To USB or Not to USB


Fleet-footed FemtoPHYs – The Smallest USB 3.0 and 2.0 PHYs in the Universe

Fast, Fabulous FemtoPHYs (Certified!)

The BIG news this week is small.   Our team built the tiny USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 femtoPHY  to save power and area.  50% less area than the previous generation picoPHY.  AND CERTIFIED by the USB-IF

At a 50% smaller size, to me it’s like:

  1. Being able to eat the same size 500 gram steak with all the gloriously delicious fat but at ½ the calories and ½ the triglycerides
  2. Running only 2.5 kilometers but getting the healthy heart benefit of running 5 kilometers
  3. Sleeping only 3.5 hours but feeling like I’ve slept for 7 hours (yes please invent this).
  4. Eating a whole box of chocolate but feeling the guilt of only eating 1/2 a box of chocolates

Less power, less area, same Super speed USB for USB 3.0 and Hi-Speed USB for USB 2.0.  For our many customers building mobile chips and TV chips with 2 or 4 or 8 USB PHYs, this is a huge savings in area on each chip and on each wafer. Assuming you get thousands of chips off a wafer, it adds up.

And,  AND the USB 3.0 and 2.0 PHYs are SuperSpeed USB and Hi-Speed USB certified.  This means they have tested for electrical and protocol and interoperability by a 3rd party independent lab.

YOU OBJECT AS FOLLOWS:  “But wait a minute, this is at 14nm/16nm!  It’s already a smaller process so isn’t it just smaller because of the process node? “

I RESPOND “The answer is “No.”  “

It turns out that analog designs don’t really shrink as you go down in process nodes. So this is a brand new architecture that lets us leverage our knowledge from supporting 1000s of tape-outs to shrink the design and deliver the fastest speeds.

Mr. PHY Guy himself Gervais Fong takes us through the specifics in his video showing our lab, our chips, the test equipment, and some eye diagrams in the video below

Eye diagrams show the rise and fall of data and how easy it is to read the data coming from the end of a USB cable. As data (USB data) runs down a cable in waves, it can degrade or close by the time it reaches the other end of the cable.  If the eye is closed, then the receiver can’t tell the difference between a 1 and a 0 and it can’t read the data. This means a retry is required, and you lose throughput and bandwidth. An open eye means it’s easy to read the data, there are fewer errors and maximum throughput.

For more about the FemtoPHY click here or on the image below

FemtoPHY!  All the flavor ½ the calories! (and certified)


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You see, you didn’t subscribe here’s a second blog in less than 2 months.

Oh, and you should be reading “Committed to Memory” by Marc Greenberg and Graham Allan about DDR,“Express Yourself” about PCIe by Scott Knowlton and Richard Solomon, and “Breaking the Three Laws” by Mick “I’m not dead” Posner who has finished his antibiotics and graced us with his coughing presense.

Why was he coughing? Because he was laughing so hard.
Probably at his own jokes.

Mick self-verifies that he is vastly funnier in person.

oh and if you can find an adjective that has an “f” sound that goes in front of Femto let  me know. I had also had the options of fleet-footed, fiery, future, flashy or fierce.  I preferred Fleet Footed, so I just changed it from Fast, Fabulous…

Buy Happiness (after you buy our FemtoPHY)


How to Buy Happiness – Proven by real scientists. You CAN buy happiness.  With Money.

Links to places in America that really could use your financial donation. You can see the poverty level for most of them. Search by zip code for school or cause near you.

Links just in case

Here’s the Press Release Link

Link to the Video Demonstration

Link to the FemtoPHY details page

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