time, which is the key.

        Unfortunately, some of us are also stuck with corporate backup systems that rely on USB flash drives for particular reasons. USB 3.0 flash drives will be a god send.

          • Vaughn
          • 10 years ago

          good point, however the speed increase to me only means something for Data backups.

          For everything else USB 2.0 is fine.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 10 years ago

            Yes, I would also agree that it’s borderline pointless, aside from that.

            On the same token, faster eSATA is borderline pointless because it doesn’t transmit power by default.

            They’re both screwy in their own ways, but I think USB 3.0 “fixes” most of it, while going with the most common port type.

            The increased power draw over USB 3.0 may become important in ways we don’t foresee yet.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      Anything that increases performance more than 3x is a game changer in my book. * Bottlenecks suck, and USB2 has been a large one for some timeg{<.<}g

    • herothezero
    • 10 years ago

    q[< Die in a fire, firewire. Die, die, die, and never come back, ever. <]q Well said. Firewire was just a bad implementation from the beginning.

    • rootbear
    • 10 years ago

    “a SuperSpeed B connector won’t fit into a USB 2.0 B plug”

    I think you meant socket, not plug.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      It’s correct either way.

    • deathBOB
    • 10 years ago

    How long until Lightpeak makes this irrelevant? Wouldn’t it be nice to replace everything with just one cable?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      Something tells me that that’s what USB 3.0 is going to accomplish.

      As much as I hate the standard USB connector, since it almost/does fit backwards, USB 3.0 will be pretty much ideal for just about everything.

      The trouble is that even if something that made more sense comes out, for years and years to come, everyone and their dog is still going to be using all of their USB devices. May as well make the best of what we’ve got.

    • Thresher
    • 10 years ago

    I cannot understand why USB 3.0 uptake is not going faster. Anyone who has had to transfer large files from a computer to an external harddrive knows how painfully slow USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 are. eSATA is a nice alternative, but the cabling system sucks; I have 3 eSATA drives from 2 manufacturers, the cables do NOT want to stay in place.

    I will be getting a 3.0 card and drive enclosure as soon as I can find one, even with the “half-baked” aspects of it.

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      I think this time it’s an issue of 3.0 item availability, I’m sure people want to buy it, but until Intel adds it to the mobo you’re not going to see a lot of products for it.

    • Drifter639
    • 10 years ago

    When USB 2.0 came in it was good, as USB 1.0 was totally crap for storage.
    USB 2.0 is at least usable for backup and as a slow but reliable storage solution. The smart thing was that they implemented the same connectors and backwards compatibility. USB 2 is still the most universal. I hate it cause it is so slow. But it is easy and works for Mr Average user.

    USB 3.0 will not have such an easy road in to common use if we have to throw away all our old stuff, which is serving us ok. It will join the ranks of half baked specialist use such as FW, ESATA.

    We need a fast solution to all digital transfers. One plug that does it all. A standard that can handle all digital connections. In audio, video, phones and computers.

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      Intel has something in the works, it is called Light Peak.

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        And the funny thing is, Apple invented it and passed it over to Intel in order to speed up it’s development and adoption. Oh the irony !

        Adi

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Classic Apple RDF – ‘We invented it!’ (if not -[

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      That is only in bursts.

      SSDs are still a distance away from saturating a SATA-II link at STR (what really matters in data transfers). It is going to take a while for them to saturate USB 3.0 and SATA-6Gbps.

    • pragma
    • 10 years ago

    The USB is a jack of all trades. Usable for anything, excels at nothing. I’d rather have 1394c ports than USB3. Autoconfiguring firewire/ethernet in one RJ-45. Cables cheap and plentiful.
    But if it’s more bandwidth that you need, then optical link is THE way to go. My old thicker-that-thumb scsi cables agree!

      • KoolAidMan
      • 10 years ago

      Curious to see how LightPeak works out. One optical cable that can be used for /[

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    🙂 Bring it on. My eSata port has been winning thus far.

    • Convert
    • 10 years ago

    I’m glad that a device can now draw 900mA. It’s going to make my life a lot easier.

    It’s just a shame it’s going to be a long time until it becomes ubiquitous.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 10 years ago

      I wonder if it can provide that 900mA to USB 2.0 devices, or if power above 500mA is limited to USB 3.0 devices.

      If it’s the former, then cell phones and other things with batteries should charge a lot faster on those ports.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Any properly designed USB 2.0 device will only draw 500mA max anyway.

      • mnecaise
      • 10 years ago

      I have an old hub that will supply 1 amp per port. I bought it specifically for dev work. They’re out there, you just have to look. As MadManOriginal says however the devices shouldn’t draw more than 500mA and many limit themselves to 100mA.

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    This reminds me of the frustration I had when picking a motherboard. The board I went with isn’t even optimal. The issue being… slot selection.

    It seems a bit short sighted that manufacturers are releasing new motherboards targeted at gamers and enthusiasts that are still the majority PCI outside of the PCIe x16 slot.

