USB 3.0 is on the way, sort of - Embedded.com

USB 3.0 is on the way, sort of

Intel held its developer's forum this week, otherwise known as IDF. With it came a wave of announcements. A piece of news that caught my eye was the one related to USB 3.0. The company released a draft specification, one that'll take the transfer rate up to nearly 5 Gbits/s. That's about 10X the current “High-Speed” 2.0 rate.

According to our sister site, EETimes.com, what was introduced was the nearly complete spec for a controller chip. This part will enable the “SuperSpeed” USB interface. I guess version 4.0 will be called “HyperSpeed.”

With version 0.9 of the Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) specification, other hardware vendors can get themselves ready for a 1.0 release sometime in 2010. That's somewhat of a different schedule than originally planned. When the first announcements came out, Intel had cited early 2008 for a full release. Now, they're hoping for a 0.95 release before the end of this year.

When complete, the specification will provide a standardized method for USB 3.0 host controllers to communicate with the USB 3.0 software stack. Theoretically, this will make it easier for third parties to develop compatible software. This specification describes the registers and data structures used to interface between system software and the hardware.

Others involved in the specification development include HP, Microsoft, NEC, and Texas Instruments.

The draft specification revision 0.9 is available to all USB 3.0 Promoter Group and any vendor that signs an xHCI contributor agreement. More information is available at www.intel.com/technology/usb/spec.htm.

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