Intel has released part of the draft specification of Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0, the next major revision to the peripheral interface standard used throughout the computing world. The company has provided information on the Extensive Host Controller Interface (xHCI) to members of its USB 3.0 Promoter Group, made up of HP, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and others.
The xHCI provides a standard way for USB 3.0 host controllers—chips or cards on a host computer—to communicate with the driver software that will operate USB 3.0 peripherals.
USB 3.0 (also called “SuperSpeed USB”) is expected to operate at 4.8 gigabits per second (Gbps), ten times faster than the 480 megabits per second (Mbps) theoretical maximum of USB 2.0. USB 3.0 will be backward-compatible with existing devices.
Intel developed the faster standard as a way of keeping up with increasingly larger file transfers and the file processing demands imposed by High Definition (HD) video and other media-rich content.
A revised xHCI specification is expected to be released sometime in the last calendar quarter of 2008, but USB 3.0 technology won’t be available for implementation in computer systems until some time in 2010.