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  • About

    Covering the latest trends and topics in USB IP.

    Eric started working on USB in 1995, starting with the world’s first BIOS that supported USB Keyboards and Mice while at Award Software. After a departure into embedded systems software for real-time operating systems, he returned to USB IP cores and software at inSilicon, one of the leading suppliers of USB IP. In 2002, inSilicon was acquired by Synopsys and he’s been here since. He also served as Chairman of the USB On-The-Go Working Group for the USB Implementers Forum from 2004-2006.

    Eric received an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and an M.S. in Engineering from University of California Irvine, and a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Minnesota. and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the State of California


    Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' DesignWare USB Solutions. Previously, he was the Director of Product Marketing for Physical (FPGA-based) Prototyping and has held various product marketing, technical marketing manager and application consultant positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.

Will USB Type-C burn my device?

Posted by Michael Posner on February 12th, 2016

fire

I ran into this article online last week, http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/how-to-find-safe-usb-type-c-cables it discusses how a bad USB Type-C cable fried a Google engineers equipment, including a Chromebook Pixel. It also covers another issue when another bad Type-C cable drew too much power from a laptops port killing them. I highly suggest you read the article, but if you don’t have time then in summary; when a low quality, uncertified USB Type-C cable was used the extra resistance of the cable causes the device to think it’s connected to a 3amp USB Type-C connection when it is not. The extra current draw damaged both devices. This issues reared its ugly head when using a USB Type-C to USB Type-A uncertified cable.

How do I avoid this you ask!!!!??? The article (and I agree) notes that typically cables from named brands are typically high quality and tested and the USB-IF also maintains a list of certified cables.

http://www.usb.org/kcompliance/view/USB%20Type-C%20Cable%20Certifications.pdf

Choosing a certified solution is the lower risk path you can take. This is also the best advice to take when selecting USB IP for your next project. A certified USB IP solution reduces the design risk as you have the confidence that the IP has passed rigorous testing in a real world environment. Synopsys just announced that our 10 Gbps USB 3.1 IP has passed USB-IF certification and actually is the first IP solution to pass USB-IF certification. Is you are considering a USB 3.1 design, Synopsys is the lowest risk choice for an IP solution.

http://news.synopsys.com/2016-02-03-Synopsys-10-Gbps-USB-3-1-IP-First-to-Pass-USB-IF-Certification

  • Synopsys’ 10 Gbps DesignWare USB 3.1 controller and PHY passed all protocol, electrical and interoperability tests to become the first IP to achieve USB-IF certification
  • DesignWare USB 3.1 PHYs consume less than 50 mW power at 10 Gbps speeds in 14/16-nm FinFET process technologies
  • DesignWare USB 3.1 Host, Device and Dual-Role Device Controllers are backward-compatible with DesignWare USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols, enabling designers to reuse code and save months of software development time
  • Complete USB 3.1 solution, including, controllers, PHYs, verification IP, IP subsystems, IP prototyping kits and IP software development kits reduce the time and effort of integrating the IP into SoCs

That’s one pretty USB 10G eye

DesignWare USB 3.1 IP Eye Diagram

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(Yay!, Mick’s first USB Blog)

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Posted in 10G USB, Type C, USB 3.1, USB 3.10, USB Certification, USB-C | No Comments »

Synopsys announces the first USB 3.1 Type C and DisplayPort 1.3 Transmit with HDCP 2.2 IP solution

Posted by Eric Huang on January 26th, 2016

Synopsys announces the universe’s first and only USB 3.1 Type C and DisplayPort 1.3 Transmit with HDCP 2.2 IP solution.

Yeah, that’s a lot of words.

Before I break it down, let’s explain the basics.

If you had a PC, Phone, or Tablet with a USB 3.1 Type C with DisplayPort 1.3 connector on it, and support for HDCP 2.2, you could connect that directly to an UltraHD monitor (or a projector) with a DisplayPort 1.3 receiver (no USB) and play your UltraHD content at up to 8K x 4K resolution.    In this case, the USB pins wouldn’t be used.

In another case, both USB and DP paths can be used.   The USB Type C connector allows for independent transmission of USB and DisplayPort video at the same time.  The DisplayPort is enabled through a set of independent signals, in “Alternate Mode” or “Alt Mode”   So what you can do, is use your super powerful smart phone with a Type C connector, connect it to a docking station (or directly to a monitor), using Type C, and the video will go across using the DisplayPort lines to a connected monitor.  Data will flow through the USB lines to your full sized keyboard, mouse, attached hard drive, and other devices.  Finally, you can use your smart phone with your full sized accessories for full productivity.  The exact same docking station could be used with a ultrathin laptop or a tablet using a Type C connector.

You can see in the diagram below, the pins available for Alt Mode.  In the case of USB and DP simultaneous use, one row (for this example) would use the A pins for USB, and the a pair on the B row for DP.

USB Type C Pins Available

Let’s break down the IP offering.

USB 3.1 / DP 1.3 PHY – We have a world’s first USB 3.1 Type-C / DisplayPort 1.3 Type C combo PHY. It supports both USB and has the lanes to support DisplayPort   At 10 Gbps it supports the fastest USB standard to date AND it supports DisplayPort HBR 3, or 8.1 Gbps transfers for HD up to maximum resolution of 8K x 4K at 24 bits per pixel with a 60 GHz refresh rate at a 4:2:0 format.

