Linked by fran on Thu 4th Nov 2010 22:43 UTC
Mac OS X Steve Jobs recently told a Mac user, enquiring about the probability of USB3 on Macs in the near feature, that the technology is not ready because Intel has yet to adopt the platform. A recent rumour slated Intel to integrate USB3 it into its chipsets by no earlier than 2012. LaCie electronics, however, is not prepared to wait around until 2012, and has just released an USB3.0 driver for Mac OS X. Just one catch: it only works with LaCie's hardware.
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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Thu 4th Nov 2010 22:52 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Intel not implementing USB3? Perhaps because it’s basically worthless. The increase in speed is minor, at the expense of CPU. USB is so badly designed and implemented, it has never come close to the real world speeds seen with Firewire. Firewire 800 still trounces USB3. This joke has to end at some point and my guess is Intel (and Apple) are betting that LightPeak is the it. All cables over one cable, at 10 Gbps.

Now imagine a laptop with only one port, but that can drive any number of connected devices, from HD screens to disk drives.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Delgarde on Thu 4th Nov 2010 23:20 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

USB is so badly designed and implemented, it has never come close to the real world speeds seen with Firewire. Firewire 800 still trounces USB3.


And yet how widely used is Firewire these days? Or eSata, for that matter - 90% of external disks are USB-only, and you'll pay quite a bit extra for eSATA or Firewire support, if you can even find them.

Superior technology doesn't always win...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by kaiwai on Thu 4th Nov 2010 23:54 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

And yet how widely used is Firewire these days? Or eSata, for that matter - 90% of external disks are USB-only, and you'll pay quite a bit extra for eSATA or Firewire support, if you can even find them.

Superior technology doesn't always win...


The reason why it didn't win is because firewire has a higher standard to which vendors must abide by - in other words they can't do the dodgy corner cutting that one could otherwise get away with in the case of USB2 and thus reduce the cost to them at the consumer.

Early on in the USB development you had a split between those who wanted the hardware to do more of the work and a second group who argued that it would be better done in software then let the CPU carry the load - since the performance of CPU's are improving rapidly the performance hit should be unnoticeable.

Unfortunately the industry is filled with corner cutting, from 'winmodems' to 'winprinters' to simply aweful promises when it comes to USB technology simply so some dick can save 5cents per unit.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by 0brad0 on Fri 5th Nov 2010 00:04 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05


And yet how widely used is Firewire these days? Or eSata, for that matter - 90% of external disks are USB-only, and you'll pay quite a bit extra for eSATA or Firewire support, if you can even find them.

Superior technology doesn't always win...


Things being mainstream and in common use does not make them good. All too often said things are actually pretty shitty.

USB disks are a good example of where USB2 fails miserably compared to Firewire.

Its easy enough to find Firewire disk enclosures and no I am not paying more.

Ya, you can "win" like BluRay and its very quickly on the way to being dead.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by galvanash on Fri 5th Nov 2010 00:23 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Intel not implementing USB3? Perhaps because it’s basically worthless. The increase in speed is minor, at the expense of CPU.


I have to disagree there. I prefer firewire too to be honest, but USB3 is a huge improvement over USB2. The benchmarks Ive seen show up to 200MB/sec throughput at 1/4 the CPU utilization of USB2 on identical hardware.

One example (I have seen a few others that showed more or less the same data):
http://www.myce.com/article/usb3-superspeed-a-first-look-26421/Read...

Now this may not be representative of Intel's onboard controller (this is an NEC controller), but it does show it is certainly possible to keep CPU utilization under control with USB3.

I'm not saying its perfect, but to say it is worthless is waaayyyy over the top.

Reply Parent Score: 6

That's a complete Kroc
by bannor99 on Fri 5th Nov 2010 02:17 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
bannor99 Member since:
2005-09-15

I've been using USB 3.0 for several months. For what I paid, it's totally worth it; on a PC, USB 3.0 vs eSATA may be a headscratcher but over FireWire, it's a complete no-brainer.

While typing this, I moved nearly 7 GBytes of mixed files at approx 95 MB/s, that's plenty fast considering there's a hard disk on each end. Unfortunately, I don't have a pair of SSDs to try the same transfer.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by pgeorgi on Fri 5th Nov 2010 08:18 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

Intel not implementing USB3? Perhaps because it’s basically worthless. The increase in speed is minor, at the expense of CPU. USB is so badly designed and implemented, it has never come close to the real world speeds seen with Firewire.

Sorry, but that's garbage.

The speed increase is a factor of 10, without any additional CPU overhead involved. In fact, with xHCI, more mundane work is loaded off from the CPU into the controller chip, simply because it's nearly impossible for CPU or busses to keep up with a 5GHz bus.

