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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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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