To USB or Not to USB


USB 3.1 Host to Device Platform-to-Platform with Ellisys Protocol Analyzer

We showed you our USB 3.1 Host and Device, Platform to Platform demonstration all the way back on November 8 (read the Nov 19 updated blog entry), so we thought we should prove we actually are running USB 3.1 transactions.
We invited Chuck Trefts from Ellisys to bring in their USB 3.1 analyzer. It’s a small gold box, that looks more like a consumer device than an analyzer that belongs in a lab.

We run a throughput test to show that we are actually running at USB 3.1 speeds of 9 Gbps and above. This is the third benchmark we have run with our controller, independently showing that we can actually run USB 3.1 at USB 3.1 speeds.

You will see that we run the Ellisys software to capture trace data. The trace data shows that we are running USB 3.1 in two ways:
First, it shows the new Link Credit 2. This is brand new to USB 3.1.
Second, we zoom in on one part of the trace to look at the symbols which show that 128b/132b encoding.

As before, we are using:

  1. HAPS70 platforms for separate
    1. USB 3.1 Host and
    2. USB 3.1 Device
  2. USB 3.0 Connectors
  3. A USB 3.0 1 meter cable. (Yes! An actual Cable), AND the
  4. Ellisys Protocol Analyzer to prove we are running real traffic.

I feel that some people really underestimate the effort required to make this demonstration happen.  By working with the USB-IF and Ellisys, Synopsys leadership gives us early insight and deep technical knowledge as to WHY USB 3.1 is designed as it is, and lets us hit the many problems in implementation months and years before others.

Watch the Video Here

External SSDs
A quick note on USB 3.0 SSDs. There is an emerging trend where spinning USB 3.0 Hard Disk Drives are starting to be replaced by USB 3.0 SSDs. Power users have been assembling their own USB 3.0 SSD by taking USB 3.0 to SATA enclosures, and adding a SATA 6 Gbps SSD instead of a HDD.

Downside of SSD over an HDD
– Higher cost per GB
Upside of using an SSD over an SSD
– Less Power
– Faster data access than an spinning HDD

SSDs use less power, and are less prone to “crashes” or disk failures. (SSDs are often rated to work for 13 years or more as well. In the past, there was a concern that the NAND Flash used in SSDs would not last as long as an HDD.. Most importantly they are speedier. If you take a quick look at this CNET review of this USB 3.0, the only real complaint is that the drive is too small at 256 GB.

This goes to the argument that External Storage is reaching the Speeds of Internal Storage.  This allows users to edit, sort, get to their pictures, videos, data for editing and use without having to decide exactly how much memory is inside the PC, Table, Phone or other device.   USB 3.1 users will really be able to take advantage of this, using the CPU power of their devices, and use the speed of external memory to use more data more effectively.  The proliferation and popularity of USB 3.0 SSDs is the start of this trend as NAND Flash performance increases and prices decrease.

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USB Gifts

My friend and colleague Richard Solomon sent me a USB Humidifier. You can see it and read the note below.
It’s fantastic, and worth every penny Richard Solomon paid for it.

Oh and read Scott Knowlton’s and Richard Solomon’s PCIe Express Yourself Blog found here

USB Humidifier gifted from Richard Solomon to Eric Huang

USB Humidifier gifted from Richard Solomon to Eric Huang
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