Asus has announced the world's first motherboard to support the upcoming USB 3.0 standard, allowing data transfer rates approaching 600MB/s. It also includes the latest generation SATA, which will support transfer speeds of up to 6Gbit/s, and the company has also flagged a cheaper alternative in the form of an add-in card that will offer these two functionalities for motherboards of the same family and will be sold for under US$30.

The design of Asus's new motherboard is based on Intel's P55 Express Chipset (which doesn't support the USB 3.0 standard) and includes a third-party controller to incorporate two SuperSpeed USB ports along with an impressive ten USB 2.0 ports. The P7P55D-E Premium also includes two PCIe x16 graphic card slots, six 3Gb/s, two 6Gb/s SATA ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports, collocating in the high-end portion of the motherboard market.

Asus is also producing a small and handy add-in card that, when plugged into your existing Asus motherboard, will let you experience USB 3.0 and 6GB/s SATA connections right away. Supported motherboard models are Maximus III Formula and all of the six existing P7P55D designs.

With rumors circulating that Intel won't support USB 3.0 until 2011, this comes as a particularly welcome piece of news to those who were resigned to wait much longer before they could transfer the equivalent of a DVD full of data in under ten seconds.

The P7DP55DE-E Premium will be available in a few weeks, will ship with Windows drivers and have an estimated retail price of US$299. The add-in card (Asus U3S6) card will also be available in the coming weeks and will be priced at US$29.