Intel has been receiving positive reviews for its upcoming line of 32mn processors, codenamed Sandy Bridge. Coinciding with the release of these processors is the new motherboard chipset, the P67 and H67, the former supporting multiple PCIex16 slots and the latter a single slot and integrated video. Both chipsets also include support for the new SATA 3.0 standard that offers transfer speeds up to 6.0 Mbit per second. Neither one, however, includes native support for the new USB 3.0 standard.
This detail has caused some unrest in the gaming community as of late. Gamers who are looking to build their new systems fear that they won’t be able to have USB 3.0 connectivity. It is of particular concern to builders of mini-ITX systems where it is imperative that the motherboard contain all of the needed connectors on board, as there are no open slots to add in the needed expansion cards. Although there are only a handful of devices that can take advantage of the new USB 3.0 standard, enthusiasts like to future-proof their systems as much as possible, meaning that support for new standards are important.
What does that mean for those who want a new mini-ITX gaming system? Well, Intel may have decided that the new USB 3.0 standard isn’t absolutely ready yet, but other chip makers have already provided solutions for motherboard manufacturers that allowed them to offer USB 3.0 connectivity on their current round of H55-based mini-ITX boards. Count on the new crop of H67-based mini-ITX systems to also offer this feature, some even with support for front USB 3.0, a feature lacking on current generation motherboards.
The bottom line is your new mini-ITX motherboard will have plenty of plugs for your new USB 3.0 gadgets. ITX gaming enthusiast may be confused by Intel’s decision not to include native USB 3.0 in their latest chipsets but manufacturers like VIA and NEC, who offer standalone USB 3.0 controllers, are more than happy to step up and sell their wares to the motherboard manufacturers.