To USB or Not to USB
  • 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.

Archive for November, 2009

USB 3.0 Products Shipping & the Co-Creator of USB

Posted by Eric Huang on 19th November 2009

Cyberpower announced that USB 3.0 will be an option on all their Gamer Xtreme PCs.  This (to my knowledge) is the first PC company to announce support for USB 3.0.   I checked out the CyberPower website, and I found 13 models that let me pick USB 3.0 as a feature.   You can see the cheapest PC option here: CyberPower PC with USB 3.0 option

The most useful product I would like to buy is the Sharkoon SATA dock.  The will accept standard SATA drives and has a connector for a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cable. You can see the blue USB 3.0 receptacle in their marketing doc here: Sharkoon SATA QuickDock with USB 3.0,   The dock will retail for around $75.

GeekWarning: This saves us geeks money by allowing us to buy the cheapest, barebone, unpackaged SATA hard drives, and just plug it into the dock for when we need to do a back up.  We don’t need to speed the extra bucks for the fancy, ruggedized hard drives.  The geeks know what I’m talking about.

Otherwise, you can buy one of the other USB 3.0 storage devices listed below for yourself, your family, your friends… 

Sharkoon sells a matching USB 3.0 Host Card.  Of course, if you bought the CyberPower GamerXtreme and the QuickDock then you’d be all set for USB 3.0.


USB Co-Creator

Also, Conan O’Brian interviewed the Co-Creator of USB, Ajay Bhatt.  You saw an actor in original USB commercial.  You can see both the Interview and the Commercial and Engadget here:



Running list of USB 3.0 Products (with Links)

CyberPower Gamer Xtreme

ASUSP7P55D-E Premium,P6X58D Premium, P7H57D-V EVO
Gigabyte – 7 modelsGA-P55A-UD6, UD5, UD4P, UD3P, UD3R, UD3

•NEC Host in Add-In Cards/ExpressCards

Buffalo HDD
Dane-Elec HDD/SDD
Active Media Aviator 312
Freecom HDD
SuperTalent Flash Drive
Sharkoon SATA Dock

Posted in USB 2.0, USB 3.0 | Comments Off

USB 3.0 SSD Benchmark – First Published Results

Posted by Eric Huang on 12th November 2009

Reading through the first published benchmark testing of a USB 3.0 SSD, you can look at it 2 ways.

1) It’s slower than the promised 10 times USB 2.0 or

2) It’s 3 times to 7 times faster than USB 2.0 and almost as fast as direct SATA 3 Gbps connection.

The way it works, the SSD actually has a SATA 3 Gigabit per second (Gbps) connection.  To get to USB 3.0, it uses a SATA to USB 3.0 chip.  (I’d really like to know which one.).  This means the fastest the device can go is 3 Gbps.  This means it can’t ever get  to 4 Gbps.

(Remember, electrical signaling for USB 3.0 is at 5 Gbps, and with 8b10b encoding it drops by to a 4 Gbps maximum theoretical limit).

Looking at the bench mark, you will see USB 3.0 transfers within 10% or less of the SATA transfers.  In SATA mode, it’s actually connected directly to the PC Chipset SATA connector.  So there is some overhead translating from SATA to USB.

So my assessment is, this is a pretty good start for USB 3.0 Devices.

Full link to the report is here


Also, the pre-brined Turkey’s are in at Trader Joe’s so clear some space in your fridge.

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First USB 3.0 Products available in next 6 weeks

Posted by Eric Huang on 5th November 2009


USB 3.0 is here.  For your convenience, here are links to the 9 motherboards, 2 add-in cars, and 5 storage products that (according to the links) will appear within the next 6 weeks.

These are the 9 models of PC motherboards that you can buy (soon) that will have USB 3.0 on them.  They use the NEC USB 3.0 Host chip.

- ASUS P7P55D-E Premium,P6X58D Premium
- Gigabyte – 7 modelsGA-P55A-UD6, UD5, UD4P, UD3P, UD3R, UD3

This PCI-Express Add-in card has been announced also, it’s the ASUS U3S6.  It has 2 Host ports and 2 SATA ports.  The rumored retail price is $30.  This is an incredible price (if it’s real) since the first USB 2.0 Host cards back in 2000 were in the range of $80-100.  I know because I bought one for me and one for my sister.

Five companies have announced storage product lines.   These include hard drives, solid state drives and flash drives.  The HDD drive capacities will be 1TB to 2TB. SDDs will be in the 32GB-128GB or larger range.  The SuperTalent Flash drive will include up to 128GB.

Buffalo HDD

Dane-Elec HDD/SDD

Active Media Aviator 312

Freecom HDD

SuperTalent Flash Drive

I call these product lines because the first hard drives all use standard SATA drives, and use a USB 3.0 to SATA bridge chip to provide the USB 3.0 connectivity.  This means that different capacity hard drives can be connected to the same bridge chip to create different USB 3.0 drives.  Buffalo’s HDD will have 1 TB, 1.5TB, and 2TB options.  There is no difference in software, only the hard drive needs to been different.

For Flash Drives, it’s similar, the flash controller includes the USB 3.0 logic, and the vendor can connect a higher quality, more reliable, faster flash memory for a better flash drive, or pick the lowest quality flash memory for selling at the super market checkout.

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