Intel promises USB 3.0 support in Ivy Bridge

Intel has officially confirmed that its next-generation Ivy Brige chipsets will include USB 3.0 alongside its own Thunderbolt technology, ending speculation that it would be forcing manufacturers to install third-party controllers for support.

When Intel first announced its Light Peak technology, a high-speed combined optical and electrical port designed to beat the performance of the latest USB standard, it intimated that it would be the last cable a user would ever need - taking a clear aim at the USB standard.

Sure enough, when Intel's Sandy Bridge chipsets came along, they lacked in-built support for USB 3.0 despite its release as a ratified standard - forcing manufacturers to add third-party controllers to their boards if they wanted to add support for the technology.

Now that Light Peak's first commercial implementation, known as Thunderbolt, has been released in Apple's latest MacBook Pro refresh, many in the industry were wondering if Intel would be making good on its threats to bypass USB 3.0 altogether - but an announcement today indicates that Intel is planning no such thing.

"Intel is going to support USB 3.0 in the 2012 client platform," Intel's Kirk Skaugen told attendees at the company's developer conference in Beijing. "We're [also] going to support Thunderbolt - we believe they are complimentary."

That's a significant departure from Intel's previous stance of Light Peak supremacy, and suggests that the company is struggling to convince third parties of the superiority of Thunderbolt over USB 3.0.