USB 3.1 spec finalized with speeds up to 10 Gbps

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has completed its specification for USB 3.1, paving the way for the faster format.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

USB is due to get a lot more oomph now that the latest specification for version 3.1 has been approved.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group revealed Wednesday that it's completed its specification for USB 3.1. The new spec will be able to push SuperSpeed USB to data transfer rates of up to 10 gigabits per second. In contrast, USB 3.0 SuperSpeed can deliver speeds of up to 5Gbps.

"SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables," the group said in its press release.

Like its predecessor, USB 3.1 will be backward-compatible with older USB devices.

The action by the Promoter Group paves the way for manufacturers such as Intel and AMD to start building chips to support the new spec. Once the necessary chipsets and other hardware are in place, other companies can create devices to take advantage of the faster format.

But don't expect USB 3.1 devices to start popping up right away. In January, the Promoter Group said that initial products will begin to appear in late 2014 with a wider range available in 2015.

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