Archive for June, 2010

Solar Roof Shingles

One of the biggest concerns with solar panels is the way they sit and fit on a roof. Since the roof is high and out of the way many people want their solar panel arrays up there. As well, for the most part, that is where they get most hours of unobstructed light every day.

However, there are some concerns with roof-mounted solar. The first is, in order for flat panels to work on the roof of a house they must be facing the direction of the sun. If not, they have to be angled upward and to the angle of the most direct sunlight. Once the panels are raised then wind and, in parts of the country, ice can get underneath and may cause problems. As well, even the panels that are lying flat are subject to damage.

The second is looks. Many people like the “space-age” look of solar panels but others may want a more subtle look.

A new solar panel shingle has been manufactured to mimic the shape of the asphalt tab shingle and mold right in with the rest of the roofing. You can replace a shingle here and there or do the whole house with photovotaic shingles. This type of solar concerts solar energy to D.C. electricity and each one has an electric lead which goes through the roof deck into the attic area for easy hookup to the main solar controls.

Following the direction of the manufacturer the roofing contractors marks and drills the holes for the wiring of the solar shingles. After installation, which follows the pattern of the regular asphalt shingles, an electrician will gather the wiring from the solar shingles and pull them into the solar combiner box where they will feed the other electronic gear used to collect and distribute the solar energy: meters, charge controller, fuses, system disconnect switches, batteries and inverter.

In essence, the solar shingles go down on 30 pound felt underlay just like the conventional shingle. The only fly in the ointment could be the longevity of either the regular or solar shingle. If ones type needs to be replaced before the other then the whole system has to come off. But if the whole roof is to done in solar shingles you are guaranteed 20 years.

For more information on solar shingles contact:

http://www.alphasolar.net/alpha_solar_062.htm

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Latest Car for future technology :world new technology

This car will be mirror of future technology and world. When I see this car than I amazed. This car design is very latest and strong. This car has no engines, no drivers, no limits and no steering wheel. This car is surprise of the future. This car shapes is very different. The visibility is unpredictable, converging high fashion and high technology. The car very latest design that no engine, no steer wheel, and petroleum-free. The designers came out with really unique revolutionary ideas. It has minimum weight and perfect aerodynamics, low resistance mobility, and very efficient. After all, I like this car because it design, engine. Colors. Overall is very latest. It’s very fantastic.

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DDR3 SDRAM

DDR3 memory provides a reduction in power consumption of 30% compared to DDR2  modules due to DDR3’s 1.5 V supply voltage, compared to DDR2’s 1.8 V or DDR’s 2.5 V. The 1.5 V supply voltage works well with the 90 nanometer fabrication technology used in the original DDR3 chips. Some manufacturers further propose using “dual-gate”transistors  to reduce Leakage of current.

DDR3 SDRAM

According to JEDEC the maximum recommended voltage is 1.575 volts and should be considered the absolute maximum when memory stability is the foremost consideration, such as in servers or other mission critical devices. In addition, JEDEC states that memory modules must withstand up to 1.975 volts before incurring permanent damage, although they are not required to function correctly at that level.

The main benefit of DDR3 comes from the higher bandwidth made possible by DDR3’s 8-burst-deep prefetch buffer , in contrast to DDR2’s 4-burst-deep or DDRs 2-burst-deep prefetch buffer.

DDR3 modules can transfer data at a rate of 800–2133 MT/s using both rising and falling edges  of a 400–1066 MHz I/O clock. Sometimes, a vendor may misleadingly advertise the I/O clock rate by labeling the MT/s as MHz. The MT/s is normally twice that of MHz by double sampling, one on the rising clock edge, and the other, on the falling. In comparison, DDR2’s current range of data transfer rates is 400–1066 MT/s using a 200–533 MHz I/O clock, and DDR’s range is 200–400 MT/s based on a 100–200 MHz I/O clock. High-performance graphics was an initial driver of such bandwidth requirements, where high bandwidth data transfer between framebuffers is required.

Dominator 6GB DDR3

DDR3 prototypes were announced in early 2005. Products in the form of motherboards appeared on the market in June 2007 based on Intel’s P35″Bearlake chipset with DIMMs at bandwidths up to DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800). The Intel core I7, released in November 2008, connects directly to memory rather than via a chipset. The Core i7 supports only DDR3. AMD’s first Socket AM3 Phenom II X4 processors, released in February 2009, were their first to support DDR3.

