When Legit Reviews was looking at the Intel Developer Forum Product Showcase we were excited to ASMedia Technologies was demonstrating the industry’s first SuperSpeed USB 3.1 10 Gbps data connection on their hardware development platform. This is the first time that we have seen a working demonstration of SuperSpeed USB 3.1. For those that might not know, USB 3.1 is the most recent iteration of USB technology and is expected to come to market in the first half of 2015.
The USB 3.1 specification defines a data transfer rate of up to 10 Gbps on a bi-directional link, more than doubling the effective bandwidth of the already fast SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) standard that operated at 5 Gbps. The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing USB 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps.
The recently finalized USB 3.1 Type-C specification calls for a slim, reversible and bi-directional cable and connector that is well suited for smartphones, tablets, laptops and various other mobile devices. The USB Type-C connector can deliver power at up to 100 Watts at 20 Volts. This means that you can now charge larger devices through a USB port and that means many 2-in-1’s, laptops and even some monitors can be powered by the new USB port. The new USB Type-C connector is shown in the image above and it could save you from having to carry around AC adapters in the years to come.
The ASMedia demo had an ASMedia ASM1352R USB 3.1 to SATA 6G controllers with a pair of Intel SATA III SDDs running together in hardware RAID0. ASMedia was easily reach over 800MB/s performance speeds on the CrystalDiskMark sequential read/write benchmark test.
The ASMedia demo system was done with a development board, so the board that the USB 3.1 Type C connector was inserted into was covered up.
Here are the benchmark results that were are sure you are most interested in, but ASMedia had an odd way of showing the results. They used what we would consider to be a relatively slow 240GB SATA III SSD to show off USB 3.0 5Gbps performance as they were getting just 428MB/s read and 406MB/s write on the drive. They then moved up to a faster 480GB SATA III drive on the USB 3.1 10Gbps interface and were getting 519MB/s read and 504MB/s write. This doesn’t mean much to us as they switched drives and the performance of the two drives was different and it doesn’t show off the performance gains to be had with USB 3.1. What we do see is when ASMedia put two of the Intel 480GB SATA III drives in RAID 0 the performance went up to 809MB/s read and 800MB/s write on the USB 3.1 interface, which is something USB 3.0 can’t match. The live demo in the booth was hitting 822MB/s read and 826MB/s write, which is even better than the benchmarks numbers they were showing in their presentation.
ASMedia already has customers interesting in bringing their USB 3.1 device controllers to market and they hope to have them to customers in six months and have them in retail products 2-3 months later. We can’t wait!