2012 marked a pivotal point for USB 3.0
, 4 years after its formal introduction in 2008. In retrospect, there were several important developments throughout the year that it's safe to say USB 3.0 is here to stay rather than just a flash in the pan. Official Support from Intel
Native USB 3.0 compatibility has finally been added into Intel's 7-series chipsets to complement Ivy Bridge CPU launch in April. Laptop manufacturers no longer need to make bulk purchase of USB 3.0 host silicon from Renesas, ASMedia and alike. As a result, discrete controllers now only exist in desktop PCs and set-top boxes.
While onboard support was long overdue, it also ended the conspiracy theories that Intel might plan to leapfrog USB 3.0 and go with Thunderbolt
as the only high-speed cable solution on future PCs. USB 3.0 Lands on Mac
Two months after Intel's announcement came the much anticipated USB 3.0-equipped MacBooks alongside with Mountain Lion OS to support the new speedy ports. By the end of the year, iMac and Mac mini also received the same treatment.
FireWire 800 was notably dropped from MacBook Pro with Retina Display and iMac. Although this sounded like the final nail in the coffin for FireWire, a Thunderbolt adapter is available to maintain legacy support. Powerful Cable
Given that it took 4 years for USB 3.0 to pick up pace, no one really expected there's still something new from the USB world. Yet the USB Promoter Group surprised the industry in July with a 300-page specification that documents a new 100W power delivery standard
specifically for use over USB 3.0.
This creates new opportunities for manufacturers to design bus-powered printers, monitors, RAIDs and even notebooks that recharge over a special certified USB cable. To many, this move allows USB to expand versatility before Thunderbolt strikes hard. Windows 8
October saw the release of Windows 8
, bringing USB 3.0 to mainstream segment. Microsoft decided it's best to write a xHCI driver rather than updating the existing software stack to provide USB 3.0 interoperability. USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UAS) was introduced as well to give compatible USB 3.0 drives further speed boost when under the right condition.