    What I would personally like to see is a motherboard with entirely physical PCIe x16 slots and then one PCI slot. I don’t expect all of those PCIe slots to also be electrically x16, I just want them to be fine and capable of holding a x1, x4 or x8 card. Hell, it would be even greater if they all dynamically gave up their links or let me assign them in BIOS.

    PCIe… so far a real disappointment.

    Oh about USB 3.0… my externals want it.

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    Isn’t USB 3.0 backwards compatible?

    so why then in the benchmarks did they use the motherboard USB slot?
    I would be far more interested in the USB 2.0 numbers off the new controller, although, they should be similar.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 10 years ago

    USB 3.0 won’t be any good until it’s standard on Apple machines…then it will be a brilliant technical innovation by Apple.

    • Jasked1
    • 10 years ago

    This feels like a flashback. NEC was also the first to release a USB 2.0 controller way back in 2001:
    §[< http://www.am.necel.com/news/newsdetail.html?page=10941<]§

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    So yeah, why no mention of Firewire in the entire article ?!

    Firewire 800 has been around for a while now and while Firewire 400 was already killing USB 2.0 in terms of real performance and CPU usage, Firewire 800 was simply wiping the floor with USB 2.0.

    Why no mention at all ? Firewire can provide external power on the same cable capable of providing enough juice to power on that 3.5″ HD. Can USB 3.0 do that ? (i’m not trying to be a smartass here, i’m just wondering if version 3 got a little power boost in that regard)

    Adi

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Macs have dropped firewire, so it no longer exists. You’re supposed to forget it ever happened. Double plus ungood! Clearly you need to return to RDF headquarters for a reeducation booster shot.

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        That’s funny, save for the the MacBook Air and the MacBook, all macs come with Firewire built in :O

        So, you were saying what again ?

        Adi

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Don’t argue. UberGerbil is never wrong.

          • eitje
          • 10 years ago

          800 Mbps < 5 Gbps

            • adisor19
            • 10 years ago

            Fully aware of that. All i’m saying is i would like to have seen a mention of firewire and a benchmark inclusion as well for comparison’s sake. It’s not like it doesn’t exist.

            Adi

            • 5150
            • 10 years ago

            Sure, it exists, that doesn’t make it relevant. Take, for instance, Glenn Beck.

            • Schnitzel
            • 10 years ago

            I must have missed the political portion of this USB 3.0 article…

            • eitje
            • 10 years ago

            There are many types of legacy connectors and protocols that are no longer relevant.

            I look forward to your complaints about IPX/SPX and NetWare inclusion in the next round of TCP/IP tests.

            • khands
            • 10 years ago

            Don’t forget that they left out PS/2, Serial, and Parallel cables!

            • wira020
            • 10 years ago

            If you cant fight them.. join them…

      • LawrenceofArabia
      • 10 years ago

      Because Firewire shot itself in the foot thanks to royalties and was never adopted on the scale USB or even eSata was. Firewire is irrelevant and will likely continue to be so.

        • potatochobit
        • 10 years ago

        the firewire 400 is far far far more widely spread than esata will ever be
        esata is a joke, who cares about Gbs when the stupid thing always freezes up

          • Vaughn
          • 10 years ago

          Then why is it most of the boards coming out now all have ESATA Ports on them.

          My ESATA hard drive enclosure laughs at your stupid statement.

          I however do agree that Firewire > USB 2.0.

          As for it always freezing up, that sounds like a computer problem. I’ve never had any issues with that on my ESATA drive.

            • potatochobit
            • 10 years ago

            Outside of your little world there is a vast expanse called the video camcorder market which uses firewire as a standard
            in fact, my Gigabyte motherboard that I bought this year has 3 fire wire ports
            not that I use firewire anymore
            anyway, esata is not common at all and for good reasons.
            only techiegeeks think so. the common user does not even know esata exists.

      • eitje
      • 10 years ago

      I count six (6) 1394b external hard drives on newegg.com.

      That’s quite a market to explore, adi.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        The fact that different versions aren’t as cross-compatible as USB versions doesn’t help. The port type variations are bad enough, but it goes beyond that.

        I have a FW400+FW800 card, and I can’t even use it, because the one FW400 device I actually need doesn’t get along with it. That’s not an isolated issue.

        Certain firewire devices also are prone to being picky about what sort of controller they are connected to, and some of the controllers are also just god awful slow, in general. You have to go sifting through motherboard specs if you are looking to have it built in, and hope you can find the controller type of one you’re interested in, and that it’s one you can use.

        Despite the fact that I have several computers that support firewire, I have absolutely no reason to ever buy a firewire hard drive, of any variety. I’ve never heard of any other type of device that requires FW800 and will never use it, and FW400 is roughly in line with USB 2.0, contrary to adi’s exaggerations.

        You can plug things into USB as varied as an old PS/2 mouse with an adapter, nearly any camera or MP3 player, on up to something as niche and high end as a USB 3.0 SSD.

        But firewire? It should do as its name suggests and burn, so I don’t ever have to use it for any random thing again.

          • Saribro
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah, Firewire can be as fast as it wants, it needs to work first.
          Over the years I’ve had situations were 3 different cameras, that only had Firewire, wouldn’t work with the controller on my motherboard. Google suggested only TI controllers had a reasonable chance of interoperability with these devices, everything else was hit-or-miss.
          I’ll take the port on my computer if it comes for free, but it’s just going to sit there and be useless, really.

