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Asus Launches First USB 3.0 Motherboard

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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One of the world’s major electronics makers has launched a motherboard that can support the speedy USB 3.0 specfication

Asus has launched the first motherboards boasting USB 3.0, as well as delivering SATA 6Gbps data throughput performance.

The latest family of Asus’ enhanced motherboards also features Hybrid Technology (Hybrid Processor, Hybrid Phase and Hybrid OS), designed to enhance performance and provide active cooling and faster online access.

The Asus Xtreme Design P7P55D-E Series motherboard has on-board support, while the Asus Xtreme Design P7P55D Series utilises the U3S6 PCIe x4 expansion card to deliver the fastest USB and SATA data transfer capabilities. Equipped with the Intel P55 Express chip set, the series of motherboards supports the latest LGA 1156 socket for Intel Core i7/Core i5 processors, the company said.

Asus’ expansion bridge design provides USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps transfer rates for both the P7P55D-E Series and the U3S6 expansion card. The company claims on-board IC doubles the bandwidth of the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) interface from Gen 1 to Gen 2, delivering 10 times faster USB 3.0 throughput compared with the previous USB 2.0 standard.

In addition, by eliminating transmission bottlenecks, the expansion bridge increases hard disk read and write speeds by up to 50 percent, though Asus notes performance may vary due to different system configurations.

The P7P55D-E Premium Motherboard includes 10 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (six on the back panel and four ports at the midboard) and two USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the rear. The motherboard is powered by an Intel P55 Express chip set and also includes two 1394a ports (one at midboard and one at the back panel). Asus noted the socket for the Intel Core i3 processor will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year.

The U3S6 expansion card includes two Serial ATA (SATA) 6Gbps ports for up to two SATA hard disk drives, two USB 3.0 ports, a Hot Plug function and support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ), used in newer solid-state drives where the drive encounters latency on the host. The motherboard solutions also are also backward-compatible with the USB 2.0/1.1 interface and are compatible with PCIe x4, x8 and x16 slots. PCIe is a computer expansion card standard designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X, and Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) standards.

As mentioned, the P7P55D-E/P7P55D series includes the latest Xtreme Design innovations, namely Hybrid Processors, Hybrid Phase Technology and Hybrid OS aimed at optimising performance and enhancing stability.

Hybrid Processors enable real-time overclocking and automatic performance tuning for users to gain the processing power and speeds associated with a higher-end CPU. For enhanced stability, the P7P55D-E and P7P55D Series include the Hybrid Phase power feature, which combines multiphase power delivery with real-time phase balancing to improve cooling of active components.

Users can also access online applications such as Skype, instant messaging services and more than 1,000 Flash-based games with Express Gate.