DDR3 DIMMS have 240 pins, are electrically incompatible with DDR2 and have a different key notch location.DDR3 SO-DIMMshave 204 pins.

GDDR3 memory, having a similar name but being from an entirely dissimilar technology, has been in use for graphic cards by companies such as NVIDIA and ATI Technologies. GDDR3 has sometimes been incorrectly referred to as “DDR3”.

On July 21, 2009, Samsung began mass-producing 2-Gigabit DDR3 chips.

Latencies

While the typical latencies for a JEDEC DDR2 device were 5-5-5-15, the standard latencies for the JEDEC DDR3 devices are 7-7-7-20 for DDR3-1066 and 7-7-7-24 for DDR3-1333.

DDR3 latencies are numerically higher because the I/O bus clock cycles by which they are measured are shorter; the actual time interval is similar to DDR2 latencies (around 10 ns). There is some improvement because DDR3 generally uses more recent manufacturing processes, but this is not directly caused by the change to DDR3.

As with earlier memory generations, faster DDR3 memory became available after the release of the initial versions. DDR3-2000 memory with 9-9-9-28 latency (9 ns) was available in time to coincide with the Intel Core i7 release. CAS latency of 9 at 1000 MHz (DDR3-2000) is 9 ns, while CAS latency of 7 at 667 MHz (DDR3-1333) is 10.5 ns.

Example:

(CASDATA RATE) * 2000 = X ns

(71333) * 2000 = 10.5026 ns

Extensions

Intel Corporation officially introduced the eXtreme Memory Profile (XMP) Specification on March 23, 2007 to enable enthusiast performance extensions to the traditional JEDEC SPD specifications for DDR3 SDRAM.

Modules

JEDEC standard modules

Standard name Memory clock(MHz) Cycle time(ns) I/O bus clock(MHz) Data rate(MT/s) Module name Peak transfer rate(MB/s) Timings(CL-nRCD-nRP)
DDR3-800D
DDR3-800E
100 10 400 800 PC3-6400 6400 5-5-5
6-6-6
DDR3-1066E
DDR3-1066F
DDR3-1066G
133 71/2 533 1066 PC3-8500 8533 6-6-6
7-7-7
8-8-8
DDR3-1333F*
DDR3-1333G
DDR3-1333H
DDR3-1333J*
166 6 667 1333 PC3-10600 10667 7-7-7
8-8-8
9-9-9
10-10-10
DDR3-1600G*
DDR3-1600H
DDR3-1600J
DDR3-1600K
200 5 800 1600 PC3-12800 12800 8-8-8
9-9-9
10-10-10
11-11-11
DDR3-1866J*
DDR3-1866K
DDR3-1866L
DDR3-1866M*
233 42/7 933 1866 PC3-14900 14933 10-10-10
11-11-11
12-12-12
13-13-13
DDR3-2133K*
DDR3-2133L
DDR3-2133M
DDR3-2133N*
266 33/4 1066 2133 PC3-17000 17066 11-11-11
12-12-12
13-13-13
14-14-14

* optional

Note: All above listed are specified by JEDEC as JESD79-3D. All RAM data rates in-between or above these listed specifications are not standardized by JEDEC—often they are simply manufacturer optimizations using higher-tolerance or overvolted chips. Of these non-standard specifications, the highest purported speed reached was equivalent to DDR3-2544 as of May 2010.

DDR3-xxx denotes data transfer rate, and describes raw DDR chips, whereas PC3-xxxx denotes theoretical bandwidth (with the last two digits truncated), and is used to describe assembled DIMMs. Bandwidth is calculated by taking transfers per second and multiplying by eight. This is because DDR3 memory modules transfer data on a bus that is 64 data bits wide, and since a byte comprises 8 bits, this equates to 8 bytes of data per transfer.

