Intel Unveils Final USB 2.0 Spec

SAN MATEO (04/28/2000) - Intel Corp. this week announced the release of the final specification of USB 2.0, expected to transfer data between devices at a rate of up to 40 times faster than current USB specifications, according to Intel officials.

Patrick Gelsinger, vice president and CTO of Intel's Architecture Group, detailed the release of the new high-bandwidth specification at the WinHEC event in New Orleans. The finalized specification is expected to be a launch pad for products with more functionality, increase efficiency in a networked business environment, and enable users to operate multiple outboard peripherals at the same time, according to Intel officials.

Current USB technology has faced competition from a rival I/O solution called Firewire. However, Gelsinger last week claimed that Firewire will remain a PC-to-PC connection while USB 2.0 is a multiperipheral solution.

A copy of the specification is published on the USB 2.0 Promoter's Group Web site at www.usb.org. A copy of one of the first publicly announced USB 2.0 host-controllers from NEC has also been posted on the site.

As hardware development begins under the new specification, the first generation of USB 2.0 linked systems will require a "discreet host-controller," which can be fixed on the motherboard or as an off-board component, to optimize the data throughput. An integrated host-controller will follow, but Intel officials said not to expect it until early 2001.

Products utilizing discreet host-controllers will be available later this year, Intel officials said.

To assure interoperability between vendors, the new USB 2.0 specification was derived via the cooperation of more than 50 different companies -- including Acer Inc., Mitsubishi Corp., NEC Corp., and Philips Electronics NV -- with Intel taking the point position for the announcement.

Intel will also host the USB 2.0 Developer's Conference in Anaheim, California, taking place May 15 through 18, for participating vendors to display prototypes and show product demos.

Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at www.intel.com.

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