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Today the USB Implementers Forum held its Taipei SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference 2010 and we were in attendance at the event to check out all of the latest cutting-edge developments to come to the new USB 3.0 connectivity standard.
One of the exhibitors was ASMedia who is a Taiwanese IC maker. These folks were showing off one of the more exciting demonstrations in the exhibitor area. They had an ASUS powered system hooked up with a Crucial RealSSD C300 SATA 6Gbps SSD connected via USB 3.0. The SSD was able to be connected to the system via USB thanks to the use of an ASMedia USB 3.0 controller bridge device that translates SATA 3.0 to USB 3.0 data signals with the ASM1051 chip.
In the video above that we produced and uploaded to YouTube, you get a look at performance numbers of the same SSD hooked up via USB 2.0 with a direct comparison to the aforementioned USB 3.0 setup.
During our testing of various USB 3.0 devices so far, we've seen roughly 3 - 4 times performance improvements over USB 2.0. The results we've seen have not been as impressive as first expected by all the 10x performance gains by everyone who makes any sort of USB 3.0 product. The ASMedia ASM1051 controller chip achieved just over a 10x performance improvement with the Crucial SSD compared to the same setup with USB 2.0. This is the first time we've seen a product able to meet the claims of a 10x boost for USB 3.0 and we think it is exciting to see and we think it is also a good sign of things to come in the future.
Weber Chuang, the gentlemen in our video above, Senior Associate Vice President of ASMedia, explained that the USB 3.0 industry will be ramping up very quickly and consumers will be happy with performance as the standard matures in the near future. We don't have a crystal ball, but judging by what we saw today, those claims by Chuang may not be too far off the mark.
Many enthusiasts don't want small when it comes time to build a new computer, they want powerful. However, for some uses -- like an HTPC machine -- smaller is better. For this crowd a new board is coming from Gigabyte and the first pictures of the small mainboard have surfaced.
The new mainboard is called the H55N-USB3 and measure in at a scant 17x17cm. In that small space you get some interesting features like a PCIe x16 slot for graphics, two RAM DIMMS, support for LGA1156 Intel processors, and dual BIOS'.
The board has four SATA ports but lacks a RAID controller. On the back panel, the board has lots of connectivity with HDMI out, DVI out, and VGA out among other ports. Pricing and availability are unknown.
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Sprint and Clearwire are the only wireless carriers offering 4G service that you can actually buy in America right now. The catch is that you have to be in one of the few areas that are covered by the service around the country.
Sprint and Lenovo have announced that they are teaming up to offer ThinkPad notebooks that come from the factory with 3G and 4G capability. The notebooks will have software that can connect to either 4G or 3G networks.
This is important considering 3G is still the most widely available mobile broadband and if users in 4G areas travel far from home, they will need 3G connectivity.
We are all friends here so we can be honest. The cellular reception in a lot of areas for AT&T sucks. Any iPhone user will tell you this. AT&T is working hard to fix that problem and one of the things it hopes to use are femtocells.
A femtocell takes your cellular call or internet request and routes it over your broadband network at home or in the office giving you more speed, better signal quality, and reducing the strain on the wireless network. AT&T has announced that its 3G MicroCell will be offered to purchase in new markets staring on April 1 on its way to nationwide availability.
The MicroCell has been testing in certain markets for several months now. The device costs a one-time fee of $149 and can be activated the day it is purchased. The device supports up to ten lines and the service costs an extra $19.99 monthly. That monthly fee to fix poor indoor call quality, which is something AT&T should be fixing anyway really irritates me.
Asus took the time today to gloat a bit over the number of products that it offers with USB 3.0 support. The company has more devices than most firms have do and is tooting its own horn.
Asus points out that it was first with a USB 3.0 mainboard and it offers notebooks and netbook sporting USB 3.0 as well. Asus also touts its unique PCI Express x4 PLX bridge chip designed for better USB 3.0 performance without compromise.
Asus CEO Jerry Shen said, "We are the first in the world to introduce USB 3.0 through our notebooks, namely the multimedia N Series. We're also the first to win USB-IF certification, achieved on our P6X58D premium motherboard. We believe that USB 3.0 has a pivotal role to play in delivering the ultimate experience to a new generation of multimedia-savvy users. With USB 3.0, everyone can enjoy fast data backup and ultra-speedy file sharing."
There are all sorts of devices around the home that are drawing power when you might think they are off. Your TV for instance draws power when you hit the off button and your PC often does as well.
A company called Ventev has announced a new green charger called the EcoCHARGE that will eliminate the power drawn by mobile phone chargers even when the phone is not connected called vampire power. The charger can disconnect itself from the AC power when it sense no phone is connected.
The charger will ship in April for right under $30 in two versions. One version uses a mini USB connector and the other uses a micro USB connector. Both have a hidden full size USB port for charging devices like the iPhone.
Buffalo today announced that it has started shipping its new MiniStation Cobalt USB 3.0 portable hard disk drives onto the market.
Using the new USB 3.0 bus standard, Buffalo claim that its new drives are 10 times faster than similar USB 2.0 devices, but we know (as do they) that the actual performance improvements are really closer to 3 or 4 times faster in real-world terms, at this stage of the game, as USB 3.0 develops and matures.
While there is no word on what type of storage is inside the shiny new USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure be it SSD or HDD, the MiniStation Cobalt HD-PEU3 drives will begin shipping next month in capacities up to 640GB. Pricing information is not available yet, but don't expect them to be super cheap since they are based around the new SuperSpeed USB platform and will ask a premium price, no doubt.
Ever since USB 3.0 started to be spoken about in the industry, the folks over at GIGABYTE made it very clear to us in speech and in product that the new SuperSpeed connectivity standard was a very important focus for the Taiwanese motherboard maker.
Yesterday GIGABYTE announced to the world that it has so far shipped one million motherboards with USB 3.0 since they started shipping, which really was not all that long ago. It is a rather impressive milestone and shows just how serious GIGABYTE is about USB 3.0.
Further, GIGABYTE did some basic calculations based on a recent announcement by NEC that so far three million of its USB 3.0 controllers have been shipped and concluded that GIGABYTE have captured one third of the global USB 3.0 market share - and that's not just talking about motherboards, but also all products that feature USB 3.0 such as laptops, PCI Express cards and so on.
Jealous much, ASUS? I am sure we will see some sort of response soon.
Whoever the dude was that put those plugs on Christmas lights that let you daisy chain sets was a genius. He should have won some sort of Nobel Prize. A new design concept has turned up for USB cords that is very similar to Christmas lights.
The concept cables have a USB port on the back of the plug that lets you plug in multiple USB devices using one USB port. Sure, you can already do this with a USB hub, but these stackable cables mean you don't need to take a hub with you.
The cables are color coded to make it easy to track which of your peripherals each one goes too. I'm not sure how many of these would be chainable before you draw too much power, but I bet you could get your USB lava lamp and other gadgets in there.