Controllers

USB 3.1 – We have the USB 3.1 digital controllers, including Dual Role Device, Host, and Device controller.  These are the first IP controllers announced and available to the industry.

DisplayPort 1.3 Transmit (TX) – This enables transmission of DP content alongside the USB 3.1 digital controller.  It matches the PHY and supports up to HBR 3.

HDCP 2.2 Embedded Security Module (ESM) – This module provides the authentication and encryption for content protection over a cable. In this case, DisplayPort requires HDCP 2.2 for premium, DRM video content.

VIP – Both USB 3.1 and DP Verification are available and shipping for integration testing and verification

We also provide IP Subsystems, IP Prototyping Systems, and IP Virtualizer Development Kits to speed development.  These save weeks and months of engineering effort.

We’ve designed this all to work together as you would expect, so companies can keep coming to Synopsys for all their USB needs.

Read the full press release and links to our webpages here

 

http://news.synopsys.com/2016-01-26-Synopsys-Introduces-USB-3-1-Type-C-IP-with-DisplayPort-1-3-and-HDCP-2-2-for-High-Bandwidth-Data-Transfer-with-Content-Protection

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Frozen Pants

I thought about this announcement a lot while I was in Minnesota last week, when Minnesota made the news for being the coldest of the cold states and you can sculpt frozen pants

.ht_freezing_pants1_hb_160119_4x3_992

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-neighborhood-pranked-frozen-pants/story?id=36377805

Please note that if you google the term “frozen pants” for images, you get a lot of pictures of Disney themed pajamas.

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Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

USB 3.1 Ships in Laptops, USB Dev Days, Charging Safety, USB 3.1 Chip Prices

Posted by Eric Huang on October 21st, 2015

USB 3.1 Chips in Laptops

I’m super excited to report that USB 3.1 Gen 2 is now shipping (will be shipping soon) in laptops. Yes Laptops!  This is about 6 months before I expected it to happen.

You’ll now find it in MSI, Gigabyte, Acer, and Lenovo models.

USB 3-1 Laptops

These 4 laptops all appear to use the Alpine Ridge chip which uses / supports the Type C connector and the 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds.

Which is pretty cool.

Better yet, the Alpine Ridge implementation port also supports Thunderbolt 3. So you have the option of buying a Thunderbolt 3 drive or DisplayPort monitor supporting display through the same port.  My bet is that port will be used mostly for connection to super nice displays immediately because there are lots of them out there already, then by next year lots of mass storage devices (USB 3.1 Gen 2) products, and then the power users will then be using Thunderbolt 3 RAID systems.  Of course, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 RAID system will also be super easy to build.

Prices for these chips at the end of the article (plus some Elephant Jokes)

(I would like to thank the USB-IF for insisting on I use the terminology USB 3.1 Gen 2, because every time I need to write the correct speed, I am required to write USB 3.1 Gen 2 which gets me to my preferred minimum word count of much faster.)

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USB Developer Days

Today at the USB Dev Days in San Diego over 200 USB engineers (and about 3 marketing people), gathered to review the latest in USB 3.1 standards including Type C and Power Delivery.

Morten Christiansen and Eric Huang (that’s me) have a scintillating presentation on the challenges of implementing USB 3.1 and USB Type C.

Morten talking about USB 3.1

USB Safety and USB-IF testing

USB Power Delivery and USB charging is a serious, serious matter.

The most sobering messaging delivered from USB-IF Chairman and CEO Jeff Ravencraft is that USB certification is a serious business.  Consumers should always be looking the USB label.   In the keynote address the USB-IF points to at least one case where a cheap, generic phone charger (probably USB) caused a fire that killed several people.   These kinds of events are governed by local and national laws going after manufacturers of faulty chargers.

The message:  It’s better to spend more a few dollars more for the official certified cables and chargers.

Advice from the UK (and the report on the deaths suspected from a charger (It’s not clear if this is a USB charger)  from a BBC article.

“Philip Le Shirley, product safety adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), says consumers should use the charger supplied with a product wherever possible.

If they cannot, they should only buy approved products.

He advises customers to:
-Only buy approved chargers for products
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Contact the manufacturer directly if in doubt.

Overnight charging

People should also avoid leaving devices to charge unattended, especially overnight, Mr Gardiner warned.

And it is important to think about where items are being left whilst they charge, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said.

For example, if a product is charged on a flammable surface, that increases the chance of a fire spreading.”

Here’s the original article:  http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27390466

If you Google “USB fire death” you will find some pretty sad stories. I don’t want to repeat them here.  Just be careful. Buy good chargers. I’ll sleep better if you do and so will you.

Synopsys USB 3.1 and Type C at USB Developer Days

The simplicity of our demonstrations make them commonplace.  Here they are anyways.

We demonstrated our Synopsys USB 3.1 Gen 2 Device controller IP on the HAPS-DX platform (really our IP Prototyping Kit for USB 3.1) with the ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 Host chip plugged into a Windows 8 PC.

