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Intel Releases USB 3.0 Interface Specifications

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Intel has released a draft specification revision 0.9 for the Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI). The revision, released Wednesday, comes in support of USB 3.0 architecture, also known as SuperSpeed USB. The draft specification provides a standard method for USB 3.0 host controllers to communicate with the USB 3.0 software stack.

One important factor in adopting SuperSpeed USB products is interoperability between multiple devices from different manufacturers. The xHCI draft specification revision 0.9 aims to make interoperability easier to implement, while also making it easier for developers to create software support for the market.

AMD, which along with Nvidia had complained in the past that Intel was not releasing a revision for the USB 3.0 specification, supported the move in a statement that was included in Intel's news release. "Lifestyles filled with HD media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform. AMD believes strongly in open industry standards, and therefore is supporting a common xHCI specification," said Phil Eisler, AMD corporate vice president and general manager of the Chipset Business Unit.

Dell, Microsoft and NEC also supported the release.

"Dell welcomes the availability of Intel's xHCI specification because it provides a single interface standard that will expedite the industry transition to next-generation USB 3.0," said Rick Schuckle, Dell client architecture strategist. "This interface standard is important to ensure that our customers have interoperable USB 3.0 systems, devices and software drivers."

"Microsoft has developed driver support for the USB industry standard since its inception and is committed to supporting the latest hardware technologies on the Windows platform," said Chuck Chan, Microsoft general manager of Windows Core OS. "Microsoft intends to deliver Windows support for hardware that is compliant with the xHCI specification; this is a huge step forward in enabling the industry and our customers to easily connect SuperSpeed USB devices to their PCs for exciting new functionality and usages."

Intel already has plans on making another revision specification -- xHIC 0.95 -- available in the fourth quarter of 2008.



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