USB 3.0: First Hard Drives Arrive

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Don't Get Stung by High Prices for USB 3.0 Products

Whenever any new technology hits the streets, "entrepreneurs" ready to gouge consumers are rarely far behind. USB 3.0, aka SuperSpeed USB, was designed to be no more expensive than USB 1.1 or 2.0-but we've already seen vendors charging exorbitant prices for cables, adapters, and hubs. After all, USB 3.0 is brand-new and far faster than USB 2.0, so you must have to pay hefty early-adopter premiums, right? Wrong.

USB 3.0 has new connectors like this mini USB unit.
We understand that product development takes money, and we see nothing wrong with, say, a 25 percent premium on a drive or cable. For instance, while Western Digital's My Book Elite costs $170, the My Book 3.0 costs $200--not a bad deal since the latter is so much faster. But it's ludicrous for Belkin to charge $40 for a 3-foot USB 3.0 cable, when and each charge just $6. Likewise, for a USB 3.0 host adapter, Belkin wants $90 and Buffalo Technology is charging $81--while at you pay only $30, and at the adapter price is a still-economical $37.

We could find just one USB 3.0 hub--Buffalo Technology's BSH4A03U3--even mentioned, and it's only now showing up in Japan for about $88. But there's no big benefit to a USB 3.0 hub yet, since mice and keyboards will never be able to use the extra speed, and USB 3.0 flash drives are nowhere close to being mass-market products.

When you're shopping for USB 3.0 technology, don't plop down 40 bucks for a cable just because you think that because USB 3.0 is new, it must be expensive. It's not supposed to be. Also, make sure any product you buy has the SuperSpeed logo on the box. Some USB products will undoubtedly play games with the number 3 on their boxes or logos, hoping to snare the unwitting into purchasing older 2.0 or non-USB 3.0-certified technology.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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