We also demonstrated our USB Type C system on HAPS-DX.  In this case we plugged in a USB Type C Patriot flash Drive into our USB Host controller.  You can see the board and the image on windows below. Actually you can’t because I can’t upload the images. So instead his a picture of Jeff Ravencraft with myself and Minh Pham, our super hardware engineer.

Eric Jeff Minh at Dev Days San Diego Oct 2015

Pricing drops for USB 3.1 Chips

Helping accelerate USB 3.1 adoption even faster, the Alpine Ridge chip with TB3 is down to $6 per chip and the ASMedia chip is down to $3.  This was in July.

 

 

USB 31 Host controllers get cheaper

Source: http://www.kitguru.net/peripherals/anton-shilov/asmedia-and-intel-cut-prices-of-usb-3-1-chips-speed-up-adoption/

 

Closing Elephant Jokes

Q: How is an elephant like an apricot?
A: They are both gray. Well, except the apricot.

Q: How can you tell if an elephant is in the refrigerator?
A: The door won’t shut.

Q: How can you tell if an elephant has been in the refrigerator earlier?
A: Footprints in the butter.

Q: How do you get an elephant into the fridge in the first place?
A: Open door; Insert elephant; Close door.

Q: How do you get a giraffe into the fridge?
A: Open door; Remove elephant; Insert giraffe; Close door.

Q: What’s the difference between a dozen eggs and an elephant?
A: If you don’t know, I’m sure not going to send you to the store for a dozen eggs!

Q: What the difference between a herd of elephants and a bunch of grapes?
A: Grapes are purple, elephants are gray.

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Posted in Chip ASP, USB 3.1 | 2 Comments »

Synopsys at Type C (USB-C) Plugfest and Synopsys USB Type C IP Solutions

Posted by Eric Huang on July 30th, 2015

Morten Christiansen authored today’s blog on the industry’s first plugfest earlier this month.  At this exciting event, USB Engineers (no marketing people generally) bring their products on carts, and go from hotel room to hotel room interoperating their products with stationary products.  Morten as spent a lot of time writing and contributing to standards at Ericsson for mobile phones.  He’s our Technical Marketing Manager for USB products, a great guy and a fantastic engineer, and a true expert on USB applications.  Hopefully he will write for us more in the future.

 

USB Type C on HAPS Hanging out on a cart in a Hotel room for the plugfest

Picture 1:  A cart with multiple PCs, FPGA boards, power supplies and cables is required to move around and test prototypes. This is the ‘business end’ of the cart.

I attended the Type-C InterOp Event in Portland, OR a few weeks ago. InterOp Events and PlugFests are fun, scary and interesting. Test results are for information only and not published. Without breaking any confidentiality agreements; here are some of my thoughts on Type-C based on this event:

InterOp background:

The purpose of an InterOp Event is to provide the industry an opportunity for early testing of devices and systems. Early products are by definition designed based on an immature understanding of the relevant specifications. It also happens that errors or inconsistencies exists in the specifications. How the design handles this affect interoperability. However, early testing mainly benefits the end-users. By testing and verifying products before they are shipping in volume to end-users, specification compliance and interoperability is verified.

Products based on mature specifications can easily and effectively be tested by certified test-houses. The process is simple: Pack up the system, send it to the test-house and wait for the test certificate. When designers do their job properly; no excitement. InterOp Events and PlugFests on the other hand are far more interesting.

This Type-C InterOp Event had approx 100 registered attendees. 45 registered roving devices moved around the hotel for 3 days. Each of the devices could visit 26 test suites with vendor systems, hosts and stationary devices. I addition, the USB-IF hosted 5 compliance test suites.

The fun:

Packing, shipping and setting up the prototype system, lugging it around for 3 days before repacking and preparing for transport back to HQ is not fun. Meeting old friends from yesteryears is fun. Reminding each other of previous events, non-working devices, the steep learning curve and the first successes. “And this time we are so much better prepared.” As a former designer I also enjoyed technical discussions with

The scary:

InterOp can be scary. Hopefully the “will it work?” question has been addressed in the lab before going to such an event. However there is always the possibility that your product could “crash and burn”. At this event, there were no recorded casualties. I am aware of one system that died after connecting to an alien device. However as the backup system arrived next morning, the dead system suddenly worked again. Apparent self-healing is one of the interesting things that does happen at InterOp. It also happens that systems and devices die overnight, for no apparent reason. At previous events, recorded casualties have been numerous. 5V@3A is significant power and can cause damage in modern chips that work at less than 1V. When Power Delivery is enabled, up to 20V@5A is available. Systems have actually caught fire at previous InterOp events!

Synopsys USB Type Con on HAPS DX at July 2015 USB-C Plugfest

Picture 2: Synopsys side of interoperability testing with USB-C.  (We can’t show the others’ end products, those are confidential)

The interesting:

Most vendors believe their design is the best. The design has been systemized to meet market requirements. Designers made all the right detailed choices and tradeoffs. And their design will dominate the market. At InterOp you learn that other vendors and designers disagree with you! The range of different system designs and detailed solutions was amazing. However as long as it works, all is fine. And something has been learned, that will be useful in your next design. Admittedly, not all competitor’s design choices are fully understood. For a designer that is an interesting challenge!

