Q I plan to retire my desktop and buy a new laptop in which to plug my flat panel monitor, MS Natural keyboard, printer, etc., then unplug them and just take the laptop along when leaving town. When do you think that I can expect to see laptops on the market preloaded with Windows 7 and USB 3.0?
A: What you have planned sounds very interesting. I don’t think you need Windows 7 or USB 3.0 to accomplish what you have planned.
It probably won’t be until fall 2010 before you can expect to see USB 3.0 connections as the standard on computers. Once this does happen, the increased speed at which data can be accessed from a thumb drive will be noticeable. They should have a data transfer rate of about 5 gigabits per second. This is a lot of information being moved in a short amount of time.
This high transfer rate is due in part to the preparation for the inundation of lower-cost high-capacity thumb drives. With 128 GB thumb drives being prepped for the consumer market, a faster USB Drive format is only logical.
One other benefit of USB 3.0 is that it will be backwards compatible with previous versions. There will also be a “standard-B” version of the 3.0 connections. The standard-B connection is the type of connection that your printer, fax or external hard drive may use. It normally has a beveled end that connects to the device and a rectangle USB connection on the other end.
As far as USB 3.0′s interaction with Windows 7, it shouldn’t be an issue. Microsoft is reportedly in the process of creating the necessary drivers in Windows 7 for the new USB 3.0 ports. This provides a good transition into the Windows 7 part of your question.
Based on the fact that the beta version of Windows 7 expires in August, I would expect the full version of Windows 7 anytime from the late summer through the fall. As I said in last week’s article, I would be surprised if it isn’t out by the end of the year. This means that to have the Windows 7/USB 3.0 combo you are looking for, you will probably have to wait until the fall of 2010.
The only wildcard that I can foresee is if phase change drives become practical or popular, then they may usurp flash drives.
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On another note, this likely will be my last article for the Citizen. It has been a good run, and I have enjoyed the reader response. I hope I have been of some assistance and provided information you found interesting. Whether I write for another paper or online, you can continue to e-mail me your questions and I will try to provide you with a solution. Thank you for your support over the years.
Quincey Hobbs is a team member at the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and an instructor at Pima Community College. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.