USB 3.0 has been slow to arrive in laptops, but there are a few models on the market that boast this high-speed connection technology.
The current USB 2.0 standard, which is found on virtually all laptops today, has been around a long time. Intel laid the groundwork for widespread use on PCs and devices in spring 2002 when it put the technology in its silicon. Eight years later, the advantages of moving to a faster standard are clear for devices like digital cameras, camcorders, and hard drives: transfer rates jump from 480 megabits per second on USB 2.0 to as much as 5 gigabits per second with USB 3.0. And reviews testify to a significant speed increase.
One of the sticking points, however, of mass adoption by laptop makers is the lack of direct support in Intel chipsets, as this blog posted on a Dell-hosted Web page explains. One of the oft-cited reasons put forth by analysts for the lack of broad USB 3.0 support is that many devices, like printers, simply don't benefit from moving to 3.0. Another reason: a number of laptops already ship with the faster eSATA standard, which Intel supports in its mobile chipsets, not to mention desktop variants. (Many HP Pavilion laptops, for example, also come with eSATA.)
Moreover, other technologies lurk as potential replacements for USB 3.0--at least in its current format. Light Peak, for instance, offers even greater transfer speeds and has received support from high-profile companies like Apple and Sony. That said, Light Peak won't appear… Read more