The next USB 3.0 specification will provide up to 100 watts of power to devices, allowing users to power some of the more demanding gadgets on their desks without additional power supplies. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that the standard would allow USB 3.0 ports to power and charge devices like notebook PCs and would remain backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices.
USB 3.0 ports introduced high data transfer speeds of up to 5Gb/s to compatible components, and have also been able to maintain currents and voltages up to 900mA at 5V for a maximum power output of 4.5W. This was about twice the maximum power output of USB 2.0 ports, but a current USB 3.0 port would still struggle to power most external hard drives.
Since the new spec raises USB 3.0 power input and output by two orders of magnitude, the slate of products the ports could power is much larger and includes monitors, desk lamps, and even notebook PCs. The beefier ports could clear up some of the crowding at wall outlets, and if adopted as the main power connector for items like laptops, could help eradicate proprietary ports.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group says the new standard will be ready for industry evaluation at the end of 2011 and is set for release to manufacturers in early 2012.
All this of course assumes the basic PSU that's feeding it all is beefy enough. Failling that, wait for those older PSUs to go up in smoke.