USB 3.0 Committed to Silicon

This morning TechConnect magazine reports that the very first USB 3.0 chips have left the realm of vaporware, and are fully formed in silicon.

The chips, which are shown here -

image are fully backwards compatible, and it is only a matter of time before they find their way to a motherboard you will want to buy.

With the SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) specs wrapped up six months ago, NEC Electronics has stepped up to claim a ‘world’s first’ title with its µPD720200 host controller. Coming in a 176-pin FBGA package, the chip fully supports the USB 3.0 standard for transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps (theoretical speed) and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1.

The µPD720200 is based on Intel’s eXtensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) Specification Revision 0.95 and is set to begin sampling next month, with the price per chip being $15. NEC expects to make up to 1 million of these controllers per month in September so we’re looking at a quick adoption. Which is great cause USB 2.0 is really showing its age.

Though anything that takes full advantage of the super-speed mode will be a bit further away, no doubt the early adopters will be buying those inevitable PCIe 1x cards that will allow the use of peripherals quickly. Also, jumping too quickly might not be a good thing, as someone always comes out with a more efficient way of doing something, perhaps shaving a few percentage points off the main CPU usage during transfers.

Personally, I certainly hope that manufacturers do a better job of giving more USB IDs, so that Windows will not have problems, as it does now, with two external drives from the same manufacturer being used on the same machine.

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You know what I hate? Indian givers…no, I take that back.  • Emo Philips

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