            • TheShadowself
            • 10 years ago

            I’ve never had any problem with FireWire no matter whose implementation I used (even Sony’s iLink).

            The nice thing about FireWire that USB will probably never have is the ability to connect non CPU items together and have it work.

            Want to go directly from your camcorder to your TV? You can if both are FireWire enabled. Want to go from your DVR to your camcorder? You can if both are FireWire enabled. And so forth. No computers involved.

            Also the fiber version of FireWire has supported speeds up to 3.2 Gbps for almost a decade. The copper version of up to 3.2 Gbps has been approved for a couple of years. Will those ever get several vendors shipping items to support them? Probably not. That is what will kill it more than anything else.

            And the thing that REALLY killed FireWire was Apple’s attitude about royalties on it back in the 90s. Some of you may recall FireWire started out in ’89 at 50 Mbps. Back then (and through most of the 90s) Apple wanted $1.00 *[

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 10 years ago

            I’m not going to argue against the fact that firewire has all sorts of advantages on paper, but they were unfortunately shot down in practice. Is it too bad? Yes. Is it reality that we have to deal with? Yes, and for some of us, it’s quite problematic.

            Camcorders use it because they were stuck with it, but that could start to change as it continues to lose clout with everything else.

            It’s a lost cause and I’d prefer it just go away so that everything can use the same cables. I know it’s going to drive me mad someday when I encounter some random FW1600/3200 device I have to use.

            I apologize if my reply to you yesterday came across as flaming. I’m not here to chase anyone away.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Because almost no one wants to use shitty firewire that’s why. The market has spoken. Get over it Appleboi.

        • KoolAidMan
        • 10 years ago

        The market also chooses crap TN panels and McDonalds, it doesn’t make it the best technology or the best food.

        USB 2.0 is dogshit compared to Firewire 400 and is absolutely blown away by FW800. USB 3.0 is a long time coming, if people won’t widely accept one superior standard then hopefully they’ll accept this one.

          • Meadows
          • 10 years ago

          Don’t speak ill of McDonald’s, you heathen.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          That’s nice, I never said which is a better technology. I’m sorry if sh**** gave you that idea – read OAS’s post #19 to get an idea of what I meant.

          • CampinCarl
          • 10 years ago

          TN Panels are bad…why? Because you sit at obtuse angles to your monitor? Because you want a 24″ display but want to sit 2″ from it?

          Most people won’t notice/don’t care about the lack of full 24-bit color reproduction. They also care a hell of a lot more about their wallets.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 10 years ago

            Color dithering, uneven illumination from corner to corner and edge to edge, narrow vertical viewing angles on large displays (horizontal doesn’t bother me as much), yeah, it all sucks.

            Clearly budget is a concern and the main reason to go with TN displays, but that doesn’t automatically make them /[

            • FubbHead
            • 10 years ago

            No, but /[

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          I think you’re using the term “standard” a bit too broadly. Standardization is exactly why USB is here to stay and FW800 spelled the end of acceptance of the firewire protocol altogether.

          FW800 fragmented the already weak support of firewire in general, and it came too late after USB 2.0. USB 2.0 had already allowed everyone to continue using their USB 1.x devices, and use USB 2.0 devices with old ports.

          FW1600 and FW3200 are following the same path. If they ever materialize in the consumer market, to quote the late, great, Mitch Hedberg, “I’ll be f***in surprised!”

          With Apple and Sony behind it, firewire was doomed from the start. Apple has to do everything different just for the sake of it, Sony couldn’t standardize anything even if they dumped $100 billion into it, and both of them have to make everything too expensive for the general public.

          I don’t think it’s any mystery why USB has stuck with us. It had to be one of them, and the world took the one that actually worked.

          P.S.

          Die in a fire, firewire. Die, die, die, and never come back, ever.

    • KoolAidMan
    • 10 years ago

    Firewire blows away USB 2.0, no contest, but I think there is no need to compare it when eSATA, which is faster than FW800, is in the charts. USB 3.0 gives speeds comparable to eSATA, so its probably safe to assume that it is faster than FW800.

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    Vantec has a PCIe x1 card coming, as well, if you don’t need the SATA 6Gb ports on the ASUS card:

    §[< http://www.vantecusa.com/front/product/view_detail/406<]§

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Yeah it’d be nice if Apple laptops had this spec. Time Machine backups or (more importantly) restores wouldn’t take nearly as long.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    I know you don’t have the hardware for this yet, but it would be interesting to max out the card by hooking up two 6Gps SSDs and two USB 3.0 devices and see where the bottlenecks appear (that DMI interface in the P55 chipset will be the ultimate throttle for DMA ops, but I suspect other things will get in the way first as the burst bench suggests)

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    g[

    • TheEmrys
    • 10 years ago

    I’m sure that there are other uses for USB 3.0, but flash drives are what I actually upgrade for.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    Interesting. I was hoping to see something about this; wasn’t expecting it quite so soon. Good job.

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