In addition to bandwidth and capacity variants, modules can

  1. Optionally implementECC, which is an extra data byte lane used for correcting minor errors and detecting major errors for better reliability. Modules with ECC are identified by an additionalECC or E in their designation. For example: “PC3-6400 ECC”, or PC3-8500E.
  2. Be “registered”, which improves signal integrity (and hence potentially clock rates and physical slot capacity) by electrically buffering the signals with a register, at a cost of an extra clock of increased latency. Those modules are identified by an additional R in their designation, whereas non-registered (a.k.a. “unbuffered”) RAM may be identified by an additional U in the designation. PC3-6400R is a registered PC3-6400 module, PC3-6400R ECC is the same module but with additional ECC.
  3. Be fully buffered modules, which are designated by F or FB and do not have the same notch position as other classes. Fully buffered modules cannot be used with motherboards that are made for registered modules, and the different notch position physically prevents their insertion.

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Our new ophthalmologist: NETRA

If you still visit the eye clinic for your eye-test, than please don’t, you can be your own ophthalmologist, test your eye-sight at your own. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has recently developed a tool called NETRA (Near-Eye Tool for Refractive Assessment) which can test your eye without any expertise help. This tool is available for $1 to $2.

Any mobile user can use this tool on their mobile, just by attaching this device in your mobile. The basic process involvedAny mobile user can use this tool on their mobile, just by attaching this device in your mobile. The basic process involvedThis inventive technology has been developed by a group of researchers led by India-origin ‘’Ramesh Raskar’’ at the media lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has yielded hopeful results and will be soon available in India in collaboration with the Hyderabad-based L. V. Prasad Eye Institute.Soon you will get rid of phoropter and aberrometer process. This research will be presented at the Siggraph conference, Los Angeles.

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SuperSpeed USB 3.0

1. What is USB 3.0 (aka. SuperSpeed USB)?

USB 3.0 is the next major revision of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, created in 1996 by a consortium of companies led by Intel to dramatically simplify the connection between host computer and peripheral devices. Fast forwarding to 2009, USB 2.0 has been firmly entrenched as the de-facto interface standard in the PC world for years (with about 6 billion devices sold), and yet still the need for more speed by ever faster computing hardware and ever greater bandwidth demands again drive us to where a couple of hundred megabits per second is just not fast enough.

In 2007, Intel demonstrated SuperSpeed USB at the Intel Developer Forum. Version 1.0 of the USB 3.0 (confusing, isn’t it?) specification was completed on November 17, 2008. As such, the USB Implementers Forum(USB-IF) has taken over managing the specifications and publishes the relevant technical documents necessary to allow the world of developers and hardware manufacturers to begin to develop products around the USB 3.0 protocol.

In a nutshell, USB 3.0 promises the following:

  • Higher transfer rates (up to 4.8 Gbps)
  • Increased maximum bus power and increased device current draw to better accommodate power-hungry devices
  • New power management features
  • Full-duplex data transfers and support for new transfer types
  • New connectors and cables for higher speed data transfer…although they are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices and computers (more on this later)

USB MILESTONES

2009 NEC ships world’s first USB 3.0 host silicon

SuperSpeed USB logo debuted

Linux begins native USB 3.0 support
2008 USB 3.0 specs released
2005 Wireless USB 1.0 specs released
2002 Windows XP SP1 supports USB 2.0 natively
2001 USB OTG specification released.
2000 USB 2.0 specs released

USB started to gain reputation as a mainstream bus technology
1998 Apple shipped iMac with USB ports only

USB 1.1 specification released
1997 USB-IF membership increased to over 400 companies

Over 500 USB products were in development worldwide
1996 USB 1.0 specs released

First USB product introduced.

First USB Plugfest compliance workshop held.
1995 USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) formed with an initial membership of 340 companies

Intel introduced the first USB silicon.
1994 USB core companies assembled

2. Isn’t USB 2.0 fast enough?

Well, yes and no. USB 2.0 for many applications provides sufficient bandwidth for a variety of devices and hubs to be connected to one host computer. However, with today’s ever increasing demands placed on data transfers with high-definition video content, terrabyte storage devices, high megapixel count digital cameras, and multi-gigabyte mobile phones and portable media players, 480Mbps is not really fast anymore. Furthermore, no USB 2.0 connection could ever come close to the 480Mbps theoretical maximum throughput, making data transfer at around 320 Mbps – the actual real-world maximum. Similarly, USB 3.0 connections will never achieve 4.8 Gbps, but even 50% of that in practice is almost a 10x improvement over USB 2.0.

