USB 3.0 demoed in HP laptop-yes, it's fast

The president of the USB Implementers Forum discusses the arrival of USB 3.0 and shows off an HP laptop with USB 3.0 connectors at the Consumer Electronics Show.


LAS VEGAS--The president of the USB Implementers Forum discussed the arrival of USB 3.0 and gave a brief demonstration of transfer speeds on a Hewlett-Packard laptop at the Consumer Electronics Show.

In case anyone was in doubt, USB 3.0 is faster than the current 2.0 version. Below is a photo from CES of an Asus display, showing a comparison of the time it takes to drag a 2.1GB file from a laptop to an external hard disk drive using USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. (Asus was showing laptops with USB 3.0 connectors at CES.) And in the second video segment, Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum, provides a taste of the difference in transfer speeds between USB 2.0 and 3.0.

Transfer time comparison as shown by Asus at CES
Transfer time comparison as shown by Asus at CES Brooke Crothers

USB is more power efficient than 2.0. "This uses one-third of the power it would take on USB 2.0," Ravencraft said in an interview at CES. It's also backward compatible, he said, meaning it can also handle peripherals that use older USB standards.

Speaking of peripherals, Western Digital has announced a new WD My Book based on the USB 3.0 specification with an adapter card, which will make an existing desktop PC USB 3.0-compatible.


Also, cards that go into a laptop's ExpressCard slot are available, Ravencraft said. This allows an existing laptop to be upgraded to 3.0.

HP is expected to offer an Envy 15 laptop model--which Ravencraft used in the second video segment--with USB 3.0 connectors at some point in the future, and Asus was showing a raft of laptops on the CES show floor with the new standard, including the NX90Jq.

In the top video segment, Ravencraft discusses some of the new peripherals and what USB 3.0 means. The second segment is a brief demonstration of USB 3.0 transfer speeds versus USB 2.0. The first transfer seen in the segment is USB 2.0 sending photos that total roughly a couple of hundred megabytes. The second is the same group of photos using USB 3.0.

Update at 10:30 p.m. PST: Updated the comparison of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 transfer speeds.

Update on January 12 at 1:00 p.m. PST: The HP Envy 15 is available as of Tuesday from HP's online store.

Correction at 8:35 a.m. PST January 12: The article incorrectly stated which company "was showing a raft of laptops" with USB 3.0 connectors at CES. It was Asus.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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