Microsoft has officially confirmed at Building Windows 8 blog that Windows 8 will support USB 3.0 for faster performance.
Here is what the official announcement says:
One of the important roles Windows plays as part of a broad ecosystem is developing support for new hardware. This is a pretty involved process and so for this post we wanted to take a look at supporting USB 3.0, something we know everyone is anxious to be using because of the improvements it brings.
With throughput up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 and improved power management that results in longer battery life, USB 3.0 introduces compelling reasons to improve the world’s most popular PC interface. By 2015, all new PCs are expected to offer USB 3.0 ports, and over 2 billion new “SuperSpeed” USB devices will be sold in that year alone.
The decision to invest in USB 3.0 was an easy one to make, but doing so without compromising the existing USB ecosystem was a big challenge to overcome. Our design had to follow the revised 3.0 specification precisely in order to enable emerging USB 3.0 hardware. There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with.
USB 3.0 includes a new host controller and defined the new “SuperSpeed” USB device (5 Gbps). Together, the controller and device could operate at theoretical speeds of up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0. With this new standard, you’d be able to copy a high definition movie from a USB storage drive in about 80 seconds instead of the 15 minutes it takes with USB 2.0. The specification also introduced a new transfer type —streams — which allows the storage drives to process reads and writes more efficiently.
The new specification provided 80% more power than USB 2.0. This meant faster charging and removed the need for odd “Y” cables used by external DVD drives and other high power devices. But charging isn’t the only power consideration. With mobile computing, people want PCs that conserve battery life. By also introducing new low power states, finishing tasks more quickly, and powering down at every opportunity, USB 3.0 is more power efficient than its predecessors. This translates to longer battery life for notebooks and less power consumption for desktops.
Most importantly, the specification promises to enable a new generation of USB while maintaining compatibility with full, low, and high speed devices. Even the plugs are backwards compatible.
Perhaps the most important aspect of USB 3.0 is the expectation that customers have of USB: it’s just USB3 so it should just work, right? Each and every USB device, low, full, high, and SuperSpeed, has to work in Windows 8. That’s our focus while also delivering the most robust and reliable USB stack.