USB 3.0: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

USB 3.0OK, maybe not higher or even stronger, but certainly swifter!  The specs for a new USB standard (version 3.0) were released late last year and I’m including this entry in the blog because this promises to have a major impact on device connectivity in the IT/ed tech world.  USB 2.0 has a transfer speed that peaks at around 480 megabits per second, while version 3.0 offers a tenfold increase – to 4.8 gigabits per second.  This means that peripherals such as video cameras, MIDI instruments and colour laser printers will communicate with a CPU at considerably faster speeds than currently possible with USB 2.0 connections.  A developer group called Symwave has already jumped on the bandwagon and will demonstrate a USB 3.0 storage drive at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 8-11.

The IEEE 1394b interface standard, known as FireWire 800 in Apple’s version, can transfer data at around 800 Mbits/sec in  full duplex mode, faster than USB 2.0 but only a sixth of the speeds possible with USB 3.0

The move in device connectivity is certainly toward USB these days, judging by the range of USB-enabled devices now available to enhance basic desktop and laptop machines, so this long-awaited upgrade should stimulate the development of further ways to connect peripheral stuff that might actually turn out to be useful in an educational sense.  Imagine USB 3.0-enabled musical devices synchronised with video clips driving high-powered projectors in an outdoor venue – this could change performance arts in ways we can only begin to imagine. Or not.  It really depends on how far you want to take it, in both a technological and aesthetic sense.

(image sourced from: http://www.gadgetvenue.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/usb-3_0.jpg)

UPDATE:  (16/01/09)  A recent ZDNet update on this item can be found here with a mention that Apple plans to ditch FireWire in favour of USB 3.0.   See why.

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2 Responses to “USB 3.0: Swifter, Higher, Stronger”


  1. 1 scop January 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Interesting article Tom, and readers might be interested in this comparison between Firewire and USB 2 done a couple of years ago by Choice Magazine.


  1. 1 SDXC: More storage than you can shake a stick at … « T3 Trackback on February 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

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