USB 3.0 might be the invention of Intel, but try to find native USB 3.0 on any Intel motherboard.

You won’t.

Right now, there are no motherboards which include USB 3.0 ports as part of the core chipset. The very first ones which will include USB 3.0 are coming from rival AMD, and will be found on their chipsets which use the combined CPU+GPU processors, which AMD aptly names Advanced Processing Units [APU].

Intel may not be pushing the USB 3.0 specification on its motherboards, because of LightPeak Thunderbolt, but that specification will need some time to develop connecting devices, and plant itself into the minds of the user base. USB 3.0, on the other hand, is a step up in speed for a public that knows exactly why USB is a good thing, and how to use it. There is also the number of USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices which will hook up immediately to USB 3.0 ports, whether they are on a motherboard or connected to a hub – there is no analog in the world of Thunderbolt. All of those connections will be new and different, save for perhaps a few very lonely Apple devices.

With this, the number of devices which support USB 3.0 will increase drastically, and their prices will drop – by small amounts at first – but they will be dropping. That means lots of USB 3.0 cables, external hard drive cases, and other SuperSpeed peripherals.

“AMD Fusion Controller Hubs will provide competitive performance while consuming low power with active USB 3.0 traffic for high definition video and fast connectivity with the latest SuperSpeed USB devices.”

[PC Magazine]

It can be argued that many things don’t need the increased speed, but as with other designs that came before, the availability will bring speed as the device manufacturers see that it is available.

Certainly video will benefit, especially HD video, and for those who wish to debate the USB – Firewire thing, it can be moved to another realm, as SuperSpeed USB does not have the intelligence of Firewire 800, but it has the raw speed. In many cases, that is all that is needed, because not many people, or devices, take advantage of the daisy-chaining capabilities of Firewire. Firewire continues to be a professional and prosumer standard, while USB is what Average Joe uses, and it works well for him.

If this development continues to mirror the older USB standards, it will be mid-2012 before we see many USB 3.0 devices and cables on shelves, but when they do hit, they will hit in a big way, and USB 2.0 stuff will dwindle rather quickly.

I await the purchase of my first Belkin USB 3.0 7-port (or greater) hub, for around $50…

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