Native USB 3.0 Support Coming to Windows 8by Andrew Cunningham on August 22, 2011 4:00 PM EST
Windows 8 will be bringing with it native support for USB 3.0 controllers, writes Microsoft's Dennis Flanagan, Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking Group. This is in contrast to previous versions of Windows, which continue to require separate drivers for USB 3.0 controllers.
This news shouldn't be surprising - many mid and high-end laptops, desktops, and motherboards support USB 3.0 today, and both AMD and Intel are or will soon be integrating USB 3.0 support into their chipsets (AMD's A75 chipset, used with Socket F1 Llano CPUs, includes it already, and Intel's Ivy Bridge will include it next year). USB 3.0 storage devices in particular are becoming increasingly available and affordable, so it only makes sense that Microsoft would want to make support for USB 3.0 controllers as seamless as support for 1.1 and 2.0 controllers is now.
What's more interesting is how Microsoft is implementing USB 3.0 in Windows 8 - rather than adding the support on top of the current 1.1 and 2.0 software stack (which, as Flanagan notes, has its roots in Windows 95), Microsoft's engineers have chosen to write an entirely new software stack for USB 3.0, retaining the older stack for 1.1 and 2.0 devices separately.
For an in-depth look at some of Microsoft's thought processes and testing procedures, read the full post on the Building Windows 8 blog.