3. How does USB 3.0 achieve the extra performance?

USB 3.0 achieves the much higher performance by way of a number of technical changes. Perhaps the most obvious change is an additional physical bus that is added in parallel with the existing USB 2.0 bus. This means that where USB 2.0 previously had 4 wires (power, ground, and a pair for differential data), USB 3.0 adds 4 more for two pairs of differential signals (receive and transmit) for a combined total of 8 connections in the connectors and cabling. These extra two pairs were necessary to support the SuperSpeed USB target bandwidth requirements, because the two wire differential signals of USB 2.0 were not enough.

Furthermore, the signaling method, while still host-directed, is now asynchronous instead of polling. USB 3.0 utilizes a bi-directional data interface rather than USB 2.0’s half-duplex arrangement, where data can only flow in one direction at a time. Without getting into any more technical mumbo jumbo, this all combines to give a ten-fold increase in theoretical bandwidth, and a welcome improvement noticeable by anyone when SuperSpeed USB products hit the market.

4. What other improvements does USB 3.0 provide?

The enhancements to SuperSpeed USB are not just for higher data rates, but for improving the interaction between device and host computer. While the core architectural elements are inherited from before, several changes were made to support the dual bus arrangement, and several more are notable for how users can experience the improvement that USB 3.0 makes over USB 2.0:

  • More power when needed
    • 50% more power is provided for unconfigured or suspended devices (150 mA up from 100 mA), and 80% more power is available for configured devices (900 mA up from 500 mA). This means that more power-hungry devices could be bus powered, and battery powered devices that previously charged using bus power could potentially charge more quickly.
    • A new Powered-B receptable is defined with two extra contacts that enable a devices to provide up to 1000 mA to another device, such as a Wireless usb adapter. This eliminates the need for a power supply to accompany the wireless adapter…coming just a bit closer to the ideal system of a wireless link without wires (not even for power). In regular wired USB connections to a host or hub, these 2 extra contacts are not used.
  • Less power when it’s not needed
    Power efficiency was a key objective in the move to USB 3.0. Some examples of more efficient use of power are:

    • Link level power management, which means either the host computer or the device can initiate a power savings state when idle
    • The ability for links to enter progressively lower power management states when the link partners are idle
    • Continuous device polling is eliminated
    • Broadcast packet transmission through hubs is eliminated
    • Device and individual function level suspend capabilities allow devices to remove power from all, or portions of their circuitry not in use
  • Streaming for bulk transfers is supported for faster performance
  • Isochronous transfers allows devices to enter low power link states between service intervals
  • Devices can communicate new information such as their latency tolerance to the host, which allows better power performance
  • To paint an accurate picture, not everything in USB 3.0 is a clear improvement. Cable length, for one, is expected to have a significant limitation when used in applications demanding the highest possible throughput. Although maximum cable length is not specified in the USB 3.0 specification, the electrical properties of the cable and signal quality limitations may limit the practical length to around 3 metres when multi-gigabit transfer rates are desired. This length, of course, can be extended through the use of hubs or signal extenders.

Additionally, some SuperSpeed USB hardware, such as hubs, may always be more expensive than their USB 2.0 counterparts. This is because by definition, a SuperSpeed hub contains 2 hubs: one that enumerates as a SuperSpeed hub, and a second one that enumerates as a regular high-speed hub. Until the USB hub silicon becomes an integrated SuperSpeed USB + Hi-Speed USB part, there may always be a significant price difference.

Some unofficial discussion has surfaced on the web with respect to fiber-optic cabling for longer cable length with USB 3.0. The specification makes no mention of optical cabling, so we conclude that this will be defined in a future spec revision, or left to 3rd party companies to implement cable extension solutions for SuperSpeed USB.

  • Less power when it’s not needed
    Power efficiency was a key objective in the move to USB 3.0. Some examples of more efficient use of power are:

    • Link level power management, which means either the host computer or the device can initiate a power savings state when idle
    • The ability for links to enter progressively lower power management states when the link partners are idle
    • Continuous device polling is eliminated
    • Broadcast packet transmission through hubs is eliminated
    • Device and individual function level suspend capabilities allow devices to remove power from all, or portions of their circuitry not in use
  • Streaming for bulk transfers is supported for faster performance
  • Isochronous transfers allows devices to enter low power link states between service intervals
  • Devices can communicate new information such as their latency tolerance to the host, which allows better power performance
  • To paint an accurate picture, not everything in USB 3.0 is a clear improvement. Cable length, for one, is expected to have a significant limitation when used in applications demanding the highest possible throughput. Although maximum cable length is not specified in the USB 3.0 specification, the electrical properties of the cable and signal quality limitations may limit the practical length to around 3 metres when multi-gigabit transfer rates are desired. This length, of course, can be extended through the use of hubs or Signal extenders.

