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Intel puts USB 3.0 into Ivy Bridge for 2012

Questions arise about planned 2011 release
Thu Apr 14 2011, 15:16

CHIPMAKER Intel has said that it will be integrating USB 3.0 connectivity into its Ivy Bridge chipsets in 2012.

Intel's announcement that its 2012 Ivy Bridge chipsets will support USB 3.0 came on the same day that the USB Association revealed that AMD will be incorporating USB 3.0 support into A75 and A70M Fusion chipsets. The Ivy Bridge decision means that eventually Intel mainboard vendors won't have to use third party silicon to provide USB 3.0 support.

The announcement was made by Intel's Kirk Skaugen, VP and general manager of the firm's Data Centre Group, at Intel's Developer Forum in Beijing, and it represents another delay for the firm's adoption of a standard that it helped create. It had previously said that Ivy Bridge would be available in 2011.

Intel's Ivy Bridge is a 'tock' in the firm's 'tick-tock' release schedule and is expected to transition the company's fab technology to the 22nm node process. Ivy Bridge processors and chipsets had been expected to tip up late in 2011 with significant upgrades to the graphics core bringing DirectX 11 and OpenCL support, but Skaugen's comments suggest that Ivy Bridge will arrive in 2012.

It's not completely clear why Chipzilla has been so slow to adopt USB 3.0. Common sense suggested that Intel's January launch of the Sandy Bridge and Cougar Point products would have been the perfect timing to incorporate USB 3.0. Instead Intel has chosen to release its Light Peak bus, now known as Thunderbolt, which it co-developed with Apple in the latest Macbook Pro notebooks.

Intel's seemingly less than enthusiastic adoption of USB 3.0 could be seen as a ploy to promote Thunderbolt. However, Apple's advantage of being the only computer manufacturer with ultra-high speed connectivity looks like it will be short-lived, with both AMD and Intel now saying they will incorporate support for the bus in their chipsets. µ


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