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    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.

Synopsys USB 3.0 xHCI Host with MCCI Windows Stacks and Drivers

Posted by Eric Huang on July 29th, 2010

We’ve achieved read speeds of 320 Megabytes per second (MBps) with the following configuration:

Synopsys USB 3.0 xHCI Host Controller

  • Running on the Synopsys HAPS 51FXT FPGA
  • With our Synopsys SuperSpeed USB 3.0 65nm PHY
  • On Windows 7
  • Running the MCCI USB 3.0 Host Stack and Drivers

On the Device side we use the Synopsys USB 3.0 xHCI Host Controller

  • Running on the Synopsys HAPS 51FXT FPGA
  • With our Synopsys SuperSpeed USB 3.0 65nm PHY
  • On Linux
  • Running Synopsys Mass Storage Reference Firmware

Our 320 MBps Read Speed means our Host, Device, and PHY with the MCCI Drivers runs faster than any other combination out there.

Here’s the demo video


So we can achieve these speeds with our USB IP (cores and PHYs).    This is the fastest we’ve see yet.  If you’ve seen faster speeds, let me know.


Latest USB 3.0 Performance – 5 Flash Drives

The latest speeds I’ve seen published can be found at Tom’s Hardware here.  In the review of 5 USB 3.0 Flash Drives/SSDs including the OCZ Enyo, Walton Chaintech, SuperTalent (2 versions) and PQI SSD S533-Es.  If you read through the data, you will see that most of the devices read at up to about 180 to 190 MBps, with the fastest reads at up to 220 MBps.  This is about 6-7x faster than the typical USB 2.0 performance of 32MBps.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of reasons for this potential slowness relative to where USB 3.0 should be including:

On the Host Side

  • Host Controller latencies/quality
  • Host Operating System latencies
  • Host Stacks and Drivers

On the Device Side

  • Device Controller (on the peripheral) latencies/quality
  • Device OS latencies
  • Device Stacks and Drivers
  • Quality of the PHYs on both the Host and the Device
  • Latencies to access the Device memories

So while the performance of the devices tested by Tom’s hardware, it can be better.  It should be better. 
In fairness to the devices, the quality of the Flash makes a big difference, and if the device uses cheap, cheap flash, access times will be slow because cheap flash just doesn’t have fast access.

(I’d like to point out that our demonstration achieves 10x USB 2.0 speeds, with Windows 7 and MCCI drivers and our PHY and our controllers, without any optimization on our part yet)

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