Intel Adds USB 3.0 To Chipsets

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Intel’s 7-series chipset, made available this week, paves the way toward ubiquity of USB 3.0

Intel has included USB 3.0 support in its new 7-series chipset, making it likely the technology will soon become as widespread as previous USB generations.

USB 1.1, released in 1998, was the first generation to become widely adopted, and was followed by USB 2.0 in April 2000. USB 3.0 specifies a maximum transmission speed of 5Gbps, or more than 10 times the speed of USB 2.0, which is limited to 480Mbps.

Ivy Bridge support

The 7-series chipset family, released on Monday, supports both the current generation of Core processors as well as Intel’s next-generation platform, Ivy Bridge, which is expected to arrive later this month.

The chipsets are shipping now in mobile and desktop systems worldwide, Intel said on Monday.

“These new chipsets provide the companion logic to the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors today and will support the 3rd Generation Intel Core processor family (codenamed Ivy Bridge) later in Q2,” Intel said in a statement. “They also integrate USB 3.0 and enable responsiveness technologies like Intel Smart Response, Intel Smart Connect, and Intel Rapid Start in desktop and mobile platforms.”

Intel said it is also introducing desktop motherboards that use the new chipset.

Manufacturing woes

Intel had planned to roll out the Ivy Bridge processors this spring, but earlier this year officials said the release would be delayed until June due to production problems. However, recent reports indicate the 22-nanometre processors may now arrive in late April.

The chips are expected to offer a boost in performance over current-generation chips, as well as boosts in graphics capabilities and power efficiency. The chips will introduce Intel’s 3D Tri-Gate architecture, cutting power by 50 percent over current chips, according to Intel.

Intel is planning to use the Ivy Bridge chips in its Ultrabooks, currently at the centre of a media campaign.

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