USB3.1 becomes official, hits 10Gbps

usb3.1There is a bit of a cat-and-mouse game going on with the two high-speed peripheral serial bus competitors at the moment.

First, it was USB3.0 hitting that 5Gbps mark. Then, Intel and Apple combined to launched Thunderbolt, a 10Gbps serial bus combination with DisplayPort on new Apple Mac systems.

Now, the USB Promoters Group has just finished the final specification for new USB3.1, which matches Thunderbolt’s 10Gbps data transfer rates.

The new standard will be backward compatible not only with USB3.0 and 5Gbps hubs, it’ll also support legacy USB2.0 devices as well.

The USB Implementers Forum has announced it will be holding ‘Developer Days’ around the world to enable hardware creators to get their heads around the new standard:

1. USB 3.1 Developers Day US – August 21, 2013 in Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
2. USB 3.1 Developers Days Europe – October 1-2, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland
3. USB 3.1 Developers Days Asia – Two day conference scheduled for early December 2013

The Universal Serial Bus began life in the late 1990s with a standard 12Mbps data rate. By the time of USB2.0, the standard expanded to three levels – USB2.0 Low-Speed hitting 1.5Mbps but designed for low-power applications; USB2.0 Full-Speed, the standard 12Mbps bus rate; and USB2.0 High-Speed, the main-stay format for portable hard drives that reached a theoretical top of 480Mbps.

However, Thunderbolt isn’t taking the new speed competition lying down – back in June 2013, Intel’s Falcon Bridge-codenamed technology was dubbed ‘Thunderbolt 2‘ and doubled data rates again to 20Gbps. According to reports, the speed doubling will be achieved by combining the existing two 10Gbps channels inside Thunderbolt and allow them to work as a single-channel bi-directional link with the combined 20Gbps throughput.

It’ll also be fast enough to deliver 4K video over the DisplayPort 1.2 video transmission standard with the first release expected to be Apple’s new 2013 Mac Pro update later this year.

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