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Intel 'Holding Back' USB 3.0 Spec, Says Nvidia

An Nvidia representative today confirmed the view that Intel is delaying release of the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 specification to chipmakers. That allegation against Intel first surfaced in a CNET News.com report by Brooke Crothers, citing an unnamed source.

I asked Derek Perez, director of public relations at Nvidia, if the rumors of chipmaker discontent with Intel over the USB 3.0 spec were true.

"Yes it is true that Intel is holding back the USB 3.0 spec," Perez wrote in an e-mailed response. "And if we don't get that spec, we have to do something in order to feature usb3.0 in our products."

AMD, Nvidia, SiS and Via Technologies are preparing to break from Intel and develop their own USB 3.0 host controller spec, according to a follow-up story by CNET News.com, quoting an anonymous Nvidia source.

Intel employee Nick Knupffer had explained Intel's position in a blog. He said that the dispute surrounded the host controller specification for USB 3.0, rather than the formal USB 3.0 spec, implying that Intel didn't have an obligation to release the host controller spec to other chip vendors.

The problem for Nvidia and other chipmakers in not getting the host controller spec from Intel is that they may not interpret the spec as Intel does. When the final spec is released, any misinterpretations in the interim will lead to redesign efforts and further product launch delays.

Intel defines the USB enhanced host controller interface as the "interface between system software and the host controller hardware." The USB 3.0 interconnection standard promises data transfer rates 10 times faster than the current USB 2.0 standard.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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