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Thursday, June 12, 2008
Intel Talks USB 3.0


There has been a lot of unanswered speculation recently regarding USB 3.0 and Intel's involvement; Intel's Nick Knupffer tries to give some answers.

The Intel statement on USB 3.0 is meant to clarify the difference between the basic USB specification and the "host controller specification"--the latter a point of dispute with AMD and Nvidia. The statement also tries to dispel rumors that Intel is "holding back the specification" from others in the industry.

USB 3.0 will be a new wired USB standard - operating at faster speeds than previous USB generations.

Much of the speculation in the press so far has centred on what the USB 3.0 spec is, and who is creating it. There are two separate standards being developed, USB 3.0 and Intel?s Host Controller spec in support of the USB 3.0 standard. Knupffer said that recent press articles do not properly distinguish these separate specification development efforts.

"USB 3.0 is not an Intel specification" Knupffer added. "It is being developed by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group (HP, Intel, MSFT, NEC, NXP, and TI), Nku The USB 3.0 Promoters issued a call for contributors in November 2007 and since then the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has been joined by over 180 USB 3.0 Contributor companies (Including other chipset makers such as AMD and Nvidia) who are helping to finalize the USB 3.0 specification."

This spec is expected to be made publicly available by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group along with an adopter agreement early in the second half of 2008.

Intel's host controller spec - wholly different

Knupffer also described the host controller specification, which has become a bone of contention with AMD and Nvidia. "Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology. Think of the host controller spec as a ?Dummies Guide? to building a USB 3.0 compatible piece of silicon; it is NOT the USB 3.0 specification itself."

Intel plans to make this spec available early in second half of 2008 with a no-royalty licensing obligation.

Knupffer asserted that Intel is not holding back the specification and alludes to AMD and Nvidia.speculation that USB 3.0 is simply lifted from the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) specification as AMD has claimed. "No, not true. The USB 3.0 specification has not borrowed heavily from the PCI (Special Interest Group)."

Finally, he refuted speculation that USB 3.0 is simply lifted from the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) specification as AMD has claimed. "No, not true. The USB 3.0 specification has not borrowed heavily from the PCI (Special Interest Group)."


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