Additionally, some SuperSpeed USB hardware, such as hubs, may always be more expensive than their USB 2.0 counterparts. This is because by definition, a SuperSpeed hub contains 2 hubs: one that enumerates as a SuperSpeed hub, and a second one that enumerates as a regular high-speed hub. Until the USB hub silicon becomes an integrated SuperSpeed USB + Hi-Speed USB part, there may always be a significant price difference.

Some unofficial discussion has surfaced on the web with respect to fiber-optic cabling for longer cable length with USB 3.0. The specification makes no mention of optical cabling, so we conclude that this will be defined in a future spec revision, or left to 3rd party companies to implement cable extension solutions for SuperSpeed USB.

5. Will my existing peripherals still work? How will they co-exist?

The good news is that USB 3.0 has been carefully planned from the start to peacefully co-exist with USB 2.0. First of all, while USB 3.0 specifies new physical connections and thus new cables to take advantage of the higher speed capability of the new protocol, the connector itself remains the same rectangular shape with the four USB 2.0 contacts in the exact same location as before. Five new connections to carry receive and transitted data independently are present on USB 3.0 cables and only come into contact when mated with a proper SuperSpeed USB connection

6. Where are those SuperSpeed USB 3.0 products?

USB 3.0 silicon such as USB host controllers, peripheral chipsets and hubs compliant with the SuperSpeed bus have arrived in the latter half of 2009. Since then, a handful of external hard drives, flash drives, storage docks, Blu-ray optical drives, high-end notebooks, and host adapters in both PCI Express and ExpressCard have begun appearing on retail shelves. Other companies have shown their plans to roll out solid-state drives and RAID. DisplayLink also revealed plans to ship USB 3.0  Compliant USB video silicons by Q4 2010.

It is important to note that NEC is the only fab to produce xHCI USB 3.0 host silicons as of this writing (March 2010). Until Intel, nVidia and AMD start bundling USB 3.0 as part of their motherboard chipset, companies interested in equipping USB 3.0 on their systems will have to source from NEC for the chipsets.

Here’s a list of commercially available SuperSpeed USB products:

    Mass storage

  • Astro Drive A101 Compact USB 3.0 SSD- Capacity ranging from 32GB to 128GB, tops at 180MB/s.
  • Buffalo HD-HUX3 Drivestation- 3.5″ based, available in 1TB, 1.5TB & 2TB.
  • Buffalo SHD-PEHU3 USB 3.0 SSD – Available in 64GB and 128GB. Top speed: 240MB/s. Only shipping in Japan.
  • Buffalo BR-X1216U3 Blu-ray Burner- Only shipping in Japan.

  • Lacie Rugged USB 3.0 Hard Drive – 2.5″ drive in a shockproof, waterproof enclosure.
  • OCZ Enyo Slim USB 3.0 SSD- Available in 64GB, 128GB & 256GB. Speed tops at 200MB/s.
  • PQI Cool Drive U368 USB 3.0 Flash Drive- Available in capacity from 8GB to 128GB. Top speed: 105MB/s.
  • Samsung STORY Station 3.0- Stylish SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3.5″ drive in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB.
  • Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB3.0 – Portable 2.5″-based USB 3.0 drive, 1-port ExpressCard adapter bundled.
  • RAIDSonic  Icy Box USB 3.0 RAID- SuperSpeed USB two-slot enclosure with RAID-0, RAID-1 and JBOD function.
  • Sharkoon Quickport USB 3.0 Drive station – Drive dock for either 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA drives.
  • SIIG USB 3.0 to eSATA Adapter- A dongle connects to any eSATA external drives up to 2TB.
  • Super Talent RAIDDrive- First USB 3.0 flash drive in a self-contained RAID0 configuration; reaches 320MB/s.
  • Super Talent USB 3.0 Express- SuperSpeed USB flash drives for budget conscious.
  • Super Talent SuperCrypt- First USB 3.0 flash drive with 256-bit XTS encryption.
  • Western Digital My Book 3.0- Barebone 1TB USB 3.0 drive.


