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Demo board showcasing the new VIA VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller

The VL810 is contained in a single chip
Could be used in next generation monitors

SuperSpeed USB 3.0 has been making a lot of news lately, and is expected to be supported by many new products that will be unveiled at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The updated interface features 5Gbps of bandwidth (technically 4.8Gbps), and is fully backward compatible with previous versions of the Universal Serial Bus.

USB 2.0 is currently rated at 480Mbps, but real world throughput is rarely above 35MB/s due to protocol overhead. This is now a major problem as many devices such as keyboards and monitors now feature built-in USB hubs, which provide additional downstream USB ports. However, bandwidth is still limited by the single upstream connection to the computer.

This may not be a critical issue for rarely used devices, but it is a major concern for those who depend on USB connections for headsets, webcams, and data transfers. Many new motherboards now come with USB 3.0 ports, but limited PCIe bandwidth on the motherboards mean that there are usually only a few SuperSpeed ports, leaving early adopters in the cold.

VIA Technologies has unveiled its VL810 SuperSpeed Hub Controller, the industry’s first integrated single chip USB 3.0 hub that support one upstream and four downstream ports. It is built on a 80nm process, which is not unexpected considering many USB 2.0 hubs are built on a 180 or 130 nm process. Expect the new chip to be used in next generation computer monitors and keyboards.

"The growing emphasis on high-definition multimedia content is placing increasing demands on current data transfer technologies," said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing for  VIA Technologies. "SuperSpeed USB not only makes transferring HD video files, high pixel count digital photos, and backing up hard drives quick and easy, but VIA's new hub controller allows consumers to get the most out of the technology by expanding the capacity of PC systems."

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The million dollar question...
By irev210 on 1/5/2010 9:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
How is this going to perform vs. the NEC controller... and more importantly, how much cheaper will it be?

NEC seems to do a solid job of owning the add-on USB market.

RE: The million dollar question...
By cfaalm on 1/5/2010 11:00:09 AM , Rating: 2
And a theoretical to add:

Can USB3.0 also influence the performance of a USB2.0 external drive i.e. reach its full potential?

RE: The million dollar question...
By heffeque on 1/5/2010 11:36:50 AM , Rating: 2
No, it can't.

RE: The million dollar question...
By soydios on 1/5/2010 4:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it can, if the faster-than-USB2.0 device is competing with other devices for a single upstream connection to the computer.

By jonmcc33 on 1/6/2010 1:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you are using 10 USB hard drives at once that might be a problem. It won't make a single USB hard drive any faster if it is all by itself on the chain.

RE: The million dollar question...
By jabber on 1/5/2010 11:33:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yes will VIA at last offer the proper voltage from their USB3 chipsets so we don't have to go hunting an opening boxes to make sure it contains a NEC chip?

As they failed with USB1 and USB2.........

RE: The million dollar question...
By Dreamwalker on 1/5/2010 11:55:01 AM , Rating: 3
The main question that is bothering me last days is when the front 3.5" and 5.25" front expansion panels will arive. As far as I know, USB 3 port is also little different than the standard USB 2 port which are integrated in the front of PC cases, or am I wrong?

And when are we going to se a USB 3 add in card that has this internal plug connection like on the motherboard (6 or 7 pins) which is used to connect a front panel USB 2.

RE: The million dollar question...
By Mr Perfect on 1/5/2010 12:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, the USB 3 plug is slightly different then USB 2. I hadn't thought about the front mount case ports until now...

RE: The million dollar question...
By semo on 1/5/2010 5:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
I've wrote emails to some case makers about usb 3.0 and i've been told:

1. USB 3.0 is not popular enough (poor, lazy excuse)
2. USB 3.0 motherboard headers aren't standardized (plausible but looks like a huge omission from the official spec).

here are the emails of the companies i asked

RE: The million dollar question...
By yuhong on 1/8/2010 1:39:03 AM , Rating: 2
This is a HUB controller. It won't compete with NEC's USB 3.0 host controller.

Keep your units the same!
By Fox5 on 1/5/2010 12:45:41 PM , Rating: 1
USB 2.0 is currently rated at 480Mbps , but real world throughput is rarely above 35MB/s due to protocol overhead.

So you're comparing 480Megabits to 35Megabytes? 35MB would be 280Mb, still much lower, but not the difference that 480 to 35 implies.

RE: Keep your units the same!
By adiposity on 1/5/2010 12:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

Also, the article goes on about limited bandwidth, then brings up the VIA device. But the VIA device doesn't fix this issue, it turns one USB port into 4, meaning those 4 have to share one channel to the computer....


RE: Keep your units the same!
By Jansen on 1/5/2010 1:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
Consider the potential of having 4 USB 2.0 devices sharing a USB 3.0 uplink...

RE: Keep your units the same!
By devonz on 1/5/2010 1:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but consider the case of 1 USB 2 device and 1 USB 3 device. Except for a very few USB 2 hubs, most now, if you connect a USB 1 device, force all of them to operate at the slower speed. Will that happen here too?

RE: Keep your units the same!
By fatedtodie on 1/5/2010 1:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
It is basically saying that USB 2.0 is not efficient and while it is "rated" at 480mbps it RUNS real world at much lower.

USB 3.0 is rated HIGHER and has a slightly smaller overhead.
"A new major feature is the SuperSpeed bus, which provides a fourth transfer mode at 4.8 Gbit/s. The raw throughput is 4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GByte/s or 400 MByte/s) or more after protocol overhead.[50] "

The article has no mistakes as it relates to that.

It does say there is 1 upstream for usb2.0 and ... again in usb3, but in the mention of usb3 it is apperently a "feature" but in usb 2.0 it is a "bug" or something bad.

RE: Keep your units the same!
By atlmann10 on 1/5/2010 2:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is off topic really, but I have been wondering if they will develop or if they are developing USB 3 controller add ins which would plug in to a PCI xpress slot? I imagine a x16 and an X8 slot would have enough bandwidth! This would also work for a sata 3 at it would seem. I wonder because my motherboard has 4 pci express connector slots 2 being x 16 and if all 4 are used x 8. I only use one PCIX video card and therefore have an open X16 connection. You probably wonder why I got a 4x pcix board if I did not need it. Well in top end boards this is actually very common now and to me a motherboard is very important if not the most so in a PC. This is why I have the MB that I do (MSI 790FX-GD70).

RE: Keep your units the same!
By Levish on 1/6/2010 2:05:40 PM , Rating: 2
PCI-e 2.0 1x has about 500MB/sec which should be ok for a single port USB3 card.

RE: Keep your units the same!
By Jansen on 1/7/2010 8:54:58 PM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0 Products
By excomputech on 1/13/2010 1:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
USB 3.0 is fast.
Many products available at

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