The summary:

Type-C has arrived. The July 2015 Type-C InterOp Event showed a range of Type-C solutions that are becoming mature and ready for products. Type-C is not just for USB but also for Power Delivery and Alternate Modes. In particular DisplayPort Alternate Mode is ready for product deployment.

Multiple Type-C products have already been launched, using external support chips and multiple discrete components. More and more products will be offered with Type-C. The external support chips become more integrated with fewer discrete external components required. Implementing Type-C becomes easier.

Fully integrated and optimized native Type-C solutions in SoCs and ASICs are not practical for some products. Optimized Type-C system partitioning is possible. Future Type-C solutions will ensure Type-C is the preferred and most widely used wired interface for consumer electronics for the next 10-15 years.

 

Type C - Plugfest 1 July 2015 - Multi-Connector DisplayPort and USB

Picture 3: Some Type-C external support chips already exist; this chip combines USB and DisplayPort. In the future this functionality will be integrated into the SoC.

Type-C is happening now!

End of Morten’s Blog Entry

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Synopsys USB Type-C IP Solution

And we announced our USB Type-C solution – Normally I’d write something up about this, but the writing is so good, just click on the picture below to read about it, and see it in action.

Synopsys Type C PHY announcement

Here’s your jokes of the blog

Q: What did the peanut say to the elephant?
A: Nothing: peanuts can’t talk.

Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.

Q: How is an elephant like an apricot?
A: They are both gray. Well, except the apricot.

Q: What do you call an elephant that rides a bus?
A: A passenger.

Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into work?
A: Sole use of the elevator.

Thanks to the Thought Palace for these SFW jokes at 131 Elephant Jokes

http://jens.mooseyard.com/2009/09/07/The-Top-131-Elephant-Jokes/

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Posted in Type C, USB-C | Comments Off

The State of USB – Part 1 – USB 3.1 and USB Type C (USB-C)

Posted by Eric Huang on July 21st, 2015

The State of USB – Part 1 – USB 3.1 and USB Type C (USB-C)

How many engineers does it take to change a lightbulb.

- None, they just define darkness as the new industry standard.

How do you make a hot dog stand?

-Steal its chair.

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

- A carrot!

System makers now ship wide range of products with Type C.  In addition, to USB 3.1 Add-In cards for PCs and the Nokia N1 Tablet,  we now have SanDisk USB flash drives, and mobile phones in China.   You can buy a MacBook today with Type C only, and order a Google Chromebook Pixel 2015 with USB Type-C (and some USB Type A’s also) directly from Google.

TypeC as of June 2015

Maybe the Windows 10 enabled Dell Venue 11 will ship before the end of the year?  It’s got USB Type-C as standard.

The HP Pavilion x2 Starts Shipping July 21HP Pavillion x2 with Type C June 2015

http://www.theverge.com/2015/6/18/8800583/hp-first-usb-c-device-release-date

And the phone maker OnePlus bets big on USB Type-C.  They launch the OnePlus 2 phone on July 27 with a Type C connector.  It will be the very first Virtual Reality product launch/media event ever (apparently, according to OnePlus.

https://forums.oneplus.net/threads/oneplus-2-the-worlds-first-product-launch-in-vr.318285/

Here’s the source for the Cable Pictures

http://news.mydrivers.com/1/435/435910.htm

Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type C

“Thunderbolt™ 3 is computer port nirvana…” Words never used together before, but now used in the Thunderbolt blog .

Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) supports

-          Thunderbolt 3 at 40 Gbps

-          Displayport 1.2 (8 lanes supporting up to two 4K displays)

-          USB 3.1 at 10 Gbps

-          PCIe Gen 3 (4 lanes)

TB3andProtocolsT

TB3 uses the USB-C connector as the only connector going forward for TB3, supporting all these features.  They also promote USB power delivery for 15W to 100 W of power in either direction. (This requires more chips and software intervention).  (Note: the leader for Thunderbolt is Jason Ziller, formerly Chair of the USB-IF who launched the USB 2.0 standard back in 1999)
In an interview with ZDNet, the representatives of the innovative inventing company of TB3, indicate that TB3 could ship in as many as 100 million units.  (At least I think this is what the article says, it’s a little unclear if it’s with regard to Type C or TB3. The writer indicates it’s TB3).

Paradoxically, boosting the speed of Thunderbolt to 40 Gbps, and adopting a USB port actually keeps Thunderbolt going as a standard. It’s 4x the speed of USB 3.1 and supports those people using SSD Raid devices for storage and editing of off-PC content (and of course delivering DisplayPort video).

I suspect, but don’t know, that the company building TB3 will have a single chip that will be able to support TB3 and USB 3.1 all in one. I’m not sure exactly how this will be done.

AnandTech writes a superb summary of TB3, read it here. http://www.anandtech.com/show/9331/intel-announces-thunderbolt-3

First USB-C Docking Stations

Predictably, to support the Apple MacBook, OWC started taking pre-orders for the OWC Docking Station delivering in October.   It’s called a USB 3.1 Docking Station, so for most people, this will confuse them into thinking it supports 10 Gbps.  In fact, USB 3.1 supports all speeds and this one supports what we call USB 3.1 Gen 1 speeds, or 5 Gbps.

