Intel delivers USB 3.0 specification

USB 3.0

Intel has released a draft specification for its next iteration of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI).

Delivering on a pledge it first made at the Intel Developer Conference last September, the chipmaker has published the new USB 3.0 architecture standard in an effort to encourage development of the interface, which is capable of data transfer speeds 10 times faster than USB 2.0.

It was at last year's developer event that HP, Microsoft, NEC, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments joined Intel in forming the USB 3.0 Promoter Group with the aim of getting products on the market as early as 2009.

The first USB 3.0 XHCI examples, unveiled at trade shows earlier this year, have been based on electrical connectors are also designed to be backwards compatible with older generation interfaces. However, the 3.0 specification also supports the use of optical connectors.

This latest draft of the USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB,' specification has been made available under royalty free licence to USB 3.0 Promoter Group chipmakers and hardware manufacturers that sign an XHCI contributor agreement.

The chipmaker said draft version 0.9 had been developed to be compatible with the USB 3.0 specification overseen by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group.

Intel had faced industry criticism for holding back on its part of the interface development, with the host controller design. But AMD, Dell and Microsoft were among the industry heavyweights that voiced their support for the draft's publication and support for open standards.

Phil Eisler, AMD Chipset Business Unit corporate vice president and general manager stated: "Lifestyles filled with HD [high-definition] 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."

Intel also said it was planning to make a revised XHCI version 0.95 specification available in the fourth quarter of this year.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.