Intel releases draft USB 3.0 spec

USB 3.0 - also known as SuperSpeed USB - is expected to enable transfer speeds of up to 4.8Gbps.

Intel has released part of the draft specification for USB 3.0, a move that could speed up the release of the next-generation data transfer standard.

The Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification revision 0.9 is available under royalty free licensing terms to all USB 3.0 Promoter Group members, and AMD, Dell, Microsoft and NEC were among those to back the move in Intel's press release.

USB 3.0 - also known as SuperSpeed USB - is expected to enable transfer speeds of up to 4.8Gbps, a significant leap from the 480Mbps supported by the current USB 2.0 spec.

"The future of computing and consumer devices is increasingly visual and bandwidth intensive," said Phil Eisler, corporate vice president at Intel rival AMD. "Lifestyles filled with [high-definition] media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform. AMD believes strongly in open industry standards, and therefore is supporting a common xHCI specification."

Intel said it expects to release a revised xHCI 0.95 specification in the fourth quarter, and the technology should become widely available in 2010.

The chip giant announced plans to release more details on the USB 3.0 spec earlier this year. In June, Intel spokesman Nick Knupffer said on his blog: "The sooner USB 3.0 hits the market, the sooner all you readers will be flooding your devices and hard drives with insanely large files requiring masses amounts of computational resources, improving your lives, and making you pleased that you bought a quad-core processor."

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Oliver Garnham

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