 Oneplus Type C

oneplus-2-usb-1 - Type C Cable

Picture Source: https://eshop.macsales.com/preorder/OWC-USB-C-Dock/

Press Release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/other-world-computing-announces-new-usb-c-dock-available-for-pre-order-300095660.html

Expect more Type-C docking stations to be announced in the coming months.

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The First USB Type C battery, probably with Power Delivery

This new product from MOS will charge not just your MacBook but 2 full sized tablets at the same time.  It’s 15,000 mAh which is about the size of 3 laptop batteries (although the largest USB battery I’ve found to date is 20,000mAh).  It also has a Hub.

Type C USB Battery - Charging 3 devices -Gizmodo 557a5b9dc098db5329e27fff_MOS-GO_Charging_Infinite

There’s a little more information here: http://mosorganizer.com/reach-go

It’s not clear to me if this battery also has USB Power Delivery, or only Type C’s increased power over USB Battery Charging or USB 3.0 style charging. More on those specific values in a later post.

That’s all for the moment. The next entry will be on IoT, the State of USB 3.1, or something else.

The Science of Bacon

https://youtu.be/27EBed9rzs8

The Science of the appeal of food pictures

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Posted in Type C, USB 3.1 | Comments Off

How will USB used in IoT? – Part 1

Posted by Eric Huang on June 22nd, 2015

How will USB be used in IoT – Part 1 of a 3 part series

Two cupcakes sitting together in the oven. One says to the other “Wow, it’s getting hot in here.”

The other cupcake says, “Oh my gosh! A talking cupcake!”

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the huge market of product connected to the internet that aren’t phones, tablets, TVs, or set top boxes.  It includes anything from wearables like smartwatches and fitness bands tracking heart rates, steps taken, flights of stairs walked, heart rates, appointment reminders, text messages and occasionally the time of day.   The other broad category is for machine to machine communication.  Often these devices report current conditions or control systems and report/receive commands to other systems, Skynet or H.A.L. or whoever.

Wireless and Low Power – They often have networking of some kind. WiFi, Zigbee, and Low Power Bluetooth.  They may be fully wired into the internet in some cases. Some are battery powered, solar powered, or tethered to AC power.

Wearables and Machine to Machine

Click Image to zoom in

 

IoT devices will be everywhere reporting to us through a machine intermediary or plugged in directly to our brains through our eyes and ears.

Since USB is everywhere[citation needed], the logical question is “USB in IoT SoC? Which markets and why”

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How will USB be used in IoT?

USB is used for Power and Programming

With Wearables, USB is the only consumer interface

  1. It’s a Small Form factor connector (USB Type C or USB-C)
  2. Faster charging with USB-C at 15W
    1. Supported at
      1. USB 1.1 (Low Speed/Full Speed) up from 2.5W
      2. USB 2.0 (High Speed), and USB 3.0 up from 2.5 W
      3. USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed or USB 3.1 Gen 1) up from 4.5W
    2. No need for Battery Charging circuitry and up from 7.5W
  3. Little to no power consumed in keep alive suspend state
  4. No power consumed when not connected

Power with Type C and PD

Click Image to zoom in

Wearables will primarily use wireless probably low power Bluetooth to synchronize data between your smartphone, tablet, or PC and your wearable.   The wearable will only connect to the internet through another device in most cases to preserve power.

In some cases, you will have a specialized box in your home that you might synchronize the wearable with, for those that don’t want to manage more apps on your phone.  The synchronization will likely be wireless, but it may also be a charging station, so one location for both charging and synchronization.

In a few cases, especially by the manufacturer, USB will be used for initial programming, or for firmware updates when wireless updates have failed.

Expect USB 3.0 in wearables because when properly implemented, USB 3.0 gives more options for USB use to connect to both external devices and internally to other chips.  In this case, a USB 3.0 Dual Role Device is the best option.

Inside Wearables, USB will be used alongside PCIe as a chip-to-chip interface. To add special wireless or other features, the ubiquity of USB allows for the addition of low cost I/Os or other features to a system level design.   So the SoC made in huge volumes, can have a PCIe or USB interface to connect to another chip inside the wearable, and that second chip can have other interfaces or customizations.  The second chip can be in a larger process node, and potentially be made or purchased in smaller volumes.

I highly recommend this article from Alf Petter Syvertsen at Silicon Labs who discusses how USB is used in a IoT devices:

http://www.embedded.com/design/power-optimization/4439531/USB-connectivity-in-a-battery-powered-IoT-world

And to promote more singing in science and engineering:

1)      The Periodic Table Song

2)      A USB Song

The Periodic Table Song from ASAPScience on YouTube

https://youtu.be/zUDDiWtFtEM

A USB Song – I’m not sure how I feel about this song. It isn’t great. It’s a lot better than anything I could produce.

https://youtu.be/YkzpXgzUB8s

Send me your comments via email (You know how) or post below).

Check out the previous entries on HIP Prototyping and USB 3.1 and Type C.  (I really need to update you more on these, probably next time).

