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 the 'Windows 8' Category

Windows 8 available October 26, 2012 (with USB 3.0), and a Demo with a Win 8 Beta

Posted by Eric Huang on 18th July 2012

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky announced the availability of Windows 8 today as reported in the Microsoft Win 8 Blog a few hours ago.



For USB 3.0, it means every PC with Windows 8 will have the USB 3.0 driver support.  (Windows 7 PCs with USB 3.0 have driver support. Those drivers come


To celebrate this announcement, we have a demonstration of our USB 3.0 Host running on a Windows 8.




Our demonstration uses:

  • Public Win 8 Beta drivers
  • with our USB 3.0 xHCI Host controller
  • and USB 3.0 PHY
  • on HAPS51FXT FPGA-Based Prototyping hardware.

And we run the USB 3.0 compliance test too. So, at least, you know it works in this setup.

My points:

Win 8 Launch Date Oct 26, 2012

Win 8 is good for USB 3.0

Synopsys tests with Win 8 USB 3.0 drivers (already)






Comments from Bloggers and Reviewers of Bloggers


My colleague Michael Posner writes a blog on FPGA-Based Prototyping.  He wrote a blog on my blog on USB 3.0 on a HAPS61-2 platform. In his review, ChipDesign’s Ed Sperling said the following:

“Synopsys’ Michael Posner pays homage to one of his colleagues and fellow bloggers, Eric Huang—who was alive and well at last sighting—while focusing at least tangentially on FPGA prototyping. We’re not quite sure of the real purpose of this blog, but it’s hard to stop laughing. “

At least go to Posner’s blog to see terrific screen shot of me.  Check out Michael Posner’s blog talking about me and maybe even FPGA Prototyping here or by clicking on the headine below



More Comments

If you don’t want to post a comment below, feel free to find me on LinkedIn, tell me who you are, and ask a question about USB.

Posted in HAPS, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Adoption, USB 3.0 Pricing, Windows 8 | Comments Off

The First Commercially Available Tablet PC with USB 3.0–Microsoft Surface, Maybe Soon

Posted by Eric Huang on 22nd June 2012


As stated by the CTO of the USB-IF, USB 3.0 hits tablet PCs this year with the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro PC Tablet.

This is much earlier than I would expect.  It would be better if Microsoft announced a date for availability.


The Microsoft Surface PC uses the Ivy Bridge chipset found in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro,

In this PC World Article, you can see a comparison of all the announced tablets.  Only Microsoft Surface has USB 3.0.

This follows the announcements previously:




Fancy Friday

I was asked to promote Fancy Friday.

I responded with a challenge: Write Haiku’s promoting both USB and Fancy Friday.

In the old days, business people wore ties and suits all the time every day.

  • On Friday, you might have Casual Friday.
  • No tie or dress shirt on Casual Friday.
  • Maybe jeans

In the Silicon Valley, we wear business casual clothing.

  • For Marketing, this means no ties.
  • For some engineers this means sandels, shorts and t-shirts.

Casual Fridays is the opposite of Fancy Fridays

  • Superman vs. Lex Luthor
  • Or Batman vs. the Joker

On Fancy Friday, according to some, you wear a formal business clothing.

Here are the Haikus to promote Fancy Friday and USB

Please find below the 3 haikus you’ve requested. In our infinite wisdom, we have gone above and beyond and provided a 4th haiku, free of charge. The fourth would make for a good intro on your blog. Let’s change the way our industry dresses on Fancy Fridays!
The ball’s in your court. Smile


  • Challenge accepted
  • We will write you three Haikus
  • so you’ll blog for us


  • In my cube I read
  • “to USB” cause it’s free
  • Haikus are easy


  • USB traffic
  • A forest of Golden trees
  • Engineers unite


  1. Ditch your jeans and tee
  2. A new change to your Friday
  3. Formal attire

Matt Bartleson

Posted in PC Chipset, Tablets, USB 3.0 Adoption, Windows 8 | Comments Off

TI OMAP 5 Demo – First Mobile / Tablet Reference Design with USB 3.0 fully integrated, The Faster USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Posted by Eric Huang on 5th February 2012

TI has now demonstrated the TI OMAP 5 chip which fully integrates USB 3.0,

It would have been even better for us SuperSpeed USB freaks if TI had actually demonstrated the USB 3.0 portion.

Instead, TI demonstrates stuff like 64fps 1080p video, highly responsive touchscreen scrolling, and points to all the interfaces.

Engadget’s exclusive pictures of the TI OMAP 5 Software Development show micro-B USB 3.0 connector there below the volume controller rocker switch.


Image Source: Engadget

Below the longer USB 3.0 micro-B connecter, you will see the mini HDMI connector called MHL which looks exactly like an old USB 2.0 mini-B connector because it is.  It was stolen by the HDMI group for use in portable designs.

