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USB 3.0 heads for 2bn

USB continues to be the most widely used connection technology in the world and new devices with large inexpensive storage have propelled it to the latest innovation – SuperSpeed USB 3.0. With over 2 billion USB 3.0 devices forecasted to be on the market by 2015, GRANT RAU of Kingston Technology explains the significance of the technology.

We have all been there ‚ sitting in front of the PC and impatiently waiting for a file to transfer to a removable device. Seconds feel like minutes, and minutes like hours. Those days of painfully slow data transfer are quickly disappearing.

As the technology revolution marches forward, USB continues to be the most widely used connection technology in the world, found on everything from PCs and laptops to tablets, printers, televisions and even car radios. New devices, media formats, and large inexpensive storage have propelled USB technology forward to the latest innovation — SuperSpeed USB 3.0.

USB 3.0 is the revision of the ever-present USB 2.0 standard, which promises a tenfold leap forward in transfer speeds as well as superior capabilities. According to In-Stat, by 2015 there will be over two billion USB 3.0 devices in the market and native 3.0 computers are set to soar to one hundred percent penetration ‚ meaning that USB 3.0 is going to be rapidly adopted in the next few years.

As we are getting more and more data around us, the need to utilise the information as quickly as possible becomes essential. While USB 2.0 provides sufficient bandwidth for a variety of users who do not transfer high amounts of data, larger files like Hi-Definition (HD) media require significantly more bandwidth to maintain the interactive experience users have come to expect. USB 3.0 responds to this need by adding an even higher transfer rate while remaining compatible with the billions of USB enabled devices currently deployed in the market.

According to a recent internal Kingston Technology study, users could save up to 1.5 hours when using USB 3.0 in comparison to USB 2.0 when transferring a large HD video file.

So what makes a USB 3.0 drive so fast? The secret lies within its internal architecture. All USB drives contain two main components: a device controller, and a memory chip(s). Standard USB 2.0 drives usually have only one chip which receives or sends your data from or to the controller, hence all the information that you upload on the USB drive is stored on one chip. Imagine uploading 20GB of files on one chip ‚ this will take a long time as the data is processed one piece at a time. USB 3.0 improves the performance by having two or more chips, which allows the controller to process multiple pieces of information at once, by breaking them into smaller chunks of data that are spread across multiple ‚channels.’ This guarantees much higher transfer speeds and improves the overall performance of the drive.

Apart from the speed differences, USB 3.0 ports can now provide even more benefit than before to power-hungry devices by dramatically improving power efficiency, which delivers longer battery life for laptops, tablets and peripherals connected via USB 3.0. In addition, users can power and charge more USB 3.0 devices faster and without the need for an external power source.

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