USB 3.0 thumb drive emerges, but why?

Super Talent has taken the initiative in buliding the first USB 3.0 thumb drive. The bad news is that Intel may not support USB 3.0 in its chipsets until 2011.

First, the good stuff: The SuperSpeed USB 3.0 RAIDDRive transfers at up to 4.8 Gb per second, compared to 480 Mb per second for USB 2.0. In the real world, speeds will be more like 200 Mb per second, up to 320 Mb per second with a separate UAS protocol driver, according to The Register. Either way it is still faster than USB 2.0 real world speeds of roughly 30 Mb per second.

The stick will be available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB flavors when it goes on sale in December.



Sadly, it’s being reported that Intel’s chipsets won’t support USB 3.0 until 2011, meaning that your average computer won’t be able to take advantage of the faster transfer speeds. The word comes from “a senior technology manager at a top tier PC maker,” speaking to EETimes. NVidia, which is competing with Intel on the chipset front, also told TG Daily that Intel is putting a hold on USB 3.0, though it’s not clear where that information is coming from.

If the reports are correct, you’ll need a discrete USB 3.0 controller installed. Asus has begun doing this in some of its motherboards, and Freecom, which announced the first USB 3.0 hard drive in September, said it will launch its own certified controller.

So if you want the higher speeds that USB 3.0 allows, you’re starting to see some options pop up. But don’t go buying the new USB 3.0 thumb and hard drives with the expectation that your next computer will support it out of the box.