To USB or Not to USB
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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.

Double-Speed USB 3.0 – Why it’s needed, really – Part 2 – USB and WiFi

Posted by Eric Huang on March 15th, 2013

I had lunch with a friend today.

By today, I mean 9 days ago.

Yes, well, I think he’s a friend.  He and I are too cheap to subscribe to Cloud services to back up all our pictures and data for our home computers.

We’ve both purchased USB 3.0 Hard Drives.  He backs his up using software. It records small changes (deltas) and backs up once a day.

I just plug in my USB 3.0 Hard Drive, and copy everything, in one copy session, to the drive. (I don’t trust backup software).  I do this once a month.

Total cost annually: $89 per drive, lasts for 3 years.

Cloud Services for 250GB upwards of $100 annually.  Why would anyone pay for this? unless they are fabulously wealthy.

And even with USB 3.0, when I’m backing up my 100GB of personal pictures and videos it still takes about 30 minutes.  I don’t know if this is typical for most users.

I suspect that for many people they either

  1. Don’t backup their files
  2. Assume the Cloud will keep their pictures forever
  3. Let someone else manage their pictures
  4. Would love to backup their pictures if it wasn’t such a hassle.
  5. Use software, like my “friend” that hopefully will restore your files if something goes wrong
  6. The rest of us use USB because it’s relatively cheap and portable and doesn’t require proprietary software.

Ramble done.

I think the trend will move toward WiFi Routers like the WiFi-N Router that has a USB 3.0 Host port.  If you connect a USB 3.0 Drive to that port, all the PCs in your home (and tablets) can store your content wirelessly to this wired USB 3.0 Hard Drive.  You can seen an example from CES 2012 (1 year ago) in the DLink WiFi-N Router below.  This seems like a likely scenario also, but again, with USB 3.0 you will need to wait 15 minutes or more to really backup 250 GB of data


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Synopsys’ USB PHY IP –  Marketing Pitch

We have these small USB PHYs IP for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

Check out our USB 3.0 PHYs here at our USB Solutions page.


Here’s me, today, this morning

Note also the ads in the lower right. I’ve never put an age on my Facebook account.

Thanks to Navraj Nandra, author of our blog “The Eyes Have It” for taking this picture of me and sending it to his 3000 Facebook friends.

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2 Responses to “Double-Speed USB 3.0 – Why it’s needed, really – Part 2 – USB and WiFi”

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli says:

    If it takes you 30 minutes to copy 100GB of data, obviously your hard drive’s write speed is the bottleneck, not USB 3.0′s data transfer speeds.


    Although USB 3.0 has a theoretical speed of 5 Gbps (640 MBps), we could say the actual limit for most user is about 3.2 Gbps (roughly 400 MBps). I will use the 400 MBps figure for these calculations.

    First let’s convert 100 GB into MB. 100*1024= 102400
    100 GB = 102400 MB

    Next, let’s divide the total amount of data by USB 3.0′s speed.

    102400/400= 256 seconds

    Convert to minutes: 256/60= 4.2666…..

    Anyway, I hate to sound too offensive towards a small mistake, I just want to see blame and credit go to where they are due. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

    • Eric Huang says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with your math entirely.

      In fact, the copy speed is absolutely a function of the speed of the hard drive. In this case, it is a cheap USB 3.0 Hard Drive so it’s faster than a USB 2.0 Hard Drive, but not a huge amount faster do to the speed of the hard drive which is probably a slower, cheaper hard drive.

      Which returns us to the idea that latency can come from multiple sources including the hard drive speed, hard drive firmware, PCIexpress bus speed on my PC, Windows or Linux or Mac drivers… Thanks for this correction.

      I will started covering how fast SSDs will replace HDDs including these external HDDs, and even the cheap ones. Check out the latest blog for come commentary on how Video and Digital Cameras can use USB 3.0 and fast memory to increase the value of their cameras.