ONE PROBLEM WITH USB 3.0 is that, to date, there’s no common pin-header layout for internal USB 3.0 connectors, but it appears that ASRock and ECS have taken things into their own hands and have come up with a suitable solution. Interestingly the two companies appear to be using exactly the same type of connector, although we don’t know if the pin-out is the same.
ASRock is getting ready to start bundling a front mounted two port USB 3.0 accessory that slots into a 3.5-inch drive bay with selected motherboard models. As you can see from the picture below, it has a unique pin-out which has 19-pins rather than 9-pins of USB 2.0 pin-headers.
This in itself wasn’t a huge surprise, as we did expect motherboard makers to come up with their own solutions, just like back in the dark ages of USB when every manufacturer had a slightly different pin-out. However, what surprised us was that we spotted the same connector on several motherboards from ECS.
Hopefully this connector will become an intermittent standard for the time being, at least until Intel or the USBIF decides to step forward and present a standardized pin-header of USB 3.0. It sure beats the solutions that we’ve seen to date which includes USB 3.0 over SATA cables (on per port) or even MSI’s solution which relies on an external USB connector which is mounted pointing upwards for connectors from the front ports on the case to be connected to.
It’s still early days of USB 3.0, but standards are a must, as otherwise we’ll end up with a wide range of incompatible accessories for various motherboards. This wouldn’t be a great start for USB 3.0, especially as the Renesas competitors are just starting to rev up their own production of more affordable solutions that are like to push USB 3.0 into the mainstream.S|A
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