We are very excited to see USB 3.0 finally hitting price points that are acceptable, but would really like to see them fall just a little more. It will take another three to six months to get to a point when USB 3.0 enclosures dominate the market and at that time it will be difficult to find a USB 2.0 enclosure. USB, like its name says it is a true universal protocol and it has been used in everything from cameras to professional racing data systems.
When you see an Indy Car come into the pits and someone attaches a thick wire to the car for a few second, that is a modified USB interface that quickly transfers data files back to the servers that then analyze the data. Many TVs, DVRs and other consumer electronic devices use the standard as well, but so far USB 2.0 still is found in those devices. It is going to take a real push by the industry to move past the old way of doing things, but with a little time we will see that happen. Getting the costs down plays a big role in that progression.
One company that is really pushing for the new standard to take hold is GIGABYTE. At Computex we saw their top to bottom strategy first hand and were very impressed with the way they have been able to add USB 3.0 into every product they sell that can take advantage of it. GIGABYTE has shipped more USB 3.0 enabled motherboards than all other motherboard manufacturers combined, something that is just not possible with just enthusiast class products. GIGABYTE is really committed to seeing a fast adoption rate for USB 3.0.
The LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 500GB External HDD costs about the same as its USB 2.0 and eSATA versions, so I think LaCie has done their part to help speed along the change as well. Currently you are able to find the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 500GB HDD at Newegg for 144.00 USD and that includes free shipping. The same unit that uses USB 2.0 and eSATA actually costs more at Newegg, around 149.00 with free shipping as well. With USB 3.0 being the new standard and offering higher bandwidth than eSATA, it would be wise to purchase the less expensive USB 3.0 model even if you have to also purchase a low cost PCIe adapter at the same time. Your next motherboard purchase will include USB 3.0.
When it comes to performance we tend to get a little jaded by all of the SSDs that are tested in the labs these days. The LaCie Rugged comes with a high speed notebook drive that offers better than 100MB/s read and write speeds and will be a huge improvement over just about everything else offered on the market in its price range. I would love to see LaCie come out with a Rugged that features a SandForce SSD, then again, knowing what something like that would cost, I think I will just stick with the unit I have for now and wait for SSD prices to fall a little more.