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Expect a few USB 3.0 devices in time for Christmas

NEC Electronics has introduced the world’s first host controller for the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, which can transfer up to 5 gigabits per second when paired with a USB 3.0 device. Host controllers are used to connect devices external to a computer system, such as Universal Serial Bus devices, SATA and IDE drives, and Ethernet connections. Typically, a host controller is either built into the southbridge of a chipset or connected to it.

The µPD720200 host controller is expected to be used primarily on motherboards, LCD monitors, televisions, and other consumer electronic devices. Large quantities of data are being created daily, and the first consumer devices using the new standard are expected to be high resolution digital cameras and video camcorders.

A new generation of external hard drives and USB flash drives is also expected to arrive quickly to take advantage of the 10x increase in transfer speeds. USB 3.0 devices will be backward compatible with host controllers using USB 2.0, 1.1 and 1.0 versions of the USB standard. By the end of 2011, USB 3.0 will become the new standard for all USB devices as production ramps up and costs fall. Everything from cell phones to printers will use the new standard.

Samples of the µPD720200 host controller are scheduled to be available in June 2009 at US$15 each, and will include free Windows device driver software. Monthly production is expected to reach approximately 1 million units during September 2009. NEC claims its USB experience will help its production ramp, as they've shipped 161 million USB devices as of March 2009.

NEC has been a member of the USB Implementers Forum since 1996, and launched the world's first USB 2.0 compliant host controller chip in 2000. NEC Electronics plans to exhibit the µPD720200 USB 3.0 host controller at its booth during the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in Tokyo later this week.



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RE: Now if only
By gigahertz20 on 5/20/2009 4:34:35 PM , Rating: 3
FireWire is on its very last legs as a mainstream interconnect. Apple's decision to drop FireWire from the Macbook doesn't quite qualify as a stroke of doom, but the trend is clear. As the years go by, FireWire support (or, at least, support for the latest standard) is being driven into a smaller and smaller group of products and systems.

Ironically, most mid-range/high-end discrete motherboards now ship with FireWire 400/1394a support, but FireWire 1394b is virtually nowhere to be found. I won't go quite so far as to say it's literally nonexistent, Apple still supports it on the MacPro among others, but a search of even the highest-end boards on NewEgg doesn't reveal a single 1394b-equipped board. Given just how expensive premium boards can run these days, it seems fair to say that manufacturers aren't including it because they don't see it as an option consumers want, as opposed to it being an issue of cost.

One of my core concerns with USB 3.0 is that the sockets are apparently limited to providing just 500mA of power (unchanged from USB 2.0), and the bus will remain relatively CPU intensive.


RE: Now if only
By Jansen (blog) on 5/20/2009 5:46:25 PM , Rating: 3
Continuous device polling is gone in USB 3.0

Charging through the connection is at 900mA max.


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