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Review: We test ASUS' implementation of USB 3.0

by Tarinder Sandhu on 12 December 2009, 07:27

Tags: U3S6 Expansion Card (USB 3.0), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qavax

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The need for speed is the one catalyst that has remained constant over the lifetime of the PC. We want faster, better, higher - and we want it all now.

Processor frequency is perhaps the first thought that comes to mind when thinking of speed, blighted as we have been by the MHz wars, but real speed increases - and we're talking factors of 10 here - are few and far between.

Venerable USB 2.0, introduced at the turn of the millennium, has been the de facto high-speed external connection used by the majority of PCs. Able to run at a theoretical 480Mbps, real-world speed hovers around 300Mbps (35MB/s) - useful for, say, moving data from a hard drive to the host PC's.

USB's ubiquity and plug-and-play topology makes it ideal in a number of scenarios, but the bandwidth limitation is beginning to show as external hard drives become larger and inherently faster. Transferring 100GB of data takes at least 50 minutes, and we've seen portable hard drives with at least 5x that capacity.

What's needed, then, is a new USB standard that provides speed in abundance. USB 3.0, aka SuperSpeed USB, is mooted to be just that, so let's take a look at a USB 3.0 controller card from ASUS.