The upgrade will not make the previous generation of USB 3.0 faster but it will be completely compatible with existing USB ports. At 10Gbps transfer it is noticeably faster than the previous generation and sits at about half of the speed of the new Thunderbolt interface. It will be adopted more broadly that Thunderbolt, at least until Intel can get their price under control as USB does not increase the price of a motherboard nor does a USB cable cost more than a couple of dollars. There are some tricks that Thunderbolt can do, such as daisy chaining, but with the limited number of motherboards and devices that support Intel's interface a new USB device that can manage half the speed at a fraction the cost is going to be a far more popular solution. Check out The Register for more.
"The upgrade comes in the form of a .1 release, USB 3.1, that is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 kit. The new speed will only be achievable with kit using USB 3.1, but such products will work just fine in older USB ports."
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