I implemented drivers for all USB controller standards, as well as a couple of USB devices.

Even with USB1 or USB2, I could schedule a 2TB transfer in one go, and then have the controller work on it until it's done, with _no_ CPU intervention at all. The main problem is that my systems rarely have the memory to back it ;-)

The main reason intel doesn't push USB3 is that it's still copper based. The USB3 drama (nothing in IT is done without sufficient drama) had that episode where Intel wanted to go optical, and all the other stakeholders didn't.
So Intel was the editor of the standard (and thus responsible for its late release) and entirely uninterested in it - not a healthy situation for the standard.

Meanwhile, they continued to work on LightPeak. And given that ancestry, I fully expect it to be USB3-with-photons, so the same "issues" about CPU usage and so on will apply there as they do (or don't) with USB.

Pig, lip stick, and all that (though it might be a good thing for Apple, given the negative campaigning they did to USB to promote Firewire)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by deathshadow on Sat 6th Nov 2010 11:39 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Still trounces? ON WHAT PLANET?!?

480mbps usb2 vs. 800mbps firewire 800 vs. 5gbps usb3 on-spec & 6gbps most implmenetations. That's not a 'minor' increase in speed.

As to optical like LightPeak, much like Firewire it's too damned expensive to implement device side for it's own good.

Performance is NOT everything -- See the parallel drive days of IDE vs. SCSI... IDE won that fight by sheer virtue of price to performance with the only people going SCSI/SCSI2 being those with either more money than brains, or the people who REALLY needed that last ounce of performance; Though in the early Mac days it was a laugh that 90% of hard drives for them were MFM drives in SCSI enclosures -- including the ones sold by Apple. Even back then they did everything they could to make them more expensive than necessary with a side of vendor lock in.

I compare it to the nimrods who would go out and buy a i7 975 for $1090 when the i7 950 is only $294. I'm so sure that 8% speed boost is so worth almost double the price -- not.

Per root hub USB 2 is as fast or FASTER than Firewire 400 --FACT. 480mbps vs. 400mbps... I want to make a simple slave device using a cheap microcontroller like a PIC or AtMega, for USB 2.0 I go buy something simple like 48 pin FT245BM for 44 cents or use a chip that already has USB slave capability built in (I'm a fan of the AT90USB1286 like that on the Teensy++) and for under $30 prototyping or $5 low-count production I'm in business.

Firewire? You need two separate chips, the 'link layer' and 'physical layer' -- typically 100 pins each, only available in LQFP (so kiss off making a prototype without a real fab facility), and so complex and convoluted a set of outputs you end up needing a dedicated processor sitting between your target microcontroller and the two 'layer' chips to turn the outputs from them into something useful! Much less ALL of those chips STARTING at around $20 a POP for orders in the THOUSANDS, it's no wonder you will be hard pressed to find firewire in ANYTHING anymore.

Hell, digikey and mouser even stopped selling anything more complex than plugs for firewire.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Morgul on Mon 8th Nov 2010 15:10 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Morgul Member since:
2005-07-06

USB is so badly designed and implemented, it has never come close to the real world speeds seen with Firewire. Firewire 800 still trounces USB3.


Now, I'm not sure about the Firewire vs USB3, I can speak to how terrible USB is. I've done several embedded projects that required either USB connectivity, or a USB host, being run by a PIC Micro-controller. While both are possible, and pretty easy to get working initially, working with USB in an embedded environment made the faults of USB 1.1/2 clear. I got more reliable data out of UDP going to a russian server and back, then I did across the USB connection. And reliablitiy varried by device/computer combination. I found that most USB mice send more packets that fail CRC then they do good ones. It's terrible.

Now imagine a laptop with only one port, but that can drive any number of connected devices, from HD screens to disk drives.


This is where I shake my head. It will never happen. It's a nice theory, but in practice, would be absolutely useless. A laptop with one LightPeak port is about as useful as a laptop with a single USB port. Think of it this way. How much do you like cables? Enough to daisy chain your laptop to your keyboard, mouse, your second monitor, your external hard drive, and your 'LightPeak Mini' enabled phone? *shakes head* Won't happen.

What I predict, honestly, is that LightPeak will replace FireWire, not USB. It will also replace eSata and DisplayPort more than likely. And all computers with LightPeak will come with no fewer than two LightPeak ports. (Three will be standard, with one of them in the traditional HDMI location on today's laptops. It might even be labeled as the display port) Laptops will continue to use USB, phones will continue to be USB, and the Status Quo will remain about the same.

*shrugs* 'Technically Superior' is, and always has been, a technicality. 'Better' isn't based on merit, but on the lowest common denominator between price, proliferation, and practicality. I hate it, but it's true.

Reply Parent Score: 1