To USB or Not to USB


Mainstreaming USB 3.0 – PC Chipset Support


USB 3.0 PC Chipset Support

Rick Merritt of the EETimes reports a rumor today that 2 major PC Chipset companies brought USB 3.0 support to a recent USB Plugfest.

The USB-IF holds a quarterly USB Plugfest interoperability testing, usually in San Jose, California, but also in Asia.  The USB-IF held the most recent (February) USB Plugfest in Hawaii. It’s halfway between Japan/China/Taiwan/Korea and the U.S., and cheap this time of year for flights and hotel rooms, yet I’ve still never been to Hawaii.

What is a USB Plugfest?   At a USB Plugfest, companies set up test suites with their Hosts and PCs.  Companies with Peripherals tour the different rooms (based on an assigned schedule) and test for interoperability.   If a device fails with a particular host, the 2 companies will typically spend the evening (and sometimes all night) debugging the problem to make sure that interoperability occurs.  This is one of the reasons that USB interoperability is really high and easy to use. 

If you pass 95% of the suites, and the standard USB Gold Suites (Electrical, Gold Tree, and Protocol Suites) you can get your device certified.

Back to the EETimes rumor report, it says that support should be available sometime in early 2012 in chipsets, but the companies were not available for comment.



Accelerating Discrete USB 3.0 Host Chip Shipments

In the same EETimes article, the Renesas (formerly NEC) representative is quoted as saying:

“Last year was limited to high-end PC models and adapter cards,” "We are seeing a big uptick in number of models [using USB 3.0] this year,"

Renesas’ competitor, Fresco Logic, tells the EETimes that they hope their shipments increase 10 times from the 1 million units Fresco shipped in 2010.


Combined with a dropping price in Host Chip ASPs, this means that USB 3.0 will become more mainstream this year, and completely mainstream in 2012 with chipset support.


If I’m right about this, I expect someone to send me 10 free tickets to Hawaii.




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