Multimedia devices

  • BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle- First USB 3.0 HDMI video capture.
  • USB 3.0 adapter cards & hubs

  • Asus U3S6 USB 3.0/SATA 6Gbps Card- PCI Express 2.0 x4, two USB 3.0 ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports.
  • Buffalo 4-port USB 3.0 hub – A pedestrian design; based on VIA USB 3.0 hub silicon.
  • Gigabyte Ultra Durable USB 3.0 Card – PCI Express 2.0 x1, two USB 3.0 ports, 2700mA current to each port.
  • PhotoFast 1- Port USB 3.0 ExpressCard- Flush mounted USB 3.0 port on an ExpressCard.
  • StarTech USB 3.0 ExpressCard- ExpressCard 1.0, add two USB 3.0 ports on a notebook.

And this is a list of SuperSpeed USB products confirmed in development

    USB 3.0 Products in the Works
    Nexcopy USB 3.0 Duplicator
    USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk
    Lacie 2 Big Dual-bay USB 3.0 RAID
Point Grey USB 3.0 HD Camera
7. What is the future for USB 2.0?
For at least the next five years, we do not see the market for USB 2.0 devices of all types to dwindle. High-bandwidth devices, such as video cameras or storage devices will likely be the first to migrate to SuperSpeed USB, but cost considerations, which in this industry are mainly driven by demand and volume, will restrict USB 3.0 implementation to higher-end products.By 2010, computer motherboards should start to come equipped with USB 3.0 ports supplementing USB 2.0 ports.UDB 3.0 Adapter Cards will likely play a large role in driving the installed base of USB 3.0 ports up, but as SuperSpeed-enabled ports become standard on new PCs, device manufacturers will be further motivated to migrate to the new standard.

In time, USB 2.0 may be phased out as was USB 1.1, but for now and the foreseeable future, USB 2.0 isn’t going anywhere.
8. What operating systems support USB 3.0?

At the SuperSpeed Developers Conference in November 2008, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 would have USB 3.0 support, perhaps not on its immediate release, but in a subsequent Service Pack or update. It is not out of the question to think that following a successful release of USB 3.0 support in Windows 7, SuperSpeed support would trickle down to Vista. Microsoft has confirmed this by stating that most of their partners share the opinion that Vista should also support USB 3.0.
SuperSpeed support for Windows XP is unknown at this point. Given that XP is a seven year old operating system, the likelihood of this happening is remote, as Microsoft in our opinion, will have to focus on the biggest bang for the buck applications.

With the open-source community behind it, Linux will most definitely support USB 3.0 once the xHCI specification is made public. Currently available under non-disclosure agreement in version 0.95 (a draft specification), organizations are forbidden to ship code because it might reveal or imply what is in the specification. Once that hurdle is out of the way, the Linux USB stack would have to be updated to add support for USB 3.0 details such as bus speed, power management, and a slew of other significant changes detailed in the USB 3.0 specification.

As is customary, Apple remains silent on the issue of SuperSpeed USB support in MacOS X. Our opinion is that if USB 3.0 realizes the promise of plug and play simplicity like USB 2.0 with dramatically increased speeds, the market for SuperSpeed devices will take off, and Apple will follow the trend. Whether or not this signals a threat to Firewire is not known, but you can be sure that Apple will need to support SuperSpeed if the rest of the industry adopts this interface standard.

Given the iterative nature of any software release, USB 3.0 O/S support will come in stages and phases, where initial support may be buggy, slow, or lacking in some features. Over time, these bugs will be ironed out, but expect some growing pains as systems migrate and the development teams struggle to catch up to the high expectations of the computing community at large. We will get there, but it will take time. Anyone remember how buggy and unstable USB support was in the MacOS in all versions of OS 8 and OS 9 before OS X 10.2 arrived?

