Back again, and I thought I'd talk about a topic that gets discussed a lot as I have been traveling around, visiting customers, and exhibiting at events concerning SuperSpeed USB:

Does 5 Gbps really help since most media can not go that fast anyway?

The short answer is, 5 Gbps is faster than most media is capable of! 

The whole point of developing a new specification around data transfer is to eliminate the current bottleneck!  USB 2.0 high–speed had become the bottleneck.  Whether it was an external rotating media (HDD or optical), a solid-state drive based product, or the ubiquitous flash drive - the storage media was capable of transferring data at a rate that exceeded what USB 2.0 was capable of!  This was one of the prime reasons for the formation of the USB 3.0 Promoter's Group. 

As the Promoter's Group debated how fast to make USB 3.0, three factors helped make the decision. First was to keep backwards compatible - needed to be able transfer the data via a cable/connector that would be compatible with the existing USB 2.0 systems.  Second , it had to to be economically feasible.  And finally, it needed to be fast enough to provide headroom to support media performance enhancements down the road.  There was work done on assessing the capabilities of the existing USB 2.0 cables, plugs and receptacle  to see where the signal integrity performance degraded to a point to be non-usable.  This was then balanced with improving the materials of these while keeping them economically feasible.

All of these factors combined for the Promoters to agree that 5 Gbps would be economically feasible with backwards compatible cables & connectors while allowing enough headroom for a minimum of five years.

Let me know what you think, Dan