(We didn’t want the mini-B anyways, when the USB-IF developed the micro-B that was clearly better so we are happy to have HDMI take old standards for their nefarious purposes)

As far as I know this the TI OMAP 5 Software Development Kit about first evidence of USB 3.0 in mobile phone, table, ultrabook design yet.

According to Anandtech

“The first devices based on OMAP 5 aren’t expected to ship until early 2013, with some aggressive customers potentially shipping at the very end of this year.” –Source: Anandtech

Well, I hope to see that out the OMAP 5 platform deploy with USB 3.0 in a real product in 2012. Which would back up with Ismail Rahman said about USB 3.0 appearing in mobile phones and tablets in 2012.  I warn you not to click on that last link to my blog entry.  Someone gave it one star.


You can read more at Engadget about the OMAP 5 demo at CES 2012 to read more, or you can watch the embedded video embedded below.  Engadget has an HD version of the same video at that link.


TI OMAP 5 Software Development Platform at CES 2012


A Faster USB 3.0 Flash Drive?

I received an e-mail saying my blog “Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drive?…” might not be super-duper inaccurate.

I asked for samples for lab testing, I’m waiting for a response.   Next blog entry, I’ll write about this flash drive.  If you can find it, comment below.  (It’s already publically announced).  My thanks to the commenter for pointing this out.


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Remember 5 stars is the best rating, 1 star is the worst. (So I’m sure the 1 star rating a few weeks ago was a misunderstanding)

Comment on the blog or e-mail me (you know who you are) on what you like or don’t like.

I get e-mails for most entries now so I appreciate those comments and input.  Thank you for reading.  If you get this far, e-mail me the word “donut” and I’ll buy you a donut next time I see you.

Posted in CES 2012, Mobile Phone, Smartphone, Tablets, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Products, Windows 8 | Comments Off

USB-IF Certifies PC Chipsets–The ones you care about

Posted by Eric Huang on 12th December 2011


So it’s happened, the company the company that invested USB, and drove USB 2.0 and now USB 3.0 to success has certified their own USB 3.0 Host Controllers.  The USB-IF announcement image (and hyperlink) is below.



Intel PC Chipsets receive USB 3.0 Certification

It looks like the Series 7 chips set goes into standard PCs that you and I will buy, so mostly laptops and desktops.  The C216 series appears to be for servers.

A link to the press release is here: http://www.usb.org/press/USB-IF_PantherPoint_FINAL.pdf.


AMD’s Certified PC Chipset – Where is it?

This follows AMD’s press release from back in April 2011 of a certified chipset.  We haven’t seen either in mass production, but we might guess that both will time their releases to coincide with wide scale Windows support.


Windows 8 with USB 3.0

Combined with the Microsoft Windows 8 announcement and demonstration of USB 3.0, Intel’s announcement means we are on the path to 1 Billions USB 3.0 enabled products in 2 years as consumers look to attach something to these speedy SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports.



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Posted in Tablets, USB 3.0 Products, USB Certification, Windows 8 | Comments Off

Windows 8 from a Flash Drive

Posted by Eric Huang on 23rd September 2011


Windows 8 from a USB 3.0 Flash Drive

At the Build Conference, Microsoft  introduced something called “Windows To Go” 

This lets you boot Windows 8 on a USB Flash Drive, so you no longer have to carry around a whole computer.  You could carry around USB Flash Drive that has your entire Windows 8 workspace, software, music files, browser bookmarks, Work files, and other elements.

So you could have a Computer at Work and a Computer at Home, and you would just carry the USB drive back an forth.  You wouldn’t need to contaminate your home computer with work materials.

So how does this work?

  • You reset your BIOS to boot from USB
    • BIOS is the firmware/software that starts up your computer before the Windows operating system starts
  • Plug in your USB Drive
  • Start up your PC
  • Windows 8 will load from your USB flash drive
    • All your software/applications will be available
    • Files will be stored either on a Windows Live SkyDrive (Windows Cloud I’m guessing this is)
  • When you shutdown, you take everything with you on your drive.

This works with USB 2.0 okay, but it will work better on USB 3.0. It will boot faster.

Win 8 demo on a MacBook

Here’s a demonstration of Windows 8 using Windows To Go on a MacBook run by ExtremeTech

Better on USB 3.0

The Microsoft Speaker at the //Build conference said that the USB experience will be “much enhanced” with USB 3.0.

To me this means it will boot faster and run faster, more like an SSD inside your PC if you have both a USB 3.0 Flash Drive and fast flash memory.  The free USB memory sticks you get today, the cheap ones you get at Target, FNAC, Metro, NOVA, BestBuy, Gome, or Yodobashi Camera.  You need to buy the more expensive drives. 

If you watch the video below, and advance to 27:00 (27 minutes) then you can see what happens when you unplug the USB drive while running Windows off of it. Basically, the PC will give you 60 seconds to re-insert the drive and resume, or it will shut down. You will see that Win 8 resumes cleanly, resuming a video playback, if you re-insert the drive within 60 seconds.