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Go to market months faster with Hybrid IP Prototyping (HIP) AND USB 3.1 Shipping from its Creator

Posted by Eric Huang on June 5th, 2015

Hybrid IP Prototyping and USB 3.1 ahead, but first an opening joke

An old man thinks his wife is losing her hearing. He calls the doctor about it and the doctor says he can do a little experiment to determine the severity, “Ask her a question from the next room in a normal tone of voice, and keep asking while coming closer until she can hear you. That way you know the range of her hearing.”

That night, he’s sitting on his easy chair in the living room while his wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner. He estimates he’s about 30 feet away. In a normal tone of voice, he says, “What’s for dinner?”

She doesn’t respond, so he gets up and walks to the kitchen doorway, about 20 feet away, and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She still doesn’t respond so he walks 10 feet closer and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She still doesn’t say anything, so he gets right up beside her and asks, “What’s for dinner?”

She says, “For the fourth time we’re having chicken!”

This joke reminds me of how I learned about Hybrid IP Prototyping.  After about 1 hour of discussion with our engineering experts on Hybrid Prototyping, I think I’ve heard/understand all the value that comes from Hybrid IP Prototyping, or HIP prototyping. (Thank you for your patience)

Get HIP, Save Time

  • RESULT – drivers ready immediately when FPGA prototypes or silicon are ready.
  • Software engineers can get started IMMEDIATELY
    • No Waiting for Hardware engineers to deliver RTL or FPGA platforms
    • Write drivers in C
    • No new methodologies
    • Use your favorite 3rd party debuggers you already know
    • No Hardware engineers needed
      • No FPGA reprogramming needed,
      • Models available for ARM and ARC (yeah, we know you all use ARM…)
      • Real time interoperability
        • Connect through from Virtual to FPGA to real, external products
        • Real drivers running at real time

It’s clear to me that choosing Hybrid Prototyping is the only way to develop new chips with new microprocessors.  You save so a tremendous amount of time.

The process goes something like this.  You take our Hybrid IP Prototyping Kit which includes both  Virtual Prototyping Kit (models that run on any PC) and a IP Prototyping Kit (FPGA Hardware with our IP pre-installed)

DesignWare Hybrid IP Prototyping Kits - What is HIP

Virtual saves time

The Virtual Prototyping Kit (VDK) includes the Virtualizer, Models of a Microprocessor (use yours or ours).  Any software programmer can develop and run drivers in pure C.  They can use the debuggers they always use. The models of the microprocessor and other IP will run and respond.

The reason this saves time is because if you are moving to a new microprocessor, like an ARM A57/A53, or an ARC processor, the software developers can start working on drivers IMMEDIATELY.   No waiting for RTL or FPGA prototypes or chips.  The models are already here today.

In fact, every major mobile applications processor chip company already does this.  They use VDKs for driver development.  The SoCs are bigger and more complex, and they have 1000s of software people.

The advantage of this is that the drivers are real drivers, the models run “at speed” meaning nothing gets slowed down.

Big bonus: The Software engineer doesn’t need to know how to use an FPGA board.  Doesn’t need to know how to configure RTL, or synthesize RTL, or close timing of the RTL to fit it on the FPGA board.

IP Prototyping Kit with our USB IP already programmed into it with our PHY Card.  You connect via PCIe from the IP Prototyping kit into to a Linux PC running the VDK. (It could be used with a standard Windows PC if it isn’t being used for HIP.)

The IP Prototyping Kit saves time because you can put your exact USB 3.0 (or USB 3.1) product onto that hardware.  In Device mode, the system is reprogrammable to act as almost any kind of device. So you can use it out of the box for prototyping.   If you want to customize it, you can. A Hardware engineer can go ahead, and re-synthesize our controller in the design, adding your special logic.

However, for 90% of what software engineers need, the IP Prototyping Kit can be used as is.

When used together with the VDK, the IP Prototyping kits become the Hybrid Prototyping kit.

IP Prototyping Kit saves Time

IP Prototyping Kit with our USB IP already programmed into it with our PHY Card.  You connect via PCIe from the IP Prototyping kit into to  (Picture above)

The IP Prototyping Kit saves time because you can put your exact USB 3.0  product onto that hardware.

As a Device,  the system is reprogrammable to act as almost any kind of device. So you can use it out of the box for prototyping.   If you want to customize it, you can. A Hardware engineer can go ahead, and re-synthesize our controller in the design, adding your special logic.

As a Host, you can test different USB peripherals, real ones, against the real drivers, while the microprocessor is still under development.

For 90% of what software engineers need, the IP Prototyping Kit can be used as is.

When used together with the VDK, the IP Prototyping kits become the Hybrid Prototyping kit.

They allow for the speed of driver development with the VDK and real testing with real products with the IP Prototyping Kits with that real USB port.

You really need to be looking at this for your new design

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USB 3.1 from it’s Creator arrives in 2015

Gigabyte announced it will support a Thunderbolt 3 platform with integrated USB 3.1 Host support on PCs later this year.   The chip will be sourced from the innovator that invented USB.

