265w ago - Just under three months ago a preliminary USB 3.0 FAQ was published, and today both USB 3.0 final details and a date has been confirmed.
USB 3.0 is set to arrive during late 2009 or early 2010. It will be able to transfer at incredibly fast speeds of 5Gbps per second, so that's about an average sized movie every second.
To quote: USB Implementers Forum President Jeff Ravencraft let loose with some information about USB3.0, which is expected to appear late 2009/early 2010.
It'll apparently be able to transfer at blisteringly fast speeds of 5Gbps per second (roughly 600MB per second), or for media junkies that's about an average sized movie or eight average sized music albums EVERY SECOND.
In comparison USB 2.0 takes ten times as long, and we pity the fool who's trying to shift this sort of data using USB 1.1 on a knackered old laptop.
Negotiations are apparently afoot to work out which operating systems will get the technology, though Microsoft is obviously at the forefront. The word so far is that at least Windows Vista should get support, if not XP as well.
To be honest if Microsoft is still trying to push people towards Vista in a year's time we can't see it bending over backwards to help out poor old XP users.
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I agree with your sidenote, it seems every 5 years or so the amount of drive space required and available go up by a factor of 10 or so. 5 years ago 100GB drives became the norm, 10 years ago it was 10GB, 20 years ago 100MB!!!
With each jump in drive capacity there has normally also been an increase in drive speed and access times, this requires faster connections to the motherboard through improvements of old technology like USB.
USB 2.0 by definite estimates(!) has been around since 2001, when it got standardized.
My point is that USB 2.0's theoretical speed is 480Mbps (~60MB/sec). That is not even close to reality though (~20-30MB/sec).