To USB or Not to USB


USB 3.1 Ships in Laptops, USB Dev Days, Charging Safety, USB 3.1 Chip Prices

USB 3.1 Chips in Laptops

I’m super excited to report that USB 3.1 Gen 2 is now shipping (will be shipping soon) in laptops. Yes Laptops!  This is about 6 months before I expected it to happen.

You’ll now find it in MSI, Gigabyte, Acer, and Lenovo models.

USB 3-1 Laptops

These 4 laptops all appear to use the Alpine Ridge chip which uses / supports the Type C connector and the 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds.

Which is pretty cool.

Better yet, the Alpine Ridge implementation port also supports Thunderbolt 3. So you have the option of buying a Thunderbolt 3 drive or DisplayPort monitor supporting display through the same port.  My bet is that port will be used mostly for connection to super nice displays immediately because there are lots of them out there already, then by next year lots of mass storage devices (USB 3.1 Gen 2) products, and then the power users will then be using Thunderbolt 3 RAID systems.  Of course, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 RAID system will also be super easy to build.

Prices for these chips at the end of the article (plus some Elephant Jokes)

(I would like to thank the USB-IF for insisting on I use the terminology USB 3.1 Gen 2, because every time I need to write the correct speed, I am required to write USB 3.1 Gen 2 which gets me to my preferred minimum word count of much faster.)


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USB Developer Days

Today at the USB Dev Days in San Diego over 200 USB engineers (and about 3 marketing people), gathered to review the latest in USB 3.1 standards including Type C and Power Delivery.

Morten Christiansen and Eric Huang (that’s me) have a scintillating presentation on the challenges of implementing USB 3.1 and USB Type C.

Morten talking about USB 3.1

USB Safety and USB-IF testing

USB Power Delivery and USB charging is a serious, serious matter.

The most sobering messaging delivered from USB-IF Chairman and CEO Jeff Ravencraft is that USB certification is a serious business.  Consumers should always be looking the USB label.   In the keynote address the USB-IF points to at least one case where a cheap, generic phone charger (probably USB) caused a fire that killed several people.   These kinds of events are governed by local and national laws going after manufacturers of faulty chargers.

The message:  It’s better to spend more a few dollars more for the official certified cables and chargers.

Advice from the UK (and the report on the deaths suspected from a charger (It’s not clear if this is a USB charger)  from a BBC article.

“Philip Le Shirley, product safety adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), says consumers should use the charger supplied with a product wherever possible.

If they cannot, they should only buy approved products.

He advises customers to:
-Only buy approved chargers for products
– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
– Contact the manufacturer directly if in doubt.

Overnight charging

People should also avoid leaving devices to charge unattended, especially overnight, Mr Gardiner warned.

And it is important to think about where items are being left whilst they charge, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said.

For example, if a product is charged on a flammable surface, that increases the chance of a fire spreading.”

Here’s the original article:

If you Google “USB fire death” you will find some pretty sad stories. I don’t want to repeat them here.  Just be careful. Buy good chargers. I’ll sleep better if you do and so will you.

Synopsys USB 3.1 and Type C at USB Developer Days

The simplicity of our demonstrations make them commonplace.  Here they are anyways.

We demonstrated our Synopsys USB 3.1 Gen 2 Device controller IP on the HAPS-DX platform (really our IP Prototyping Kit for USB 3.1) with the ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 Host chip plugged into a Windows 8 PC.

We also demonstrated our USB Type C system on HAPS-DX.  In this case we plugged in a USB Type C Patriot flash Drive into our USB Host controller.  You can see the board and the image on windows below. Actually you can’t because I can’t upload the images. So instead his a picture of Jeff Ravencraft with myself and Minh Pham, our super hardware engineer.

Eric Jeff Minh at Dev Days San Diego Oct 2015

Pricing drops for USB 3.1 Chips

Helping accelerate USB 3.1 adoption even faster, the Alpine Ridge chip with TB3 is down to $6 per chip and the ASMedia chip is down to $3.  This was in July.



USB 31 Host controllers get cheaper



Closing Elephant Jokes

Q: How is an elephant like an apricot?
A: They are both gray. Well, except the apricot.

Q: How can you tell if an elephant is in the refrigerator?
A: The door won’t shut.

Q: How can you tell if an elephant has been in the refrigerator earlier?
A: Footprints in the butter.

Q: How do you get an elephant into the fridge in the first place?
A: Open door; Insert elephant; Close door.

Q: How do you get a giraffe into the fridge?
A: Open door; Remove elephant; Insert giraffe; Close door.

Q: What’s the difference between a dozen eggs and an elephant?
A: If you don’t know, I’m sure not going to send you to the store for a dozen eggs!

Q: What the difference between a herd of elephants and a bunch of grapes?
A: Grapes are purple, elephants are gray.

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