Hardware

USB 3.2 at 20 Gb/s Coming to High-End Desktops This Year

Since mid-2017
we’ve been talking about the impending arrival of USB 3.2, the
next version of the USB Implementers Forum’s ubiquitous
standard for connecting external devices. With 3.2 serving as
both an upgrade to the feature set and a physical layer tweak
to provide more bandwidth, according to the USB-IF at MWC 2019,
the technology will finally come to fruition this year.

According to the organization that sets the standards for the
USB interface, discrete USB 3.2 controllers capable of
supporting the standard’s new 20 Gb/s Type-C mode will be
available this year. Being a specification-setting group, the
USB Implementers Forum does not name companies that develop
actual chips. But given the limited number of companies that
develop standalone USB controllers, the names of the suspects
are pretty well known.

Since discrete USB controllers are used mostly by
high-performance desktop systems, we’re likely to see the first
USB 3.2 chips to land on high-end motherboards first. In which
case we could see motherboard venders showing off product
sometimes this summer, or maybe a bit later. Meanwhile
peripherals will likely lag a bit for compatibility testing and
the like, in which case we’d start seeing them in 2020.

Though technically only a point upgrade for the USB standard,
USB 3.2 includes multiple enhancements for the standard in
terms of bandwidth, as well as changes to how the standard is
branded. In terms of bandwidth, USB 3.2 introduces the ability
to use two high-speed USB Type-C Tx/Rx channels – the
so-called x2 mode – to get 20 Gbps maximum throughput on a
Type-C cable. The technology retains the USB 3.1 physical layer
data rates and encoding techniques (SuperSpeed and
SuperSpeed+), so while bonding two channels is new, how those
individual channels work at a low-level is not.

Meanwhile, USB 3.2 branding will be absorbing the earlier USB
3.0/3.1 branding, as the overriding USB 3.x standard continues
to evolve separately of the underlying SuperSpeed encoding
technique. As USB 3.2 hosts and devices roll out on the market,
we’ll see the branding switch over to USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps
SuperSpeed), USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps SuperSpeed+), and USB 3.2
Gen2x2 (2x10Gbps SuperSpeed+). So while all future products
will be 3.2, they won’t necessarily support the higher 10Gbps
and 20Gbps data rates. Those decisions are up to the device
manufacturer, especially as not all devices need the higher
speed modes and the increased build costs that come with them.

Related Reading:

Source: USB Implementers Forum

Freeman Addico

Techmaker and Entrepreneur with an extensive experience in Cloud Computing and e-commerce. I build Solutions for Equity and revenue sharing basis. Think of me as an Investor who invests Technology instead of money. Want to explore a collaboration? Drop me a message or schedule a call

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