USB 3.0 Standard - Hard Drive Storage Due Soon

The completed USB 3.0 specification, also known as USB SuperSpeed, has been officially released by industry group the USB Implementers Forum. The new specification, developed by major technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, promises data transfer rates of 4.8 Gbit/s, around 600 MB per second. As with USB 2.0, in practice devices are expected to perform at around 70% of the theoretical maximum speed.

Current USB 2.0 Hi-Speed external storage devices are limited by the USB interface to 30-40 MB/sec, which is often slower than the hard disk or flash memory they contain. Older USB 1.1 devices were limited to 12 Mbit/s (1.5 MB/s). A modern 7200 RPM hard disk for example can transfer data at more than twice the rate USB 2.0 Hi-Speed is capable of. USB 3.0 SuperSpeed promises to eliminate this bottleneck, making the USB flash drives and external hard disks of the future significantly faster, exceeding the speed of FireWire/IEEE 1394 (0.8 to 3.2 Gbit/s) and bringing the USB bus into competition with SATA (3.0 or 6.0 GBit/s) for the first time.

As with previous USB specifications, USB 3.0 is fully backwards compatible with existing USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices and will operate at lower speeds when connected to older computers and hubs.

With the new USB specification we expect to see new controller chips for USB flash memory sticks introduced. Our expertise in reverse-engineering the storage format and wear levelling algorithms used represents a significant factor in our success in recovering data from failed and damaged memory sticks. TRC Data Recovery will be investigating the new USB 3.0 devices as soon as they are available, as part of our continual research into the latest storage technologies.The first devices are expected to start shipping in 2009.

TRC Data Recovery Ltd will keep you posted of any USB 3.0 news.

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