USB 3.0 that much closer to standard on Intel PCs

USB 3.0 should become widely available next year as Intel builds support for the standard into its chips.

USB 3.0 has gotten the green light for becoming a standard offering on Intel-based Windows PCs next year.

The USB Implementers Forum announced this week that the upcoming "Ivy Bridge" 7 Series Chipset and other Intel chipsets have achieved USB 3.0 certification. Chipsets are support silicon that work in tandem with the main processor.

USB 3.0, aka SuperSpeed USB, delivers up to 10 times the data transfer rate of USB 2.0, as well as improved power efficiency.

Intel's Ivy Bridge silicon, due to ship in Windows PCs in the April-June time frame, will have USB 3.0 as a standard feature for the first time. So far, it has been available on select laptops and desktops only and requires chips from Advanced Micro Devices or additional chips from NEC, among others.

"SuperSpeed USB certification...helps ensure interoperability and backward compatibility within the broad USB ecosystem," said Ahmad Zaidi, general manager of Intel's Chipset and SoC IP Group, in a statement.

Analysts believe that when USB 3.0 is integrated into Intel's chipsets, it will make the standard universal because it can be offered on virtually any PC. "Intel's integration of SuperSpeed USB into its upcoming core logic chipset is critical because it allows cost-conscious PC (makers) to offer the technology at a very competitive price point," said Brian O'Rourke, research director for In-Stat, in a statement.

"Additionally, SuperSpeed USB adoption in PCs is leading to broad adoption in PC peripherals, consumer electronics, and mobile devices," he said.

Intel also offers an alternative high-speed connection technology called Thunderbolt, which comes on Apple's MacBooks, but that isn't expected to be as widely used in 2012 as USB 3.0.

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