9. What new applications does USB 3.0 enable?

In a nutshell, any high-bandwidth device that works with USB 2.0 will become better if updated with USB 3.0 support. At the moment, devices that tax the throughput of USB 2.0 include:

  • External hard drives – capable of more than twice the throughput available from USB 2.0, not to mention bus-powered portable drives that require non-compliant Y-cables to get the current they require for reliable operation
  • High resolution webcams, video surveillance cameras
  • Video display solutions, such as DisplayLink USB video technology
  • Digital video cameras and digital still cameras with USB interface
  • Multi-channel audio interfaces
  • External media such as Blu-Ray drives

High end Flash Drives can also push USB 2.0 pretty hard, and oftentimes if multiple devices are connected via hub, throughput will suffer.USB 3.0 opens up the laneways and provides more headroom for devices to deliver a better overall user experience. Where USB video was barely tolerable previously (both from a maximum resolution, latency, and video compression perspective), it’s easy to imagine that with 5-10 times the bandwidth available, USB video solutions should work that much better. Single-link DVI requires almost 2Gbps throughput. Where 480Mbps was limiting, 5Gbps is more than promising.

With its promised 4.8Gbps speed, the standard will find its way into some products that previously weren’t USB territory, like external RAID storage systems. (Though, there are already plenty of USB-only RAID solutions (e.g. Lacie HDD Max, WD My Book Mirror despite being limited by the interface.)

10. How does USB 3.0 compare to competing interfaces (i.e. eSATA, FireWire 3200, ExpressCard 2.0)

Firewire has long been the “forgotten” other mass market, high-speed interface standard. Previously available in Firewire 400 or 800 flavors, it has gradually fallen in popularity as USB 2.0 has surged. Apple, the inventor of the original IEEE 1394 “Firewire” standard, has repeatedly sent mixed messages with the ditching of Firewire first from iPods, and more recently from the mainstream MacBook laptops (except for the lowest-end MacBook, oddly enough).In late 2007, the 1394 Trade Association announced Firewire 3200, called “S3200”, that builds upon the existing Firewire 800 standard that was released in 2002. Utilizing the very same connectors and cabling that is required for Firewire 800, S3200 is basically a drop-in replacement once the internal system components are updated in devices. To date, S3200 has not gained much traction, even in traditional Firewire markets such as digital video.

Firewire’s main claim to fame is that it is a highly efficient peer-to-peer, full-duplex, non-polling data communications protocol with very low overhead. Firewire delivers much higher actual throughput than USB 2.0, and can achieve much closer to its theoretical 800Mbps data rate than USB. Where Firewire 800 can deliver sustained data transfers of around 90MB/s, USB 2.0 hovers more around 40MB/s.

It remains to be seen what impact S3200 will have on the computing landscape.

eSATA, or External SATA, was brought to market in 2004 as a consumer interface targetted directly at an external storage market crowded with USB 2.0 and Firewire solutions. It successfully address the issue of the interface bottleneck, and allowed fast hard drives to fully realize their performance potential when located external to a server or PC. eSATA supports a data rate of 3.2Gbps, which is more than enough for the fastest hard drives, which can transfer about 120MB/s, easily better than USB 2.0 and significantly better than Firewire 800.

eSATA is not without drawbacks, however. Cable length is limited to a mere 2m, it cannot supply power to devices connected on the eSATA bus, and the connectors are neither small nor terribly suitable for consumer devices where aesthetics are important. Over the last several years, eSATA has steadily eroded both USB and Firewire market share in the data storage space, although its applications are limited, and really not well-suited to the portable device market.

Express Card 2.0 was released practically the same day as the USB 3.0 specification (November 2008) and promises to significantly enhance the ExpressCard standard for the increased speed requirements of today’s mobile technologies. Closely tied to both the PCI Express and USB 3.0 specifications, ExpressCard 2.0 supports a variety of applications involving high throughput data transfer and streaming. Maintaining backwards compatibility with the original ExpressCard specification, the hot-pluggable interface standard for I/O expansion in smaller form-factor systems will by definition co-exist with the world of USB 3.0 devices.

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SSD – Solid State Drives

One of the big items in the world of computers from the 2007 CES show in Las Vegas is the SSD or Solid State Drive. This is actually technology that has been around for many years, but only now is it actually set to become something that consumer may actually get to use within the next year. This article takes a look at exactly what is a solid state drive and how it may benefit consumers, especially with their portable computing.