It’s a Premium USB 3.1 I/O controller.

http://www.gigabyte.com/press-center/news-page.aspx?nid=1370

And here’s a robot that can make over 300 custom made burgers each hour.

https://youtu.be/iQ_fSP3LGw8?t=24s

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Posted in FPGA-Based Prototyping, IP Accelerated, IP Prototyping Kits, Thunderbolt, Type C, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, Virtual Prototyping | Comments Off

USB 3.1 and Type-C Arrive at CES 2015

Posted by Eric Huang on February 1st, 2015

Great news!

USB 3.1 kicks off the new year in real products at CES 2015.

Nokia demonstrated its the world first mobile device with the Type-C connector. It’s the Nokia N1 Tablet.

Nokia N1 with Type C Connector

Nokia N1 with USB 3.1 Type C

Don’t waste your time looking for videos of this on YouTube. They don’t exist, just junk videos (but if you find a real video, comment below), all the articles you need are linked below but here are the details.  Or go to the Nokia N1 Site here

 

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/01/usb-3-1-and-type-c-the-only-stuff-at-ces-that-everyone-is-going-to-use/

The units went on sale in China and apparently sold out in just minutes.  I’d like to think it’s because of the new USB 3.1 Type C connector. (I suspect it’s because it’s an reasonably priced, feature rich tablet with an Atom processor it.

The USB-IF also demonstrated two SSDs, super fast ones that probably operate at 10Gbit/second read speeds. They connected these to a device that made them into USB 3.1 SSDs or mass storage devices.

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/usb-type-c-hands-on-its-here-and-its-great/

Also, MSI announced the world’s first two PC motherboards with USB 3.1, one for desktops (I think) and one for laptops.  According to Anandtech, one will ship in February with the Standard A USB port that we all know and mostly love on Billions of PCs.  MSI boards with the new Type C Connector will be released in Q2.

Anandtech actually got a PC Motherboard version with a Standard A port supporting USB 3.1.  The motherboard uses a discrete USB 3.1 Host chip from ASMedia.

To create a USB 3.1 Device to test with, it looks like they take to SATA III SSDs, connect them to a ASMedia chip that treats them like a RAID system.  Doing so allows them to access both SSDs simultaneously.  This is important because SATA III maximum theoretical 6 Gbps.  Real speeds are limited by several factors (read this old blog on Factors Effecting Performance).

Since USB 3.1 is 10 Gbps, and SATA III is 6 Gbps, the RAID configuration allows the user to get speeds up to must faster speeds, In this case about 170% faster than the native PC USB 3.0 port on the same motherboard.

Read the Anandtech article here http://www.anandtech.com/show/8938/testing-usb-3-1-some-preliminary-results-with-the-msi-x99a-gaming-9-ack

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The Best USB 3.1 Webinar In the Universe

Finally, we had a fantastic USB 3.1 Webinar in January with 10s of thousands of attendees (maybe a few less than that). Watch the Webinar here.  Matt Myers, our USB Architect, and an author of the USB 3.1 Specification, USB 3.1 xHCI Host Specification, USB 3.0 Specification, and the USB 3.0 xHCI Host Specification.  He’s also written stuff for something called PCI Express.  I hear it’s popular. We’ve sold it over 1000 times according to our press release (compared to USB over 3000 times)…

Anyways, this most fabulous webinar points you to the trends and timings for when USB 3.1 products are likely to appear.  And after the best 23 seconds of your life listen to me talk about USB 3.1 market trends, you can listen Matt’s dulcet tones with technical content on protocol and physical layer changes to USB 3.0 to make USB 3.1 possible.

3 Jokes

The only time incorrectly isn’t spelled incorrectly is when it’s spelled incorrectly.

A magician was driving down the road, and then he turned into a driveway.

In the Miss Universe pageant, why are all of the winners from Earth?

A salesman knocks on a door and a little kid answers. The kid’s got a cigar in one hand and a beer in the other. Salesman says, “Are your parents home?” Kid says, “What do you think?”

Two penguins are standing on an ice floe and one penguin says, “Have you seen my brother?” And the other penguin says, “I don’t know. What does he look like?”

A bird in a tuxedo walked into a bar. The bartender said: “Nice tuxedo.” The bird said : “How do you know I am not a penguin?”

How did the tree get on the computer? It logged in.

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Posted in Type C, USB 3.1 | Comments Off

USB 3.0 IP Prototyping Kits from Synopsys (and More!)

Posted by Eric Huang on November 20th, 2014

USB 3.0 IP Prototyping Kits from Synopsys (and More!)

The super awesome news is that we just made your software engineering and hardware engineering tasks easier and faster.

In my 14 years in USB IP, a huge problem for us and our customers has been FPGA prototyping.

For our customers back in 2000, they would have to:

  • Spend time building a FPGA board or
  • Spent time adapting an existing board with an FPGA that might not meet timing or have capacity
  • Spend time adapting a board to work with a PHY card
  • Try to acquire a PHY card (or build a PHY card)

In fact, used off the shelf FPGA platforms from 3 companies, then built our own custom boards.  It was painful.

  • So we acquired Synplicity just so we could have the FPGA tools and boards to prototype USB 3.0.
  • (Note: We did not purchase Synplicity just so we could prototype USB 3.0 more easily)

Typical customers need to prototype to test architecture, develop software, test PHY or SERDES chips.

