Just what we weren't asking for, a new USB standard

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.2, Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C

Thanks to the USB Promoter Group we will soon be able to type out USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C when talking about new systems, which should not be confused with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C.  The bandwidth will double to 20Gbps which is a good thing and shows that USB can continue to be a less expensive alternative to Thunderbolt which currently runs at 40Gbps.  The increase comes from a change in the way USB can connect, previous generations utilized only two pairs of wires unlike DisplayPort or TB3 which can use all four.  With the new standard, the USB protocol will also take advantage of all four pairs.  

If you managed to get hold of high quality Type-C cables which do not have a desire to start fires you will be able to take advantage of the new standard ... once you pick up new devices which support the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C as Ars Technica reminds us.

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"If you've invested heavily in USB Type-C cables, the USB Promoter Group has some good news for you. The next version of USB, USB 3.2, will double the speed of existing Type-C cables. Cables currently qualified for USB 3.1 generation 1's 5Gbps will be able to operate at 10Gbps; those qualified for generation 2's 10Gbps will be able to run at 20Gbps"

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Source: Ars Technica

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July 26, 2017 | 05:25 PM - Posted by willmore

I may not have asked for it, but I do want it.

July 26, 2017 | 05:37 PM - Posted by LegoGuy23

I personally have no complaints.
Because it uses the same spec cables as 3.1, it's both backwards and forwards compatible, so lamen don't have to worry about the technical details a-la Thunderbolt (as much as I like it).
They just plug it in and it works. Like how you can use a USB 1.0 device today.

July 26, 2017 | 07:21 PM - Posted by Clmentoz (not verified)

On top of the USB-IF's confusing USB naming/nomenclature for the various USB standards comes the USB Promoters Group name/alias for the same USB-IF organization. So the USB-IF(USB Implementers Forum) is so good at creating some very confusing standards naming rules.

The USB 3.2 standard appears to be built around mostly the USB 3.1 Protocol that is link aggregated over the USB Type-C plug standard's extra set of wire pairs that is also used for other Alt-Mode USB usage over that USB Type-C pin-out.

The big issue here is that USB 3.2 is going to require the USB Type-C plug for any availability of those extra cable pairs and only the cables with the extra pairs run through them will provide the full bandwidth. It's going to be fun making sure any USB Type-C cables sold over Amazon/other online retailers will have the necessary extra wire pairs included.

One question on the Laptop side of things and the USB 3.2 standard over the Type-C plug is will there even be any laptops that support it at full bandwidth. So many laptop makers are providing USB Type-C gen 1(USB 3.0 speeds) only connection speeds, and hardly any laptop OEM are currently providing any USB Type-C Gen 2(USB 3.1 10Gbs speeds) enabled laptop SKUs.

So what about any laptop OEMs even providing enough PCIe bandwidth and PCIe lanes on laptops to fully support that USB 3.2 full 20Gbs. It's going to require dual USB 3.1 controller chips link aggregated together to make up that 20Gbs for USB 3.2 and the laptop OEMs are going to have to run enough PCIe lanes to support that. Intel’s 300 series chip-set support for USB 3.1 connection speeds are not even here yet and this new USB 3.2 news drops.

The laptop OEMs are not even going to be wanting to provide dedicated controllers on laptops with enough PCIe connectivity as the laptop OEMs would rather wait until until the SOC makers(Intel/AMD) provide that via their chip-sets because the laptop OEMs want to save on BOM costs/engineering costs and such.

So basically the USB-IF will be taking it's existing USB controller 3.1 protocal hardware doubling that up on the USB 3.2 controller's hardware to drive the 4 wire pairs in tandom(link aggregation) and calling that USB 3.2. Maybe it's a bit more complicated than that but link aggragation is a standard practice in neworking. And Intel needs to think about maybe offering link aggrigation with TB3 but then there will not be enough available pairs for that on a single Type-C plug's extended pin-out to do that. Maybe Intel can do TB3 link aggrigation over 2 TB3/Type-C plugs/cables and create a modular TB3 standard that can be scaled up by using 2 or more TB3/Type-C plugs in tandom.

PCIe 4.0 can not get here soon enough because the PCIe lane requirements to drive all that extra bandwidth is going to require more PCIe 3.0 lanes than there may be available to spare on many OEM laptop motherboard SKUs.

July 26, 2017 | 09:12 PM - Posted by Mutation666

I wanted them to not have 3.1 have two generations, 3.1 gen 2 imo should have been 3.2 to begin with since its really hard to find gen2 compliant stuff, so yeah I did want this.

July 26, 2017 | 11:36 PM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

There is no reason to complain about this. No new cables, no new connectors, but if both devices support the new standard it will run twice as fast.

This was always on the cards given the duplicate wires in Type-C cables.

July 27, 2017 | 12:24 AM - Posted by collie

USB's value was always "Ver1 will plug into Ver10, same port varied speed"..... this whole 3.1 3.2 3.5 shit....... not down with dat

July 27, 2017 | 01:11 AM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

It still applies. You can't do 3.2 on a Type-A connector because it doesn't have enough pins, but if you plug a Type-C 3.2 device into a Type-A 3.0 or 3.1 (or 2.0 or even 1.0) it will work just fine.

July 27, 2017 | 01:12 AM - Posted by PixyMisa

What I really want to see is USB Type C taking over from both SATA and U.2 for disk drives. More than 3x SATA bandwidth, and external drive cases can just be a passive passthrough.

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