Intel has a draft specification of its Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) of USB 3.0 and will likely demonstrate the concept at its IDF (Intel Developer Forum) Aug. 18-21 in San Francisco.
Intel's 0.9 draft was expected, but the 0.95 version of the specification won't be seen until the fourth quarter, meaning USB 3.0 products won't be ready until 2009.
USB 3.0, also known as "SuperSpeed USB," is designed to dramatically increase the bandwidth of USB, lower power consumption and maintain backwards compatibility with the current USB 2.0 specification. SuperSpeed USB will provide a 10X boost in transfer rate from 480-Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0. One example of the speed goal is to transfer a 27-Gbyte HD movie to a portable device in 70 seconds. The same task would take 15 minutes or more with USB 2.0.
The xHCI interface specification won support from AMD, Dell and Microsoft, as well as NEC, all key endorsements for a peripheral I/O solution such as USB 3.0. If customers agree to join the USB 3.0 Promoter Group as either a promoter or a contributor, Intel will offer the USB 3.0 technology to that company under the royalty-free RAND-Z licensing terms.
"The future of computing and consumer devices is increasingly visual and bandwidth intensive," said Phil Eisler, AMD's corporate vice president and general manager of its Chipset Business Unit, in a statement. "Lifestyles filled with HD media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform. AMD believes strongly in open industry standards and therefore is supporting a common xHCI specification."