Here are some tips to view the video, in the lower right corner, click “Format”, then choose “Smooth Streaming”, then advance to the time slot of 0:27:00 for the Windows To Go Flash Drive removal and re-insertion.

The Windows USB 3.0 Logo Program has an additional requirement for a USB Windows To Go Drive
It will require that a USB drive can withstand many,many Win 8 file accesses over a 2 year lifetime.  This means it needs to be able to have Win 8 running on the drive and constantly being accessed over time. USB 3.0 Logo Program requirements are discussed at 28:50. on the video above.

For an even better article on the Windows To Go feature running on a USB 3.0 Flash Drive, you can go read the ExtremeTech article here.

Next Week: (Maybe) Pictures of Thunderbolt products.  (Definitely) How USB will save the earth from it’s doom.


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Posted in USB 3.0, Windows 8, Windows To Go | 2 Comments »

First Windows 8 Demonstration of USB 3.0 at Build, IDF 2011 1 Billion plus USB 3.0 products

Posted by Eric Huang on 16th September 2011

1+ Billion USB 3.0 Devices in 2 years

During the USB 3.0 session at IDF 2011, Jeff Ravencraft pointed out that in the next 2 years, over 1 billion USB 3.0 enabled products will be shipped. For a second I thought about it, and then I realized “Yes, that’s true.”

So I pulled up the InStat data from the Microsoft Blog site that shows exactly this data.  The Green Bar below is USB 3.0 shipments.


Here’s a link to my Blog entry, you can find a link to the Microsoft Blog entry ther.

My Funny, My Friends

I sent my friend the following note with a link to “My Kindle, My Donut” article as follows:

“When you get a chance, take a look at my latest blog entry:


I know you wait eagerly to read it each week.   I would like your opinion as follows:

1) Is it funny only if you know me?

2) Is it funny on its own?

3) Is it not funny.”

My Friend responded:

“I know you and I still think it’s funny”

Some needs to explain to me what this means.


Windows 8 support for USB 3.0 – Keynote Demonstration

Following up in the Microsoft Blog Announcement of Win 8 support for USB 3.0, Steven Sinofsky gave the first USB 3.0 demonstration on Windows 8.  It is a 2 hour video, so don’t watch it now.

To see the 20 second demo, here are some tips to view the video, in the lower right corner, click “Format”, then choose “Smooth Streaming”, then advance to the time slot of 1:13:05 for the on stage demonstration of USB 3.0


The demo is quick, as it should be, and easy to miss.  It’s like the expectation that USB 3.0 be quick and easy.

Microsoft demonstrates Windows 8 on range of devices including TI OMAP and Atom based tablets, so we can guess this means we will see USB 3.0 support beyond the PC. 

This is a good sign for USB 3.0


Next Week: ThunderBolt, Booting from a USB Drive with Windows To Go, and new USB Standards




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Posted in Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Adoption, USB Power, Windows 8 | 3 Comments »

Windows 8 to support SuperSpeed USB 3.0

Posted by Eric Huang on 23rd August 2011

It’s finally official, Windows 8 will support SuperSpeed USB 3.0.  Microsoft’s blog really lays out all the virtual and real hardware testing that Microsoft has to go through to make sure the drivers work, and work well. with billions of USB products.

Microsoft hasn’t announced a Windows 8 availability date, but we know from IDF Beijing that the PC Chipset makers will release USB 3.0 support in 2012.  So we can speculate that Windows 8 and these PC Chipsets will ship at the same time.  Links to the IDF Beijing reports that April Blog entry.

Interestingly, Microsoft uses a combination of a virtual approach and hardware testing.

The Virtual Approach looks similar to our Virtual Platforms.

The ASSP looks like a flash/thumb drive.  It has a USB 3.0 Device Chip in it.  It basically exercises many different USB transfer types varying parameters like packet sizes.  You can see the Microsoft USB Test Tool (MUTT) with it’s creator David Hargrove.  If I can find purchasing info, I’ll post it below.Figure 4 - MUTT Designer David Hargrove, with MUTT device

David Hargrove and Microsoft USB Test Tool – Picture from Microsoft Blog Site


USB 3.0 Host Chip ASPs

I made an error in the graph and pricing in the last entry (yesterday).  My apologies.

In fact, the January time frame I reported that while Digitimes had some source saying prices would drop to $1.70-$1.80, in fact Host ASPs remained up around $2.35 per chip.

What Digitimes is saying is that prices will drop to $1.20 next year, but now Renesas/NEC have prices up at about $2.00 per chip while ASMedia is down at about $1.50 per chip.

“Renesas reportedly has notified its partners that it plans to lower prices for its 2-port controller chips to below US$1.20 from about US$2 currently. Comparable 2-port chips from ASMedia are currently available at US$1.50-1.70.” DigiTimes August, 19, 2011

I’ve corrected the graph here.


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Posted in Chip ASP, PC Chipset, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Products, Windows 8 | 1 Comment »