By having these prebuilt systems available with HAPS, our customers can do all of this immediately with USB 3.0 Host, USB 3.0 Device and USB 3.0 SSIC Host or Device).

(Oh and a bunch of other protocols including HDMI 2.0, DDR, MIPI,  and PCIe.)

This is all part of our IP Accelerated initiative to help our customers save time at every step in their design flow. 

For more on how we save customer’s time around integrating IP, read this article from by Peggy  Aycinena over at EDACafe.

Videos, Jokes and more after the jump

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For more:

And here’s a neat video “I Won’t Let You Down” from OK Go. (I think it should the Synopsys IP theme song)

 

Jokes – Read Mick’s “Breaking the Three Laws

The computer programmer’s wife had a baby and the doctor handed the baby to the father. His wife said: “So, is it a boy or a girl?” The programmer said, “yes”.  Read Tom’s “A View from the Top” blog

How did the tree get on the computer? It logged in. Read the “Express Yourself” PCIe Blog by Scott and Richard.

How do you keep bacon from curling in the pan? You take away its tiny brooms.  Read the “Committed to Memory” DDR Blog by Graham and Mark

Two penguins are standing on an ice floe and one penguin says, “Have you seen my brother?” And the other penguin says, “I don’t know. What does he look like?”

What does IDK stand for?” “I don’t know.” “OMG, nobody does!”

There are two types of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Synopsys announces Industry’s First and Most Comprehensive USB 3.1 Solution (with Market Trends!)

Posted by Eric Huang on October 29th, 2014

(I wanted to say the “Universe’s First” but our Legal, Marketing, Finance, IT and Shipping and Cafeteria people all said I can’t prove it so I can only claim “Industry’s First”.)

Synopsys First and Most Comprehensive USB 3.1 Solution

Why should you Care? Isn’t the world Wireless?
USB 3.1 will be the leading/dominant wired interface in the world of tomorrow.
You’ll have WiFi and Faster WiFi. And Faster 5G Modems and 11.5 G modems..
You’ll have Wired. It will be USB.

What are the trends leading?
For USB 3.1 – Creation of Content – 8K video and Big MP pictures.
- Creation of 24K and soon 8K videos, even with compression will create giant file sizes. Even Wireless Networks will feel the strain. Storing and backing up all of this will take lots of storage capacity.

The best example that exists today is the GoPro Hero4+ Silver records 4k video at 30 frames per second.

The smallest card you should buy is a 32GB.

Why?

Because 9 minutes of 4k30fps video takes 4GB of space according to PocketLint’s review.

So you can record a maximum of maybe 54 minutes of video.   You will certainly be recording more than 54 minutes of video so be prepared to buy lots of cards.

The enthusiasts who shoot 4K video for work and for fun drive this market. They will create content and need to store it. It goes to PCs for editing, and then to USB 3.1 SSDs for storage externally.

They will use powerful processors, and external drives.  External fast drives allows for the fast scaling/addition of more storage with no penalty because it’s external storage.

Fast External StorageExternal as fast as Internal
Storage First, Connected to PCs – Enthusiasts who shoot and record lots of video will adopt USB 3.1 first.
They will add USB 3.1 Host Controller Cards to their Desktop PCs and buy external USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 SSDs for storage.
SSDs are clearly the way to go as Hard Drives or “spinning rust” is on the way out.

NAND Flash Speeds have continued to increase. Samsung and Toshiba SSDs that run at 10Gbps have been shipping for over a year in volume. These have dropped in price and continue to drop in price. These are PCIe based chips.
It will be easy to add a PCIe to USB 3.1 chip to convert these to USB 3.1 External Hard Drives.
The chips may initially cost $2-5, but they will drop to $2 pretty quick. Consumers will be able to pick up these faster SSDs using NAND flash chips for $200 or less to start with, depending on capacity. I’d guess 256 GB for sure, but likely 512GB by mid 2015. This is based on today’s Amazon price of $230 for a 512GB SSD from Crucial. If NAND flash is dropping in price at about 32% a year, this puts the retail price of this at about $160.

SSD 512 GB Crucial price on Amazon
A product maker could take the PCIe version of this drive, add a $5 chip to it (and the casing and cables) and still make a great margin at $200.
And the product would be 100% backward and forward compatible.
For PCs, you’ll be able to buy an Add-In card for your PC. It will probably in the range of $90-150.
So Storage and the enthusiasts who need that storage will be the first adopters.

These are the enthusiasts that will drive the first USB 3.1 purchases.

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We have an enormous amount of content for you to look through
Our Press Release

Our USB 3.1 Solution Datasheet

A Technical White Paper on USB 3.1

USB University with a USB 3.1 Technical Overview

Jeff Ravencraft talks about USB 3.1 Speed, Power, and One Connector

And Joyce Hsieh from Joinsoon talks about the new Type-C Connector in English and Chinese.

English Version

Chinese Version

For some Inspiration

And Self Organized Learning Environments with Grannies in the Cloud

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Posted in 4K Video, USB 3.1, USB 3.10 | Comments Off