New details are surfacing about Intel’s next generation chipsets. If this unconfirmed information leak has any truth, we’ll be seeing USB 3.0 integration in the company’s Panther Point platform.
For those of you who need to be caught up to speed (no bad pun intended), USB 3.0 has ten times the data transfer rate of its predecessor, USB 2.0, through four bidirectional data channels that are also equipped with more efficient power management. What’s more, the leading chipmaker has been notoriously slow to bring the SuperSpeed interface to mainstream technology.
Paired with Ivy Bridge processors, this PCH purportedly uses 14 ports. Four of those will implement USB 3.0 while the other ten will use the standard USB 2.0. Windows XP and Vista will not be compatible with the SuperSpeed plugs, but you won’t have to discount these operating systems entirely since they will still work with the platform’s 2.0. Instead, Panther Point’s USB 3.0 will be geared toward use with Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8.
Separate from its two EHCI controllers, the Intel PCH will boast an XHCI controller that will solely fuel the 3.0 ports to help strive for uninterrupted bandwidth.
For an initial glimpse at Intel’s 3.0 future, it is interesting to note that there are more than double the USB 2.0 ports present. It’s almost as if the company still does not want to make a full-fledged USB 3.0 chipset since it should be noted that the SuperSpeed interface is backward compatible.
There are also no mentions in the document leak about Intel’s highly buzzed about Light Peak technology, which over the last year has seemed to shift the chipmaker’s focus away from USB 3.0. Given today’s technology, Light Peak is only in the stages of Copper Peak so to speak, where the use of the lightning fast fiber optic engineering has been put on the back burner for more practical copper connections. As a result, could Intel be placing current emphasis on USB 3.0—a technology that has more real-world application now and in the near future?
The idea that native USB 3.0 support may finally have its time to shine is exciting. As of now, it’s still all about USB 3.0 third party products, which allow for a limited scope of public use and more expensive products. If USB 3.0 gets the chipset support that Panther Point promises, it will likely give other manufacturers more incentive to produce their own 3.0 products. The market effect is that consumers will not only benefit from more affordable USB 3.0 prices, but 3.0 will also help to fill the void for data transfers with greater speed.
Intel is still quiet about an official release, but the leaked USB 3.0 document firmly suggests a 2012 release.
So many questions and conjectures, and just a 29 page document to help make sense of it all! Why do you think there’s been such a delay on Intel 3.0? What are your thoughts of Panther Point?