What is a Solid State Drive?

Solid state is an electrical term that refers to electronic circuitry that is built entirely out of semiconductors. The term was originally used to define those electronics such as a transistor radio that used semiconductors rather than vacuum tubes in its construction. Most all electronics that we have today are built around semiconductors and chips. In terms of a SSD, it refers to the fact that the primary storage medium is through semiconductors rather than a magnetic media such as a hard drive.

 Now, you might say that this type of storage already exists in the form of flash memory drives that plug into the USB port. This is partially true as solid state drives and USB flash drives both use the same type of non-volatile memory chips that retain their information even when they have no power. The difference is in the form factor and capacity of the drives. While a flash drive is designed to be external to the computer system, an SSD is designed to reside inside the computer in place of a more traditional hard drive.

So how exactly do they do this? Well, an SSD on the outside looks almost no different than a traditional hard drive. This design is to allow the SSD drive to put in a notebook or desktop computer in place of a hard drive. To do this, it needs to have the standard dimension as a 1.8, 2.5 or 3.5-inch hard drive. It also will use either the ATA or SATA drive interfaces so that there is a compatible interface.

Why Use a Solid State Drive?

Solid state drives have several advantages over the magnetic hard drives. The majority of this comes from the fact that the drive does not have any moving parts. While a traditional drive has drive motors to spin up the magnetic platters and the drive heads, all the storage on a solid state drive is handled by flash memory chips. This provides three distinct advantages:

  • Less Power Usage
  • Faster Data Access
  • Higher Reliability

The power usage is a key role for the use of solid state drives in portable computers. Because there is no power draw for the motors, the drive uses far less energy than the regular hard drive. Now, the industry has taken steps to address this with drive spin downs and the development of hybrid hard drives, but both of these still use more power. The solid state drive will consistently draw less power then the traditional and hybrid hard drive.

Faster data access will make a number of people happy. Since the drive doesn’t have to spin up the drive platter or move drive heads, the data can be read from the drive near instantly. In a recent demo of two similar equipped notebook computers, Fujitsu was able to demonstrate a roughly 20% speed increase in the booting of Windows XP on a SSD over a standard hard drive.

Reliability is also a key factor for portable drives. Hard drive platters are very fragile and sensitive materials. Even small jarring movements from an impact can cause the drive to be completely unreadable. Since the SSD stores all its data in memory chips, there are fewer moving parts to be damaged in any sort of impact.

Why Aren’t SSDs Used For All PCs?

As with most computer technologies, the primary limiting factor of using the solid state drives in notebook and desktop computers is cost. These drives have actually been available for some time now, but the cost of the drives is roughly the same as the entire notebook they could be installed into. This is gradually changing as the number of companies producing the drives and the capacity for producing the flash memory chips grows. Drives announced at the 2007 CES were priced at less than half of the drives of the same capacity from the previous year.

The other problem affecting the adoption of the solid state drives is capacity. Current hard drive technology can allow for over 200GB of data in a small 2.5-inch notebook hard drive. Most SSD drives announced at the 2007 CES show are of the 64GB capacity. This means that not only are the drives much more expensive than a traditional hard drive, they only hold a fraction of the data.

All of this is set to change soon though. Several companies that specialize in flash memory have announced upcoming products that look to push the capacities of the solid state drives to be closer to that of a normal hard drive but at even lower prices than the current SSDs. This will have a huge impact for notebook data storage.

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7 Features Of The New iPhone 4

So it’s the new iPhone! It’ll cost $199 in the US for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and will be available starting June 24th.

1. New design: Front-facing camera, all steel& glass, very thin

  But then you knew this months ago.

2. Fancier camera and video features

 

Bigger sensor, more megapixels, flash, zoom, focus. And HD video, which you can edit with iMovie for the iPhone.

3. Video calling

 

Something called FaceTime lets you call other people and see them and they can see you. But it only works over Wifi.

4. Better Screen: 326 Pixels Per Inch

 

The new Retina display makes for a crisper-looking screen

5. iBooks for iPhone

 Read more! It will integrate with your iPad, if you are crazy enough to have one

6. Multitasking

 

The new operating system lets you do more than one thing at a time (and a whole bunch of other stuff, too)

7. Lastly: iAds

 

Apps can now have ads.Blergh.

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